Photo courtesy of Shelby Ivey Christie
Whether it’s digitizing brands, writing for top publications, or being a marketing fashionista, Shelby Ivey Christie is inspiring others to dream big.
The North Carolina native started her career as an editorial enthusiast writing for brands such as XONecole and Black Enterprise; while starting her own brand, bronzebombshell.com. During her pursuit of career happiness, Christie became an award-winning journalist whose eye for media and marketing has taken her to new heights — and buildings like Vogue magazine’s headquarters where she currently works as a digital sales planner.
Here, Christie shares her take on digitizing brands, advice for the millennial, and lessons learned while creating her own lane
You’re young and already working for a top company in New York, what’s a typical day like for you?
Yes, Vogue is not where I thought I’d begin my career at 25. It’s somewhere I aspired to be but never in a million years thought would I be here now. It’s truly a blessing! A typical weekday for me starts with a 6 a.m. wake up — 6:20 if I hit snooze. I have to start my day with positive messages or a good laugh. My favorite morning podcast is T.D. Jake’s The Potter House. I also get a good laugh from #TheReceiptsPodcast, it’s hilarious girl-talk that gets my mind off of all the work that’s waiting for me at the office.
Once I’m in the office at 8:30 a.m., I review my morning list of tasks that I left for myself the previous evening. I’m very meticulous about my lists. I’m one of those people who write everything down. I then I jump right into my day, which means meeting with Vogue integrated marketing, branded content and account management teams about potential and sold digital campaigns. My day is partially spent trafficking client’s requests to the appropriate internal team. The other portion of my day is spent building media plans based on the ideas proposed in the discussions I had with all those [afore]mentioned teams.
You help digitize brands. What are three things you look for before doing so?
I look at the brand’s budget, then the potential timing of the campaign and then the key performance indicators that the brand will be measuring their digital campaign against.
I read on bronzebombshell.com that you dropped out of college at the 18 before returning in 2012. How did that time impact who you are today?
Without that time spent outside of college I wouldn’t be who I am today. It was one of my lowest points. There I was: 18 years old, living back in my mom’s house while all my friends were off partying at school. But that time alone, separate from the crowd, really helped me hone my individuality and learn how to stand on my own. If I had stayed in school I would’ve gone with the flow, followed the crowd. By being on my own I decided for myself what I liked, I decided for myself what I wanted because there was no curriculum or class schedule to outline what was next for me. I decided what was next for me. That time on my own, taking on challenges and failing at things, revealed my own willpower to me. It is why I’m so confident in my uniqueness now. I’m not like most 25-year-olds and the experiences I had as a college dropout helped me hone and own that.
Many millennials like to start a brand rather than working for one. What advice do you have for those just starting?
It takes experience to get experience so start from the bottom. Go and Intern, volunteer, look to local sources for opportunities. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Do the work no one else wants to do. Leave everything better than it was before you arrived.
How do you deal with the unexpected?
I’m not afraid to ask for help. If something comes up and I don’t feel like I’m fully equipped to handle it I will reach out to someone who I know has experience with what I’m up against. For unexpected professional challenges I usually call on my mentor, James Carter [art director of The Washington Post Brand Studio], and consult him about what the best route to take is. If it’s something in my personal life … well, mom is almost always right. I call my mom or best friends and get their input on how I should proceed.
For the women who are pursuing marketing, what are three quick tips you can provide?
Study your craft and know it well so when you get a seat at the table you’re prepared to offer an educated perspective.
Second, technology and coding goes hand in hand with marketing and advertising roles. Many of these softwares we use in the industry aren’t taught to marketing students at the undergraduate level. Take the time to find out what tools and software your role/industry requires and invest in trainings. If your budget is tight, YouTube is a free resource for training videos.
Lastly, our industry thrives because of connections and relationships. People give money to people they like. Brands give money to publishers/social platforms/websites that employ people they like. Form genuine relationships within the industry — handwritten notes go a long way.
Where do you see digital marketing going in the next five years?
I think the new frontier for digital marketing is augmented reality and virtually reality. Snapchat recently purchased phone-based augmented reality company Cimagine for $40 million. Facebook now has to move toward figuring out a way to insert advertising into that space. The automotive sector is already trying their hand at virtual reality advertising via VR tours of the interior of a luxury car.
What’s one digital trend you wish would just stop?
Branded emojis. The branded emojis don’t even integrate into the iMessage keyboard. They’re useless! Just leave them in 2016.
What are three things every millennial needs to understand?
More specifically, a 401K. Save now while you’re young and have the energy to work overtime because you won’t be young forever. Don’t cut corners. Do it right or don’t do it all because like Drake said: the devil’s in the details. Don’t concern yourself with proving people wrong. Focus instead on proving yourself right.
What’s your definition of the popular hashtag, #Blackgirlmagic?
I think #BlackGirlMagic is being unapologetically you, and being proud and free and whole as a Black woman. For me it means opening doors for me and then reaching back to help other Black girls through the entrance.
What’s next for you?
I’m not quite sure but I’ll take my own advice here: Never speak on anything before it’s done. You show by doing, not saying.