There are two things you should know about the creator of TheJasmineBrand.com: 1. She’s a certified goal-digger and 2. Her actual name is Jasmine Brand. With a name like that she was destined to brand herself as something genius. TheJasmineBrand.com is the go-to outlet for celebrity news, gossip and all things entertainment. Her slogan “You sleep, I blog” is the perfect motto for her work ethic and status in entertainment industry.
Although the pop-culture blog business has become over-saturated since the massive growth of social media, TheJasmineBrand.com manages to stay above the curve when creating content and hustling for exclusives. Head to the website at the crack of dawn and you can probably catch a post or two that you wouldn’t find elsewhere.
Before Jasmine officially began her entrepreneurial journey; however, she did not have high expectations or any intentions for her business to be as successful as it is. Originally a PR/marketing professional, when Jasmine was given an ultimatum by her previous employer to choose between her blog or her job; her decision was a no brainer. She decided to turn her off-peak hobby into a money making company. A small investment and a few advertisers later, thejasminebrand.com now caters to thousands of culture fiends across the globe craving for their media fix.
Since the start of her website, Jasmine has made it her obligation to be the first person to post the most trending news and with the most accurate information. Five years later and she has managed to live up to her potential and remain a credible source in the entertainment industry. PYNK got to know Jasmine this week as she discussed getting The Jasmine Brand started, leaving her initial career, and her perception of the celebrity world and the real world.
Read the full interview on the following pages.
What is your professional background?
Before The Jasmine Brand, I was working at a PR and marketing firm in the wine and spirits industry.
When did you get started with The Jasmine Brand?
I started the brand maybe 4 or 5 years ago. I started the site as a hobby. I was younger and I was always interested in journalism. I wanted to do TV or work in news. When I went to college, I discovered that they don’t really make a lot of money, so I decided to go into marketing and do public relations. I wasn’t really fulfilled doing the stuff I did at work, and even though I was making good money, I still wanted to start a site.
Blogging wasn’t that big at the time, but I still was interested it. At first, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to talk about, but I was always really intrigued by how people were so fascinated with how celebrities live their lives. So I decided that I could talk about that. I wanted to feed peoples’ fascination with celebrity life.
Who was your competition when you first got started?
I don’t think anybody was my competition because everyone was bigger than me. (laughs)
How do you try to separate The Jasmine Brand from other sites?
I think what we really try to do is be objective about a lot of information. It’s very rare that you will see myself or any of my writers saying what we think. I think that it’s important to have voice when writing, but I don’t think my audience is interested in what I think. We are one of the only urban blogs that do exclusives, we do interviews, red carpets, and I think we write well.
What are the three most important factors of running a business?
Three essential things are remaining consistent at all times. It’s also important to have tunnel vision and not pay too much attention to your competition. I think it’s good to know what they’re doing, but I think that you should be more focused on your mission. I also think that having drive is important. It may be something that you are born with, but especially in this field, it’s important to be driven.
Could you have predicted that your site would get this big?
I didn’t start it to make money and I didn’t start it to make a business, it was just something to do. I would get up really early before my 9-5 and I would blog, on my lunch break I would blog and when I got home I would blog. One day one of my best friends told me “I can’t wait until you can do this full-time” and I never really planned on doing it full-time.
Ultimately, the site really took off at a certain point and my job found out about it. Essentially, they told me I had to make a decision of whether I was going to stay there or have my blog—I couldn’t do both.
At the time, did you feel like you made the right decision?
At the time, I still felt like there was no way that I was going to stay there. So when they asked me that there was no question about it. In life, you have these windows of opportunities. One of my biggest fears is that I miss an opportunity to do anything. I felt like I have my whole life to go back to corporate and I could always do that if I felt like it, so I wanted to give it a chance. I didn’t even have money saved because I didn’t plan on leaving. I think I have a few advertisers and I remember thinking that this was about to be quite the journey.
I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I always liked my paycheck every two weeks, my vacation and my insurance; so I had no desire to live this entrepreneurial life. I feel like that ultimatum pushed me and if that didn’t happen, I’d still have a 9-5.
What doubts did you have about working on The Jasmine Brand fulltime?
One of my biggest doubts was the fact that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to take care of myself financially. In any kind of venture, you’re afraid of failing, but I didn’t really know what failure meant for me. The idea was a little scary for me.
You probably get backlash from some of the posts that you make, so how do you deal with people hating on the posts that you do or the criticism of your work?
It’s interesting because it is one of those jobs where people have an opinion about your job. A lot of other jobs, you don’t have so many people telling you about what they think about your work. I think as the site has grown, I’ve gotten thicker skin. The comments don’t really bother me as much unless they are personally attacking me. I feel like I am not up for discussion because I am not a celebrity. I’ll post a picture at an event with a celebrity and if people are talking about me it makes me wonder, “why am I even a part of the equation.” I just stopped reading the comments. Sometimes publicists hit us up and it becomes personal with them, but they have to realize that this is my job and they’re not my friends. I really have to just disconnect and not be emotional when it comes to a lot of things.
Who was you favorite celebrity that you got to interview in the past year?
Probably Idris Elba. He’s very normal. He seemed very grounded and not caught up in his hype in the media. He said he doesn’t really read stuff about him and he seems to be oblivious of how he’s a heartthrob. Kevin Hart was also a really good interview too. I like to interview people that I can learn something from or sometimes they might say something that I can relate to. It becomes a blur when I’m interviewing people, but those are two that stood out to me.
Does it give you a different perception of the entertainment industry when you meet celebrities and get to know them?
I think I do have a different perception, but I feel like it’s more of a jaded one. I know how the machine works and I know how these people are. For example, a reality star DM’d yesterday and cussed me out and that makes you look at them differently. It makes me not want to cover them at all and it gives me a bad taste about reality TV. It makes you realized that all this stuff isn’t real. I live in LA and I’ll see the people we write about driving a KIA, which is fine to me but people don’t know that. I feel like I know the secret. It’s a weird space to be in between celebrity lifestyles and reality. I’m a person, so when someone DM’s me I’m not thinking that thejasminebrand.com should react a certain way. I think like, “what b***h.” (laughs)
What would you like to improve on for the future of The Jasmine Brand?
In terms of improvements, I want the site to grow in terms of traffic. I’d like to expand my team. I’d like to cover some more inside stories about celebrities that we don’t usually post about. Everything that we do, I just want to turn the volume up a little bit.