For the second weekly edition of Glossy’s new Instagram Live series, Leading From Home (#LFH), editor-in-chief Jill Manoff talked with Candice Huffine, IMG model and founder of size-inclusive activewear brand Day Won, about how her multiple jobs have changed in the last six weeks.
Huffine, who has been living in her Long Island cottage with her husband and dog since March 8, said her brand was booming before the world “came to a screeching halt,” having just launched its first product collaboration, with Megababe’s Katie Sturino.
“We went into fight-or-flight mode,’” she said, of her company’s response to the crisis. “My partner and I decided that, regardless of making sales or losing sales, above all, we were going to use this time to connect to the community and create a deeper relationship with the people who support and love us.”
They started hosting daily workouts on the brand’s Instagram, including a dance class on Fridays co-hosted by Jessie Diaz-Herrera, founder of body-positivity dance company Curves With Moves.
“I really hope the connection and the conversation aspects of things continue after quarantine,” she said. “I’ve never talked more.”
Below are highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
Navigating social content
“Instagram absolutely does serve as the casting room for jobs, and for clients or brands to find you. If you’re being authentic on your end, it’s one of the most organic ways for them to see who you are, what you have to offer them, if you guys have like-minded messaging and beliefs. During this time, for me personally, it’s been really tricky to navigate utilizing social media. For the first three weeks of this really sad, unique time that we’re in, it didn’t feel right for me to [post] anything. There was a lot going on, and if I didn’t have anything of note to really add to that, to maybe inspire or uplift or help, I felt it best to just take a moment to pause. When it finally felt right to address the situation, it was in my own time. [Instagram] is a big part of the industry, but there can be a very real, honest approach to it, and that’s the one I was trying to take.”
Overcoming disrupted production
“[Day Won] is strictly DTC, which has been very tricky during these times. Not only are we a small business, but when it was mandated that all non-essential businesses close, our factory closed and production stopped. Nothing was [available], because one of the key elements in our sustainability practice is to make [our pieces] on-demand so there’s no waste or over-production. We had to make the hard choice to suspend the website for a while. But we reopened it, because we found there are some parts of production that can be done remotely, like digital printing. So styles are in the queue to be sewn when our New York factory opens again. And now, if anyone wants to support a small business, they can go ahead and place their order. And the women who are discovering the brand through our daily Instagram Live workout classes can experience it on the website. We’re taking it day-by-day, as there’s no playbook on how this is supposed to go.”
Modeling from home
“A lot of clients are now shifting to figure out: Who can do their own content to supply back to the brand, so that things are still semi-up-and-running? Everyone’s coming together to get the jobs done, and [for us] it isn’t even about a money play. It’s really about: These are the clients and brands that we’ve worked with so closely with, and we know that they need the content. So there have been a few jobs actually that we’ve been working on — my husband is my new content creator. He used to have a film and editing studio, and he does photography, as well. Moving forward, I think there might be a shift in the trust of a model’s creativity, based on knowing what she can pull off on her own. Also — who freaking knew? — maybe the future is also FaceTime photo shoots. I did a FaceTime photo shoot, and it was with a photographer I’d worked with before. He was leading me as if he were in front of me actually shooting. I was like: What is this world?”