Influencer Shermeen Amin Has An Eye For Instagram And A Penchant For Beauty Products
From skincare shots to pet photography, Shermeen Amin knows how to craft pretty mean Instagram posts. The Dallas resident, who keeps one foot in the human resources world while the other dabbles in the digital space, is precise when it comes to posing people and products, and choosing partnerships. “Copy-and-paste campaigns are not only impersonal, but they’re not what we desire [as influencers],” she says. “Serious influencers that have a reach of any size, they’re particular, and brands should be equally particular.” Beauty Independent caught up with Amin to discuss business deals, the indie beauty movement, brands she adores, content diversification and the shifting social media landscape.
You grew up in Memphis and Washington, D.C., and now you live in Dallas. Did those cities impact your idea of beauty?
In my hometown [Memphis], where I grew up, the awareness [of natural brands] was not there. I was into natural ingredients at a young age, so I would always have to resort to DIY type of things or making masks with my mom. I’ve always had an interest in that route, and that became a big way I would spend time with family. It’s how we would utilize self-care. When I moved to D.C., that interest and awareness grew with a larger market to discover safer alternatives to what I wanted to use. And, once I became a dog owner, I started looking more into cruelty-free and vegan products. That expanded out into looking into that quality in my overall product choices, and has stuck with me and continued to expand from there.
Which came first, photography or beauty?
Well, I actually work in HR full-time, but, in my free time, I would say I’m a photographer with an influencer perspective. Instagram lends itself to both really well, and I like to combine a little bit more of the branding aspect into my lifestyle photography instead of just a straightforward beauty review.
Did you have any idea that you would be deemed an influencer?
No, actually, not at all. To be honest, in general, it’s something I enjoy doing, and something I would do in my leisure time anyway. So, to have friends, family and followers that want my personal opinion and feedback to make a decision, I’m humbled by it. When I started seeing that others really do value or even depend on my input, I knew it was something [I could do], and I’m really honored by it.
What do you wish brands knew about working with influencers?
Brands should have a good understanding of who their target audience is so that they can begin understanding the influencer they’re looking at and their target audience. If you are an indie beauty brand, for example, and your influencer doesn’t cater to that demographic, no matter how many followers they have, it’s a loss. Brands need to understand who they are working with. We, as influencers, research brands we work with to see if they are a fit and, if brands in turn want to be successful, they have to do the due diligence on the influencers beforehand.
Does your eye for photography impact the products and brands you feature?
Yes, I think that they align pretty closely. I always try to work with brands where I believe in the product or what you’ll find in my photography is stuff that I have around and actually use. In most cases, I’m simply showing off my photography style, and what I love is actually in the photo or [it contains] things I’ve purchased myself. I’m just being creative in that way and that lends itself to a collaboration or relationships instead of the other way around.
How do you prefer to work with brands?
I prefer to begin over email and, then, I like to get on the phone just to lay out what the brand is looking to do and what they are expecting out of the partnership, mostly [to see] if it’s a good fit. I like to hear them in person to get more insight. As far as what I do, I often just post products on my own that I am using in photography, but I’ll also do a blend of sponsored posts or series.
Why do you think indie beauty has so much momentum?
People want to see something different. People are more aware and more interested in ingredients and efficacy. Indie beauty is a new and exhilarating avenue for people to embrace and discover that. It’s still so fresh that many people are just getting on board and, for those that have been on board, the concepts, brands and innovations continue to grow, morph and expand. It’s really exciting.
What are a few brands you are crushing on right now?
Svati Organics, which [was at] Indie Beauty Expo Dallas. Their Bare Body Butter is really taking care of my eczema. The inflammation is totally gone from using this, and that’s how you know it’s good. Osea Malibu is another one that I’m really excited about. Their Sea Vitamin Boost is a real winner. Then, I would say the Luxe Botanics Camu line is a real hit. Their Brightening Serum is really well done and works wonderfully.
What’s next for you?
I want to continue showcasing photography, but also delivering content that is relevant to my followers. I do think it is a little bit hard to post on green beauty all the time. It’s a limited piece, and I am trying to keep it open to things other than [green beauty] and more about photos that inspire me or align with the ethos. The majority of my followers are beauty lovers in some capacity, but I also have a lot of photography lovers, so blending the two niches and trying to cater to both is my goal.
What are your thoughts on the progression of social media?
It’s not like I can tell how long Instagram as the main platform will be a trend, but I do think people are really drawn into Stories and people physically checking in. It keeps people more engaged than the curated photos. Of course, it depends on the influencer and when they started or how. Did they start on YouTube? That’s likely where they do best. Where did they get their momentum to begin with? It all varies. What works for one I don’t think works for all, but I’m seeing a swing back to live interactions.
As far as me personally, I do want to be consistent, but sometimes I don’t want to post about a product that everyone else is posting about, adhere to a timeline or worry if it looks good with my feed. There’s a lot that goes into what we do. Which is another reason why I shifted out of beauty or just one thing. If I can combine what I like to do, which is storytelling, and they work together, then, I can bring in what I want when I want.