Pinspiration

Gone are the days of traditional 9-to-5 careers as more and more professionals are entering the modern career model, something like the flexible - yet often demanding - digital careers. This movement is spearheaded by a generation born with the emergence of the new millennium and internet. These 18 to 34 year olds are millennials, and they will soon have the largest workforce influence.

The Internet is a powerful source in promoting one’s business. From graphic design to blogging to social media, anyone can start their own business through the internet. One business that promotes its own company while helping others to promote it is Pinterest, a visual bookmarking website. This discovery tool lets individuals and brands, like Alexandra Evjen, The TomKat Studio and Pinspiration share and connect with communities across the world.

Alexandra Evjen, interdisciplinary studies alumna, Fashion stylist, art director and founder of A.V.E. Styles, has dedicated her life to sharing her lifestyle with others. What started as a fashion blog has turned into a whirlwind of a career with the founding of her current brand, working with high-profile brands like Coca-Cola, Juicy Couture, Neiman Marcus, Revlon and Saks Fifth Avenue and receiving features by Martha Stewart Living, Glamour, Business Insider and Altitude Summit. Now, with nearly one million followers on Pinterest, Evjen partners with Pinterest to share her lifestyle with others while also showing her local Phoenix community how to use the website.

After working in real estate for several years, Kim Stoegbauer, an ASU business and marketing alumna, decided to start a blog in 2008 with the free time she had after the Great Recession started. Stoegbauer’s lifestyle blog was so popular she created a digital printable party shop. However, when customers demanded more, she opened an online party shop for all the party supplies that matched her printables. She did this for three years before opening the storefront in October 2014, and in the meantime partnered with brands such as Coca-Cola, Mattel’s Barbie, Shutterfly and HGTV to style photoshoots for content creation. Stoegbauer, founder of Chandler-based TomKat Studio, uses Pinterest to inspire her customers on what’s new and trending.

After countless hours spent on do-it-yourself projects, Brooke Roe realized the need for a solution to a real-life problem of DIY fails. So, She began her research and found that lack of space, the expense of tools, fear of failure and the idea of cleaning up after projects prevented people from creating. Roe’s solution to these problems was opening a storefront for the community to create crafts using pre-assembled project kits while following iPad tutorials. Pinspiration, a DIY art studio and wine bar in Scottsdale makes use of Pinterest as a tool to create trending pins.

The Pinterest Generation

We all know that one person who loves to try DIY projects. Maybe you are that one person. The cutting. The pasting. The gluing. The infinite number of post-it notes scattered around our humble abodes. It’s a neat freak’s nightmare, actually. Have you ever wondered how we could somehow bookmark our lives – or our would-be lives – into one efficient and concise place.

Well, those days of wondering are long gone with the help of Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra, co-founders of Pinterest.

“It all started with a Pin,” reads Pinterest’s website. Founded in March 2010, the social bookmarking site ends all your cutting and pasting woes to deliver a virtual inspiration board for discovering DIY projects, new hobbies, and styles.

Although it was designed for people across the globe, it’s hard not to notice the impact millennials have had on the growth of the social site.

What’s Fresh at Pinterest?

Pinterest boasts more than 50 billion pins and one billion boards worldwide, says Christine Schirmer, consumer communications employee at Pinterest, says in an email.

Food, hobbies, home, style and travel receive the most of any category on the site.

“Our top priority is always to build the best product possible and to put Pinners first in all that we do,” Sara Martineau, community manager at Pinterest, says in an email.

Pinterest has 70 million monthly active users as of July 2015, comScore reports.

“Our mission is to help people discover the things they love and inspire them to go do them in real life,” Martineau says.

One of the most recent initiatives the company launched at the start of the summer was the ambassador program.

Pinterest selected nine expert pinners from all over the country to bring pins to life in their local communities.

These “Pinterest ambassadors” teach others how the website works, share their lifestyles with others and most importantly, they inspire creative ideas, Martineau says.

Their professions range from cooking to fashion to woodworking and more.

Originally, when the company began, there was a greater need for community building and face-to-face meet-ups, so the company wanted to resume that effort to give users the ability to make Pinterest come to life.

Ultimately, there is more room for expansion with Pinterest, as inquiries from community members have rushed in to join the program.

“We hope to grow the program while maintaining its grassroots format, allowing more and more people to get a real-life Pinterest experience, even if they don’t live near our headquarters,” Martineau says.

