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Background on Laini Ozark

In this week's article, I will be focusing on fashion once again, but taking a more of a sustainable approach to it. One Youtuber that I have started watching since the beginning of quarantine, Laini Ozark. She is a fashion blogger on YouTube, who is continuing to evolve in fashion popularity. Laini is from Michigan and graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2020 and is 23 years old. She also has a dog named Ernie (who sometimes makes special appearances in her videos, which I always enjoy). She also has her own merch that pays homage to her dog. The baseball caps are labeled with, Ernie's World. She also sold t-shirt with miniature magazine clippings on it.

How did I find out about her channel?

During quarantine, I was trying to evolve myself, and one of those ways I wanted to do that was through my clothing style. I have always loved dressing up and it was difficult to find inspiration through YouTube because everyone wore the same fast-fashion brands each season and wasn’t unique to the individual person. However, I found myself slipping into those ideas of styling outfits, where I felt even more confused than I did before. In helping with this journey, I tried minimalist styles with more plain colors and more colorful styles as well. But nothing seemed to fit with my personal style. Then I looked at the color theory that some people talked about. It’s basically finding colors that suit your skin tone the most. Which was somewhat helpful but confused me even more. Until I stumbled across Laini Ozark’s videos, I learned more about finding my own personal style and clothes that were timeless to me.

Why did I continue watching her videos?

At first Laini’s content was more surrounded by trendy try on hauls that she would get from sponsorship, vlogs, updates on her bus that she was transforming, how to style certain wardrobe items (e.g., denim jacket) and virtually shopping with her on the internet. If you take a look at the picture below, her style seemed on trend and at the time that was what I found inspiration from because it’s how I thought I wanted to dress at the time. However, as Laini evolved, so did I.

Now her content surrounds vlogs, and (my personal favorite) where she gives tips on how to thrift on the internet (i.e., eBay, Depop) or reusing items in your closet to create new outfits. How to find outfits in your closet just by remaking them into unique ones. For example, If you have a tank top you can maybe layer it with a t-shirt or long sleeve. Or if you have a long dress you can reuse it by putting a shirt over to make it a skirt. Different creative and unique ways to create fits.

*Note: In the image above and the image below you can see the difference in how she used to dress versus now. You can tell in the image below it is more unique to her and what she likes and I think is more memorable fit than the one above. Although, the image above shows a practical fit if that fits someone else's style. There is nothing wrong with either image, it is just attached to look at the differences.

How does she make me feel more confident in what I wear?

  1. Reminders to the audience (aka hype girl)- Oftentimes in the videos

  2. Speaking about her experience- In the video Laini would talk about her experiences and how it impacted how she dresses and her confidence. I feel like I can relate to a lot of her stories, and that I can wear whatever I want as long as I feel comfortable and confident in it. The only thing that matters is if I like what I am wearing, not others.

Below is evidence to the impact that she has had on me from a comment I made on her YouTube video.

If you want to feel inspired like I was after watching the video, you can go ahead and find out yourself.: )

Why do I continue to watch Laini Ozark?

  1. Her refreshing energy- When I am overwhelmed with other videos on YouTube or other things in life, I will run right to Laini’s channel. While her voice is soothing, so are her videos. With that, it is also refreshing because I know that I will learn something new when I click on it.

  2. Her impeccable taste in clothing- Laini knows how to dress. The fact that she is able to rock cowgirl boots effortlessly is amazing. I also like how when she wears her outfits she’s unapologetically herself. Sometimes she mentions that other people may not like this, but she does (and I do too). I sometimes try to get inspiration from some of her outfits to help me create my own.

  3. Her exceptional advice- Her tips are impeccable (lol). I love the fact that she uses different platforms (i.e. eBay or Depop) to look for clothes and how she is able to give advice on styling colors or patterns. In addition to thrifting trends, or finding items of clothing similar to trends (if you are interested in it) so that your piece won’t always go out of “style”. I can’t find a video where I haven’t used her tips and tricks to help better my own style, she always gives good advice.

Some memorable tips from her videos that I apply to my wardrobe (and that may help you too:)) 1. If you are tired of your wardrobe, do not look for any inspo. Instead put two pieces from your closet that you don’t think typically go together and try it on. Then try to put it together with accessories to see how you feel.

2. If you are looking for ways to better your style, swiping out your sneaker for Dr. Martens or boots, or in general anything different. Also, adding colorful running sneaker to your wardrobe in replace of your white sneakers.

3. To find original outfit inspo, save clothing pieces on Pinterest, instead of entire outfits to put together in your own way. Or if you have a celebrity you like, look up their personal stylists’ name on Pinterest and go from there.

Clos(thing) Points

Throughout the year that I watch her content and it changes with the times and the points of my life I am in with my style. I felt that all the YouTubers were focused on the trends and shopping at fast fashion stores. I realized that for me, it does not offer any creative expression for me. It made me feel like I was in a bubble. Her pieces are timeless and how she is able to create different ideas that don’t seem recycled from other YouTube channels’ s all the time is refreshing. Because of that, I will continue to watch her videos forever, as long as she keeps making them. :)

In talking about her process, in general it is not always easy being a content creator and making content that is relevant and watchable. I am sure there are times that she was in a rut, and was difficult to find a new topic for her next video. Also, for her to have such a great impact on my life took learning and experience from herself. In general, its important to grow as an individual, whether that is through the clothes we wear or how we can better ourselves (i.e. mentally or physically).

I can definitely thank her for the evolution of my style. As I continue to push the norm and find what I feel comfortable and confident in. At first, it can be scary because it’s different and new but it’s comforting at the same time and makes shopping and finding outfits for yourself a whole lot easier!

