Sinead Norenius Raniere is a South-African born entrepreneur based in San Francisco with two successful exits. She is a highly respected leader in the beauty industry. She's the founder and partner at the Pienza Collective which assists clients in navigating the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing with an eye towards influencer and social media strategy and execution. Sinead currently serves as an advisor to the Private Equity Groups and is also chairman of the board for the Bay Area Beauty Association, an advisory board to Formula XO. She also sits on the West Committee for ICMAD and is a long time CEW member. In her spare time, she blogs at The Beauty Seeker.
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Sinead shares the mindset tool that has seen her succeed in her career. Her journey has been just about taking smaller steps. Many times, people get caught up with the big picture. She realized that sometimes this big picture can be absolutely terrifying and can immobilize us by putting a lot of fear in us. In all her businesses, Sinead always just takes the first steps in. It's not about a big business plan or all these different things that people say you should have in place first. It's really just about testing the momentum. Testing and seeing if people would be interested in your idea or your business.
Sinead talks about how she started her business by just testing. Sinead formed iFabbo just as an organization for influencers to talk to each other. From there, iFabbo started doing education by bringing in Google and Facebook to teach influencers how to grow social networks. Eventually, iFabbo decided to build a back-end technology platform that could do influencer seeding. By identifying a need, testing it and taking small steps, iFabbo grew to about 3000 influencers.
Sinead also saw the need for resources in terms of people and events in the beauty industry in the San Francisco Bay Area. She therefore sent out an email to her contacts in the Bay Area asking them if they were interested to get together. This simple step led to the formation of the Bay Area Beauty Association. Often times, a company can grow from you just testing out certain things.
Sinead's time at HSN was probably one of the darkest times of her life. She was living apart from her husband because she was working in Florida. To compound to the situation, HSN also had financial and investment problems.
HSN allowed Sinead to tell her story and tell the product's story. In this way, she was able to impact and change people's lives. Her experience at HSN taught her a lot about being really sure about what the story was. One of the most important question she asked herself was "Why?" Why should people care? Why do they need this? Why should this be a part of their life?
Sinead talks about dealing with pressure of trying to hit quotas in the intense environment at HSN. She deals with all this by doing a lot of praying. It is also significant to try and maintain some sort of normalcy by making friends. A walk in the morning and in the evening, watching birds feed and seeing dolphins are some of the things Sinead did to relax.
People always have to have a sense of faith that things will be okay and there are higher powers at work. Sinead learnt the importance of always believing this from her mom, who despite going through a hideous divorce, still maintained the mindset that everything was going to be okay. This belief is what helped Sinead late last year when she was dealing with some health issues.
Sinead moved to the States with her mother and brother when she was 15 years old. Making friends at first was a little tough because of misconceptions about apartheid. However. Sinead's open, honest and welcoming personality made it a little easier. Always pick up friends you are aligned with. You don’t have to like the same things, but morally you have to see eye to eye. The friendships that stand the test of time are those where you don’t have these crazy expectations around.
In her circle of friends, Sinead, is in the middle. One of her friends is incredibly intelligent, smart and very successful. She has done incredibly well and has worked at Google and Facebook. This relationship, though sometimes uncomfortable, pushes Sinead to step up her game. It's crucial to have at least one uncomfortable relationship that pushes you out of your comfort zone, whether it's spiritually, emotionally, career-wise and business-wise.
Now, Sinead is now back into kind of an education mode. During the day she consults and works with clients on their digital, social and influencer strategies. Her clients are in different parts of the world like New Zealand, Israel, Detroit and San Francisco. It's just working as a partner with different brands. Sinead really just acts as an advisor and basically as a steer for clients.
Sinead describes the most effective influencer strategies right now. The central strategy is consistency. People use influencers as like this turn on, turn off, and that is not how they should be used. It needs to be constant because, as a seller, you want that constant conversation about your brand. It is imperative to keep in mind that influencers are at the top of the funnel and so it's difficult to get a result on a direct response level. It doesn’t make sense.
