Using Delaware as her backdrop, Samantha Hemphill shows off her latest fashion finds to social media. The lifestyle blogger began using Instagram (@SamanthaStyled) as a creative outlet two years ago and has seen it grow to 5,000-plus followers. In addition to being a micro-influencer, Hemphill works for the state of Delaware, serves as president of the Next Generation of Southern Delaware nonprofit board and is a board member of the Downtown Dover Partnership.
Hailing from Dover, Hemphill has built a cult following around her budget-friendly trends, plus her everyday life with her family (including a fiancé, 18- and 19-year-old stepkids, two cats and one dog). Plus, her vegetable garden beds sprouting tomatoes, English cucumbers, squash, zucchini, cauliflower, okra, jalapeños, bell peppers, banana peppers and cantaloupes. And don’t forget the herb table with seven varieties. She says being so transparent has helped create an honest internet community.
“I think that’s a result of just being authentic,” she says.
Here, she talks about her inspiration and how she continues to evolve.
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The short version of the story is that I needed a hobby. I went from working 60 to 70 hours a week in the Delaware State Legislature [to working fewer hours] in the executive branch. All of a sudden, I had this job from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and I was like, what am I supposed to do with all this time? People always asked me when we would go to charity events, “Oh, where did you get that dress?” or “Where did you find…?” It was always a great joy of mine to be able to share. So, that’s where that started.
For starters, I have a brand. It’s evolved a lot as far as me [figuring out] what my followers like. I used to post a lot of home décor, recipes, entertaining, hosting, but I’ve niched down as of the past year or so to just affordable style, because that is where I see my greatest return. That is what my followers are here for.
Classic with an edge. I’m never going to turn my nose up at a trend.
Bel Boutique in Dover is my first choice. I was the brand ambassador for Bel Boutique for about a year and a half before the pandemic hit. I’ve also shopped Willow Marie & Co. in Lewes and Nicole J Boutique in Middletown online.
The biggest challenge is that there’s oversaturation in the style influencer realm. Trends like home décor and DIY [can grow at a more] rapid pace because they’re not nearly as saturated as style influencing. Also, consistency, for [people like me] who do this as a part-time gig or hobby. One of my goals for 2021 was to show my face on Instagram Stories every day. …My followers will say, “We want to see more of your car chats.…We want to talk to you in the morning when you’re heading to the gym.” But I would say the biggest [piece of advice]: Don’t undervalue education. You don’t want to jump into people’s DMs and ask them, “Hey, how did you do this?” That person did all the work [themselves] to learn what worked and what didn’t. And there is no “This is what works, snap your fingers” anyway.