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Episode 58

Phoebe Sherman (00:00):

Welcome to the Girl Gang Craft podcast where we dive in deep to all things business, wellness, creativity, and activism. For artists and entrepreneurs, we talk with impactful female driven companies and founders for an inside look at the entrepreneurial experience where you'll come away with tangible steps to elevate your business. Are you ready? I'm your host, Phoebe Sherman, founder of Girl Gang Craft, artist and designer and marketing obsessed. We're here to learn together how to expand our revenue, implement new organizational techniques, and cultivate best business practices as we work towards creating a life doing what we love. Let's get started.


Hello? Hello. Hey creatives. Welcome back to Girl Game Craft, the podcast. You're a girl, Phoebe here and we've it. We have made it to May at the time of me recording this little intro. It's still barely spring it feels like, but I have a couple of tulips blooming and feeling excited and ready to go for our girl Game Craft Fair in Oakland. So that is coming up right around the bend, May 20th. If you're in the Bay Area, please come and check it out. Shopee Shop, bring your wallet. We'll have feminist cocktails, a fun dj. We have two food trucks this round and just all sorts of amazing, nourishing, fun, femme forward businesses. So come check it out. Come shop, it's free to attend as always and family friendly. So check it out at the Oakland's Cottage right by Lake Merri, 11 to five on Saturday, May 20th.


And before we start diving into this interview with Kaley, I just want to talk about what else is going on in our world. And I'm feeling a little bit more casual with these intros lately. It's been everything else is like if I'm doing a solo interview. And so just want to come on here and chat with you all and preview the interview a little bit and also talk about what's going on in our world. So a couple other things that are happening at the time of this podcast, going live, maybe a little bit inching close to Mother's Day. It's like two days from now if you're listening to this or right on the premier day. But mom can get a belated gift if you haven't shopped. Anyway, so go ahead and check out our Mother's Day guide. So this is 50 ideas from small Businesses on Things to Give to the Mother Figures in your Life for Mother's Day.


So that's at the website, girl game think it's Gift Guide for Mom. Again, I should be a little bit more paired with these commercials, but here we are, winging it, girl game, gift guide for the number for mom. So check that out. You can even do a little shopping for yourself. Tons of goodies on there from all of you all listening, this community. So that's up there if you want to shop. And what else is going on? June, we have craft fairs in June and July in Salem. We're full with vendors, right? Apps for vendors for our summer shows have closed, but they are open and accepting vendors for our holiday shows. So you can apply to Oakland, Salem, and Providence for our November and December events. And you can check that slash events. We're going to take a little mini podcast break, a three week break after this episode cause I am going to California for Girl Game CRA fair.


And we don't need the added stress of trying to get a podcast out. We could do it, but I am all about trusting the gut on these things. And we're going to take a little space. So next podcast will be June 1st. So if there's a little break, that's what's happening. This podcast Cadence is normally every other week. It's a beautiful cadence. I love this cadence. This was the best decision I've ever made about this podcast. So if you're dying for more content from us, like check back on the old episodes, there's tons of content on socials, but we love the Every Other Week podcast episodes. So that's what's happening and we've gotten a lot of our classes online available for you to take right in this moment. So we have our reels and TikTok class, quick and Dirty reels and tos. This is a workshop.


It's an hour and a half workshop. It's on our website. All of our classes slash events. We have our craft fair class, how to throw your own damn craft there. And we also have our brand partnership class, our email marketing class, and I just added the to-do list is canceled class. So all of those classes are available to take at your own time. We're going to do some yummy promos about them, some bundling. To be honest, I don't know exactly what the bundles are going to look like in this moment, but check it out, click on one that you're interested in and you may be surprised with the bonus for another class. So check that out. And I think that is really it with the things I want to share with you. Let me just double check in my, yeah, come to our craft fairs.


May 20th Oakland, June 24th in Salem. That's indoor outdoor at Old Town Hall and Derby Square and that is Northshore Pride. So that'll be a really fun lively prideful event. And then July, July 22nd also in Salem. So check us out, come say hi in person. We also have some new goodies. By the time this episode is out, I think our new shirt will be out. Our abortion is healthcare shirt. So that's a fun one. I'm saying fun with a silly smile because I can't fucking believe that we're still dealing with this. That ROE versus weight got reversed, it's wild. Proceeds from that go to abortion advocacy and access. I think we're doing 10% and we have our new bumper stickers. We have our honk to Hex the patriarchy, we have our abortionist healthcare and we have a shop fem own businesses bumper sticker. So get those, put them on your car, they'll be available in person at all the events.


And please come say hi. Introduce yourself if you're a podcast listener, tell me I want to know that you're listening to our podcast. Okay, we're going fully long-winded here. Last but not least, we're going to just talk about Kaley for a second because Kaley is great. I met her at the Adobe Max conference in October. We were seated at a table together. We did some fun Pictionary activities and she's just really kind really herself is really fun to talk to and is really knowledgeable. So she is like a foodie, a foodie creator. She's in LA and we're going to hop into brand partnerships and pitching and food and supporting small businesses. And we also talk about what it's like to balance a nine to five and what it's like to be okay with having your nine to five. And I didn't even know that she had a nine to five.


Her Instagram and her curation is so polished and beautiful and this girl has a nine to five and she loves her nine to five. She does not want to go full-time into the content creation right now. And what a beautiful thing. We can all be happy in our nine to fives or we can be happy bringing our side hustle. Whatever works for you, trying to tune in to actually what you want and what works for your lifestyle. Instead of thinking you have to do things a certain way, what other people are doing. Yeah, that's enough for my tangent right now. Let's hop into it. As always, if you love this podcast, share it with a friend. I think that is definitely the way that we get into more hands or ears if you will, people referring this podcast. So if this podcast means something to you, post it on your stories, just text it to a friend who's a small business owner or not a small business owner.


And also you could write us a review on Apple Podcast. Give us a five stars, tell us what we helped you with. It helps us get seen in the algorithm a little bit more. And I love you. Thanks for listening. Let's get into it. Hello creatives. Welcome back to the Girl Game Craft podcast. Today we have Kaley with us and we met at the Adobe Conference and that's what it's called, but as Adobe Express Ambassadors. And we were at the same table and we had a great time and now she is on the podcast. So welcome to the podcast, Kaley.