Now, can influencers move the needle? Absolutely. 100%. But it definitely is more top of the funnel marketing until you start bubbling it down and seeing really who moves, who doesn’t. Influencer marketing is an important tactic in any marketing plan. It's all about relationship building.
If you're starting out in the influencer space, there is nothing wrong with some hard work. You can follow certain influencers within your category whether it's B2B or automotive or lifestyle or beauty. Have one-on-one conversations with these influencers. However, there are so many platforms out there to reach potential customers like Activate and Statusphere.
Sinead describes an influencer as a very impassioned consumer or someone who has a larger following or influence over a group of people on a platform like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. Some consumers can be really influential as they talk to all their friends and get their friends to buy. However, Sinead looks for actual content to be created and storytelling and this is generally where these content curators are the influencers.
Most of the time, Sinead deals with micro-influencers or small influencers. These influencers have more engagement rates. They have sometimes three to six times more engagement rates than influencers who have massive following. Followers from micro and small influencers are also kind of rabid followers. Very few times, she will work with influencers that start to move into the celebrity status. These are usually those with over a million followers. These are however large budgets and it needs to make sense for the brand.
The type of content that will lead to a fanatical following is one which is authentic and transparent. People love to see the inside look, the behind the scenes. Also one can leverage platforms and technologies that analyze content. These can enable you to look at content and know what will resonate with your audience and what will not.
While at Beautisol, Sinead relinquished a lot of the financial control to a partner who had more financial experience than her. This partner went on to compromise the company financially and the company almost went into insolvency. That was the biggest, crushing blow in Sinead's career. This failure defined Sinead and pushed her. It made her realize that she had to take better ownership for her company. If she were taken back to that time, she would ask more financial questions. Business owners should always trust their gut, especially when they suspect that something is off. You should learn to question even in areas where you're not an expert in. It's just about feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Sinead is a beginner in so many aspects of her life like kite surfing. If you start thinking you're an expert, you stop learning. Always try to push yourself as much as you can. Her best quote is from Richard Branson where he says, "If someone gives you a new opportunity but you're not sure that you can do it, say yes anyways and learn it later." Be willing to be in the unknown, face the fear and do it anyway.
Sinead shares a study that compares the difference between men and women when applying for jobs. Men will see a job interview or a job posting and if they reach 60% of the requirements, they'll most likely apply. However, women generally will not apply if they don’t feel like they've met 100% of the requirements. What Sinead has learnt from this study is she needs to reprogram her mind out of any expectations that society may have of her. Sinead's shift to a transparent mindset has come as a result of age, experience and a couple of hard knocks. She also surrounds herself with people that think she is amazing and who want her to succeed.
For her morning routine, Sinead uses an app called Shine to send her a quote or sentence to think about at 6:30 A.M. She also gets Universe's emails. Every year, Sinead will set up a theme for each year. She builds out what her life will look at that year, goals she wants to achieve and the keywords for that year. Also she has set a calendar alert that gets sent to her as an email every day. This year the message is, "I am strong, I am powerful, I am successful, I am a force of good. Nothing can stop me. I am humble. I am grateful and I'm plentiful." She reads this message every morning. She finally goes to Instagram. This year, transformation is Sinead's theme. Sinead is doing physical and mental transformation after a dark period last year. She is committed to reading more.
Sinead's idea of fulfillment is having the true feeling or sense of purpose. That, for her, would be incredibly fulfilling. She gets glimpses that she is living a fulfilled life when she gets to effect change in either people, situations or communities.
Connect with Sinead
www.thepienzacollective.com -Business Website
@sineadnorenius- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Start with Why- Simon Sinek
The Power of Habit- Charles Duhigg
The Magnetic Leader- Roberta Chinsky Matuson
The Culture Code- Daniel Coyle
Born a Crime- Trevor Noah