Kefilwe Mabote on influencing and Covid-19
Think luxury influencers and one of the first names that pops into your head is probably that of Kefilwe Mabote.
She is the pinnacle of influencer marketing in the country and even the continent. Brands want to see their garments on her and it’s that power that has made her leader in the industry, wielding power of the likes of Italian influencer, Chiara Ferragni.
An influencer even before the term was a career, Kefilwe has been at the forefront of using social media to show the world her sense of style, beauty and her travels. A stylist and image consultant, it makes sense that she used her skills and was able to build a second career as a luxury and fashion influencer on social media.
Now she has co-authored "Influencer De Luxe - From Soweto to Milan" with Lebo Grand and details her life from Soweto, where she was born and raised, to Milan and the world of high fashion.
Ahead of the release of the book, I spoke to her about the world of influencer marketing, choosing campaigns and how Covid-19 has had an impact on the influencer world.
The world of luxury influencing looks amazing from the outside. Just how much work is done for us to see the final product?
There's definitely a lot of work that goes into it. First, you have to set a high standard in the way you're going to present your brand.
Being a luxury influencer requires a certain level of sophistication or refinement where you’re able to enjoy, appreciate and be discerning in the aesthetics. You also have to be meticulous in the way you create content.
How have you been able to set yourself apart from other luxury influencers?
It's all about being true to myself and always making sure that I stay in my lane. I work hard and don't compete with anyone but myself. That, I suppose, is the secret that has set me apart from other luxury influencers.
The continent is seeing a renewed interest in the idea of African luxury. How much of a role do you think you have played to show that African luxury is a reality and the world needs to embrace it?
I believe in the philosophy of luxury for luxury's sake. For me, it's all about style.
I like the challenge of taking anything, African or not, and giving it a luxury feel. Africa is most definitely a rich continent, and there's so much room to create a seamless fusion between luxury with our heritage.
When you look at the influencer industry and its growth in South Africa, what are some of the things that you are proud of?
The profession of social media "influencer" in South Africa, although still young in comparison with other global markets, has boomed over the last couple of years. I'm glad that brands are starting to use it more effectively as they understand the industry better.
Why was it so important for you to write this book?
People have always wondered who Kefilwe Mabote is. For years I've seen and heard a lot of things being said about me, some good and others not so good.
So I decided to write this book as a way to, firstly, let people into my world. I wanted to take them on a journey that will, hopefully, get them to have a better understanding of who I really am.
I also wanted to use it as a tool to empower those who want to follow after my footsteps as luxury brand influencers. I'm also sharing about my entrepreneurial journey, which wasn't easy at all. There were a lot of ups and downs, things that will make you shed a little tear as you read the book because of how raw the emotions are.
How much of an impact has the Covid-19 pandemic had on your plans for the year and are you already working on a turnaround strategy to still make the year a good one?
The Covid-19 pandemic has really had quite a significant impact on my day-to-day work-life and plans!
To be honest, we didn’t see this coming and this didn’t plan appropriately on what to do should we face a lockdown! However, being a girl with a plan, I have found that the removal of the frivolous day-to-day living we do has forced not only me but all of us to reflect on what influencing means.