Camly Nguyen (09:36):

Thanks for having me.

Phoebe Sherman (09:38):

I'm excited. Thanks for being here.

Camly Nguyen (09:40):

Should I just introduce myself?

Phoebe Sherman (09:42):

Yeah, tell us who youre and what you do.

Camly Nguyen (09:46):

So, hi, my name is Ka Wynn. I am a food and beverage and travel content creator. I've been doing it since 2015. I'm starting to feel old. It's been eight long years, give or take seven. 7:00 AM I doing math,

Phoebe Sherman (10:03):

But the pandemic doesn't count.

Camly Nguyen (10:05):

But yeah, so I primarily create content in the food and beverage space, also in travel, but with a food and beverage focus.

Phoebe Sherman (10:12):

And how on earth did you get into this specific niche?

Camly Nguyen (10:16):

Well, I've always loved food. I always tell people it was kind of an accident. I've always loved food since I was a kid. My parents were really great at letting me try whatever I wanted. If there was a restaurant I saw, I was like, mom, can we go here? Even though they're really picky, they'd let me eat whatever I wanted to try at least once. And so I just kept that passion for food my entire life and I kind of fell into it. I took a break from creating content and then came back and created content just by taking pictures of my food when Instagram was primarily photos and I would just share my food adventures. And I lucked out in a few bloggers in LA found me and really liked me and took me under their wing. And then the rest is kind of history. I think food is one of those things that I think we all need, whether we love it to the same capacity, that's different for each of us, but we all eat. So I don't know, that's kind of just what it was. I was sharing my everyday meals and next thing you know, I'm here.

Phoebe Sherman (11:10):

And what were you doing before this?

Camly Nguyen (11:12):

So before this, technically I'm still doing it. So before this I used to work in social media management and agency work as well as like nonprofit work. So I no longer work and do social media at an agency level, but I still occasionally will consult and do it at a nonprofit level. And I also work full-time for Russell Westbrooks schools. So he has charter schools in south la. So I do data and strategy for them. So

Phoebe Sherman (11:36):

Awesome. I didn't know that. That's so fun.

Camly Nguyen (11:38):

Yeah, I'm just a workaholic.

Phoebe Sherman (11:40):

So do you do that at home or do you go into the school or office?

Camly Nguyen (11:43):

So most of the time I'm remote, but yeah, occasionally I'll go onto our campuses. The larger parent nonprofit also does other programming and services for students. So we have a girls stem program, a biotech program, an internship program, an arts program where we integrate arts into the classroom. But I'm just on the strategy side, so I look at numbers and things like that.

Phoebe Sherman (12:05):

So how do you balance it all?

Camly Nguyen (12:07):

Oh god. So I always tell people I have my nine to five and my five to nine, and that's not actually true because I probably work way more than that. I think I've always had a passion for change. I also think change in the food space too. I think food is such a great way to change people's lives in regards to health, but also just giving them exposure to culture. And I think I also love impact in change. So my day job is really nice because we get to help students and change lives. And then at nighttime I get to share about foods so people can be introduced to new cultures and experience change in that way. So I always see it as two halves of a whole, right? So the nonprofit work I do is feeding my soul and then the food stuff I do is not only feeding my stomach, but also my creative juices because I think we all have that deep inside of us, like a desire to be creative, a desire to create, and not all of us tap into that. So I don't know if I juggle it well, I think I just juggle it because I don't know if I feel whole otherwise life's too short to not do all the things you love. And we're all multifaceted people and I love too many things to give them up. So I

Phoebe Sherman (13:10):

Love that. So it's not necessarily a goal of yours to quit your day job to do content creation?

Camly Nguyen (13:16):

No, but I get asked that question all the time. I think I've been offered enough brand deals, but if I took every single deal I was offered, I can make the same income I do now. I just don't know if I would be as passionate or as excited about that, if that makes sense. And I think I want to change that narrative. I think everyone's end game is like, oh, be a full-time content creator or live your entire passion as your full-time job. But when I was managing social media and doing it on an agency side, I was miserable. And I don't think people realized that. And I thought that was the dream. Like, oh, I'm creating content, I'm writing copy, I'm doing graphics, I'm doing all the things I love. This should make me happy. But I was burnt out. My creative juices were constantly depleted.


I just wasn't happy. And then I realized for me it sucked the fun out of the art and out of creating what I was doing it at that kind of agency full-time level. I don't know if I can continue to burn the candle from both ends of the stick forever. I think for now it's a really good fit for me, but I also think we should change the narrative. You don't have to make your passion your full-time job. I think some people say if, what's that saying? If you love it, it doesn't feel like work, but I'm like, I'm going to say that's not true because you can love something and then keep doing it every single day. And at some point the monotony gets tiring or you are just constantly draining that one area of yourself. And I think finding that balance is really important. What I could see happening is me taking my nonprofit work and turning that to part-time and then taking on more content creation. I think for now I'm happy juggling both, but yeah, at some point we'll see what that looks like in the future.

Phoebe Sherman (14:52):

I think that's such a healthy narrative and lifestyle that you're leading. And I think there's actually not that many examples of that that I have sort of come across. And I think a lot of our community can feel alienated that it's all or nothing. And so that they need the big numbers in their business to quit their job or the big follower account or the big brand deals. And I think it's really powerful that you like doing both and you are open to maybe things changing in the future, but maybe not and knowing that this is a good fit for now. And I think that's really cool because I think that's really grounded and there's not always this yearning to leave and do it all and have a certain form of success. And I think you're defining what success is for you and I think that's really awesome.

Camly Nguyen (15:39):

I appreciate that Phoebe a lot. I don't think we talk about enough, but I'm also seeing a larger uptick of creators that do juggle their nine to fives. I've met one recently and she is amazing. She works at Google and has a large falling on TikTok and is kicking ass, and she's decided to not quit her day job because in her mind it's going to get her to our end goal faster. And that's just really cool to see too. I think what that means for everyone is different. I think for me, content is my creative outlet and I'm fortunate that I can make an income on it, but for me that was never an end game necessarily that I'm going to make money creating content. I think for me it was just I missed it having done it full-time at one point and wanted to jump back in and then have been fortunate where I have been able to turn that into a business in itself.


