In one of the chapters of Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand, I tell the story of a fashion and style influencer who launched a product only to have it fall on deaf ears. The chronicle is of Arii, who was a teenager at the time and should have been lauded just for trying to start her own business based on her social media fame. Instead, she was mocked and declared a failure by the venom of social media users and the rubbernecking mainstream media of the day.

I went through the exercise in the book of explaining what she could have done differently in advance of her product launch to make it a successful one as a helpful guide for both influencers, and for brands who can use the story to better understand which influencers they target are most effective.

Last month, another social media influencer in the fashion, style and health space launched a brand of her own, but this one was a smashing success. Sommer Ray, who has about 40 million followers across her social networks, launched a new skincare ingestible product called IMARAÏS. The full name of the product, in fact, is IMARAÏS by Sommer Ray. 

Her path to launching the product is very different from Arii’s. Her two co-founders, Aaron Hefter and Felicia Hershenhorn, had the product concept and a beta version of the gummies, but were looking for the right influencer to be the third co-founder and face of the product. IMARAÏS is PETA certified, sugar free and with all sorts of other unique features that finding the perfect influencer to front this brand wasn’t simple. 

Hefter and Hershenhorn literally reached out to Sommer Ray as if they were pitching a regular influencer engagement … a direct message. But this one said, “We have a product we think you can get behind. We want you to be the face of it and become a co-founder and partner in the business.”

That’s a hell of a payoff for an influencer, even in a small company. 

But IMARAÏS is not small. Their launch now successful, Hefter and Hershenhorn are readying retail partnerships and distribution plans, along with direct to consumer plays. Sommer Ray? Well, she’s in it every step of the way, offering product feedback and collaboration on top of the marketing and exposure powerhouse her social channels bring. 

I caught up with Aaron and Felicia earlier this week to talk about the partnership, the product and how and why a social media influencer was the right path for IMARAÏS. Hefter spent the last 20 years or so as the CEO and co-founder of Nutrabolics, a very successful health supplement company. Hershenhorn is an attorney and friend of Hefters who tried everything under the sun for her skin until giving up and calling Aaron. The rest is almost history. If the product launch is any indication, that history will be a healthy one very soon.


This episode of Winfluence is brought to you by a new project I’ve launched with my pals Ryan Foland and Kim Garst, along with our friends at Get.Online, the .online domain name provider. We have produced three online courses that combined, form the .Online Business Academy

.Online Business Academy

It’s a series of easy to follow online courses built to help you start your own business, make a business plan, build a website for your business and start driving revenue for that thing you’ve always wanted to launch. Ryan starts off the academy’s curriculum with a course on how to come up with a business idea that doesn’t suck. The course from Kim is how to write an online business plan you will actually use. And then my course is how to set up and launch your business website to attract customers.

The .Online Business Academy is FREE! The lessons are broken up into short videos and activities, so you can do a little at a time. Or, of course you can dive in and complete the entire academy lessons all in one day.

So if you’ve been thinking about starting your own business or you or someone you know needs help to take that idea to the next level, The dot-Online Business Academy is live and waiting for you. Visit jason.online/academy right now. 

The Winfluence theme music is “One More Look” featuring Jacquire King and Stephan Sharp by The K Club found on Facebook Sound Collection.


Winfluence - Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand

Order Winfluence now!

Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is available now in paperback, Kindle/eBook and audio book formats. Get it in the medium of your choice on Amazon or get a special discount on the paperback version of the book by clicking the button below, buying on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore and using the discount code FALLS20. That earns you 20% off the retail price. Read and learn why we’ve been backed into a corner to think influencer marketing means Instagram and YouTube and how reframing it to be “influence” marketing makes us smarter marketers.

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