We had the good fortune of connecting with Mackenzie Dudzik and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mackenzie, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
You have to be so incredibly confident in WHAT exactly your brand is. If your brand is not crystal clear, to both you (and your team) and the consumer, then you’ll run into issues, no doubt.
When I was first starting my personal brand, I thought I had it down pat. I knew who I was, the kind of content I was producing, and the kind of consumer I was creating for. But it wasn’t until I sat down and mapped it out, and got as specific as possible, that I was able to pitch myself to anyone, anywhere. Once that happened, I was experiencing wins left and right.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I always knew I was going to end up in the entertainment industry. I studied Theatre at a performing arts conservatory in New York, and after about 6 years in the city, decided to visit some friends in Los Angeles. I definitely fell in love with LA and the idea that here, everyone was always working on a dozen projects at one time. I was really inspired by that. It wasn’t until moving out here that I realized what an influencer “did” or the kind of career that was available. Once I saw that, I knew I could do it, and do it in a way that was still “me”.
I’d say it look about 3 years of working at it every. single. day, to get to a point where I could be a full-time creator. Was it easy? Nope. Was it fun? Hell yeah! A lot of people out there think that anyone could grab a camera, snap a photo, talk about a few products and become an influencer, but that’s just not the case. There’s so much more to it now. You have to know how to run a business, pitch a product (in this case, YOU as the product, to some of the biggest brands in the world) and do it in a way that’s exciting, creative and authentic. You have to constantly be staying up on the industry, trends, etc.
There are a quite a few long-term partnerships that I’m very proud of. I think it’s an incredibly special thing when a creator partners with a brand on a long-term campaign. So many brands just want one post out of you, but when a brand is excited and willing to collaborate long-term, it’s just a whole other ball game. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Walmart, Hilton, AdoreMe, Barbie, Trident, Revolve, and so many more. I’m very proud of partnerships I’ve been able to negotiate for myself.
One lesson I’ve learned through this process is that it’s ok to say no to brands if it’s not a good fit. This is why dialing in on your “brand” is so important. For the longest time, I was accepting any opportunity: paid, unpaid, products I would never actually use…anything. But in doing so, that can quickly hurt your brand. Instead, choose the brands that are right for you; products you actually use, love and believe in.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Where to stay: Hotel Adeline or The Scott Resort & Spa — two of my absolute favorites! I also love the Moxy and Graduate Tempe.
Where to drink: The Canal Club (for the content, of course), 36 Below is my new favorite secret cocktail spot and a total must! If you haven’t checked it out yet….RUN, don’t walk! You’ll be blown away! I haven’t gotten to check out Century Grand yet but I’m super excited to! I’m such a fan of Wow Wow Lemonade Scottsdale for their delicious Hawaiian-inspired bites and lemonades to cool off during the daytime when it gets the hottest! My OG favorites also include Geisha A Go-Go, Toca Madera, Hula’s Modern Tiki, Diego Pops, Postino and the Original Chop Shop! I’m such a foodie, so I could really go on forever.
What to do: Take a guided tour of Taliesin West, hike Camelback Mountain, day trip to Sedona, and shop in Old Town Scottsdale (if my friends are with me, we ALWAYS ride on a golf cart back to the hotel….it’s just too much fun, as corny as it is)!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I think there are a lot of people who deserve a shoutout! But the true answer to my success is the people who’ve done it before me, who I’ve been able to steal knowledge from and learn, learn, learn. Social media hasn’t been around *that* long, so until recently, the recourses were few and far between. Everything I’ve learned about social media has been from creators and mentors who started before me and were willing to share their knowledge. They all deserve a bit of credit!
HMUA: Kameron Rasmussen