From Love Island to fashion mogul: How Molly-Mae Hague built her brand and what she needs to do next

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Making her way as an influencer before she ever step foot in the Love Island villa, Molly-Mae Hague was made for success – but she’s outdone even her biggest fans’ expectations of her.

Reportedly striking a deal worth seven figures, the 22-year-old is now Pretty Little Thing’s Creative Director for the UK and Europe, her biggest career move yet.

She’s got history with the brand, first signing on as an ambassador when she left the villa and, according to PR expert and account manager at W, Stella Reilly, that’s a huge part of her success.

‘Molly-Mae’s ongoing success comes as a result of her decision to focus her attention on establishing herself as a fashion influencer, immediately working with Pretty Little Thing after leaving the villa to the tune of a £500,000 deal,’ Stella explained.

‘From there, she has built brand advocacy through launching numerous edits with PLT. Her choice to work with one key brand has served her well; allowing her to build presence internally within the business whilst also making her name synonymous with the brand to consumers.’

Of course, Molly-Mae’s savvy choices upon leaving the villa weren’t the only factor in play when it came to her success years down the line.

She’d already built up an impressive Instagram following of about 150,000 (which has now skyrocketed to almost 6million) before stepping foot in the Hideaway to meet beau Tommy Fury.

But, perhaps more importantly than the number of followers, she’d built up an intuitive knowledge of her platforms and audience, most notably shown when she shockingly turned down a £2million deal from an unnamed company because it didn’t fit well with her brand.

‘The authenticity of her content is highlighted by how selective she is with her partnerships, recently turning down a £2million deal from a company that she didn’t shop with,’ Ben Jeffries, CEO of Influencer, told us.

‘Influencer marketing is built on trust and authenticity, and it is incredibly transparent to followers when a brand partnership isn’t authentic. Rejecting deals such as this will ensure that her followers continue to trust her and the partnerships she proceeds with.’

He added: ‘Since appearing on Love Island in summer 2019, Molly Mae has achieved huge success. The announcement that she has been named as the new creative director of fashion brand Pretty Little Thing, should come as no surprise. With an Instagram following of just under 6million, Molly’s popularity is obvious.

‘This popularity is largely due to her incredibly authentic and open content, which gives her followers a raw view into her life with boyfriend Tommy Fury. For example, Molly has heavily documented her journey to become “more natural” – removing her composite bonding and lip fillers, and openly discussing her motivations to do so with her followers.’

Stella added of Molly-Mae’s new venture: ‘This is a really great move for Molly-Mae as her social presence and young audience will help to inform her decisions for the brand going forward. Taking on a demanding business-focussed role at such a young age will inspire other young girls to follow-suit, aspiring to be more than just an influencer.

‘As the influencer market gets more and more crowded, especially with the meteoric rise of TikTok over lockdown, the move from influencer to Creative Director will no doubt help to solidfy her future in the fashion world.’

However, her responsibility doesn’t stop there. After the announcement, some have been left disappointed, claiming that Molly-Mae’s new role at PLT sends the wrong message about fast fashion.

Many are hoping that the star will affect change in the company, including better payment of garment workers and more ethical practices.

‘My only concern would be that the increasing consciousness of the detrimental impact of fast-fashion on the climate would cause brands such as Pretty Little Thing to fall out of fashion with the upcoming generations so it’d be really great to see Molly-Mae take this factor into consideration when advising on future brand direction,’ Stella pointed out.

Metro.co.uk understands that Boohoo Group (which owns PLT) launched a new sustainability strategy in March this year.

It says that 20% of all its ranges will be sustainable this autumn and 40% by next spring/summer, and that this September, Boohoo Group customers will be given the opportunity to see the supply chain from start to finish at its factories.

As for where Molly-Mae will go in future, Ben pointed out: ‘Molly-Mae has already diversified her offering. Last year she launched her own fake tan brand Filter by Molly Mae. This product range is incredibly authentic to Molly Mae and came about organically, with many of her followers previously asking her about the fake tan brands she used.

‘Having her own brands will allow Molly Mae to be more selective about the other brands that she chooses to work for in future, enabling her to only partner with companies that she truly believes in.

‘At Influencer.com, we would encourage her to continue doing just this; creating her own brands and working selectively, and in longer-term partnerships, with existing brands that are truly authentic to her.

‘If she continues in this vein, I believe we can expect to see her popularity not only continue to last, but continue to grow hugely.’

Metro.co.uk has contacted reps for Molly-Mae Hague and Pretty Little Thing for comment.

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