CARMEL, Ind. (WTHR) - Style and fashion should be accessible for everyone, regardless of your body type, believes Sierra Holmes.
The Indy Influencer is a size 22 who wears bright patterns and body-hugging clothes. Her philosophy and body-positivity message is increasingly engaging a loyal online audience.
"I'm a mom of two. I live in Carmel. My brand name is Eclectic Kurves. I run a cool blog" Holmes said.
Bold from the start
Holmes started the blog three years ago and today it remains a side hustle for the 32-year-old who works full time in human resources.
"You have to have patience. This is a long game," Holmes said. "I knew really early on that I wanted to focus on plus-sized fashion, body confidence, body positivity and that was the foundation of my blog and to this day is the foundation of my blog."
Holmes' career includes a history in retail. It where she learned about clothes and the secrets to styling. She believes her future is her blog and her fashion features on Instagram.
She believes in being bold.
"I posted a picture of myself in a swimsuit and I'm just out there living my life and in this swimsuit and having a great time, and the first message I got was, 'Your confidence wants me to keep going,' and that is why I do what I do," Holmes said. "There are a couple of times where you know a troll has come across my page to let me know that I was fat. You just have to have a really tough skin to be in the public eye."
"Reach is important. It's the Indianapolis 500. Any time you can collaborate with a brand or a company that has a reach like that you don't miss that opportunity. It's huge for visibility and street cred here in Indy. It kind of cements you as a top person to be following and someone who is a mover and a shaker here in the city" Holmes said.
Her partnership with small businesses like Endeavor Boutique in Carmel developed because Holmes was a customer first.
"They carry I believe small up to a 3X so if I wanted to go shopping with you, we could go shopping in the same store and that's really important to me and my followers," Holmes said.
Melissa Butrum owns the boutique and says she and Holmes work well together because they have a relationship and share the same philosophy.
"We are not all the same shape and size," Butrum said.
The collaboration is driving sales.
"It's been huge. We have orders from New York. We've got orders from all over, which is crazy and they don't even know where we are ... and it's just through one person," Butrum said.
Know yourself, your platform & your audience
Holmes' advice to would-be influencers is to understand your platform and your niche.
"I think a lot of brands are understanding now that what we call micro-influencers, an influencer that has less than 20,000 followers, is very impactful. They have a strong engagement and a strong following and they can sometimes produce better results than an account with 100,000 followers," Holmes said.
Social media metrics reveal Sierra's core followers are an advertiser's dream: moms ages 25 to 55.
"I have a ton of followers who are curvy and plus sized. That is a huge part of my brand. They will see me wearing something or using something and they are like, 'Oh, like, I can see myself doing that because she is a real person' and that is the difference, so book me."
Sierra sells ads, sponsorships and a variety of products to make money. She also accepts gifts and estimates she receives 15 to 20 free outfits a week.
"Someone sent me a $3,000 mattress. That wasn't a bad day. I was excited about that. We sleep really well," Holmes said.
Sierra believes her influence is steadily growing because she isn't seeking or selling perfection.
"From the beginning, I was just genuine, you know? I'm like, 'Hey, here I am looking super awesome in this outfit.' Now you get to see me looking a mess on my way to Target," Holmes said. "There are moments in this business where it is like, 'Is this my real life?' This is my real life. I'm excited about that. Book me."