PatchCast: LA Influencer Breathes New Life Into Vintage Clothes

Patch launched a regular audio feature called PatchCast in which social media influencers nationwide chat about what they do, how they do it and more. Joining us this week is Piera Pizzo, the thrifty influencer behind Hi Piera. If you’re interested in appearing on the PatchCast, email and tell us what makes you an influencer.

LOS ANGELES — Piera Pizzo is nothing if not colorful. Bring sunglasses should you peruse her Instagram feed; it can get quite bright. Heliotrope purples. (Yes, that is a real color. We Googled it.) Cobalt blues. Golden yellows. Bubblegum pinks. Brilliant colors you’d be more likely to see jammed in a Crayola box than hanging in someone’s closet.

But Pizzo, a Brooklyn native who now lives and works in Los Angeles, sees an opportunity in the offbeat and discarded. She was exposed to vintage and thrift shopping growing up, and to her these clothes had a story long before she plucked them off a forgotten rack. Vintage clothes and thrift shopping are the core of her social media influencing brand, with bright colors and positive vibes sprinkled in. Pizza is key, too.

“It’s giving new life to something that was worn by someone previously,” Pizzo told Patch. “My main things are sharing my experience with how to find something vintage or new places to eat and share memories with friends.”

With a website, blog and just over 5,000 Instagram followers, Pizzo, 30, is known as a micro-influencer in the fashion industry. Whereas mega influencers can have millions of followers, brands large and small often turn to people like Pizzo for a more engaged audience. They’re betting that these micro-influencers will be less expensive and — more importantly — more likely to convert their followers into paying customers.

Pizzo’s Instagram posts routinely get 600 to 1,000 likes — about 11 percent to 18 percent of her total following — and dozens of comments. Depending on the brand, campaign and content requirements, Pizzo earns anywhere from $50 to $200 per sponsored post.

She has reeled in brands such as Shari’s Berries and Happy Socks, and even hooked big fish like Lucky Charms.

In a sponsored blog post for Happy Socks, Pizzo sports funky multi-colored socks featuring the signature Rolling Stones tongue and mouth logo. Plaid “zig zag zip-up pants” that she found at a thrift shop yard sale and an off-the-shoulder solid white crop top “balance” the ensemble. And to complete her look, she throws on a pair of black mules overtop the socks.

“I LOVE working with Happy Socks because they let me be creative and style myself as I usually would,” she wrote.

But it’s not all about the money. She, like other influencers who’ve talked to Patch, has turned down offers for paid posts. In addition to vintage and thrift shopping, her brand is very much pizza. (Grandma-style is her go-to. For more on that, listen to the PatchCast.) And some brands just don’t jibe with her style.

“I’ve had to say no a couple times,” she said. “It just doesn’t go with my brand. Any of those diet things. I always decline those. It’s not authentic to who I am. I like pizza. I’m not going on any diet.”

Now a social media manager at the social-planning site Evite, Pizzo “kind of fell into” influencing. Pizzo graduated from Fontbonne Hall Academy in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood, then went on to study international business and marketing at PACE University in Manhattan. After graduating, she worked in public relations and learned both sides of the influencing industry before it really took off.

“And I thought ‘Oh this is great,'” said Pizzo. “Instagram was a new app that was out there and you could share your visual self. And from that I started creating content. It kind of rolled into what it is today, sharing your style, the food you eat, recipes and being able to share that with so many people across the world.”

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