For the third episode of Sofa Series we traveled to the capital of the country, Amsterdam. In this episode none other than Lisanne de Bruijn from LIS. the Agency! In Sofa Series we chat monthly on the couch, or in this case a chair ;-), with a woman who inspires us.
You must have seen her pass by through our socials. While most of you probably know her as a content creator, her focus is actually quite different! Thanks to her guts and broad work experience, she has now set up a successful agency, and she has also been the mommy of beautiful son Louen for over 1.5 years. In short, Lisanne is a hard worker from whom we can learn a lot.
Would you like to introduce yourself? Lisanne: So I'm Lisanne, 33 years old and I have a son Louen. Besides content creator, which I actually do on the side, I am most busy with my own company, which is indeed LIS. the Agency. We manage 20 content creators here, so that's very busy. We are now with 5 people in the office here in Amsterdam.
You did start out as a content creator, right? Lisanne: Yes, that's right!
How did you start doing that? Lisanne: I worked at H&M, where I did marketing and PR. I actually worked there every day in a showroom where I received new items every day that also arrived in the store after three months. There you saw all kinds of beautiful items that we also put on every day, so then I thought 'Well, I can easily make my looks with that and take a picture' and that actually worked really well. As a result, I could make a post every day with a nice outfit and that's how I got all kinds of questions like 'Where did you get those pants?' and 'Can you send me the product key?' In addition, my boyfriend has his own company, Colorful Rebel, and he is always involved in clothing, so that way I could combine it all a bit.
So you kind of got sucked into that? Lisanne: Indeed, it was actually not the intention to do that at all, because of course I just had a job. But that way it grew quite fast, so I could add that. It is not my dream to become very big in it. I like what I'm doing now and I have very nice followers that I can inspire, but it doesn't have to be even bigger.
And what exactly did you do at H&M? Lisanne: Actually all influencer campaigns, it's a marketing function. They divided it up and I was therefore responsible for the campaigns within the Netherlands. Super fun, because that made me busy with the 'influencer world' and who were emerging, who would be fun to involve in the brand, how a campaign works, what you pay attention to. So I really enjoyed doing that, because I already did an entire AZ campaign there and of course I'm doing the same at LIS now. the Agency, so that was a really nice stepping stone.
Did you also follow a certain creative training for that? Lisanne: I studied communication sciences at the UvA and I had already focused my entire graduation on social media, then on Facebook, I'm a bit older. ;-) Social media always had my interest, so I've always been busy with that. Also with all my jobs before H&M.
What did you do before H&M? Lisanne: I worked at Rob Peetoom, I also did social media/marketing there, I really enjoyed that too. And still at a media agency, both after my education. So I've already gained quite a bit of work experience before I started with the agency, which I've been doing for three years now.
You said that the agency actually grew from your interest in working at H&M. How did you come up with the idea to start your own agency? Lisanne: Of course you don't suddenly think of that. At H&M I noticed that I was increasingly in contact with managers instead of directly with the influencers. Then I thought there aren't that many of them at the moment and I see something new in that, because a lot of influencers could really use it. Because they are super creative and prefer to only work with content, but of course not with the planning at all. So I saw a gap in the market there and at one point I went to Bali and I was talking to my friend about 'I've had something on my mind for a few weeks now.' I was not yet thirty then, I didn't buy a house, I didn't have a child and he said 'Lis, if you don't do it now, you never will. So now you have to quit your job' and then I thought 'ahhh that's so intense.' But I also thought what could go wrong? If you have a bit of a buffer, you can go for it and it actually went very well right away.
What does an agency do? Lisanne: Actually very diverse. The basis is of course the management of talents, which means that they all have their own inbox that we use every day. We answer the daily e-mails, send out proposals, we plan campaigns in the agenda, ensure that the content is received properly and on time, so that it goes live on time. In addition, we also do some aftersales, so forwarding statistics, discussing the campaign and perhaps setting up a new campaign. But we also look at the strategic part with the talents, so where does that person want to go? What are dream collaborations? Outside of the content they're making now, what else can we do? Inspiration sessions, brainstorming sessions, so actually a whole package.
What do you specifically do within the agency? Lisanne: That differs a lot. In the beginning I was really busy with everything. I was in every inbox, but now I noticed as it got bigger that I just can't do that anymore. At some point your own hours will of course also run out, I was working seven days a week I don't know how many hours, so that really had to change. Then I started hiring people and now I have four girls who work for me and an intern. That way I can divide the work, but I think it's important to still be involved in everything. So I know everything that's going on, what's going on, what campaigns are running, but I'm not going to go into more detail. I do really enjoy thinking along with the talents during the strategic sessions, the brainstorming sessions. And for some it's just a little more than for others, but I do try to be as involved as possible with everyone. I also think that's very important and it's also the most fun. In addition, I am also responsible for all invoicing and things like that, that is the least fun part, but that is also part of it and is super important.
What do you like most about your job? Lisanne: I think what I like most is doing something that doesn't feel like work. Of course I don't work for a boss now and that has its advantages and disadvantages, but because I can now determine everything myself in terms of direction and because we are still very young and can go in any direction, it remains fun and exciting. I noticed that I quickly got a bit bored at H&M or Rob Peetoom and then I started looking for a new job and then I thought 'this really doesn't make sense, because I have a super nice job.' The challenge I missed there, I always have it here, but of course it can also be the case that you think 'oh my god, how am I going to do this again?', but that keeps triggering me. And if I work on weekends, for example, it doesn't feel like work. Then it feels good to open my laptop and still do some things. My colleagues then say on Monday 'Lis, I saw all kinds of e-mails passing by on Sunday. That's really not possible!' But I've also had periods when it was a lot and it was too much and then it's good that someone says to you 'get some rest.'
Do you find it difficult to hand over tasks? Lisanne: Yes, very difficult, I really had to learn that. And still sometimes I'm like 'Shit, I really should have done that differently' or not even better, but I always feel that if you gather people around you who are perhaps even better than you, that you can only grow. I believe in that very much. And of course something always goes wrong, but I also make mistakes, that is human and you also learn from it.
How do you see the future in the field of work? Lisanne: I find that a difficult question in the online world. That changes so quickly and every time something new is added. Every time you think, now we're in it and then there will be a new feature on Instagram that we have to use. So in that way I think it will continue for many years to come, this whole influencer/social media landscape. I don't know the details yet, but I don't think influencer marketing is a trend. I think that will only get more and more. Recently, for example, I booked two talents as models for a very large brand. They also said 'we don't want that perfect picture with a model anymore, but more people like you and me who are a little more believable that way.'
How do you combine the agency with being a content creator? Lisanne: I think it's nice that I don't put pressure on it, so if I don't post for a week, it's not that I lose sleep over it. All I think is 'ah shit, didn't post.' But my colleagues sometimes even say 'Lis, hello post something, because there is nothing.' But I think I can actually combine it nicely because I've been working on content all day with the agency. I'm no longer a girl who will show every look on the corner of the street, that just doesn't feel good anymore, but once I look nice and we go get a coffee and someone says 'Shall I take a quick picture ?' Then I do it that way, so I don't plan it anymore. I think it's also nice that I don't have my main focus on that anymore.