I think that's the thing too. I think when you have the end goal of making money, sometimes I think that becomes the focus and then you lose the passion and the love of what that thing was, right? And I think that's really hard to balance and I get it because I think we're working still because in spite of it being your passion or your love, if you're creating some art, you would love for someone to buy it or to purchase it or someone to value it in that way and for you to make money off of it. I don't think that's unrealistic or unfair want, but I also then think sometimes it puts unneeded pressure on all of us to turn our creativity into a business when it doesn't need to be. But it's hard. It's a hard balance to strike.

Phoebe Sherman (17:01):

And also it's just stressful when you have to make money to survive and having that tied in with your creative process and it can be a really powerful thing to have other income to depend on. So you have a little bit more freedom in what projects you take, what is in alignment. It's not this quick hustle and get all the money so you can survive. It's like, okay, well this is a gradual thing and I can take this journey however long it needs to be. And without this end goal, I mean it doesn't even have to be a journey, it's just what is. And I think that's really cool because it's really stressful to run your own business and to have to figure out how to pay your bills with it and fulfill yourself creatively and do all these things. It's a lot.

Camly Nguyen (17:45):

And we don't talk about the bare necessities enough. I think too, everyone's like, oh, quit your nine to five if you love it, it's okay, but also we need medical insurance or just basic needs like that. And I think it's so silly for me to say sometimes I tell people I don't quit my day job because I have amazing benefits, like amazing benefits, my medical dental, all that is fully covered by the nonprofit I work for. They really value that and making sure that we live healthy lifestyles. I have a wellness benefit, my gym membership gets paid for monthly, small things like that. When those things are no longer a stressor or a concern, then you can actually really focus on the things you love, whether that is your day job or the creative stuff. I think sometimes, as you said, when you have to pay rent or if you got sick or things like that, it sucks. But that's reality and stress and we can't live in a little bubble where everything is perfect all the time. So to have those basic needs met to allow you to fulfill whatever those dreams or passions are makes life a lot easier too.

Phoebe Sherman (18:42):

Yeah, I was literally just doing my numbers before this recording, so it's stressful. It's so stressful. And then you count up all your expenses and count up your income. And it's hard, especially in content creation and product-based businesses where the money isn't dependable and it's not the same each month, and it depends on other people. For product-based businesses, people buying your product for content creators, other brands saying yes to you, that is so tricky. So yeah, let's talk about content creation a little bit more. Tell us about the kinds of brands you work with and how you find these deals.

Camly Nguyen (19:19):

I've been very fortunate. I used to pitch, when I first started eight years ago, I pitched a lot. Actually at this point in my content creation career, I don't pitch anymore, but it's also because it's hard to just juggle all of it. I think the reality is I am leaving money on the table. I don't really pitch very often anymore. Maybe once every six months I'll pitch. But I've built a lot of relationships with agencies and PR agencies and social media agencies and brand agencies here in LA and also just globally actually, where I've created content for them before and they just come back. So in regards to specific brands we met at Adobe Max conference. Adobe's been a really great partner to me this past year, and that was a dream brand. I've worked with Doritos, I've worked with asics, I ran a half marathon with them.


What other brands? It all kind of gets fuzzy too, by the way. I'm like, what other brands have I worked with? Those are probably three of the larger brands that I've worked with. Off the top of my head, I've worked with Zico Coconut Water. I think for me the biggest thing is long-term partnerships have been the best. So I had a six month contract with asics at a, I've been with Adobe for over a year now. So those are just some of the brands. I'm trying to think, I should know these by now, Phoebe, but honestly, they all blend together. Oh, I've worked with Bob's Red Mill,

Phoebe Sherman (20:39):

Great, love it,

Camly Nguyen (20:42):

Right? Oatmeal, flour, other things like that. Oh, Stella 12, all beer lovers. They've actually been a partner for years and I'm really, really grateful to be working with them as a brand because they believe in me. Yeah.

Phoebe Sherman (20:55):

And then you work with a lot of smaller restaurants and events, right? Yes. Tell us a little bit about that.

Camly Nguyen (21:01):

I'm LA based, and so if you don't know, LA's food scene is kind of large and I've been really, really fortunate to tap into the local scene here. So here in LA there's probably a new restaurant opening every other day, and that's not an exaggeration, it just never ends from small mom and pops to restaurant groups opening a new spot. There's a little bit of everything here in the food and beverage space. Also just other small businesses doing other things. I love working out. So I've been really fortunate to work with yoga studios and boxing gyms and things like that as well. But let's be honest here, I work out so I can eat. But yeah, I think with those here in LA we have a really strong food and beverage industry, connective community, and I've been really fortunate to make friends with a lot of chefs and owners and then we all talk and then we all connect and we end up working on projects together.


And so I always think of you're trying to go local, the best way to do that and to build that network is to go to those events. So whatever your passion is, if it's fitness, go to a fitness event, meet the owner of that gym, meet the other people that are going there, they're connected to the boxing gym that's down the street, that's also doing that kind of work. And so your network is really important in regards to that, in building those relationships and getting those opportunities if you're really looking to be local and to share local small businesses in your neighborhood.

Phoebe Sherman (22:20):

So what do these small restaurants and small businesses look for when they're working with you?

Camly Nguyen (22:26):

Small businesses are a whole other thing, and I think most of the time they don't even know what they're looking for. And I'll say this really honestly, because a lot of the small businesses, depending on the age of the proprietors and the owners, if they're older, they have no clue what social media is. They're still trying to use Yelp and things like that, which is great. I love Yelp, but they're like, what's TikTok? Or it's happened here in la. Someone posts a viral video of a small taco stand and they blow up the next day and they're so confused and lost of what happened. And so honestly, with small businesses, they don't know what they're looking for most of the time. Some small businesses, yes, if the owners are younger and are involved in social media, a lot of small businesses know. And so most of the time with that, my thing is if you're looking to pitch to a small business, have a portfolio ready to go, showing the content you have made, whether it's photography, whether it's videography, whether it's other content, if you're a writer, if you have a blog, all those things, have those things ready at your disposal and also have them match whatever that small business's industry is.


