EXCLUSIVE: LEAF.tv's Geri Hirsch and Erin Falconer Talk Balancing Blogging With Business And Multitasking Like Beyoncé
If you're a fashion blog fan, there's no question you recognize the name Geri Hirsch. Since 2005, Geri's been filling her blog Because I'm Addicted with her musings about fashion, food and music—and has snagged partnerships with major brands like Dior and H&M in the process. Meanwhile, those who follow the health and wellness beats are likely well familiar with PickTheBrain.com, Erin Falconer's widely-read site that covers issues ranging from self-improvement and psychology to personal productivity.
While their respective websites might seem quite different on paper, Geri and Erin happen to be fast friends who met on the job—and now, they've co-founded a new shoppable, video-driven lifestyle website together. LEAF.tv (the name stands for Living, Eating and Fashion) offers quick and easy videos that meld inspiration with instruction, teaching viewers how to do everything from create the perfect smokey eye to fry an egg to distress their own denim. And while the site officially launches today, you'll notice that LEAF.tv already has tons of content—because Geri and Erin have been producing and promoting these videos piecemeal on YouTube for several years running. With the relaunch, however, every clip is now fully shoppable, thanks to LEAF's custom video player that offers up direct links to purchase featured product.
Read on for our exclusive chat with Erin and Geri, in which the twosome talk about how they got their new project off the ground. But first, check out LEAF.tv's brand-new video on how to create a festive gold-tipped French manicure, debuting right here on Luckymag.com!
Lucky: How did the idea for LEAF.tv first come about?
Geri Hirsch: Raised by a single mom, I had to figure a lot out on my own from a young age. When I went to college, I was surprised to see that I had honed a skill set that not many of my peers shared. It was then that I realized, in the burgeoning internet era, that there wasn’t a resource like generations past had relied on for all things how-to and I wanted to find a way to bridge that gap.
How did the two of you first meet—and eventually decide to launch this together?
Erin Falconer: We started one month apart on the same team at a fashion start-up and immediately hit it off!
GH: I'll never forget when Erin interviewed me! Like a good candidate, I checked out her LinkedIn profile and it read as sophisticated and very adult-like. Expecting a very serious woman, I waited nervously at Le Pain, people-watching—and to my chagrin, a cool-looking couple pulled up on a motorcyle and the girl in the leather motorcycle jacket that jumped off and gave her handsome French boyfriend a big kiss was her.
Especially at the very beginning, I'm sure it was difficult balancing your day jobs—writing for two already-successful sites—with getting LEAF off the ground. How did you manage it?
EF: From day one, LEAF has been a labor of love—so while finding more time in the day is always difficult, we were bent on making it work. Evenings and weekends were pretty much LEAF-focused and frankly, despite major sleep deprivation, those were the moments we looked forward to all week.
GH: "You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé."
Who would you say is LEAF's target audience?
GH: We call our girl "Betty" and she's a twenty-something who wants to do it all but just needs a little help.
What was the first video the two of you ever worked on together?
GH: Yes! We shot both of those plus DIY Jewelry Branch. We packed it in like Beyoncé!
How do you decide on ideas/topics for upcoming videos?
EF: It’s an ongoing collaboration. First, we started with making sure all of the basic core skill videos were created. From there on, we’ve taken inspiration from not only what we would like to see made, but from the tons of suggestions from family, friends and fans of the videos.
One of the things that really sets LEAF.tv apart from the pack for me, at least, is that you use only music—not spoken instruction—in the background of each video. How'd you decide to go that route, and how do you come up with all the awesome music you use?
EF: Geri and I are both huge music fans—and to that end, we take great care with the song selection for all of the videos, as it’s such a huge part of the success of the final product. More than that, however, we’ve made a really conscious decision to create a world in which any young woman who is watching our videos sees herself—not a "host"—as the main player in the story. We believe the psychology of how people learn today is so much different. As opposed to being taught or lectured to, we want people to be absorbed.
Of all the videos you've done so far, which has been your personal favorite to film?
EF: I will always have a soft spot for the series we did with Barneys. These videos really put us on the map and crystallized that we had something special and unique to offer.
GH: Me too. We may never have been able to raise money without those three videos. Plus, bopping around Barneys in the middle of the night was so much fun!
What's next for LEAF.tv? Where do you see the site going in the months (and years!) to come? Any special celeb guests you can spill?
GH: We're launching our site with our own shoppable player—and if the shopping data suggests that the intersection of video content and commerce is as strong as we hypothesized, then we'll move into e-comm in a bigger way.
EF: We have a bunch of collaborations coming out that we're really excited about. We're working with everyone from the Rachel Zoe styling team and Joyce Bonelli to Whitney Port and one very maj celeb that has a social media following of 10+ million. Woot!
Finally, since you have a major presence on YouTube—what are some of your favorite recent viral videos to hit the interwebs?
EF: I have a couple of favorites! For a real hit of life inspiration, I love Alan Watts' ‘’What If Money Were No Object?" video—and for one of the funniest and most poignant commentaries on where we currently are as humans versus technology, Louis C.K.'s "Everything’s Amazing, Nobody's Happy" bit is pure genius. It's an oldie, but makes me laugh every time.
For more videos from Geri and Erin, head to LEAF.tv!