Christine Scherping l Friend of a Friend
Friend of a Friend understands the power of relationships in the influencer world. They prefer influencer relations instead of the transactional term “influencer marketing”. Friend of a Friend believe’s the foundation of their work is all based on trusted relationships.
Can you tell us a bit about your business and how you got your start?
Absolutely! I’ve spent the majority of my 15-year public relations and marketing career in the agency world, partnering with brands of all levels – from start-ups to some of the best-known brands in the country, including Bath & Body Works, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Sherwin-Williams and Caribou Coffee. And it was about ten years ago when I started working on influencer projects before influencer relations was even a term - I kind of fell into it and absolutely loved it!
My experience and passion led me to found Friend of a Friend, an influencer relations agency, focused on building meaningful and impactful relationships between brands and influencers. I absolutely love collaborating with brands on influencer programs and creating magic that drives results. We typically partner with agencies and brands to strategically bring their influencer plans to life.
How do you think living in the Twin Cities has shaped your style? If so, how?
I absolutely love the TC! We have such a vibrant, creative and entrepreneurial community. It’s humbling and incredible how many folks will go out of their way to support local makers. I think the long, cold winter months force many of us to be creative problem solvers (or maybe that’s me, since I’m still learning to appreciate the winter).
Beyond being a creative problem solver, the TC community has helped me get to where I am and what I love to do – I’ve always wanted to start my own business and because of the support and mentorship I’ve been able to receive over the years, my dream was realized when I launched Friend of Friend. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing talent in this town who are doing incredible things – it’s a luxury to have such amazing clients.
How and where do you see growth for your business?
It’s predicted that brands will spend upward of $10 billion dollars in influencer marketing as we near 2020. But influencer relations is still a little like the wild, wild west with ever-changing rules, and sadly, many brands and influencers are making a lot of mistakes – from making poor partnership decisions, catching the eye of the FTC with improper disclosures, or not understanding how and when influencer relations should be used.
I strive to be both a brand’s and influencer’s advocate in building programs that follow best practices – I truly believe in the philosophy that a rising tide helps all (influencer relations) boats.
If you had one piece of advice for someone starting a business, what would it be?
I’m going to give old school Nike slogan advice: JUST DO IT. So often we overthink things, or want things to be perfect before we launch, or suffer from imposter syndrome that we drown out the reasons why we even wanted to start the business. There is no “perfect” time to start a business, but if you’re passionate about an idea, you will absolutely be able to figure it out next steps. Taking that first step is the hardest part.
LAB is founded on three key values: connect, create and collaborate. What are your three key values?
We have similar values! Friend of a Friend’s values are: Connect, inspire and do good.
What is the favorite thing about your workspace?
I work from a variety of locations, which I love because it gives me a new perspective. Every place has a different energy and I think it helps to get out of a daily pattern, especially when you need to be in a space for creative thinking and writing.
One thing you wish you had in your office/studio…
I’m absolutely obsessed with Vestaboard. Easiest way to describe it is that it looks and acts like the old school destination board you’d see at a train station, but the Vestaboard team developed a modern version where you can have it connected to your social platforms, calendar, or your phone to upload personalized messages in real time. Someday…
What’s currently on your studio playlist?
I listen to an eclectic mix of music – right now my Spotify list is heavy on Queen, Elton John, Coldplay, Beastie Boys, Lana Del Rey and Beyonce. I told you it was a mix! I also love listening to Dustin O’Halloran if I need to jam on a presentation or do longer form writing.
What is your no-fail, go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?
Instagram. It’s the first and last thing I look at in my day and there’s always something that catches my eye when I scroll.
Or, literally a walk around the block helps break through whatever problem I’m trying to solve – fresh air always helps.
What are some of your everyday essentials that you can’t live without?
My Nespresso machine, my two rescue cats, Mimi and Little Girl (I’m a sucker for a sad story), my favorite Muji gel ink pens and my Macbook Air. Oh, and of course my iPhone. And lip gloss!
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I truly love what I do and the people I get to work with, and I feel so lucky! But someday, I’d also love to open a no-kill animal shelter, for all animals to have a safe refuge while waiting to find their forever home. I think pets add so much to our lives and it absolutely destroys me how poorly some of them are treated. I feel like we’d all be better people if we had pets.
If you could be a fly on the wall of anyone’s studio/shop/office whose would it be?
Ooh, this is a great question. Hillary Clinton.
Goop. Feel free to judge☺ I don’t subscribe to all of Gwyneth’s philosophies, but Goop has hired some talented folks like Jean Godfrey June and Elise Loehnen - they’ve done a great job starting conversations that many traditional outlets won’t touch.
What item in your closet do you wear the most?
Anything black. Which is basically my entire closet.
Favorite place to meet/collaborate in the Twin Cities.
Parallel! Love the space, love the coffee – I always feel inspired when I work there.
Three Instagram accounts you love to see in your feed.
@elsielarson: Absolutely love how open Elsie’s been about adopting her daughter, Nova, who is seriously the cutest kid with such a funny and smart personality! Definitely one of my go-to accounts.
@bethstern: I love animals (fun fact I grew up on a farm), and Beth’s mission to find loving homes for kittens and cats will melt your heart! Warning, you’ll be tempted to adopt all of the pets if you start following this account.
@noraborealis: Too often Instagram is about the too perfect, not achievable lifestyle and Nora has built such a great community of embracing the imperfect, perfect life. I love that she puts herself out there – Nora’s thoughts are the perfect combination of bluntness, honesty, bravery with a whole dose of hilarious.
Summer ------- Anything by a lake.
Winter --------- Crisp air.
Fall -------- LOVE. All of it. Bonfires, boots, bourbon.
Spring -------- A fresh start. And thunderstorms.
Last Adventure: Thailand
Next Adventure: Bali!
By Day: #girlboss
By Night: #girlboss, with a red lip.
Latest Craft: I wish I was a crafter. Or do designed to-do lists count?
Secret Skill: Give me a bag of Cheetos and I can make it disappear in three seconds flat. But in all seriousness, I’m a pretty solid home cook. Cooking is cathartic for me and Ina Garten is #goals.
Believes in: Being kind and paying it forward.
Embraces: The unknown.
Yes Please: All the animal memes. Keep them coming!
No Thanks: People who love drama. It’s a movie genre, not a lifestyle!
Spirit Animal: Cats.
Brand you can’t live without: Classic Chanel.
Favorite word: I can’t tell you that;)
Favorite day of the week: Sunday. For me, it’s a restorative day where I catch up on reading and plan my upcoming week.