On this week's episode of Behind Her Empire hear from Desi Perkins, a digital content creator, influencer, as well as founder and CEO of her namesake eyewear brand Dezi and skincare line Dezi Skin.
Before she rose to internet fame, Perkins worked in the service industry as a cocktail waitress. She describes how working in hospitality gave her indispensable skills like adaptability, problem solving and the ability to quickly connect with people. But, she said, it was incredibly difficult, and that she faced a lot of misogyny in her daily work environment.
At the urging of her then-boyfriend (now husband), she decided to quit working as a waitress. Perkins says this was "a big turning point in my life" and that it helped her to sort out what she really wanted to do.
"I always thought, 'I'm going to do something great with my life, I'm going to do something great.' And then I reached a point where I was like, wait, 'maybe I'm not'," Perkins said. "And that was so tragic for me that I even let my mind go there because I think you should always be in your own corner."
Perkins is a creative person, and her big break came when she was recognized as a makeup artist after helping create her husband's Halloween skeleton look. From there, she said she "just kept saying yes to these opportunities. And I realized, 'wow, makeup is a really amazing outlet for me creatively, and I'm gonna just try to pursue this'."
From that point in 2013, Perkins began posting on Youtube and other platforms. Today, she has over 3 million subscribers.
"What's great about these kinds of platforms is obviously your viewers, they grow with you," she said, adding that it also made it easier to be more authentic and personal.
Her rapid growth as an influencer meant Perkins had to become her own manager and editor. She put her own savings into making her own company because she was so passionate about it, bootstrapping so she wouldn't have to compromise on her vision.
Today, Perkins works with her family and a select few employees to run her brand, and is looking to expand.
Desi Perkins is a digital content creator, YouTuber, and the Founder/CEO of Dezi and Dezi Skin.
"Now anyone can be a creator, it doesn't matter if you're big or small. As far as followers, especially with platforms like TikTok, I think people just want to see something they can relate to. And the great thing about that is that there's like a platform for everybody, because somebody will relate to you." —Desi Perkins
dot.LA Engagement Intern Colleen Tufts contributed to this post.