So if you really love food and you're trying to pitch to a local restaurant, have those articles, have those videos, have those photos ready and on hand because they really don't know what they can or cannot do most of the time I think it's about offering a service to help them too. I particularly love small businesses because they're what makes America. America. My dad owned a small business for 23 years, and so any opportunity I get to work with a small business, I'll take it. And I'll say those relationships look a lot different too, because when I'm working with Doritos, I can very easily ask for a few thousand dollars and not have any concern. But when I'm working with grandma and grandpa that own the taco spot around the corner, for me it's like, well realistically what can you do? And so sometimes I don't get paid. Sometimes it's just a comp meal, but it's a business I believe in or a business I want to support and make sure they're thriving. So small businesses are a little different. So

Phoebe Sherman (24:21):

If you have different tiers of pricing for different types of businesses, how do you talk about pricing? Is that something that you, do you have your pricing in your media kit? Is that something that you have separate? When do you initiate the pricing conversation? Because I know the scariest for a lot of people who are pitching and small businesses who are asking for services and it's the most unregulated across this industry as well. So there's just fascinating. I like to hear how everyone else is doing their thing.

Camly Nguyen (24:54):

So when it comes to money, if it's a larger brand, so any large scale brand you can see at a grocery store, any large restaurant groups or chains, I've done a few things with fast food chains like islands or habits and things like that. Any of those larger companies, I automatically just ask if there's budget. I don't ask how much they're going to pay me. I don't give them my rates because sometimes they do ask for my rates, I just don't give them any of that information. I ask what their budget is. And usually with that, they'll give you a range where, oh, right now for creators in your size, we're working from here to here. The reason I don't give them my rate is because then it automatically boxes me in at that number. And so that's my opinion when it comes to larger companies don't show your cards too soon.


My rates are no longer on my media kit. I removed those years ago. My media kit is purely stats. I would say also on your media kit, really focused on the statistics. So if you're going after large brands, break down what states your followers are in and things like that. Same thing with local. If you're trying to work with local, one thing for me is 75% of my following is California. And so I say that all the time, which sometimes does pigeonhole me when I want to do international things or I want to do things in other states, but most of my work really is here in LA or I did trips to Palm Springs and San Anez. Both those are different tourism boards. It makes sense though because 75% of my following is California and both those locations are two hours outside of Los Angeles.


So use your statistics to your advantage. Small businesses, I operate completely differently. As you said, Phoebe, we have a sliding scale kind of situation. So with small businesses, I ask the same question. I'm like, do you have budget? And I'll also ask them what their hopes and end goals are. I think with larger brands, they already have a vision when it comes to a campaign. But if you're working local and you're working small business, those people, like I said, have no idea. They're like, social media sounds like a good idea, I just don't know what I'm doing. And I love working with those people. Cause I think gives both parties a little more creativity to come up with something unique and fun. And I feel like that's the most important thing too, that it's unique and fun and that both parties are benefiting. So it's small businesses.


I do ask if they have budget budgets are usually much smaller in those contexts. And then I see what kind of services I can offer within that range or that I'm willing to offer within that range. And I'm generally really flexible too. I think that's my thing. If you're just starting and you're trying to work with small businesses, just know you're probably not going to make much money in that space. If that's your end game, then I would always recommend going after larger brands. But if your end game is to tap into the local network and build that network, then be okay taking things for pretty low ball price points

Phoebe Sherman (27:33):

And probably get some good food in the process.

Camly Nguyen (27:35):

Completely. I've the amount of unpaid meals that I've received, but meals that I received have been some of my favorite things in the world, like transparently, I would say of the restaurant. Things that are on my feed, I probably only get paid 15 to 20% of those times. And I would say, you've seen my feed. It's an immense amount of local restaurants. And I would say that's even when I'm traveling. So if I'm traveling too, a lot of those local restaurants will hear 'em in town or their tourism board will set it up. They're not paying me for that promotion or for that video. And depending on the relationship too, I might try to sell the video to them afterwards or sell the assets afterwards. So that's another way of making money too. If they don't really have the budget on the front end and you want to take the experience and try the food or whatever that is, and you're willing to create the content, maybe hoping they'll buy some of it later, that's also a really great way to possibly make money in that space. I have to send over photos to the San Anez team because they just asked. They're like, I don't think we can afford to pay for the whole photo set, but we'd love to buy a few photos. And so that's also an opportunity When it comes to smaller relationships or smaller businesses,

Phoebe Sherman (28:40):

What does that look like when when you're selling the assets to other businesses? Are they putting that on their social or running ad money behind it? What are those things that you're offering them?

Camly Nguyen (28:50):

So my biggest thing, so there's a few layers to that. So let's start with if my likeness is in a video or in a photo, make sure that you have set periods of time for licensing and usage. I'm really, really strict when my likeness isn't something, but if my likeness is not right, if it's just a photo of the food, I'm a lot more flexible. Cause let's be honest here, what am I going to use that photo of caviar? Again, very unlikely, but a photo of myself I will probably use again. And I also don't want, they're just floating around the internet forever. So for example, with EZ and the Solvang team, if they were going to buy photos, I wouldn't do light sensing on any of those because they're purely product images or they're landscape images or whatever else I captured during that trip, I would probably just sell them for, they could have full rights to those, but it depends on what that is.


So every photographer's a little different on that. Larger brands, I would never sell full rights to smaller tourism boards, smaller restaurants, things like that. If there's none of my likeness in there, I'll happily sell them full rights because the odds of me reusing any of that or being able to reuse any of that is really, really low. For example, I've done $50 an image before and that's with full rights to a small restaurant. That might be on the high end for some people. And I've totally done a sliding scale too. So if a restaurant wants to buy the whole portfolio, right, of photos or the whole portfolio without my face in it, sometimes I'll do that for a few hundred. You can have all of it for $500. And so I know I'm low balling and I know I'm selling it for less than what it's actually worth.


