Lifestyle Influencer Janny Organically Drops Truth Bombs And Builds Trust
Janny Organically, a rising influencer who describes herself as an ambassador for healthy habits and organic living, isn’t afraid of tough diplomacy. She’s called out natural beauty brands for greenwashing ingredients, tackled complicated parenting issues like co-sleeping and vaccinating, and developed strict criteria for reviewing products. The no-fluff, frank attitude has won the blogger an audience that faithfully follows her recommendations. Beauty Independent snagged some minutes with the mom in between homeschooling her 5-year-old daughter and making cinnamon cashew milk matcha lattes to discuss social media’s future, pushback against corporate buyouts and her mascara crush.
How did Janny Organically come about?
I started a blog nearly four years ago in an effort to share my approach to addressing PCOS [polycystic ovarian syndrome] naturally. I was one of those sick-all-the-time and allergic-to-everything kids, and it wasn’t until I found a holistic doctor and started replacing all the junk in my life with a healthier version, which included beauty and skincare, [that] I wound up in this community.
What’s your niche as a blogger?
Holistic Wellness. If it goes in, on or around my body, I’ve researched the heck out of it and, then, I want to share my findings and information with my readers.
What is your favorite way to discover new brands?
Lately, it’s been introductions from fellow influencers or from owners of brands that I already trust and have built a relationship with. The credibility is already there.
How do you identify which brands to partner with?
I’m pretty picky. I’m very strict with ingredients and sourcing. So, if those align with my values, and it’s a product I think my readers would be interested in, I’ll get to know the owner/creator and test the product. I only share the products that meet all the criteria and perform exceedingly well. I’ve had plenty of potential partnerships not come to fruition because the products did not meet my personal expectations.
What do you wish brands knew about working with influencers?
Not every influencer in the industry is the right one for you. Many influencers have close relationships with one another and speak with each other, so we know when we’ve all received the same copy and paste pitch. It’s in everyone’s best interest to look at an influencer as someone you want to develop an ongoing working relationship with, not just a one-and-done Instagram share.
That said, the brand, most likely a small business, is essentially engaging an influencer, a small business themselves, in a business transaction. Many brands come to an influencer and say they don’t have a budget or want to exchange product for a blog post or Instagram share. But the brand is really asking an influencer to provide hours of their time in research, product testing, shooting and editing photos, writing content and, most importantly, access to not only their audience, but the trust that audience has gained from the influencer.
What are some different ways you work with brands?
Each partnership is different. It depends on the types of platforms I’m sharing content on, how much research is needed, the product value, and if there will be an affiliate program. I do a variety of combinations with Instagram posts, stories and/or blog posts. I also offer consulting services. My most recent venture is product development with one of my favorite brands.
What do you feel has been your most successful partnerships with a brand?
Luckily, there have been many. I didn’t expect to land in a beauty community, but it’s been such a blessing. Partnering with brands like Josh Rosebrook, Laurel Whole Plant Organics, Agent Nateur, H is for Love and Ayuna have been mutually beneficial because their values align with my own, and I’m genuinely pumped about every new product they launch. I know my readers can sense my excitement and trust I’m not just promoting them because I got free product.
Can you tell us a little more about what you did with one of the brands you mentioned, and why you think it was successful?
They are each so different. Take, for example, Laurel [Shaffer] from Laurel Whole Plant Organics. Her studio is pretty close to me, so I’ve been able to see and experience a lot of the behind-the-scenes action, and learn about things like biodynamic ingredients versus organic or thoughts about third-party verification systems or how an isolate [is] really created. I love sharing these with my readers, which engages them into her product because they get to know more about her, how all of her ingredients are sourced and why it matters. We’ve partnered on posts and giveaways because I’ve done the digging on her products, and they all turn up to be #jannyapproved. Laurel also happens to be pretty darn sweet, so that helps.
Is there a product you’ve been excited about lately?
I’ve tried so many natural and organic mascaras over the years, and my latest find is the Hush + Dotti vegan mascara, which I’m totally smitten with.
Do you think the Janny Organically audience is upset by sponsored posts?
I polled my audience about this and a good percentage of them said they were less likely to trust a recommendation from a sponsored post, but, then, messaged me to clarify they feel that way about most bloggers. They do trust my content, sponsored or not, because they’ve come to trust my recommendations in general. It was kind of bittersweet because, while I’m happy the majority of my readers understand the work I’m putting into my channels, it’s sad they don’t feel the same way for everyone. Blogging is hard work.
Which of your posts gets the most attention?
The controversial ones. I don’t talk just beauty. I tend to post about topics to help people think outside the box or question the status quo. If most of us have transitioned to a purchase cleaner, more mindful products, it’s because we now know how harmful many conventional ingredients are. Surely, there are other areas of life to apply the same kind of thinking.
What controversial post got the most traction?
Last year, I published a post about popular greenwashed ingredients that sparked a lot of curiosity and opinion by consumers and brands alike. While the majority of the readers were in agreement or happy to learn, there were quite a few unhappy because, if what I was sharing was true, that meant some of their ride-or-die products weren’t as clean as they thought they were. Brand loyalists defended their products of choice, and that’s fine. I only ever share content to help everyone make informed decisions for themselves and encourage them to dig deeper.
What are your thoughts about maintaining privacy in the internet age?
Once you put it out on the internet, there’s no getting it back, so I err on the side of caution. I don’t check in or add locations online, I turn off geotagging on my photos and don’t share private information like surname or address or even commonly visited locations like parks, schools, neighborhoods, etc. When I started to gain an audience, I moved my daughter off camera more. I want her to be in control of what she shares on the internet instead of having the decision made for her before she even understands what it is. She’ll make an appearance on Instagram Stories here and there, but if I post a picture of her, her face is generally turned or obscured.
You share a lot on Instagram Stories. What is your take on that platform compared to the others?
My Instagram feed is generally where I’ll post polished content and photos, but the real show is happening in my Stories. It’s the raw, behind the scenes where my readers get to see what typical days look like, what I’m shopping for, what primarily plant-based meals I’m cooking, or how I go about dissecting ingredients from a scientific perspective.
What changes do you see affecting the industry because of the indie beauty movement?
We’re in the thick of one right now. Huge corporations are being impacted by these wonderful smaller, indie brands and their loyal following, so they are imitating them or buying them out. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about how we’re seeing this happen with Unilever because there has been such an uptick in the demand for locally-sourced, more natural ingredients, and indie brands tend to be quicker to adapt to customer needs and engage more effectively through social media. If you watch these loyal customers react to the announcement of a buyout, particularly when the new owner’s business or ethical practices don’t align with their own, they definitely let it be known. Customers are smart and savvy. We don’t want our money to ultimately end up in the pockets of the very people we’re fighting against. We vote with our dollars.
Where do you see the influencer community heading in the next few years?
It’s so hard to say. Technology is evolving quickly and, if you’d asked me if I thought Instagram Stories were going to be such an influential way to share, I would have doubted it. Of course, the critic in me thinks there may be more internet censorship that may negatively affect influencers and smaller brands. I sincerely hope I’m wrong on that front.
How do you want to evolve your content going forward?
Outside of sharing new and loved products, I strive to keep my content relevant to what’s happening in the world, how it impacts us and whatever season of life I’m in, and how I’m figuring my way through it all.