Estate Five's Lynsey Eaton, Suzanne Droese, and Tina Craig
More than a decade ago, Tina Craig launched Bag Snob and became one of the first to step into a new frontier: the fashion blog. Since then, she has navigated numerous digital frontiers (Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram), cultivating a loyal following and securing her major status as an influencer.
Now she’s acting as a guide — along with blogger and former attorney Lynsey Eaton and lifestyle publicist Suzanne Droese — for those managing their own digital empires. And helping them make millions while they’re at it.
Last October, the trio formed a new-frontier talent-management agency, Estate Five, to help influencers make strategic moves and form lucrative partnerships with big-name brands. Their select roster of clients — which includes Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes (206,000 Instagram followers) and Heather Clawson of Habitually Chic (155,000 Instagram followers) — wields much power.
“It’s unbelievable to access their numbers on the backend and see how they are influencing and changing the way people purchase,” Eaton says. “Not just how they purchase, but the way they operate their lives — the way they live their lives.”
The industry of social influence is still vastly unchartered territory, even for established names, which is why Estate Five set out to do things differently as a boutique agency, Droese notes.
“We’re kind of like big sisters or even mothers. Sometimes we’re therapists,” Droese says. Craig looks up from her phone and adds, laughing, “I’m doing therapy right now!”
In addition to their deep book of contacts and strategic counsel, the first-hand experience of Estate Five’s founders offers a degree of comfort to clients whose businesses are based on their personal identities.
“It’s easy to get stressed out because you’re being judged by your appearance or your next post,” says Craig. “You’re only as good as your next Instagram story — let’s be honest here.”
Of great importance for burgeoning influencers, the Estate Five team agrees, is developing an authentic voice that transcends the platform du jour.
“It’s the people who make you feel like you know them that will be around when Instagram dies and we’ve all moved on to the next thing. Their community will follow them,” says Eaton. “And they’ll remember things like your children’s birthdays!” adds Craig, who is still touched when followers recognize her on her travels and approach her like an old friend.
In a seemingly saturated digital world, is there room for new voices? When Estate Five signed Instagram’s Diet Prada in October, the fashion whistleblower had a meager 30,000 followers. Today, it is upwards of 740k. In June, Time magazine included Diet Prada on its list of the 25 Most Influential People on the Internet, alongside Rihanna, Kanye West, and Donald Trump.
Rapid successes like these contribute to the biggest misconception in the industry: that being a social influencer doesn’t take hard work. The Estate Five team has kept up with the industry’s breakneck speed by staying constantly connected (Eaton admits to sending a few emails while in labor with her son earlier this year).
“Look, I’m working right now!” Craig says, having just posted a quick Boomerang. “I thought it was a good scene.”
It is precisely that hustle that has led Estate Five to open a second office in Beverly Hills as well as an outpost in New York City — all shy of a year after launching their agency. It’s rapid success, yes, but bolstered by a tremendous amount of strategy, knowledge, and powerful relationships.