But I think part of it too is just it depends on what your end game is, like I said before. And then depends on your relationships with those small businesses and things like that. With larger brands though, always make sure that you have everything very clearly written in contracts. I don't do more than one year licensing. If my likeness is in it. I do about a thousand dollars fee if my likeness is in it and they get one year to license it, primarily for social. If they want to run ads, I usually add another $500 is where I'm at. Usually that's on top of the fee. I already am paid to produce and make that content. So for example, a full package deal would probably be like $5,000. So they got a reel from me, got a handful of stories. They have one year licensing on that reel for social purposes. And then if they wanted to run ads, that's another 500.

Phoebe Sherman (31:10):

So Awesome. That's really helpful to know your system. And I know people listening, I just think it's so fascinating to hear everyone's their systems and their prices and how they go about things because especially with the content creation world, I think there's a lot of secrecy. People not sharing the numbers that they're getting paid, not sharing about who they're working with and what their priorities are. And same on the brand side, brands completely having way different pricing points, maybe based on metrics, but maybe not based on what budget exists and if they like you and it's just a sort of a wishy-washy world. Sorry, I appreciate your transparency.

Camly Nguyen (31:52):

Oh, completely. I'm always happy to answer those questions. I'll say I've learned that I've myself plenty, plenty of times after having conversations with other creators, I'm not going to name the brand, but I worked with a major brand for an event and I think I left that deal with $3,000, which in my mindseted great. And they specifically wanted a TikTok because my TikTok following is only 8,500. It's a fraction of what my following is on Instagram, and the engagement is also a fraction of what it is on Instagram in my reach. So all those things were just a fact. I'm like, well, they really want a TikTok, but my following isn't that big. And so I lowballed myself, I was like, oh, they specifically want a TikTok. That's not my main platform. It's not where I have reach. I'm just going to say this, which I thought was completely fair.


I thought what I presented a TikTok with 8,500 followers was very fair. Went to the event, chatted around to realize that everyone made about twice as much as I did, and I should have asked for more. The difficulty with that, and this is what I'll say, the people in that room though, their tos were three times to a hundred times my size. So it was one of those things where I'm like, oh, but everyone in this room made way more. And so to know that, yeah, I left with $3,000, that's not Trump changed, that's not nothing. But to know that people in that room were making 10, maybe $15,000 from this massive brand, it was like, oh, darn it. Darn it. I messed up. And it's really hard though. It's really hard to scale. It's really hard to figure out what's fair. And I think sometimes you don't want to miss the opportunity either.


Actually, and I can say this about Adobe, I took a really small comped free situation with them initially because I just wanted my foot in the door. Cause I love the Adobe product. I think for me it was like, oh, I can opportunity to collaborate with a product I already love and use and live by. Well, if it's not paying me very much, oh well, and I didn't necessarily even think forward. I was like, well, let's do this one post and maybe I'll get a contact out of it and then next thing you know, we fast forward. Now it's over a year. It's like, wow, I have a whole relationship with them. So I think sometimes too, you have to take those smaller deals in order to build those relationships or hopefully bank that you can now build a longer term better paid relationship too.

Phoebe Sherman (34:03):

Yeah, no, that's a really good point. And I also think it's really complicated. And as someone who has two different, well, I have multiple accounts and we have sort of the G G C partnerships and things that are event related and things that are small business related. And then I do work with small fashioned brands as well, and those are more product and it's so hard. Some of these products, absolutely, I will take your free product and I will absolutely do a reel and I will be stoked about it. And some of it is like, well, we charge a chunk of money for it and you're going to give us a couple nail polishes. I don't know. So it's hard and I think it really is a gut decision. And what is your mission and are you aligned with them and is there potential for more work in the future? All of these things come into the equation

Camly Nguyen (34:58):

Completely wholeheartedly agree. I've taken plenty of free product in my lifetime. Sometimes it's really tough. I've been in the space for many years now and occasionally I'll still get those emails. Do you want a bottle of wine for a reel? And five stories and five images? I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa. That's like a thousand dollars pack right there. Even just the raw images themselves. I was like, I shoot high res, I'm not sending someone little iPhone photos, which those are still also, there are some really talented iPhone photographers out there that are kicking ass with those shots compared to even my DSLR photos. So I think it's just tough though because I think it's such a mixed basket. I think some brands have gotten away with being able to just give away free product and then receive so many great expensive, high quality assets for free that now they're starting to realize that they can't keep doing that. But at the same time too, do you want to miss getting your foot in that door if it's a brand you're really excited about, but also it's okay, I think I look back and I don't necessarily feel bad about any of the opportunities I lost, lost or said no to. Cause that might have been the universe saying that's not a good fit for you and that's okay. And I think sometimes finding that balance of playing hardball to get money, but also it not turning out so well is okay too.

Phoebe Sherman (36:15):

Yeah. And it's hard. I personally feel good when someone gives us product and then it's like, but whatever you want to do with it. And then I've gotten things where it's like, okay, we're going to give you this product and then yeah, exactly, we need all of these assets. And that just feels like a little bit exploitative. I think the trade can feel really good if it's like, well, if you like it and you feel called just to share something that can be really exciting. And sort of looking at it from the small business perspective, since a lot of us listeners are product-based businesses, that can be really hard for a small business. I remember this girl, I don't even know who she is at this point because it was years ago with so many followers, like a hundred k, whatever. She was really excited about her divinity sweatshirt. And I was like, let me send you one. And then I sent her one and then she posted a photo and it's a pink sweater that I've screen printed. She posts a photo and I could just see that it's the sleeve and she's wearing a vest.


