Although the beauty YouTuber space is increasingly crowded, Jenn Im remains a hot commodity.
The 27-year-old behind Clothesencounters, a YouTube channel she founded in 2010 to host beauty tutorials and dole out style advice, was voted the Best Beauty Influencer at Revolve’s first awards show in October. Thanks to her easy charm and laid-back demeanor (as well as her on-camera makeup skills), she’s sought after by a broad range of brands, including Calvin Klein, Smashbox, Lacoste, Birchbox, Target and VH1.
Of course, her numbers don’t hurt, either: Im has over 2 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.6 million followers on Instagram. According to her management company, Rare Global, her total YouTube views are over 202 million, a number comparable to those of Chanel. She also averages 5 million impressions on Instagram per week, according to her team.
The Los Angeles native has also dabbled in product design: She collaborated with Colourpop on a capsule makeup line called Jenn Ne Sais Quoi last year and launched a clothing line called Eggie (Korean for “baby”) in August.
According to Im, she’s not phased by any increased competition in the space. “I try my best to be positive and spread love. There’s enough success for everyone to enjoy,” she said.
We asked her to weigh in on the biggest misconceptions about her job, whether she’ll endorse a product for free and what she wishes brands knew before reaching out to her.
What are the biggest misconceptions about being a beauty vlogger?
We’re all seen as superficial. I believe makeup is a tool that, rather than mask our true selves, can help enhance our features. Playing around with makeup is also just something I really look forward to. The ability to transform my face and experiment with different colors, textures and tones is not only an art form, but also a form of creative self-expression.
How do you determine which brands to work with over others?
I work with brands I believe in. Before I work with any brand, I need a month, minimum, to test out the product to see if I even like it. I would never want to endorse a product or item that didn’t function correctly or was subpar in quality.
Do you only work with paying brands, or will you endorse a brand just because you like it?
It’s a mix between the two. Of course, it is a huge bonus when I work with a paying brand that I genuinely use, but I do mention brands organically on my channel that aren’t paying me, too. I’m a firm believer in sharing knowledge; when something is working for me, I want to tell everyone about it.
What’s the best approach for beauty brands who want to reach out to you?
You should understand and know who you are reaching out to. It may take an extra step, but if you’re a brand, researching creators at more than just a surface level goes a long way. It’s nice when brands actually know the face behind the channel and send products they know you’ll actually use. For example, one of my favorite Korean beauty companies, Soko Glam, knows what type of skin I have, so they only send me products suitable to my skin type.
Im at the Revolve Awards in October
How regularly do you post content, and how far out do you plan it out?
I post beauty content every month or so, and I like to keep it current with the times: If it’s late December, I’ll whip up a New Year’s Eve look. In February, a Valentine’s Day date look. Each month offers a new and fun avenue to express yourself with makeup, so the possibilities are endless. It takes me about a week or so to plan each beauty video: I need to spend some time practicing the makeup look, then recording and editing it.
Do you have a team or are you doing everything yourself?
I have a team of five people: my manager and attorney, Ashley Villa, who is the founder of the Rare Global talent agency and negotiates and facilities all of my deals and campaigns; my agent, Greg Goodfried at United Talent Agency; and my fiancé [Ben Jolliffe], who helps me film my videos and take photographs. I also rely on a graphic designer, Dawn Lee, to help me create all the fun graphics I insert into my videos. Recently, I hired a part-time assistant, too. She comes in a few times a week to help me make sure everything on my plate is organized so that nothing gets lost in the cracks.
How has beauty vlogging changed since you first started?
I think beauty vlogging has gotten more intimate. Now that most people are able to quickly find out how to apply their foundation or groom their eyebrows, they’re starting to look for a genuine connection with the people on their screens. That’s why I try my best to incorporate a personal element into my makeup tutorials, like mixing in Q&As on college advice or sharing life updates, like I’ve done leading up to my wedding.
Do you ever get sick of putting on makeup for work?
Not really. I genuinely enjoy getting ready every single day, and there’s something really therapeutic about applying makeup. It’s like painting, but just on your face. I’ve also always made content that I actually like, that I enjoy making and would want to watch myself.