Boasting an Instagram following of over 400 thousand on her verified account, Swanson is a leader when it comes to fashion awareness. And for the trendsetter, influencing began when she was a little girl. Growing up in a small city in southern China where she was known by her birth name, Hong, her memories take her back to a much simpler life.
Raised in a household with working parents who held factory jobs, Swanson understood the concept of having little and seemed content in her modest pursuits. “My mom actually hand-made all the clothes for me — dresses, skirts, sweaters, everything. She even made the patterns… My mom really wanted me to learn all of that, but I was into music, singing, or drawing, trying to express myself. But…those didn’t go far,” Swanson tells Tinseltown Mom.
The fashionista went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs and Trade, and then worked her way through various jobs while in college, including one as a television sports reporter. “…Like a lot of students who work while they go to college, it was hard for me to do, but being stubborn got me through,” she says. After college, her first job was on staff at her local chamber of commerce, where abundant doors opened, professionally and personally. “…Mostly I managed official tours for foreign trade… building relationships with other countries. I led groups of government officials on tours all around the world, and got my eyes opened wide about everything outside China, including fashion from every country… It also led me to meet the man who became my husband during one trip to Los Angeles. ‘Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get,’” she quips.
When a friend introduced the social media star to the world of blogging in 2008, her distinctive gifts unlocked new opportunities. “I didn’t mean to start a career as a fashion influencer. It just happened when I got married in America and had my son… I started taking my outfit pictures in front of the mirror, and pictures of my little daily life to share my new life with my family and friends in China. … And, as we always know, ‘Practice makes better.’ In time, I got so much better in styling and photo editing because of almost daily blogging — I loved it! Now I proudly call myself a self-taught fashion and beauty expert.”
So, what would Swanson say to those looking to make extra money online as an influencer? “…it can be done. First, you should ask yourself, yourself, ‘What’s the most benefit you can bring to other people from your knowledge or passion?’ That is the subject where you can ‘influence’ them, and the more people who follow the content you post, the more successful you can be as an influencer or blogger. Also, ask yourself, how hard you are willing to work to bring the maximum benefit to your followers. Money comes when your influence power grows stronger and bigger. Do it for yourself and your passion but try to make it attractive and helpful to your online followers… You can make a full-time living as an influencer, but it is NOT a sure thing, and it takes TONS of work. It usually takes time to grow a real following, but if you do, brands in the same field will find you and offer gifts of products or money. If you do a good job, success leads to more success. A lot of influencers have made millions of dollars over time. I have not made that much, but I have done better than I ever expected.”
In 2013, Swanson won Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed, sharing the honor with high-profile winners like Kate Middleton, Beyoncé, more. One can only imagine how that coveted title grew her brand. “…it was like an unexpected gift dropping from the sky! Suddenly, my little private blog got known around the world, and by all the major fashion brands. But to be honest, there was no dramatic change in my life, because I already had a happy family and home, and nothing can top that. But it certainly helped me dream bigger and achieve my fashion dreams faster. I got more collaborations from well-known fashion brands and resorts, and that led to more followers, and that cycle continued. Success breeds success, they say.”
Although the busy mom works diligently on her blog that takes her to exquisite locations, her permanent role is one of lasting value. “I would say my full-time job is still a stay-at-home mom, and ‘blogging’ is just a part-time job, but a pretty big one over the last few years. My blogging does take a lot of time, but I am happy because it is pretty flexible time, and mostly from my home, or in beautiful places I want to travel.”
Part of Swanson’s success is her steady entourage, that includes those closest to her. “…I proudly can say my regular team works everyday together — that is, my husband and I! We almost do everything together… and he is my photographer and legal adviser, and chauffeur. My husband not only is the best partner in life, but a perfect partner in work. I do hire outside help sometimes, especially for technical support on the internet.”
The stunning blogger has traveled all over the world, and works with over 50 brands, most of them well-known, international companies who make superior products. Pre-pandemic, she trekked, on average, 4 to 6 times a year, but she’d time her travel accordingly. “…We always tried to fit our travel schedule with our son’s school, thanks to all the hotels, resorts, and airlines we have worked with. We have had a lot of amazing family travel memories! A few times, I have had to travel alone or with a girlfriend for some big work that did not fit the school schedule, but not too often Cannes, Qatar, and Cancun were some of those destinations. But I enjoy it more as a family…”
The devoted wife and, in-demand, working mom of a teen, may travel the world wearing top designers’ most beautiful clothes, but family is still her top priority, and in that she recognizes the importance of self-care. “I love to go to the gym and dance… I also like to relax with a glass of wine and my favorite Chinese take-out food, while watching Chinese or Korean dramas on my computer.”
To see what else Hallie Swanson is up to visit her blog at www.halliedaily.com