After graduating summa cum laude from Princeton, Melissa Vale decided to go on to law school and earned her law degree from Harvard Law School. In 2014, Vale’s life changed in an instant…she was in a near fatal accident and was hit by a car. Both of her legs were broken, and she suffered severe internal injuries. Vale had months of physical therapy to learn how to walk again. This experience completely changed her entire perspective on life. She realized if there was anything she ever wanted to do she’d go for it, and nothing was going to stop her. When Vale got back on her feet, she earned her real estate license and started practicing real estate at Douglas Elliman in NY — but while she was using social media to promote properties to her already engaged audience, she started to notice that by far her highest engagement and response was from her #ootd (outfit of the day) posts! She started to think…imagine what the response could be if she started treating this as an actual business. And thus, in 2017 this phase of her life was born, returning to her first love, fashion, but in this new social media incarnation. Today, Melissa Vale has 145K very engaged, real followers on Instagram that look to her “influence” for all things fashion, beauty, travel and accessible luxury. Her popular fashion and travel blog, http://themelissavale.com/, delivers trend reports, outfit ideas, gift guides, life advice, and inspiration, as well as the best destinations to travel to in style!
How did you get into the industry?
I was using my social media in earnest to promote my real estate properties (I work at Douglas Elliman) and was growing consistently with excellent engagement. However, the posts of mine that did by far the best were the iPhone #ootd pics my husband would take of me on my iPhone. Often on the way to a showing. It still blows my mind that my audience was more interested in outfit posts of questionable quality than a $15 or $20millon dollar apartment — nonetheless the signs were clear that I needed to shift the focus of my social channel and give this the old college try. And from there my brand expanded into beauty, travel, lifestyle
Any emerging industry trends?
There’s definitely a move towards transparency, a less curated feed, clearly as a backlash to all the discussion that a perfect highlight reel led to low self esteem. This is something I struggle with, actually, because as someone who grew up with magazines, probably my greatest pleasure in this medium is creating imagery that is visually compelling. And that’s “me” at my most authentic.
What’s next for the Business in the near future?
I’m continuing to build my brand on social media and my blog, of course, but I also feel I have a strong enough foundation at this point and have built up enough influence to venture out of it —and use my influence and expertise in other media outlets, conference panels, etc. You’ll see!
Career advice to those in your industry?
If you’re trying to break into the fashion industry, start interning — be it a publication, a brand, you name it. Not only will the connections be invaluable but it will also inform your content and your messaging in a crucial way so that it has a personality of its own and people start to gravitate toward you and simply “have” to follow you.
I would also take a couple of editing classes or sit in on a few seminars — even if you never become a wiz at it, just to familiarize yourself and to begin to take ownership of your own visual brand.
What do I do best?
I’ve got that dry wit thing going on and razor sharp timing. I’m also incredibly modest 🙂
What makes me the best version of myself?
I really just never give up. Oh I get discouraged for sure, but I bury my head in my pillow for a bit and then get right back on that horse. You can’t get rid of me.
What are my aspirations?
I want to build a strong and sustainable enough brand (mainly off social media, as is the way these days) so I can export it, and it can survive and thrive outside that realm. Television, books, my own eponymous brand, you name it.
My Biggest Success?
I’ve had many successes in my life, but learning to walk all over again from scratch, after being
confined to a wheelchair for 4 months, really proved I was a survivor.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Quitting law to go into the more “creative” industries, which was always in my blood anyway having been an actress and model growing up. But there are always going to be certain people who are like, “really, you needed to go to all the best schools to…do that?” Well, let them go be chained 80 hours a week to a desk then! And anyway I happen to think I make this industry a smarter one just by being in it 🙂
Just because a little of something is good doesn’t mean a lot of it is better.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Sandy Lane, Barbados
Cap Juluca, Anguilla
The Bristol, Paris
Hotel Cipriani, Venice
The Ritz Carlton, Palm Springs
The Brazilian Court, Palm Beach
Blackberry Farm, Tennessee
And I know it’s the biggest blogger cliche but my husband and I went to Charleston for the first time this Thanksgiving (we stayed at The Belmond) and we seriously never wanted to leave. There are countless places I love to travel but only a few could I envision actually living there. Charleston I really could.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
My Iope exfoliator, First Aid Beauty cleansing wipes, Jergens self tanner, Wander Beauty instant facial, my Hourglass Cosmetics And Nars foundations (I double team them), my artistry dark brown eyeliner, Flesh Beauty highlighter, all my Lancome and Estée Lauder lip colors.
Basically I just gave you my whole beauty routine.
Then spritz on either Miss Dior, Goutal, or Fracas.
My Current Passions?
Podcasts! I’ve spoken on a couple already and I’ve started to go down the rabbit hole…I can’t stop listening to them!
Goal of the Day: return all my emails (hahaha)
Thought of the Day: pace yourself
Action of the Day: get some walking in at some point
Deed of the Day: compliment someone. Friend or a stranger
Tip of the Day: don’t think of everything you have to do, just what’s ahead of you
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
That it’s a walking city
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
Soft scrambled eggs with American cheese, chives, and an English muffin — Norma’s
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – sleeping I hope!
10:00 AM – could be doing many things : at a breakfast meeting, press preview, showing an apartment, or my favorite thing, fighting traffic
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
Cafe Bibloquet. They have these mini egg salad sandwiches that I’m obsessed with. I swear sometimes I have 80 year old last taste in food.
7:00 PM – either holed up in my apartment working or at an event.
11:00 PM – totally depends. If it’s a day I worked completely from home, my husband and I will often be at dinner believe it or not. Otherwise, I’m trying to wrap everything up and not have to stay up past 1 or 2.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)? Allll the coffee (or cappuccino ) — And probably about 3. And actually if I don’t have coffee after dinner I’ll wake up the next day with the most massive headache. Yes folks, the caffeine addiction is real.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
@thedaydreamings — she has such a, well, her handle is a very apt description !
What should everyone try at least once?
Going on a vacation where you do nothing but lie by a pool all day. For at least a week.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
In my mind. I’m a huge daydreamer.