Influencers turn entrepreneurs ahead of Instagram Checkout launch

At a South Yarra restaurant in Melbourne this week, attendees paid $50 each to attend a panel discussion entitled "Turn your influence into a brand".

Social media influencers were taught how to capitalise on their online presence at the sold out event, complete with goodie bags and canapes.

Influencer marketing is a burgeoning industry, with its value predicted to rise to $US10 billion ($15 billion) this year by Mediakix. The sector is expected to be further boosted by the anticipated Australian launch of Instagram Checkout, a feature that enables users to shop directly on the social media platform.

Simon and Yetta Rawadi are the founders of Slyletica, which creates clothing ranges for influencers. Credit:Joe Armao

The couple behind the branding seminar, Simon and Yetta Rawadi, told attendees they can help influencers tap into growing demand for products through their fashion agency Slyletica, which creates fashion brands for influencers.

"They are the new wave of entrepreneurs," Mr Rawadi said. "Influencers are really business savvy they know what their audience likes and they have awesome skill sets."

The husband-and-wife team started Slyletica in 2016 after realising sales in bricks-and-mortar retail were slowing while e-commerce was on the rise.

Simon and Yetta Rawadi ensure each influencers clothing collection is different. Credit:Joe Armao

Slyletica has around 26 employees who work finding manufacturers and onboarding new influencers.

"The beauty of working with us is we know what everyone is bringing out because we are forecasting for them quite far out," Ms Rawadi said. "We are an end-to-end solution for people wanting to start a label. We are not taking a garment and copying it, we are creating a garment from scratch we are not just putting a logo on a T-shirt."

Ms Rawdi said the expected launch of Instagram Checkout, which has been trialled by select retail brands, will further boost demand.

"We feel that Instagram is becoming much more of a shoppable platform," she said.

Tribe co-founder Jules Lund said Instagram Checkout will be a “game changer”. Credit:Kristoffer Paulsen

Jules Lund, founder of influencer agency Tribe, said influencer marketing had "really solidified" over the past few years.

"Instagram is slowly emerging as a force for e-commerce. What started as a photo sharing community is now an attractive platform where consumers come for product discovery," he said.

"Traditionally Instagram did not provide the tools for consumers to purchase the products they discovered. There were huge amounts of friction on the path to purchase."

Mr Lund said he expected Instagram Checkout to enable customers to purchase from the social media platform in three taps without leaving the app which he described as "a game changer".

"I believe in the rise of the everyday person as an entrepreneur, the first wave is those people who already have a community to sell to," he said. "They have got the head start, no question."

Instagram did not respond to a request for comment.

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