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With nearly 600,000 followers on Instagram on her channel hapatime and one of the industry’s top fashion blogs hapatime.com, Jessica Ricks is a social media force to be reckoned with. Hailing from the Bay Area of California, Jessica always had an inclination for aesthetics, explaining that she wanted to be an interior designer or a book illustrator when she was young. Jessica discovered her affinity for fashion blogging in 2011 with Chictopia, and has since expanded her work into beauty and travel.
Jessica has been sponsored by well-known brands including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Forever 21, Asos, Express, and more. Check out our exclusive interview with Jessica as she shares the ins-and-outs of fashion blogging, social media, and where her career path is headed.
Mediakix: How did growing up with three sisters affect your interests, style, and viewpoints?
Jessica: I’ve always been the most girly-girl of all my sisters. I think I kind of led the way (being the oldest) and influenced them to be more interested in makeup and fashion. I also think growing up with all girls in the family led us all to be more independent as women because we always had to carry the heavy stuff (groceries, luggage, furniture), open our own doors, take out our trash etc.
I wouldn’t say my interests were influenced by my sisters, or even if I had had brothers—I was into drawing and reading from a really young age. But generally, I do not think of how my three sisters affected me growing up, but rather how it would have been if I had three brothers! I never was into the outdoors, but maybe I would have been! I wonder if I would be able to ski or ride a skateboard—but then again, I’m glad I avoided all the cuts and bruises☺
How does your handle, “hapatime,” define who you are, what you do, and what your message is?
When I first started blogging it was meant to be a more rounded blog—I never had the goal to be known for just my style and so really I wanted a general name. “Hapa” is a Hawaiian term, and Hawaii is a place I feel at home (other than my real home in California). Also being hapa I grew up not feeling like I had a culture I belonged to. But now, that’s what makes me unique. I’m proud to be hapa now and I had fun with the idea that when someone is checking out my content. It’s like they’re on “hapa” time.
How does SF play a role in the way you view the world and the way you manage your Instagram account?
I’m about an hour south of SF, so I feel more connected to the Bay Area as a whole than just San Francisco itself. I think the Bay Area is very forward thinking and also very diverse. We have all the software giants out here like Yahoo, Cisco, Google, Netflix, so it makes sense to have jumped on the technology as it was released. Just being close to all these tech savvy people makes me want to keep learning and growing with the Bay Area, too.
What were some of the hardest lessons you’ve learned about blogging and social media?
That you never really get a break. And to stay on top or even keep up with the game you have to keep moving fast. I’ve always been a pretty chill person so it really keeps me on my toes!
What do you look for in a partnership with a brand or company? What do you love about the ones you work with now?
I really just think right away if my brand matches the company and is it a product that I love and my readers will love? It’s great working with brands and companies who are familiar working with influencers and allow total creative freedom. It’s important for brands to remember that each influencer has his or her own unique style and understands their audience best.
What exactly is The Hapa Time Closet, who has access to it, and how did you come up with that idea?
Over the years of course I have developed quite the collection! Clothes, bags, shoes, even makeup (though that doesn’t do as well over time). As a blogger, I don’t often wear items more than once since I’m constantly styling new pieces. I really don’t know what all the other bloggers do!
I usually wait a grace period of about year before I list the item however, and then my sister Chantel handles all the operational parts like packaging, shipping, customer service, etc. It’s a fun side project for me and my sister and it also allows my readers access to some of my clothes that they loved in my posts!
What do you love most about engaging with your followers?
I think it’s amazing that I have followers that look up to me and I make an impact in their lives. I’ve always wanted to make a difference but didn’t know how without money or fame. I love meeting my followers and having the chance to talk with them and learn more about them. It’s pretty cool running into my followers all around the world!
How do you keep up with social media? How do you recharge? What are some of your favorite things to do outside of blogging?
I make sure I get enough sleep! Sleep does wonders and there’s nothing like it. It’s definitely hard to separate your personal life from social media since there never seems to be a “perfect” time to disconnect. I try not to be on social media too much though, and I like to spend quality time with my boyfriend, family, and friends, and read a good book or two (when I can squeeze it in) ☺
If you only could only wear one accessory with your outfits for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A pair of sunglasses, because sunglasses go with everything and they also do many great things such as: 1) prevent wrinkles, 2) hide the fact you aren’t wearing eye makeup, 3) hide the fact that you blink at all the wrong times (during a photo shoot at least!).