And it's like, okay. And then I'm just starting out, we're sending the $60 product and it's not really a deliverables. And then I was like, do you mind sending those photos? And this is years ago, so I didn't really know that that was maybe taboo and stuff. But I can totally understand it from both sides of the coin. If you're a small business, you're just starting out, your products are expensive, it's actually a big deal for you to send someone something and then they don't post about it. That can feel really disheartening. But I think it's important here to just have a line of communication, or if you're sending it to a celebrity or someone who's a big deal, understand that actually they probably won't post about it. And I just think it's an interesting thing to look at both sides of the coin. Oh,

Camly Nguyen (38:00):

I wholeheartedly agree with you. A lot of my really, really close friends are small business owners. And for me personally, here's my opinion on small businesses. It's one thing if a restaurant invites me, I don't really pitch to small businesses in that way. I don't ask for free product from small businesses. Cause I realize your margins are very different. It's one thing for me to go ask zko for a bunch of coconut water, their margins are whatever. But having a parent who owned a small business and having plenty of friends who owns small businesses, I understand that your return on investment looks so different. And that actually if you had one bad batch of sweatshirts that could break the bank. And I think it's tough though because at the same time I've seen where it's a creator can blow up a small business overnight, but also sometimes it doesn't work that way.


I've had a few videos go viral where that business does blow up. And then I have videos that regularly perform and you might get 10 new customers, but 10 new customers isn't going to change the world. But it is tough I think with small businesses because a lot of my friends own them. I really believe in if I want to try the product, I should spend my money on it. And I have done that where I've bought from small businesses and then the small business sees it and then sends me free product after the fact. They're like, wait, you purchased? I'm like, yeah, just cause I wanted to try it out and support you. And it's tough though. It's tough to ask for deliverables. Cause I do get that. As I said, we're talking thousands of dollars for some people, we're talking a few hundred, but that's still a lot of money.


And so for someone who normally does make that much on a single post to make a post without any compensation is difficult. But then again, like I said, I make plenty of free posts just because I'm really excited about the small business and I know other large creators that do the same where it's like, this is really cool, I really love this and I just want to share it. So I know it's disheartening for small businesses though, but I don't really have advice on that because most of the time if I really, really love a small business product, I'll just share it because I want to. But I get it.

Phoebe Sherman (39:45):

Yeah, we need more people that understand the small business things and they'll go out and buy it and then just post about it anyways. We love that. If I ever buy anything from a boutique or from one of my makers, I always make sure to post it. Have you had any add feedback from working with partners? And if so, how have you dealt with that?

Camly Nguyen (40:04):

I think my biggest thing when you're developing a brand partnership, and I would say this happens more often with large brands because there are expectations for them setting yourself up from the very get go. So for me, one of my worst experiences was probably I had to do maybe five or six edits on a video. And it wasn't like all in one go. So for example, I make a video about a pizza making kit. I make it send it over to their brand team to look and review, right? They're like, change these three things. I'm like, okay, no big deal. That's not too bad. Do all those changes, send it back. No, still not change these three or four things. And mind you, at this point, if you're making let's say four or five rounds of those edits, that's no longer a couple hours of your time now you've basically spent probably anywhere between 10 to maybe 15 hours on this one single video, which is kind of insane.


Just the back and forth of the admin side, all the edits and all of that. And I think that's one of the biggest hurdles I've heard from most creators that getting those changes is really rough. And so what I've learned, at least from my worst experience, what I've learned moving forward, all my contracts have a one edit rule. You get all your edits in one go. If you go past that, there's now a hundred dollars fee every single time you're sending me another email to make an edit. And brands sometimes hesitate when I ask for a clause like that. And they're like, well, I'm like, then we need to build a fee. Or maybe it's like you get three edits, but now the fee is an extra $200 or whatever it is. But for me, that's been the biggest point tension. I've been really fortunate to have really, really great brand relationships otherwise, but just making sure that you're not spending too much time on a single project and getting compensated fairly and finding that balance is really important.

Phoebe Sherman (41:46):

I love the edit fee and that can really apply to a lot of people, graphic designers, photographers, all of these things. Make sure that you're adding in these things in contracts so you get paid for your time because you're going to have that one client who keeps on asking for things. I had a client when I was doing websites for folks back in the day, she had given up on the website, I hadn't heard from her for months and then contacted me a year later. And my prices were way different. I wasn't even really doing websites at that point. So have these time things built in, have these edits, have these structures to make sure that your time is protected. It's really important.

Camly Nguyen (42:28):

Oh, completely. And it's like, it's not just editing too, I think I've heard different things for different people and it's like you can tailor that to your specific industry, as you said, photography, graphic design, if you're making ceramics, anything like that, tailor in costs like that. Or if things need to change, add a fee. And I think being upfront about that with the client early on. Cause I think sometimes too, they get caught off guard, but I feel like it should be the standard because your time is money, and so don't waste your time on a project that doesn't deserve it either.

Phoebe Sherman (42:58):

Since the algorithm is so all over the place. Have you ever had a brand partnership piece of content, not perform that well and were there any consequences to that and how did you deal with that?

Camly Nguyen (43:09):

I've had quite a few band partnerships not perform well, and it sucks because they'll see videos from before and well, this one got 25,000 views and this one got 50. And then occasionally I did something with cravings. Chrissy Teagan's brand that got 240,000 views simply because she shared it on her story, the insanity of that. And so to see those videos scale against videos that perform really poorly, I've had videos only have a thousand views, 2000 views, and you look at my overall reach that's really low. I've never had consequences from that. I will say a consequence might be not a long-term relationship with that brand. And I think it's a fair expectation though, to know if your video doesn't perform well, they might not come back. And it's really tough because it has nothing to do with the quality of your content or your work. And I want people to know that and be reminded of that. And that has nothing to do with your worth as a creator or a human or someone doing anything. But those things are kind of out of our control. Strategy is great. The strategy only works so often. No consequences though. I think the biggest thing is probably not returning as a client in the future.

Phoebe Sherman (44:13):

So you're really good at storytelling. Can you tell us a little bit about your storytelling process and maybe why that content is important and is impactful?

Camly Nguyen (44:26):

We all love stories. I think all of us have probably loved stories since we were a kid. I can remember when my mom used to tell me silly stories about her childhood, and I think that's really where my love for storytelling comes from. My mom and my dad sharing about their childhood. Growing up in Vietnam, my process is very free flowing. I think a lot of people's storyboard and have pre-written scripts and stories. I don't do any of that and I think people are so surprised that that's not how I operate. I go into each experience maybe with a rough outline of what are the shots I want to get? What are the things I need to have B roll up? What are the things I need to have shots of me in? That's pretty much it. I go in with a really rough shot list and then afterwards I look at all the footage and build my story based off of what I got.


