#WCW Shannon Silver


Shannon Silver is a bombass 80's nostalgia babe with glowing skin, a unique sense of style and a lazy luxury lifestyle blog called Esselesse. She's also my first "Woman Crush Wednesday" and I can't wait to introduce you, if you haven't already met. Recently I got a chance to fly down to SF and interview her about how to grow your instagram following, increase engagement, and gain trust as an influencer.

An 'influencer', if you haven't heard, is someone who builds up their social media presence for the purpose of helping brands sell products. People don't trust ads anymore. We don't even watch them if we can help it, so brands are turning to social media to get their message across. Instagram has become the new roadside billboard and some influencers are making hundreds of thousands of dollars per post. Nice work if you can get it. In our video interview (coming soon) Shannon talks about what it actually takes to build your own brand, as an influencer, and how create a lasting and engaged community. One that trusts you and has your back because they know you've got theirs.

This interview is about the babe behind the blog. I noticed Shannon was different right away. It's so easy to trust her. I've always known if she says she likes something that she legit likes it and I should probably try it. She's also funny and endlessly entertaining. I watch her stories daily. She and her boyfriend Erik - who's hilarious btw - are always cooking up something, or sharing their favorite playlists, skincare, vintage style and wine recs. Did I mention she's a sommelier?? And yes, she's spilling her top wine recs below. As well as how she got into blogging, why it's so important to have your own blog or online space, what happens to all of your photos and ideas when instagram and FB become extinct, advice for new bloggers, favorite photo apps, custom filters and skincare secrets.

Shannon interviewed me too! Talking how we met, my online journey, favorite photo editing apps, biggest beauty secrets, favorite books and music, favorite blogs and instagram accounts to follow, where I look for inspiration and more.. click here to read

Why do you consider yourself an influencer and what does that mean to you?

Being an influencer, quite bluntly, means being able to influence. The best way to do so is to live your life and document it. Don’t live for the gram but instead live the lifestyle you are portraying. It sounds so simple typed out but it’s VERY easy to reverse it. The easiest {but hardest at the same time} way to do this is to not do things for likes/follows, instead, do what speaks to YOU. Influence by going against the stream, don’t conform with it.

& I do consider myself one - I’ve had people buy more vintage on depop, make my recipes, try wines I recc, edit their photos, & style their wardrobe inspired by me. which I am beyond appreciative for - I always love seeing other people’s takes on something they saw on my blog or gram!

How do you see the influencer movement changing in the next 5 years?

This is something I think a lot about - it’s already changed so much in the past five years.

First things first, it won’t be on instagram. Instagram then will be how Facebook is now… & to put it nicely, I deleted my Facebook because it’s just too noisy and I’m starting to feel that noise on the gram. I think people will get sick of constantly being sold something every single time they open their app by everyone and their dog {literally!}. I think people are craving authenticity & less curation so I think you will see content shift accordingly - or at least I sure hope so! It’s also only going to get more and more crowded & noisy so having a clear niche, aesthetic, & voice is more important than ever to stand out.

Social media wise, there will be something else {there will always be something else} & as an influencer, it’s crucial to have your finger on the pulse. I actually think the movement will come into personal brands & personal networks, as well as audio. I’m considering transcribing my blog posts as mini podcast episodes so people can get the content on the go vs being tied to the screen - still toying with this {thoughts??}. I also think VR & augmented reality will begin to play a role.

Why is having a blog so important? Can’t you just microblog via Instagram or twitter?

The answer is simple: because it’s sustainable & you own it. You own your content, you have full control & you’re not a slave to someone else’s algorithm. You also can’t inflate your numbers. And maybe not a blog, but have something that you own: whether it’s a newsletter, video landing page, product, forum… the options are truly endless.

Basically, you want an answer to the question: how am I sustainable when {not if… when} instagram dies? Keep in mind, when Instagram dies, so will the content. I’d urge any who use instagram solely to microblog to save their content in the cloud or google drive. It’s an extra step but at least you will have your content in a safe place that you own.

What were you doing before you started blogging and when did you decide to take on blogging full time?

For the first half of my blog, I was working as an executive assistant at an investment bank. In fact, I look back on that beginning stage VERY fondly. I was in my late 20s & the blog was so exciting! It was a fun way to talk, share things I love and have a creative outlet outside of my desk job. It was also my first job in SF & very demanding {& fun! Probably my favourite corporate job I‘ve had} so the only time I had to work on the blog was weekends or in the middle of the night. A lot of the blog posts back in 2015 were actually made between 12 - 5 in the morning!

I then got a new job at a startup, which was still pretty demanding, but way more flexible on the location as to where I worked. In the beginning stages, including the middle of the night, I was able to juggle it but as the years went by, it got harder and harder to juggle. I liked keeping my blog & job completely seperate and the circles just started to intertwine. I always heard when you know, you know… & it’s true.