One Ambassador In Particular

Alexandra Evjen has dedicated her life to sharing her lifestyle with others since she founded A.V.E. Styles.

Evjen ultimately ended up in Arizona to pursue her dreams after her birth and upbringing in California, Wisconsin and Texas.

These passions and skills have been pivotal for Evjen’s career and partnership with Pinterest because as an ambassador, she is responsible for teaching users how to use the site for promoting their brand and bringing Pinterest to life.

As an ambassador, she has hosted a “Pinterest for Professionals” event in Scottsdale, a meet-up for those who wish to learn how Pinterest can aid in building a business.

Pinterest also hosted another event at Nordstrom Scottsdale Fashion Square, with the help of Evjen, where models showed off the hottest summer fashion trends.

“Pinterest for Professionals,” boasted a large crowd of professionals of both genders and various ages. While the event held at Nordstrom brought in mostly women millennials and bloggers, Evjen says.

So what is the relationship with Pinterest and millennials? How has Pinterest influenced millennials and vice versa? Evjen, a millennial herself, says the company doesn’t have to try too hard to connect with millennials considering we are in a digital age.

“Millennials are attracted to great imagery. Millennials pushed it,” Evjen says about Pinterest.

Blogging is a growing hobby in today’s society that can grow into a career like in Evjen’s case.

In fact, she says she learned about Pinterest while attending Altitude Summit, a blogger conference.

Before her successes, Evjen’s parents pushed her to pursue a business degree and she knew Arizona State University had a great business program, and received a bachelor’s of interdisciplinary studies from ASU.

Evjen started a fashion blog while doing public relations and communications for The American Institute for Architects. At the Institute she realized she wanted to tell other people’s stories and create. So, she began her styling business on the side, created an LLC in 2010, and reached out to potential clients who may need her styling advice.

Evjen divides her time between motherhood and adulthood, juggling a toddler – with another on the way – and sharing her brand with others around the world through A.V.E. Style and Pinterest.

“My true love is fashion; it’s my primary focus,” Evjen said. “I think becoming a mom has opened me up to lifestyle brands like Coca-Cola or American Express.”

She enjoys content creation and content marketing – listening to a need from a small business or a large brand and creating content that’s visually appealing while planning how to release that content, Evjen said.

Local Pioneers

Another influential local business to spawn from a blog is Chandler-based TomKat Studio Shop.

She worked on online marketplaces such as Etsy and her own site for three years before opening the storefront in October 2014. Through the years she partnered with brands such as Coca-Cola, Mattel’s Barbie, Shutterfly and HGTV to style photoshoots for content creation.

Stoegbauer’s business uses Shopify in order to link Pinterest users with the shop. It works as a buy-it feature for those that want to get involved with The TomKat Studio but may be hundreds of miles away.

Rather than using Pinterest to help users create their pins, they act as content creators to inspire and showcase trends. “Pinterest is my highest driving traffic force,” Stoegbauer said.

Located inside a home decorating store, Found, The TomKat Studio Shop collaborated with them to do blogger events to bring in local Phoenix creatives.

Although they don’t offer party planning, The TomKat Studio will be offering in-store party consultations to help customers visualize their events from explaining how to use party supplies to where they get the cake of their dreams.

Stoegbauer’s targeted audience has always been mothers, but she’s hoping to expand to young adults and college-aged customers through some of her employees who are current ASU students.

Pinspiration

Brooke Roe’s Pinspiration has only been open since March, but it has seen a lot of foot traffic.

“When I started the business, I thought my demographic would mostly be young women and moms, so somewhere between 30 and 50 years old. I was quite pleasantly surprised that it’s a lot younger than that,” Roe says.

Men and millennials, who are typically thought of as lazy, kind of like how Gen Xer's used to be, have even been getting involved. 

The Millennials are there to hang out and be social while the men are usually there for wood working projects, Roe says.

“What’s cool about Pinterest and what I’ve been able to do here is that there’s a way to bond around that digital platform. There’s a shared interest,” she says.

Pinspiration offers a VIP party room for corporate team bonding, birthday parties or showers, a crafting/project room for customized projects and a full-service beer and wine bar.

It also features a trending pins section near the front of the store and a children’s area towards the back, where kids can create open-ended projects for $15.

Roe plans to expand her business by adapting to change because in the Internet age there’s a need to stay current in order to stay on top.

One of the ways she’s growing her business is by having customers showcase their finished projects in a photo booth, and they can post to social media and immediately see the posts on the screen in the store.


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