That might not be how a lot of people work. I actually know for a fact most people storyboard and a lot of my friends are much more organized than me. I think for me, because a lot of my experiences are new, I don't really know what I'm walking into. If I'm trying a restaurant for the first time or I'm going to an art exhibit for the first time, or doing a workout class for the first time, I have no idea what I'm walking into. So I think for me, I like that more fluid free flowing kind of process where I'm like, we'll just get a bunch of shots and a few shots that I've planned. And then from there, build a story. I also don't have a script. I do a lot of voiceovers without a script. I basically look at the footage and then I'm like, okay, I'm just going to talk.


So I know that works for me. Sometimes I'll do a voiceover two or three times though. So I'll do one without a script and I'll be like, oh, actually placement of this would be better here. I'm an auditory learner, so once I listen to my voiceover, I pretty much have it memorized and then I can just adjust as I see fit. But writing a script is great. I have done it before for certain projects where there are expectations that everything is said at a very specific time. Storyboarding is really great too. But also if you're kind of a free spirit, me feel free to just play. I don't know. That's my best way to storytelling.

Phoebe Sherman (46:21):

I think. At Adobe, we talked about how you do not do any batching. Can you tell us a little bit about your content making process and when you find time to edit things and what your posting process is?

Camly Nguyen (46:35):

It's not as organized as I think people think it is because I post every day and I have a really thoughtful content calendar. So things are written out in theory, in theory. So I don't really batch. I might batch shoot. So let's say I had four events. I'll shoot all four events and they'll all be in my little folders. I sometimes will organize them into albums, so now at least know where things are. But I edit live, I'll look at the footage, I'll throw it into whatever platform I'm editing in because it performs better when you edit natively in the app. And then I will record the voiceover. Sometimes I'll maybe do two videos at one go, but I honestly don't do more than two videos at once. And then I post live, write the caption, live, do all that whenever I decide to go live. So it works for me, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend that for everyone. I think it could be really stressful. There are days where I'm super, and ideally I wanted a video out by noon and that didn't happen, but then I'm like, oh, well, I'll just do it at 7:00 PM So

Phoebe Sherman (47:36):

If you're editing an app, are you repurposing content across all platforms then?

Camly Nguyen (47:41):

Yes, sometimes. So because Instagram is my primary app, I usually edit an Instagram and then download the version of that video without audio or without music on it. And so I have basically just the cut version of it that I can repurpose for TikTok and put new audio on usually, or change the voiceover to fit that platform. Same thing with YouTube shorts, which I'm not present enough on and I need to be better at. But I do repurpose sometimes. Also, I sometimes create content specifically for those platforms cause my audience is a little different on both platforms. I do believe in repurposing content though. If you can, you should and always repurpose your content. Don't double do work ever if you don't have to. I think it just depends on what your goal is too and then what your audience is. Most people have very similar audiences across platforms, and I say, I would say I do too. I would say TikTok is more things to do. Instagram is more food I eat, if that makes sense. People are definitely more interested in food on my Instagram, but on my TikTok, actually, my experiences have performed better than my food videos. So recognizing that and trying to find that balance too is really important to me to make sure I'm speaking to the community the way they want to be spoken to and also giving them things that they want to look at and try and experience.

Phoebe Sherman (48:56):

Okay. Going to a different topic a little bit. How do you work with tourism boards? What is that like?

Camly Nguyen (49:02):

Oh God. I feel like people have really strategic ways to do this and in the same sense that how did I end up in social media and content creation? I fell into it. I would say actually the same thing with tourism boards. So my first relationship with the tourism board ever was here in LA and it was with the West Hollywood Tourism Board because LA has a larger tourism board, and then each of the cities kind of have their own little tourism board too, that's independent of the larger tourism board. I had created a video about a restaurant in We Home and the tourism board saw it and they're like, can we repost it? I'm like, sure. This was years ago. I'm like, sure, yeah. Now I probably asked if I would get a fee or something like that. Back then I was like, free flow.


Sure, take the video, have at it. And they just hadn't been doing video at that point in time. I was an early adopter to short form video. I thought it was the next wave of content creation, and so they were like, wow, this is so different. This is so new. And they're like, what would it look like for you to do more videos for us? I'm like, oh, I've never worked with a tourism board before and I don't know what it would look like to charge you for more videos like this. Fast forward to now, my relationships with tourism boards is very different. I usually pitch, actually, so that's probably the one place I do pitch because I've worked with tourism boards before. You can find any tourism board online. You can get their emails and their contact information on their website. Usually it might be a generic one recommendation, depending on what you're trying to do, look for their marketing contact or their communication contact. For me, how I've usually done is if I'm already planning a trip to that region, because I have a lot of hotel collaborations, I'll pitch myself to the tourism board to add additional things on top of my hotel collaboration. I have friends that do the full package though. They'll pitch the tourism board for them to go after the hotel flight and all of their experiences. I primarily reach out and look for experiences because usually I have my flight in hotel covered.

Phoebe Sherman (50:50):

And then when you work with hotels, are you getting paid for that or generally just calmed?

Camly Nguyen (50:54):

Most of my hotels are comped. I've gotten paid a few times for the photos and the videos, so that's sometimes a thing like brands and hotels will reach out to me because they've seen my photography work and they've seen my video work. And I think a lot of hotels are trying to get into social media. They don't have assets, they don't have content. And so they're looking for U G C creators usually. I wouldn't ever say I'm an expert in U G C, I just happen to stumble into that space because I already create content. So some brands have seen my other work and they're like, we just like your content. What would it look like for you to user generate for us? So I've made money that way from hotels. I've not been paid by a hotel to just stay there and do my regular content.