One thing I want to emphasize is when I first made the decision to go full time, it was about 6 months before my last day in 2018. I made a business plan, completely figured out finances, & basically got every single possible little duck in a row that I could. It was a very calculated leap of faith & one of the most transformative things I’ve ever done for myself & personality.

How did you come up with the name/brand essellesse?

It’s my initials spelled out! A lot of people have actually called me SLS over the years. I wanted the brand to represent me but not be my full name. Here is more on the rebrand. As I was coming up with it, I thought of what I’d want a future product line to be named as well. It took a lot of pen to paper - essellesse is actually really fun to both write and type! I also love that it’s a palindrome!

How would you define your brand? How did you decide on it?

Lazy Luxury! In fact, Erik called my lifestyle this & it forever stuck!

How did you meet Erik? How involved is he in your blogging business

The story on how I met Erik is really personal. Cliff notes, we met in Dallas while he was visiting from SF. My life was a mess & he saw that. He {a stranger at the time} encouraged me to move to California, put control back in my life, start new and well, here we are. I left a lot behind in Dallas. I do think often how different my life would of been if I ignored him & stayed put in Texas because it all happened just so fast & quite brazenly… I actually almost chickened out on my one way flight. I have always wanted to live in LA & figured why not take a detour first? That said, that first year here was HARD. Very hard. & he was just there for me since day 1 and we inevitably started officially dating like a year later.

As far as involvement, when I came up for the idea of the blog he was SO SUPPORTIVE. I remember this day vividly in 2014. He was pretty hands off the first few years except for photos but as instagram stories rolled out, I’d post videos of day to day with Erik & people just fell in love with him. He really is just so funny! And on the back-end of the blog, I consider him a partner. We discuss EVERYTHING: topics, aesthetics, directions, collabs, contracts, tax stuff. He’s very analytical, business savvy, & really sees the big picture of things.

One thing I recommend aspiring bloggers to ask their partner in the beginning: are you in or are you out? Some partners are uncomfortable showing their life to the public… and anything you post on the internet is forever public. If your partner is out, it doesn’t mean they don’t support your blog, they just want to keep their privacy.

If you were putting together a bloggers starter kit, what would you put in it?

A business plan. This is SO IMPORTANT. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a necessity and sets you up for success. It’s basically the backbone to everything.

A niche - know what people will come to you for. If you can’t think of one, think of what people you know personally come to you for? What are you an expert in? What are things you have been asked? What are you passionate about? If you’re still stuck, start writing about brands & products you love and let it unfurl from there.

Notepad - I like physical ones but the app on your phone will do. Use this as a running list of blog topics. Things will hit you randomly so write them down while it’s fresh.

Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop for editing and making graphics on the computer. VSCO or Lightroom mobile for instagram posts. I think aesthetics are very important.

& finally, a content calendar - try to have at least a full month of content planned at all times. Everyone is talking quality over quantity, but I actually disagree. I think quantity is equally important in quality. I made a post on how I plan mine here.

Now to throw all of this out lol- JUST START. You can create the business plan, aesthetics, & niche as you go, but you must execute & it’s easy to let the above slow you down. Completion before perfection. Starting is the absolute hardest part and things will evolve/change as you go. Just start!!! & if you do send me your url so I can check it out and support!!!

Who are your favorite people to follow (blogs, insta, Twitter)

I love following anything 80s, vaporwave, or “old internet”. It has a huge influence on my blog & aesthetic so it keeps me inspired. Favourite accounts are @__________office, @grace_anim, @lovecomputerrecords, @quicksexfm, @dennybusyet, @neontalk, @the_80s_interior, @alternatepools, @forcescreative & @poolsidefm. I also love to follow my blog readers - it’s so fun to stay up to date with them and connect with them as friends!

What are your favorite apps?

Most of them are for photo editing. I LOVE PHOTO EDITING! I find it so fun and I love how different filters and presets can set a vibe or mood. I love VSCO (especially the V filters), Lightroom Mobile (I have my own presets that I made & use on this), Feica Kyoto, Foodie (this app & camera is huge in Japan), & R4VE. Not photos but I also love the app DEPOP - I do most of my shopping there! Also the app CHOICES - guilty pleasure but it is SO ADDICTING.

What does creative control mean to you, and how have you been able to achieve it?

Not having another platform {hi instagram!} own your content :) but seriously though. I actually think Instagram can kill creativity. I had a mini revelation with myself the other that the pressure I have with instagram is the pressure to conform. Do I post a photo with crazy edits that may risk engagement or do I post a rose gold latte art & macarons? This took me a long time to achieve, but honestly, it meant going full throttle with my blog & knowing my vision and aesthetic and I have instagram supplement it… engagement be damned. I have a few products that I’m launching this year & it goes hand in hand with my creativity so it’s crucial I stay true to that.

