Entrepreneur Krista Brumm opens up about what it means to be authentic both online and in real life. Needing to step away from the influencer world for a brief respite, Krista shares how she returned to blogging with a new perspective and purpose, allowing her to keep true to herself and learning how to say no.
Sharing your inner world for all the internet to see — your thoughts, life struggles, insecurities, and successes takes a certain courage and vulnerability. And while sifting through the carefully curated Instagram images and the perfectly put-together lifestyle of bloggers, you’ll find Krista Brumm, an influencer and blogger. She doesn’t shy away from sharing the ups and downs of life. Krista shares her authentic self.
Krista stepped into theworld of bloggingduring her freshman year at Iowa State. But why Krista started her blog, and the message she hopes to share goes well beyond the typical makeup tutorial or latest fashion trend.
Expressing herself through fashion and beauty, Krista feels at her best and most confident when decked out in a great outfit, and her makeup is on point. Krista was the girl who would dress to the nines every day in high school, donning heels, a full face, and never repeating an outfit. “I wasthatgirl,” Krista laughs. But once Krista graduated high school, her college experience was an entirely different story.
“[College] was a weird transition time for me,” says Krista. “I remember showing up the first day wearing something that was probably way over the top and my friends were like, ‘We wear sweatpants here.'”
Krista admitted, “I had never owned a pair of sweatpants.”
Feeling out of place and in search of community, Krista joined a sorority, though quickly discovered the sorority wasn’t the best environment for her either. “I thought of a sorority in one way, but when I got there, it was something very different.”
Decked out in sweatpant ensembles and finding herself surrounded by the wrong people, Krista realized she was starting to lose her sense of self and identity. So out of a desire to find a supportive community that shared her same love of beauty and fashion, Krista started posting on Instagram and created her blog, now called the Krista Collective.
While on her blog, Krista shares everything beauty and fashion, detailing her beauty routines and favorite skincare products, and what clothes and brands she’s loving, Krista goes much deeper. In her blog and posts, Krista opens up in a way that breaks through the shiny Instagram veneer, revealing a real person who shares the same vulnerabilities and insecurities as everyone else.
If Krista is having a bad day, she’ll open up about it on her platforms. One of her biggest goals is to be the same person in real life as she is online. At the start of our interview, Krista says, “I’m an open book — ask me anything.” Genuine authenticity is at the core of everything Krista does, especially when it comes to who she endorses and which brands she partners with.
Soon after starting her blog and Instagram, Krista began getting paid offers from brands. While incredibly exciting, she explains, “I kept getting into a really bad routine where I kept saying ‘yes,’ yes,’ ‘yes’ I’ll work with you because I thought it was a great opportunity, and I was getting paid.” But over time, saying ‘yes’ to everything took a toll. “I was growing in myself and meeting new people, but then I felt like it became very inauthentic to who I was. I was changing my personal style and felt what I had been posting didn’t align with my real life. I always wanted to keep my authenticity.”
“I always wanted to keep my authenticity.”
Last spring, Krista decided to step away from Instagram and her blog to refocus and reflect, realigning with why she started her blog in the first place — to create a space of belonging where she and others could share what they truly loved.
“Now, when I go to shoot something, it’s something I love, and I only say yes to things I love.” Krista is partnering with brands that stay true to herself and her values. For instance, Krista recently collaborated with Target’s Who What Wear line as well as Switch, a membership service where you can borrow fine jewelry and designer pieces by couture brands such as Chanel.
Now, when I go to shoot something, it’s something I love, and I only say yes to things I love.
From someone who has been in the influencer game for a while, Krista advises when partnering with brands, “You don’t want to do something without knowing you’ll also get something back from it. Collaboration between brands and Instagrammers is mutually beneficial, but brands can take advantage, especially micro-influencers. I experienced it firsthand in the beginning when I didn’t know what I was doing. Influencers and bloggers have created this whole new job market; you need to know your worth.”
Krista’s mother taught her to always know your worth and know who you are. “We always used to say, ‘You know who the f*** I am?!'” This mantra carried Krista through her lowest points when she settled for bad relationships and bad friendships. And now, knowing herself and her worth helps her navigate which brands and companies she decides to partner with. Krista regaled me with the time she said no to a lucrative gig with a major energy drink company. “I thought it was so cool, but then I thought, I don’t ever drink this, it’s terrible for you, and I would never promote it.”
Navigating the now almostfifteen billion-dollar influencer marketis not an easy task, particularly for those starting out aiming to build a brand and follower base on their own. “It’s a dream that didn’t come overnight,” says Krista. Krista taught herself how to code a website in brief free moments between school and work to create the incredible blog she has now. “I worked hard, and many people don’t know what goes into it.” Moving forward, Krista hopes to create a guide to help others who want to enter into the blogging and influencer world, from how to create an engaging website to how to handle big-name brands without being exploited.
While Krista’s mother instilled in her confidence and worthiness (not to mention Krista’s sense of style and early love for fashion as her mother worked in the fashion industry), Krista’s father, who runs his own businesses, inspired her to become her own boss.
“I think the entrepreneurial gene is something that definitely runs in the family; I can’t really see myself working for someone else.”
Soon to graduate with a marketing degree from Bethel University’s business school, Krista has several business ideas in the works. When I pressed further, Krista could only divulge one business plan. Her other ideas are being kept under wraps for the moment as she continues discussions with other partners. Ultimately, Krista’s dream is to open her own boutique.
More business-minded, Krista plans to leave the designing to others and instead fill the buyer’s role, jet-setting around the country to uncover the next amazing trends, bringing back the latest styles to sell at her Twin Cities boutique. And Krista already has firsthand experience as a buyer.
Working as an assistant manager at a local boutique, Krista accompanied her manager to a showroom in Atlanta to scope out the latest fashions. Krista recalls, “It was heaven to me. It was stressful with long hours, but I knew that this is what I wanted to do, to own a boutique.” As of now, Krista is still in the early stages of brainstorming and development to make her vision a reality.
But until she graduates and gets her many businesses off the ground, Krista remains focused on school, her blog, running social media for other brands, and of course, her adorable chocolate lab Bruin, who snoozed on her bed snuggled up behind Krista throughout our Zoom interview.
You need to know your worth.
As we wrapped up the interview, Krista shares some of the best advice she’s ever received. “The best advice I’ve ever gotten is to get to the place where you know who you are, the kind of person you want to be, and always improve yourself.”
Krista is always striving to grow into the person she wants to be — to find her voice and become strong enough in her beliefs to know exactly what to say to help people going through difficult times. You see Krista’s growth and honesty in her blog. And along with her blog and boutique, I’m genuinely excited to see what other fantastic projects will emerge as Krista heads into the future. Whatever Krista decides to pursue, I have absolutely no doubt that Krista’s authenticity and values will be at the core of every idea and business venture.