I have friends though that that's a reality too. I would say hotel relationships are really, really hard in the sense that if you're getting paid, usually the deliverable list is extremely long. And so if that's something you're interested in, definitely pitch yourself to hotels, but also setting a realistic expectation. So one time I was pitched by a hotel, there was an expectation for two videos, 20 stories, 50 images, like raw images that were not even the ones that I used in the stories or the videos. And I was getting paid like $500 for that on top of posting or that was the expectation. I didn't sign that contract. But deliverables with hotels, I haven't ever seen a list that's reasonable, that might've changed. But I would say almost every time I get pitched a hotel, the deliverable list versus the amount of money offered is not very fair. So

Phoebe Sherman (52:24):

Fascinating. That's just a world that I have not dove into yet at all.

Camly Nguyen (52:28):

Sometimes though, the comp is totally worth it. And so I also want to be fair with that. I didn't get paid for any of the things I did in Solvang or San Anez recently, but for context, it was two nights in two different hotels that were comped. All my meals were comped. I was there for a woman in wine event, which I loved also comped. I had two or three wine tastings that were comped. Just pure value of that trip alone, right? You're looking at a couple thousand maybe that's even low balling it. Cause I had really nice dinners. I had a steakhouse dinner with oyster and unni. It wasn't like I was given a burger and fries, I had a really nice dinner. So sometimes it's okay to not get paid if the value of what you're receiving seems fair enough. And I felt like that was more than fair. And I also really love working with that tourism board. So I wanted to maintain that relationship. But I think that's the ebb and flow of figuring out that balance for yourself.

Phoebe Sherman (53:18):

And if you're traveling somewhere anyways and then you need to go to this place and you can get this calmed also and then the whole trip becomes a business expense also. There's lots of little tricks about that.

Camly Nguyen (53:29):

I need to be better with my taxes on that. Phoebe. So you know, might hear from me on a few questions about that. On this point,

Phoebe Sherman (53:36):

Every restaurant that you go to is probably a business expense for you. I'm not an accountant

Camly Nguyen (53:41):

Because I also get a w2. This is where it's gotten so sticky. So this was honestly this year and for all of my creators out there, please open a LLC if you can. I did not this year cause I was like, oh, I didn't make enough money last year where I did the math and the deductions last year were better. When I did my 10 99 and my W two this year, I basically doubled my content creation income and I was like, oh darn it, I should have opened an L L C. So it's really tough though to find that balance.

Phoebe Sherman (54:11):

Yeah, I'm not an L L C and we could dive into this for a whole other thing. Still not an L L C. It's L L C in California's $800 every year. So you can still be a sole prop, but that's a controversial topic. So do talk to a lawyer and a tax accountant before you make these decisions. File. Oh yes.

Camly Nguyen (54:28):

Neither of us are lawyers or accountants. For myself, for my income purposes, I should have filed an ll.

Phoebe Sherman (54:39):

But that is really interesting if you have multiple modes of income and also as creators, you're getting a bunch of 10 90 nines from everything that you get paid over $600. And then there's a controversy of are you paying taxes on the items that you're gifted? Which is a whole other conversation that we don't need to get into right now. So talk to a professional. Yes. On that note, is there any advice that you would have for our creatives about maybe someone who hasn't quite dipped their toes and brand partnerships or maybe has barely started and gotten gifted and really wants to level up and get paid? Any sort of last potent advice

Camly Nguyen (55:24):

For all my creators have dipped their toes and received free product. Those are the brands you should ask if they have budget first. And don't be scared to get a no. Rejection doesn't mean anything. It's a simple like, oh okay, they don't want to work with me in that way and that's okay, I'm going to move on because there are other brands who do want to work with me that way. But always start with the brands that you already have gifted partnerships and relationships with. You'd be surprised how many of them quickly are like, yeah, this is what our budget is. It might not be enough, but if you're open to it, literally just walked my best friend through this process because she started creating content a couple years ago after coming to events with me in food and beverage. And she got her first brand deal three weeks ago, her first brand deal three weeks ago.


And she was literally texting me through the whole process. What do I say? I was like, just ask if they have budget, just start there. And then after that we can talk more about negotiation. Cause that's a whole other world, but there's no harm in asking if those brands have budget. Also, a lot of new creators are on platforms. I can't think of any off the top of my head, but if you look up like U G C platforms that pay or content creator platforms that pay, that's a good way to dip your toes into some paid opportunity. Just be really mindful about those contracts though, because they usually want in perpetuity licensing on those pieces. So if your likeness is in it, you might not want to do that. But if it's a product thing and you just want to get practice and make a little bit of money off of it, also a really great place to start. But those are probably my, were two places where I started.

Phoebe Sherman (56:55):

Yeah, and I'll piggyback on that with two things, like affiliates could be a good option for you. There's some affiliate programs that are really great. There are some that are terrible and you have to work with a brand that you think you can actually sell. Also, one thing that I hate is when the coupon code is higher on their website than the one they give you. I hate that anyways. And then also looking around your house, what are the products that you use? What do you really love? I'm looking at my blue microphone in front of me, even my dog biscuits, who can I head up that I'm using anyways that hey, maybe free product would be great and would save me some cash. Oh my God, if I could get sponsored for all of lavender's, like dog food, oh my god, that's millions of dollars. No, not quite, but thinking about what it already exists in your house and who you can work with.

Camly Nguyen (57:44):

So true though, there are days where, boy, if I could get sponsored by Meyer soaps, I'd be a happy camper. Which also, actually I was pitched a toothpaste brand that had crazy deliverables by the way. So I didn't sign that contract. But that's such a great point on just looking at stuff around your house. I feel like that's a big trend for U G C creators too. What is around your house? Because those brands need content and if you're not looking to necessarily be a quote influencer or be your own personality, but creating, that's such a great place to start.

Phoebe Sherman (58:20):

For u jc, you don't necessarily need a following, so you just need quality stuff, quality content. Okay. Well this has been so much fun. Kaley, where can everyone find you?

Camly Nguyen (58:30):

I am on Instagram and TikTok and YouTube shorts all, so c a m l y dot m e.

Phoebe Sherman (58:40):

And we'll put those links in our show notes as well. Thank you so much, Kaley it.

Camly Nguyen (58:45):

So good catching up with you and hopefully I'll see you soon.

Phoebe Sherman (58:48):

Thank you so much for listening to the Grogan Craft podcast. Head to girl gang for show notes and more. See you next time.

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