Interview with Influencer
What’s your name and where do you come from? Ben Jeffries. I grew up in Surrey but live in Tunbridge Wells now.
How did you spot a space in the market for your product or service? I used to run a clothing brand called Breeze. I knew Ad’s weren’t cool, but celeb endorsements were. If I saw Ronaldinho was wearing something as a kid, I would want that too.
Trouble is, I knew I couldn’t afford standard celebrity endorsements so I reached out to these ‘Micro Celebrities’, those people who are still trusted and respected by a few, but not known to the mass e.g. a Reserve Team Player from Chelsea Football Club called Jamal Blackman. He had a loyal following from those who knew about him and cost a huge fraction of the price per follower than your big names such as those First Team Players. I could see the power of social media and these Micro Influencers so I started to use more and more of them.
Though I started to notice a pattern; the majority of these Micro Influencers I contacted would often ignore me, those that did reply didn’t know how to price themselves and when I reached out to marketing agencies to aid me; they’d require an unrealistic starting budget of £20,000. There was no one out there specialising in this micro niche. So I quit Breeze and set up one of the UK’s first influencer marketing agencies.
How long did you think about your business before bringing it to life? I worked on it for about year having multiple hick ups along the way before I finally ‘launched’. Long story short – i tried to launch it as platform however the developers I was using at the time ran off with the money and I was back to square one. Broke. So I launched it as agency!
How did you raise the funds to start your business? I worked on my gap year for 9 months to be able to afford to use those initial developers who ran off with the money. But ultimately, if you have the correct ambition and drive you can set up a business for next to nothing. I learnt how to make a website, use photoshop to design a logo and advertise through as many organic means as possible.
How do you stay informed – networking, newspapers, social media? Social Media, Evening Standard and Sky News app
Tell us about one of your business low-points and what you learnt from it The first set of developers running off with the cash was incredible low point.
I spoke to a few lawyers and they said it would cost more than the amount to retrieve the money and so I may as well ‘bite the bullet’. It was a prime example of being as Richard Branson would put it, a ‘Virgin’ in business. I was new to business and too overly excited to get it started, so I rushed into it to get it complete and a mistake happened quickly. 😆
The mistake has since made me not jump into anything too quick and too remember the long terms affects of decisions and not just the short term benefits that may be achieved.
I’d organised a meeting with a prospective client and upon arriving, when they saw my age (20 at the time), they decide to treat me incredibly different in a patronising manner. Upon leaving the meeting, I got an email saying they appreciated me coming in but were looking for someone with more experience so wished me luck in my ‘little project’.
It was certainly an eye opener for me and led to me spending a little a period of reflection on how to approach future meetings.
Name five qualities people need to be successful in a job like yours
Do you have a business mentor? Of course – Mike Thompson, Founder of Sample Surveys, which was sold to AEGIS. I also follow Gary Vaynerchuck on Social Media heavily #DailyVee.
Name one of your favourite start-ups Pan N Ice – Rolled up Icecream!
Quick fire round:
Apple or Android? Apple
Mac or PC? Mac
Apples for hand or melons for feet? Melons for feet
Name two chocolate bars you would put together to make a super bar Toblerone and Daim
Ben Jeffries is the founder of Influencer. Influencer connects brands with famous individuals on social media, working with these Content Creators to generate a buzz organically for brands through producing creative content to advertise their products.
Brands are able to seamlessly connect with Content Creators via our platform and be able to access in-depth analytics of both the Content Creator and the campaign data.