Jarry Lee is a successful self-made entrepreneur and influencer who changed careers from journalism to entertainment and created a highly lucrative social media business empire for herself. Jarry has a following of over 750,000+ across her verified social media channels and appeared as herself on the Netflix show Dating Around (season 1), and in commercials for AT&T, Dr. Brandt Skincare, and various L’Oréal brands. As a model and actor, she has worked with Maybelline, Lancôme, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Revlon, Apple, Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Nike, and other companies.
She has been featured in VOGUE Italia, POPSUGAR, Mic, Elite Daily, NY Daily News, AM New York, Authority Magazine, The New York Times, Cliché Magazine, Thrive Global, TMS, MESS Magazine, MOVER Magazine, and many other publications.
Jarry has a following of 650,000+ on Instagram and 35,000+ on TikTok, and 350,000+ streams on Spotify, and has done social media campaigns for Clinique, Giorgio Armani Beauty, ASICS, Olay, AT&T, NYX Cosmetics, KISS Beauty Products, ModCloth, and other fashion/beauty, fitness, and lifestyle brands.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Jarry Lee to discuss her journey in the entertainment industry and here’s what went down:
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
I’m a social media entrepreneur and influencer with over 700,000 followers across my verified social media platforms, and I consult for both brands and individuals on digital content creation and increasing brand awareness. (I’m also an agency-signed model, actress, and musician, but social media is my current focus, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.) I’m based in Manhattan, New York City but am originally from Wales and England, and graduated from NYU and Choate. I used to work as a journalist — I was a deputy editor at BuzzFeed News for 4 years — but pivoted to focusing on social media and entertainment a couple of years ago and it’s since paid off!
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
My business is currently focused on both content creation and partnership outreach — my team is working on producing more high-quality, consistent content during the COVID-19 pandemic, and also increasing outreach to brands that align with our values and content aesthetic. I’ve personally invested in professional photography and videography equipment so that I can produce content for brands from my home.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
Mainly Instagram, but we are also looking to expand more into YouTube and TikTok.
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
Brands pay me or my team to run sponsored content campaigns on my personal socials, or to help select other influencers for their campaigns so I may be biased, but we’ve created some great results. One example is a perfume I launched a year ago with a brand that I’m still receiving commissions from, despite only posting once about it last year!
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
My team does consistent, frequent partnership outreach to potential brand clients who could benefit from our consulting services. In terms of my personal socials, our tactic to stand out from other influencers is producing diverse, professionally-shot content (both photo and video), since not everyone consistently employs high-quality photographers and videographers. We also make a point to showcase positive press we receive, which is something I’ve noticed other people aren’t always comfortable doing — but reputation is important in social media, and you are your best publicist! Don’t be afraid to highlight your work/achievements!
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Social media marketing is inherently part of my business — I’ve always viewed Instagram as a powerful platform for self-marketing.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to learn photography and videography and purchase professional equipment myself in order to continue shooting content, as I could no longer hire outside photographers during the lockdown. There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve, but I’m happy I decided to take the time to develop those skills.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
I’ve learned over the past few years that time really is money, so one thing I’d have done differently is to outsource some of my more tedious work rather than wasting the time doing it all myself.
What new business would you love to start?
I’m currently working on launching two e-commerce businesses in the next couple of years (though obviously a bit delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic): an apparel brand with my partner, and a jewelry/accessories company. The jewelry brand is called PSYCHO KITSCH, and aims to celebrate unconventional creativity.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
Since I’m quite happy with how things are now in my career and believe that all mistakes are valuable learning experiences necessary for growth, I really wouldn’t do anything differently!
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Don’t be afraid to take risks. It’s impossible to predict how far you can succeed unless you try, so it’s much riskier to play it safe.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Don’t feel obligated to stick to a traditional career path, but rather, create your own based on your passions. There’s never been a better time to create your own dream job, especially given how powerful social media is as a self-marketing platform!