The world of social media has grown to become an interesting place for influencers, where they can build communities and become their own business-owners. While some people establish careers as influencers with intention, others like Marley Mauvais stumble into it accidentally. But carving her own lane in the digital social space has allowed her to create an unconventional, yet successful brand through fruit content creation.
Mauvais — a plant-based content creator and self-proclaimed fruit influencer from New Jersey — like many young people struggled to figure out what her career path would be after college. Even after earning a bachelor of science degree in entrepreneurship from Long Island University, she still hadn’t figured out if running a business was meant for her.
“I always knew I was an entrepreneur,” she tells AfroTech, but after her first business flopped she moved back home to take a year off to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. At that same time, she suddenly experienced a health crisis in which nerve damage affected her entire nervous system. Through her own research, she discovered that fruit could be the solution to her health problem, thus becoming her new food fixation.
The beginning stages of her new fruit-inspired health journey is what encouraged her to document all the fruit she was eating online.
“I’ve always been a blogger so I was just naturally sharing my plate with everyone on my personal blog,” she says. “Every morning I would have a bunch of fruits that I would start off my day with [and] I would meditate. It was like a whole spiritual thing. [But then] I realized my followers on my personal page were really tired of seeing [my fruit] because they were not on this [wellness] journey with me.”
So she decided to start her own Twitter and Instagram pages dedicated to her new fruit lifestyle called “Wake Up With Marley,” where she blogged all her posts to her growing community of fellow fruit lovers. Within each post, she’d even include products that she used, which brought on a lot of Instagram Direct Messages (DMs) with inquires from people asking where to purchase said products.
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Eventually, Mauvais’ DMs became too flooded to respond to each and every person so she decided she needed to invest in a website and set up her own shop. The Wake Up With Marley shop sells beginner-friendly items to people to start their own plant-based lifestyles, offering different herbs, kits, remedies and even consultations.
In addition to officially starting her brand online, Mauvais’ influence began to translate offline as well through paid speaking engagements. The fruit influencer has previously made appearances at colleges and universities like St. John’s University, Skidmore College and Baruch College to discuss plant-based cooking and give food demonstrations. At that moment, it began to click for Mauvais that her lifestyle was actually becoming a lucrative endeavor.
“Hearing feedback from people and what they were asking me during [speaking] engagements, it’s different from social media,” she says.”[For these appearances] I was being formally set up by a university and they really valued the things that I was saying, it’s like a whole different energy.”
Since 2019, she’s been able to independently support herself through the thousands of dollars generated from her business and speaking gigs. She even tells us that the most she’s made in a single month from her business and appearances is roughly $17,000.
Though her journey as an entrepreneur has been an uphill battle, Mauvais says the best part of it all is knowing the positive impact that she’s making with her content and products.
“It’s a really personal experience but the best part is knowing that you’re the center of it,” she says. “Of course there’s family, friends and your community that support you, but you still had to initiate all of the [ground work] to make it come together. The most challenging part about [being an entrepreneur] is you never really know what’s next, but that’s also the most rewarding part for me. I think discipline is the [foundation] for that, and because you don’t know what’s next you have to trust in yourself to make the best decisions and that trust is something I had to build in myself.”
The fruit influencer’s one piece of advice for other young aspiring entrepreneurs is to “make sure you’re feeling good along the way” doing something positive with your business should be at its core. “Yes, there’s going to be bad days, there’s going to be challenges, it’s going to suck sometimes,” she says, “but [personally] if I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, there’s no way in hell it would have been successful.”
For more about Wake Up With Marley, visit Mauvais’ website.