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Scoring Major Brand Deals: Joy Kisinja’s Secrets To Influencer Success

Despite immense adversity, including a dysfunctional upbringing, Joy Kisinja (Joy Gerrard on Instagram @_joygerrard) has persevered to build a thriving career as a fashion influencer. After starting her Instagram just after the 2020 lockdowns, Joy’s relatable content and work ethic led to opportunities like attending celebrity events and signing with management firm Sintillate Talent.

The influencer attributes her success to carefully aligning with brands that match her values, like Boohoo and Shein, while fostering an authentic relationship with her audience. Looking ahead, she sees modest silhouettes like midi dresses trending, inspired by Kim Kardashian’s minimalist style. 

Scoring Major Brand Deals: Joy Kisinja’s Secrets To Influencer Success

Throughout her journey, Joy remained resilient, completing her university degree in psychology while struggling due to estrangement from her parents. “I did end up becoming a counselor, a therapist working with young people dealing with stress [and] trauma – kind of like what I went through,” the 25-year-old recounts. “I did love it when I was doing it, but my passion was fashion.”

That passion, cultivated by watching style programs like E! News and comedians like the late Joan Rivers, motivated Joy to start posting fashion content on Instagram just after the lockdowns four years ago. “I was scared about judgment like anybody else,” she admits. “But I was done – there was no one that could judge me. I’ve seen how other influencers get opportunities, and I was like, ‘I want that too.’”

The beginning was not easy. Limited finances meant using a secondhand digital camera and purchasing outfits herself before any sponsorship deals. “The quality wasn’t great at all. It was difficult,” Joy states plainly. Before I got signed, I didn’t have paid collaborations, so I bought many of the clothes out of my own money—a strain on your finances.” Yet she persisted, her hard work and resilience propelling her creator career.

The “Relatable and Attainable” Influencer

“I would say that I’m a relatable and attainable influencer,” Joy states. “Even though I now receive free items and sponsorships, I still pick low-budget clothes and items that I know my followers can buy and will actually be interested in. I’m down-to-earth, and I’m not flashy. I’ll never buy designer [brands].”

Her content focuses primarily on affordable fashion. “Mainly fashion content on there,” she confirms succinctly. However, the creation process behind her stylish Instagram photos is more involved than it may appear.

“It can be very time-consuming. You have to put a lot of effort and planning into everything,” Joy explains. “The type of weather, the location, the outfit, the camera, the angle – and then what type of content your brand wants, like a reel or post. It looks easy, but it’s not.”

This dedication to her craft stems from the fashion maven’s mission to overcome a common misconception about influencers. “The main thing is that it’s very easy to do—you just take a picture and upload it. When it’s not,” she states firmly, “it’s mentally and emotionally consuming. It’s a very difficult process.”

Her motivation is to exemplify the true purpose of the creator economy. “It’s not about being flashy,” Joy emphasizes. “We’re trying to influence people. So it’s very important that we remember that and that people can see that relatable side of us.

Scoring Major Brand Deals: Joy Kisinja’s Secrets To Influencer Success

Career-Defining Moments and Audience Connection

A major turning point in Joy’s career came when she started attending events and rubbing shoulders with celebrities. “I started hanging out with Love Islanders at events,” she recalls. “I was like, ‘How did this even happen? I’m being invited to events now.’ I also had my first red carpet moment at London Fashion Week, where I met a famous drag artist and an X-Factor contestant from years ago. I was like, ‘Wow, my hard work has really paid off.’”

Her career accelerated after signing with Sintillate Talent in January 2024. “They have helped me out. A lot of my stuff out there now is because of them,” Joy praises. “They are strict on stats for who gets through, but they accepted me. Since then, it has just been go, go, go. They send much work through their group chat – PR events, collaborations, and more paid deals. It’s the consistency I never had, which is absolutely amazing.”

This influx of opportunities is fueled by Joy’s strong connection with her audience. “My followers love engaging stories, asking me questions so they can get to know my lifestyle and relate to me,” she explains. I stay connected by being available and replying to messages and comments. If I didn’t have that engagement from them, I wouldn’t be an influencer.”

Maintaining that authentic relationship sometimes requires ignoring negativity. “I had a mean comment recently, but I didn’t pay any mind to it,” the content creator states. “My advice is to think about how that person might be miserable, experiencing negativity around them. Don’t take it to heart – block or ignore them, and it will go away.”

Joy approaches criticism through a psychological lens. “Whatever anyone says, if it’s in a mean way, it’s about themselves – it’s projection. Don’t let it get to you,” she asserts, adding that this mindset will serve her well as her influencer career continues blossoming.

Aligned Partnerships and Proven Success

When evaluating potential brand collaborations, Joy employs a discerning approach. “I base it on whether they align with my values and interests and if my followers would be interested,” she explains. “I have to be able actually to help the company. If it’s not about fashion, like home decor, which I don’t cover, I wouldn’t sign up because it’s not my area. It has to align.”

This selective strategy has yielded major successes for partnerships that do meet her criteria. “One company I’m very successful with is Boohoo,” Joy shares. “I ended up meeting the Boohoo manager and was invited to their VIP Forbidden Forest festival. They have a section there, and they liked to repost my content too.”

Another fruitful relationship is with the fashion brand Shein. “They reach out to me and look for what I can provide,” she notes. By staying “consistent, connected, and promoting everything they have,” Joy cultivates collaborations that genuinely resonate with her audience while furthering her professional goals.

Scoring Major Brand Deals: Joy Kisinja’s Secrets To Influencer Success

On Future Creator Trends

Joy keeps a close eye on emerging fashion trends. “I think classic bobs are going to be huge—they create a classy, vintage 60s style,” she predicts. “Bobs, fringes, anything edgy is definitely coming back.”

The influencer also foresees a shift towards more modest silhouettes. “Before, it was about tight, figure-hugging mini dresses. But now I think people are more open to midi and maxi dresses – dressing sleek but covered up.” Joy credits trailblazers like Kim Kardashian with popularizing this minimalistic aesthetic.

Her own goals are equally fashion-forward. “Travel content and sponsored travel are things I’d be interested in,” Joy shares. “Attending movie premieres is on my bucket list too. And TikTok events look so lively and fun.”

While she previously posted on TikTok, Joy learned the importance of choosing her platforms wisely. “The engagement wasn’t as strong as Instagram. You really have to find your platform and stick with it.”

For the moment, her priorities have shifted as she prepares for an exciting new role: motherhood. “I’ve had to take a step back from influencing because I’m six months pregnant!” she reveals. “My partner and I are expecting, and we’re so excited for this next chapter.”

Joy plans to share the journey candidly. “It’s important to show my followers what’s going on and keep them connected,” she says. As her family grows, her fans can expect an authentic window into this influencer’s dynamic life.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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