Who is Rachel Citrin?
Rachel Citrin is the lead contributor of thedonutwearsparada Instagram page, compiling some of the most superb food and drink options Washington DC has to offer. With over 25,000 followers and a growing number of followers on TikTok, Citrin has managed to turn her hobby into a more dedicated platform. She goes on to describe the origins of the account.
‘I think it was our third year of school and two of my best friends would always take pictures of food. So the three of us originally started the account together and we would take pictures. Then, if we traveled, we would just post from wherever we were. Once we graduated and COVID started, I was just quarantined at home. I was like, well, I guess I might as well start this up again because there’s nothing else to do.’
Since starting the account way back in 2016, Rachel Citrin has traveled across various US states, trying to find the most moreish dishes and share them with her fan base. She has indulged in fried chicken with sesame cream from Anju, as well as an irresistible plant-based burger from HipCityVeg.
Citrin goes on to describe her original aims for the account as well as the creation of its unique name.
‘The original idea for it would be fashion and food and then lifestyle or landscape content. But that’s very broad and that’s a lot of work to do. So it quickly became clear that thedountwearsprada was merging fashion and food together.’
Creating High-Quality Content as a Passion Project
Despite building a pretty devoted and engaged following, Rachel Citrin still sees thedonutwearsprada as a side project. Yet, she still values her work and aims to produce the finest content possible. Citrin describes her artistic processes in more detail.
‘I mean, it definitely started out as a hobby and we would post anything. When I look back, I would post really ugly things that I’d cook at home with terrible lighting. Now there are more followers and I’m working with friends, obviously, the content has to be so much higher. But, it’s definitely not my main income or like my job.’
As DC’s food scene continues to grow and transform, Rachel Citrin has to make sure that she is keeping up to date with the many developments occurring over time. She dives into how she seeks out some of the most popular spots and ensures that her engagement rate remains high.
‘I know, like a month ago I made a few posts and I think the algorithm really liked me at that time. I posted about a brunch place in DC called Founding Farmers and then there was this new Asain-inspired noodle place in DC. So, some of those posts I think did really well. I guess they’re really popular spots and especially if it’s a new spot and a lot of people are looking into it because they want to know what type of food there is.’
Citrin also mentioned her time in Spain, where she continued to make content that gained a lot of traction.
‘I was in Spain and I posted this really bad picture of a churro and I wasn’t even going to post it to my main feed. But, it got a lot more views than I expected. I guess people really like desserts but I thought it was funny because I had some random content so I might just as well post it.’
Accumulating Engagement on a Growing Platform
Rachel Citrin also believes in the power of consistency as well as collaboration when it comes to growing thedonutwearsprada Instagram page. Citrin elucidates how she manages to stay afloat when balancing her other commitments.
‘I think just being consistent and engaging. So like making sure that you’re posting once a day. I know that the algorithm really likes to see that ideally, you can post at the same time every day, which I often can’t. But then I also think about just engaging with other Instagram accounts and commenting on and liking each other’s posts.’
She also states the type of content that works best for her in terms of active engagement.
‘I definitely think static posts are the best right now. I know that Instagram is promoting reels but a lot of times views are suppressed. I also think that people love seeing breakfast content, desserts, and crazy cocktails with smoke.’
DC boasts a bustling food scene that is teeming with an abundance of vibrant cultures and cuisines. Citrin believes that this diversity is what helps thedountwearsprada stand out from the crowd.
‘I like to at least think that I do try a lot of different types of foods. Like you won’t see on my account just pasta or burgers or only ‘American food’. So I think you can find lots of types of variety on my page.’
Sourcing Creative Outreach as a Food Influencer
thedonutwearsprada has managed to catch the eye of many established brands and restaurants, seeing Citrin’s craft as the perfect way to build a stronger audience base. The DC food influencer describes one of her favorite types of brand deals.
‘I’ve enjoyed where I’ve partnered with a company that sells a food product. I think that’s kind of fun because a lot of times you have to use that product to cook a dish and I think it gives you a lot of creativity and you can cook whatever you want as long as you highlight the product.’
She goes on to mention a recent collaboration with ACE Hotel and how she enjoyed being a part of such a creative event.
‘So one of the recent ones I did was with ACE Hotels, which is through Marriott and they were showing some of their food and they also just started having a cocktail class every week. So I think the event was really well done and that we had a cocktail class and I have always wanted to do one of those. We also had a tasting menu, then went outside and then there was dessert and they gave us a goodie bag to go home.’
Citrin also notes what brands are looking for when trying to collaborate with influencers.
‘A lot of brands don’t really have metrics that you’re required to meet. Sometimes, when you apply for a campaign, you’ll have to verify with them and then they can see your metrics for your previous posts ahead of time and then decide if they want to work with you. When I was in Chicago, I worked a lot with Mariano’s, which is a grocery store chain. I think for them to gauge metrics was to see whoever has the most engagement would get a gift certificate.’
Defeating Financial Challenges in the Influencer Marketing Industry
Although Rachel Citrin actually works in International Relations, she still receives a few monetary benefits from her work as an influencer. However, she continues to mention the difficulties she faces in an ever-changing industry.
‘I think that if this was my sole source of income it would be a lot harder simply because the pay is not always fair. I think in general it is challenging because there’s no baseline and unless you talk to other account holders or do a lot of research, it is really difficult to know how much your posts are worth.’
Even though Citrin notices the volatile nature of being self-employed in the social media industry, she still praises the key values seen in influencer marketing.
‘Previously, brands would get a celebrity and that celebrity would endorse the product and that’s still being done. But I think a lot of people trust influencer accounts because you feel more closely tied to them. They’re not like a celebrity, they are just like somebody who could live down the street from you and I think people tend to trust those judgments more.’
Rachel Citrin is able to capture the true heart of DC’s food scene, showcasing a plethora of hidden gems for both locals and tourists to explore. She ends by explaining her marketing strategy for the rest of the year.
‘I’ll soon be in DC for one year and I am getting more of the lay of the land. So I guess you can expect more in-depth content and not as much as a tourist.’