Camille Janae doesn’t see herself as a content creator. However, she realizes that’s how she might be perceived. That’s because, over on TikTok, the knowledgable stylist creates educational videos on all things locs and curly hair that tend to rack up hundreds of thousands of views.
Camille has been using social media to advertise her hair services long before platforms like TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram took over the digital sphere. Rather than seeing herself as a content creator, Camille sees content creation as a powerful marketing tool. Because whether she’s educating others on how to care for their curly hair or promoting her virtual community The Collective, where members can receive support from haircare professionals, building community is key.
As a curly hair and loc specialist, Camille is shifting narratives around textured hair, one curl at a time. We sat down with her to talk about launching The Collective, how she keeps her audience engaged, and how she avoids creator burnout.
You’re a hairstylist, but also a curly hair and loc educator who shares content on all things haircare on social media. Can you tell us about your journey as a content creator?
That’s an interesting question because I don’t consider myself a content creator! I look at content creation as a marketing tool, but I’ve realized that I’m viewed as a creator online.
I’ve been creating content around hair since 2010, and after becoming licensed in 2017, I’ve slowly built a name for myself. Since 2020, there’s also been a wave of curly stylists on Twitter and TikTok, which has introduced me to a new audience.
My content creation journey started from a place of thinking, “How can I market the services I offer?” Initially, I used it purely as a tool to showcase my services. Over time, I started thinking about the value that my content can provide to people who aren’t able to come into my salon. Then, at the height of the pandemic, I started creating content to market my digital products, in addition to my salon offering.
How do you keep your audience engaged?
I try to start different conversations on different platforms. For instance, the audiences on Twitter and Instagram are not the same. On Instagram, I like engaging with my audience via Stories, Q&As, polls, and Reels. I’m also mindful of what I post because every platform has a different vibe. For example, I can be more funny on Instagram, but more sassy on Twitter.
I also find that going live is great because of the connection it creates with my followers, rather than just interacting with a screen. I try to mix it up with my content, creating interactive content as opposed to just scheduled posts.
Can you talk to us about one of your digital products, The Collective? What inspired you to create and sell it?
The Collective is a virtual membership community geared towards consumers who have locs or curly hair of any type. It’s relatively new, and it’s a way for me to provide more direct guidance and support, especially for consumers who aren’t local to me. It’s a place where I offer video tutorials and live Q&As, and it also functions as a chat room where subscribers can submit their own questions with photos and videos.
One of my colleagues has a similar community offering, and her success with it encouraged me to reach out to my clients and consumers in that way as well. In the past, I’ve provided other virtual services for consumers. Some worked and some were more hit-or-miss, but that was okay because it allowed me to tweak my services based on feedback. Some consumers want more support as opposed to a one-off course, and I feel like The Collective is an excellent service for consumers seeking more.
Can you walk us through the process of creating The Collective?
The process wasn’t necessarily difficult because I have other digital products, including courses for loc care or curly hair care. However, I found video editing very tedious, so I connected my community with an app called Geneva, which is similar to Discord. The back-end process took time and patience because I had to figure it out, and ensure everything was user-friendly and seamless prior to launch.
Something I learned from the process was how to give myself time to learn if a product is running smoothly, including getting colleagues to test it out from a consumer standpoint prior to launching. Being open to change and receptive to feedback is also important.
You sell memberships through The Collective, but you also provide in-person hair services. How lucrative is your digital product within the grand scheme of your business?
Percentage-wise, The Collective makes up about 10% of my monthly revenue, whereas 90% comes from my in-person services, whether it’s salon appointments or hosting classes for stylists.
Can you tell us about some of the coolest opportunities that you’ve gained through content creation?
One of the coolest opportunities I’ve gained from creating content has been styling hair for the cover of a curl magazine. The editor-in-chief reached out to me because I’ve done a few interviews for her publication and they liked my work. It was a really great opportunity to showcase my work around curly hair.
In general, the coolest thing about content creation is being able to educate and connect with stylists and consumers around the world, people I normally wouldn’t have access to or be able to connect with. Being able to teach people in countries like Germany and Zambia, and hosting virtual consultations for people in countries like Italy and France is mind-blowing to me!
How do you stay inspired and avoid burnout?
I can’t say that I’ve completely avoided burnout, but I try to take social media breaks and, importantly, try to not feel guilty about taking them. Staying connected to people in real life also helps me stay grounded, because it’s easy to get sucked into the digital world.
Tapping into the bigger picture and thinking about why I create and educate helps me stay inspired. I think this is important, because it helps me to stay authentic and connected to my personal journey.
What advice do you have for aspiring creators?
Lean into what makes you unique and show up authentically. It’ll help your content creation process and make it much easier. Also, networking is important. It takes time to maintain a solid community and build something substantial. You need to have patience and be consistent.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Photo: Courtesy of Lara Kaur