Time to get personal. you've got 64 Spotify playlists - which are your favorites

Hands down, my Sunset Playlist. Easily my favourite. Sunsets are a sacred time to me as weird as it sounds {& a big part of my aesthetic tbh} so I created that playlist in the summer as I watched the sun go down with a glass of wine. It just makes me feel good.

Another one I just love is my Work Chill one - this is a really vibey playlist that I listen to as I work because it’s not distracting at all. I love to work to that on Fridays to set the mood for the weekend! There’s something kinda sexy to it! It’s also fun to cook dinner to.

Lastly, my Tropical House one - I just love the genre, it reminds me of 2014 & 2015! it’s an upbeat, happy playlist that’s fun to have on in the background. Gives some summer vibes in the cold weather ;)

And you’re a sommelier?? How did that happen?

Back in 2006! I transferred colleges from UNLV to University of Houston two weeks before classes started lol so a lot of my courses were booked (my major was Hospitality). My first semester there was full of the random electives I needed to graduate and one was a Dean’s Lecture Series where professionals would come in and basically talked about their job - suuuuper easy class but I actually had no idea what I wanted to be “when I grew up” so it was very interesting to me. A master sommelier came in and talked about his job & I was HOOKED. I took my intro as soon as I turned 21 in 2007, worked in the industry a few years and then got my Certified in 2011.

Which are your fav wines?

I’m a sucker for Champagne. Krug will always be my favourite but that’s on the super pricey end but it’s a real special champagne. For a great inexpensive sparkling wine, I love Jansz from Tasmania: they have a great brut & brut rosé. One of my favourite Chardonnays is the Mother of Pearl Chard from Fort Ross. I generally just love wines from the Sonoma Coast! Great Pinot Noirs & Chardonnays, not to mention it’s just BEAUTIFUL there. An obscure red wine I love & don’t drink enough of are Austrian Zweigelts!

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities? How long have you lived there, and how would you describe the culture

I’ve lived here for about 5 years now! I actually lived in Healdsburg for about a year before I moved to the city. If I could describe the culture, it’s individualism. Everyone has their own style. It’s also a very casual city {& everything closes early} which I did not expect when I moved here blindly from Texas in 2013! I actually thought it would have a buzzy New York vibe & I was dead wrong lol

We're visiting SF for the first time, where should we go?

Rintaro, Zuni Cafe, Cafe Flore, Saint Frank Coffee, Perry’s, Roku Izakaya, Causwell’s {best burger in SF}, Marina Lounge, Campus, Andytown Coffee Roasters, Trouble Coffee, & the wave organ!! I’m also loving the sunset district lately.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

Tokyo. No question. In fact, we are learning Japanese & my goal is to be fluent! There’s no place in the world like it. It’s one of the only places I’ve been that felt like home the second I went there. I’ve only been twice but a long term goal of mine is to split my time both here & there and be involved with Japanese brands.

Your skin is so smooth and dewy, we need to know what you're using

JAPANESE BRANDS! Hada Labo by far is my favourite. I love their Hyaluronic Acid Foaming Wash, their Hyaluronic Acid Moist Lotion {aka toner}, & their Skin Plumping Gel Cream. They’re super affordable, you can find them on Amazon, & they TRANSFORMED my skin. Next, I use a cc cream that I found at Whole Foods that I can't get enough of. It's from Andalou Nauturals and called 1000 Roses. It's infused with roses and smells AMAZING, but I love makeup that makes your skin look better. It's anti-aging and leaves a dewy finish and better than any I've used from Sephora. I also love the ByTerry Baume de Rose lip balm. It’s pricey but worth every penny & will recontour and plump your lips naturally. At night, I love the Glossier Priming Rich. It’s a very luxe cream but inexpensive. I tried others for night but found I always came back to this.. Finally, for my body, NUXE Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil. It’s a French pharmacy fave and smells AMAZING and it just makes your skin glow - I have the regular and the one with shimmer if I’m feeling spicy. & of course DRINK WATER. I am a water psycho but it’s the number one thing I’ve done that’s changed my skin. I probably drink at least 100 oz’s a day.

How to drink more water without gagging

Shannon's 7 Easy Tips to Drink More Water

Shrazzi's 4 Sexy Ways to Hydrate

Thanks for the tips, Shannon! Let everyone know where they can find you to get more blogging advice, skincare, style, recipes, wine and music recs?

bloginstagrampinterestspotifydepop

Click here to read my interview with Shannon on Essellesse

xx Shannon and Shannon

#shannonsilver #essellesse #sanFransiscobloggers #SFbloggers #blogging101 #influencers #instagram #socialmedia #howtobeaninfluencer #howtogrowyourfollowing

RECENT POSTS