While working as a paralegal in Melbourne, Jessica Alizzi would often find herself poring over fashion magazines and blogs. In 2014, she decided to launch a fashion, lifestyle and travel blog of her own, Jessica and Love, which quickly gained traction and launched Jessica into influencer fame.

Today, Jessica wears several hats including digital consultant, stylist, content creator and influencer. She has worked with several prominent brands including Myer, Pandora, YSL Beauty and Country Road.

Jessica was one of 10 Australian entrepreneurs to be featured in a stunning photoshoot for International Women’s Day 2019, organised by the founder of Australian fashion label Mastani, Kudrat Makkar. The photoshoot celebrates the rise of Australian female entrepreneurs and aims to inspire younger and older generations alike to discover and live out their true purpose.

We spoke to Jessica in the lead up to International Women’s Day on 8 March about how to create a strong brand on social media and what she wished she knew at the start of her career.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

A.Being able to work with well-respected and well-known Australian and international brands. I am always grateful for the opportunities presented to me through my job and I never take anything for granted.

Q. What career achievements are you most proud of?

A. Being in a position where I am running my own business. As a result, I am financially independent at the age of 25.

Q. What do you wish someone had told you at the start of your career?

A. That running your own business comes with a lot of personal challenges, not just business challenges. I have been given so much good advice throughout my career – from peers, mentors and my parents, who are also business owners. But there is still a lot of information people don’t share.

Something that has been very challenging for me is getting the work/life balance right. When you are working on 10 or more different projects at the same time, it can feel overwhelming. You can feel incapable of getting everything done on time – let alone done to the standard that you set for yourself. It is also a time where you might find yourself doing 16-hour work days with no downtime.

Also, given the nature of my work, it can be difficult to ‘switch off’ when you are on holiday because there are several Instagram content opportunities. It is something I am still trying to manage. My partner constantly reminds me to be present and enjoy each moment, rather than see every experience as an opportunity to work.

Q. What are your top three tips for building a brand?

A. When it comes to social media branding:

  1. Understand the identity of your brand better than anyone else.
  2. Your content, products, or anything you put out into the world relating to your brand must be consistent and distinctive.
  3. You don’t need to be an innovator, but you must have some new ideas.

Q. How do you overcome doubts?

A. I try and find ways to clear my head – whether that be through exercise or reading. I also take a couple of days off to reassess what is causing those feelings and how I can overcome them. Usually, I can overcome times of doubt quite easily by reminding myself what my goals are – why I am doing what I am doing – and that my biggest and only competition is myself. This is a really important lesson I have had to take on board with the industry I am in. It can be easy to feel as though you are competing with the millions of other girls who are also influencers or fashion bloggers on social media.

Q. What does International Women’s Day mean to you? And will you be doing anything to mark the day?

A. International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements and success of women in all industries around the world. Working in what I would call a relatively female dominated industry, I am constantly surrounded by women who are kicking goals and constantly exceeding all work expectations. Because of this I feel like I am celebrating International Women’s Day every day!

This year, I will be celebrating the success of the Mastani shoot with my fellow female entrepreneurs.

Q. Why was it important for you to be involved in the Mastani shoot?

A. As I was given the opportunity not only to be a part of the Mastani shoot but to be the stylist, I was there for the entire process. I feel incredibly fortunate and grateful to have worked with Mastani on this project. The main purpose of this project was to highlight and profile some of the talented and successful women in their own field. All the women chosen for the photoshoot are specialists in their area of expertise and having the chance to speak to every one of them on the day was amazing.

Mastani International Women's Day photoshoot credits:
Wearing Mastani Label AW19 collection – Edit 1 – available online Monday 4 March
Wardrobe – Mastani Label
Photographer – Liane Hurvitz
Stylist – Jessica Alizzi
HMU – Chantelle Baker
Location – Studio Gallery Melbourne
Artwork – Kerry Armstrong Art
Floral – Flowers Vasette
Jewellery – Fiorina
Furniture – Grazia & Co

We also spoke to Camille Reed, founder of The Australian Circular Fashion Conference, who discussed sustainability in the fashion industry.