Jeneé Naylor Talks Target Deal, Playing The ‘Long Game’ And Betting On Yourself

Target’s Future Collective With Jeneé Naylor
Source: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Target

Jun. 18 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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From managing bustling Target stores as a store director in the Washington, D.C. area to becoming a bona fide style influencer, Jeneé Naylor’s 11-year adventure with Target has been nothing short of amazing. And now, it’s all coming together in the most fabulous way: She recently landed her very own exclusive fashion collection partnership.

Naylor’s story is a shining example of how one can go from working a 9-to-5 to enjoying full-time self-employment. Having amassed more than 260,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 449,000 followers on Instagram, Naylor continues to grow her following as she expands into new endeavors surrounded by fashion and style.

When first starting out, taking the leap with no concrete way of knowing that money will consistently follow can be a scary, yet realistic fear. Naylor, however, proves that consistency and a clear vision can help grow business revenue. In the early stages of content creation and collaborations, revenues for can range and tally up to $70,000 per year, with the potential to work its way past $300,000 per year as the effort and work continues.

In an interview with Her Agenda, Naylordiscussed how her love for fashion transcended into a profitable profession.

Her Agenda: What inspired you to leave your job at Target and pursue fashion influencing full time? 

Jeneé Naylor: My degree was in fashion merchandising, so it was always a passion. And then I was actually recruited to work at Target and I just fell in love with it. It just got to a point where I couldn’t do both. So, Instagram started to become a thing and someone was like, you should post your outfits on there. And I was like, who cares about my outfits, but I just posted to see, and then it kind of turned into a thing and brands started reaching out. And then it just got to a point where I was consistently creating on Instagram and working with brands. 

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Source: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Target

Then I had a very big job, and I just couldn’t do both. So, I was like, you know what? It’s not going to get any easier for me to leave. I’m only going to get older and have more responsibilities. So let me just do it now. You know, I can always go back if I need to. 

Her Agenda: What do the startup costs look like from a business perspective, being a fashion influencer?

Jeneé Naylor: I don’t really consider there to be a lot of startup costs. I always tell people this is really about you sharing your life. So, you know, sometimes people will say, “How do you become a luxury content creator?” or “I want to do this. Should I go out and buy clothes?” 

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You should just be sharing your day to day and your community should find you the people that relate to what you are doing and where you are in life. So, it shouldn’t take a startup cost. 

Now as you go, I always tell myself when I make money, I will invest that back into my business, right? So yeah, you can upgrade your camera and you can get a new laptop and you can, you know, take a course and learn how to edit better. But for me it was always doing the work and then, you know, if the money comes, then how can I invest that and continue to elevate? But I don’t need money to start because I’m just sharing my life. I’m just sharing what I already do, what I already wear, things I’m already interested in, makeup I already have, whatever the thing is. Um, you know, and then as your business grows, you know, you know, then you may onboard employees or you know, that kind of stuff comes with time. But initially I didn’t put any money into becoming a creator.

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Her Agenda: What went into the process of being the creative lead on the collection? 

Jeneé Naylor: A lot of working together, collaboration. I brought some ideas initially and they kind of did a great job of letting me know like what was going to be trending in a year. This was a year long process, so obviously I could say, you know, what I was loving last year and they led me down the path of like, what trends are coming up, what colors are going to be trending, what people are going to be looking for, so then we could kind of collaborate and bring those ideas together. And it was really important for me to think about what I already feel good in around just fabrics and colors and silhouettes and things that I always gravitate toward that I feel are essentials for resort wear, summer staples, things like that. And then how we can kind of dive into those trends and just make them a little more fun and a little more elevated.

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Her Agenda: What is one thing working for Target has taught you that you take forward with you in either your brand partnerships or just your career in general?

Jeneé Naylor: The whole idea of being able to manage myself. I feel like I was leaps and bounds ahead of so many people when I started this because, you know, I have a lot of structure that I bring to my life. When I was in my store, I was, you know, everyone reported to me basically, right? So, I always had to lead by example, setting up a routine, having a calendar, having a schedule. I don’t need someone to tell me when something is due or follow up. Like I have pretty consistent routines and a lot of structure. I also am a very eager person and Target helps not instill that in me, but build it and kind of reward it. So I continue to, you know, set goals for myself for three months, six months, all of those routines and that structure I learned so much and it continues to pay off in this career. 

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Her Agenda: What’s next for you in terms of partnerships, career advancement and fashion influencing?

Jeneé Naylor: In the next few months, I am working on my own brand, so that will be probably the next big thing. I haven’t really shared what it is yet, but it’s also been a year long process. Hopefully that’ll be happening in the Fall and just continue to work with brands. My goal is to have long-term sustainable partnerships to talk about the things that I love, to champion brands that I love, and to continue to serve my community. 

Her Agenda: What’s something that you wish you knew before going into the business?

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Jeneé Naylor: I can’t really think of something I wish I knew sooner, but probably my  biggest advice that I give people is to always think about your future you and playing the long game. I think that’s so important. And luckily, because I had so much business acumen from my previous role, I always thought about that from the first time I worked with the brand.

I want to feel good about what I’ve done, who I’ve worked with. So I always thought about the long game. My reputation means everything—you know, my following, you know, trusting me—that stuff you can’t replace. So I always think about how am I going to feel about this in a few years. If I’m on TV one day, how will I feel about this thing if someone brings up a brand I used to work with. Thinking about the long game is super important.

Her Agenda: Piggybacking off the advice as well, what is some advice you could give to someone who not only is starting out but is starting to try to get brand partnerships?

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Jeneé Naylor: Be as authentic as possible. I feel like that’s such an overused term, but there’s a lot of work that goes into this before brands start to pay attention. You really need to find the thing that is going to excite you and make you want to continue to do this. You know, like, I’m going to get dressed regardless if someone is watching me, I’m going to enjoy putting outfits together. I’m going to enjoy styling things. I’m going to enjoy sharing tips and tricks with my friends, my cousins, my, you know, regardless of if I’m being paid to do it, I can talk about trends and I can talk about, you know, what’s the best coats to wear this fall. I will share that information. I will google that kind of stuff anyway. So I don’t mind sharing it until something happens. 

I think sometimes people get into this field just for the money and it takes the passion to continue to do it before that even happens. So finding the thing that genuinely sparks joy in you that you could talk about for hours for free with a friend, like just having coffee. If you can talk about blush and mascara till you’re blue in the face, then, then that’s probably the feel for you. 

Her Agenda: I know part of the Target collection has already been released. What does the next release entail? What can we look forward to in it? 

Jeneé Naylor: This one is full-on resort. I feel like this first set of items was kind of like taking you from Spring to Summer and kind of getting you ready for the warm weather, warm weather. Then the next set of pieces is really like vacation mode, resort wear or, rooftop pool kind of vibes. 

For more on Jenee Naylor, follow her on Instagram @jeneenaylor. Her Future Collective line is available in a size range of XXS-4X, and 00-30.

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By: Taylor Bushey

A New Yorker turned Londoner, Taylor Bushey is a motivated business professional who has worn several career hats over the last few years. After leaving her most recent employment journey in the financial industry, she has re-engaged with her roots of writing, marketing, and content creation. She’s now a full-time freelance writer and content creator. Taylor covers lifestyle, careers, fashion, beauty, home, and wellness. Her work has been featured on CNN Underscored, Cosmopolitan, FinanceBuzz, Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, and more. If she's not sipping an iced latte and writing away in a local coffee shop, she's most likely thrift shopping for a cool, rare find or planning out her next travel itinerary.

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