How influencer Erika Costell went from ‘Team 10’ member to fashion brand founder

In 2020, hundreds of thousands of individuals had been launched to the idea of “collab homes,” the place a number of influencers resided in multi-million-dollar houses devoted to content material creation. However earlier than the Hype Home and “Braddison” (the ship title of TikTokers Bryce Corridor and Addison Rae) got here Team 10, spearheaded by YouTubers and former couple Jake Paul and Erika Costell, aka and “Jerika,” in 2015.

That home gained notoriety for broadcasting oftentimes dangerous and controversial stunts together with on a regular basis vlogs on its collaborative YouTube channel. 4 years later, the OG influencer incubator disbanded after disputes amongst its members. An eviction notice got here in 2017, adopted by an FBI raid of the Los Angeles mansion in 2020. 

“My entire life that yr [2016] was to get up [and] movie,” mentioned Costell. “We weren’t residing in actuality in these days.”

However regardless of its controversies, the home served as a blueprint for the TikTok collab homes of 2021. Since then, its members have discovered themselves in varied locations, from the boxing ring, the place Paul landed, to the style business. Costell has inconspicuously discovered her place with Akire Sport, the activewear model launched in March 2021.

Regardless of having 10 million followers throughout social media platforms, Costell, who got here out because the founding father of the model on Tuesday, intentionally selected to not connect her title to Akire Sport initially. Her inside perspective as a veteran influencer allowed her to faucet into influencer advertising and marketing in another way, by catering the model towards the “woman on the go,” a client viewers that encompasses each herself and her followers. The road is offered on and items vary from $19-$98.

“Until you’re a trend influencer or a make-up influencer doing make-up, it’s exhausting to be taken severely in a lane apart from what you’re placing on-line,” mentioned Costell, who studied enterprise and advertising and marketing earlier than transferring to L.A. to pursue a profession in modeling and becoming a member of Workforce 10 in 2015. “I wished everybody else to see how good [Akire Sport] is, with out me having to push it of their face or do a swipe-up hyperlink or pay individuals to promote it.”

The “off-duty mannequin” athleisure model, which Costell describes as “elevated, outsized road fashion,” consists of sweatsuits, biker shorts and tank tops in an array of colours, all of that are manufactured in LA. And whereas the model has been worn by Hailey Bieber, Addison Rae, Bella Poarch, Claudia Sulewski, Anastasia Karanikolaou and Alissa Violet, Costell’s steered Akire away from being labeled an influencer-founded model. 

“I don’t assume being fairly is a personality trait. I don’t assume being a YouTuber is a personality trait,” she mentioned. Costell hoped to broaden Akire’s attain — and her credibility as a model founder — by her resolution to launch it anonymously.

Akire isn’t the primary byproduct of Costell’s enterprise savvy. Her resolution to pursue social media wasn’t to grow to be a YouTube star, however to faucet right into a lacking market inside YouTube for “on a regular basis feminine vloggers,” to additional her modeling profession, she mentioned. 

Now 28, Costell was 23 years outdated when her YouTube profession took off. “It was a really poisonous strategy to dwell, to attempt to outdo your self each single day,” she mentioned. Finally, she took a year-long hiatus from content material creation in 2017 and commenced to work on Akire the next yr. “I now not do something I’m not enthusiastic about. If I’m not 100% in it, and it’s not true to me, I gained’t contact it,” she mentioned.

Whereas paid influencer advertising and marketing continues to be vastly widespread, some manufacturers have begun to shift away from the technique to seem extra “authentic.” Because the pandemic highlighted the divide between influencers’ bubble of privilege and most people, manufacturers have turned away from “influencer campaigns that are too product-centric”, as a substitute using micro-influencers, and unpaid influencer and movie star endorsements, to extend their credibility.

When it comes to Akire, Costell relied on “phrase of mouth,” using her community amassed over the previous 5 years, starting from “the women who do my extensions” to influencers like Charli and Dixie D’amelio, Addison Rae, and Loren Gray, she mentioned.

As for her resolution to now connect her title to the model 5 months later, Costell is assured that “I’m now not that conventional influencer, and my model now may be very a lot what I like,” she mentioned. “It’s the proper timing for [attaching my name to Akire], contemplating I simply principally got here again to full-time influencer mode.” | How influencer Erika Costell went from ‘Workforce 10’ member to trend model founder


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