For these projects, the prompt was to simply go for the project that you've always been meaning to get to.

For me, that was to make a video for YouTube. Pretty simple, but also just something I've been putting off.

We tried to create journals to document the progress of our projects. For me, I fell off with it. I really fell off with the project to be honest. I was so caught up in other projects and work that I just didn't want to start this project.

Here's the journal.

Overall, I'm happy with the result. I did what I intended, but it was starting that was so tough. I don't know what it is, starting any project is the toughest for me. But once I get going, I get going.

The project really got started at the end of April. The deadline was coming up and I had to figure something out. The idea before the idea to vlog my Year 27 week was to vlog myself setting up Simplex Minds as a legal entity.

I wanted to vlog that. It's not the most exciting thing, but it's a huge milestone. The plan was to screen record the paper work and film the different steps I have to take in order to finally open up a business banking account. But, as time passed, the deadline came closer and I was still pending review on the initial application to turn Simplex Minds into an LLC. It is still pending as of right now.

I thought about what else to do and I decided to just film my birth week. I was really busy that week and had a lot of interesting things happening. I was going to film my trip anyway, so might as well do it. The only thing that made it tough was that the video was due Tuesday and I flew back to my hometown on Monday.

Now having an idea, I had to figure out how to vlog this week.

I decided to just write down every single action I would be doing that week and have that as a shot list. You can see it in the journal.

Day 1, I filmed the first shots on the shot list. Then I imported and edited that footage. Found a good song and tried to figure out how the video will be going afterwards. I added in some text into the edit to get a feel for the flow of the video and got this for the initial day.

Then from there on out, after I was done with whatever the plans were for the day, I'd import my footage and edit that footage into the timeline. I'd probably spend about 2 hours or so every night to just edit that footage.

Sunday to Thursday went relatively smooth. Although, on Thursday I stayed up until 4:30AM editing. But I was on eastern time, so like 1:30AM PST. Not bad, but it also just made the next few days that much tougher.

Saturday, on my actual birthday, I didn't film shit. I couldn't bring my camera out because we were going to the Broccoli City Music Festival. All we did that day was get dim sum and just stay in the rain for hours watching talented musicians. I thought just having snap recordings would have sufficed, but I didn't even download my story at the end of the day.

When I got home on Monday, it was crunch time. I had to edit the rest of the footage and I think I left off after the National Art Museum.

I found out I didn't have footage I thought I had and had to make do with what I had. I had to make some audibles and film some clips in order for the flow of the project to be better. But, I got it done.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results of the project. I procrastinated a lot with this project, which in general is a pretty bad thing to do. I put myself up against the clock and got it done. I knew I would get it done, but it just caused a lot more headaches than I wanted.

What have I learned?

1. Plan it out

This was the first time I actually planned out a vlog and that made the process of this video so much easier. I knew what to film and made me more confident with the edit. In my previous vlog series, the Japan Vlogs, I just filmed whatever and whenever. It made the editing process so much more tedious because I didn't film with the edit in mind. But, at the same time nothing was really planned. I didn't do any research and kind of just let myself see everything for the first time.

Just different processes for different videos. But, planning this one out made a world of difference.

2. Make deadlines shorter

I gave myself too much time to create one video. It just allowed me to procrastinate and procrastinate more. I need to have videos be created in either 1 or 2 weeks. Nothing more than that because then I just wait until the last minute.

3. Let it fly and have fun with it

I'm honestly still scared to put myself out there and make videos for the hell of it. I hate getting judged by others, but it's just part of life. I never really share my work or promote any of it. It doesn't do me any good. I just need to let go of that pressure and just let it fly.


My mind is everywhere.

I don't know what to focus on and truly work on. So here I am, writing this blog post to try to make sense of it all.

I feel like I'm not doing enough. I feel like I should be doing more, but I don't know what. I also feel a bit unmotivated by life. I'm getting doubts and feeling like I may not be leading us in the right direction.

We're in a weird stage right now where I feel like we're just doing what we're doing to go through the motions. Meetings are beginning to feel stale and I just don't feel the energy we used to have.

It's tough because this is a side project for all of us, and since it's a side project that's the energy we're going to maintain. I want to turn it into a main project, but that requires money and we just don't have that. I'm also not making enough myself to even try and dip into my account to compensate them.

I want main project energy, but I just can't ask that of them. They're taking time out their day to help out. They have their own jobs. They have their own lives. We only have a finite amount of time in a day and to ask more time from them is a big ask.

We're in the middle of the 2nd season right now. Currently at the end of week 13/20. We still have 7 weeks left. We can't really change anything right now.

What can I do right now?

I am currently waiting for the application to turn Simplex Minds into an LLC to clear. It's been nearly a month since I applied. I just want it to clear. I want to be able to apply for a tax ID. Then open up a business account. Then start selling clothes.

What are some issues that we are facing right now?

Honestly, we are using a dying platform as a way to promote our content. Instagram has been where we've been promoting our content and its a place where people just don't go on anymore. But, the thing is I have no clue how else to promote the content without asking more from the team. Instagram is easy because you just need a graphic to accompany your content. All of the other platforms require video, which isn't something I can ask of everyone.

We do written content right now, which it in itself is a very unpopular medium. But, we are building a library.

Idk... we need something to change.

Did I bring people in too fast? Did I expand our team too fast?

I thought bringing in new people would allow for fresh perspectives and exploration. Which would in turn maintain high quality pieces since these people are writing about the main people that inspire them.

It's not a this season problem either. It's something I even struggled with last season. There's some pieces I wrote about that just didn't feel right either. It's a mid-season problem.

I'm just thinking out loud right now.

My mind is just everywhere right now. There is so much potential for Simplex, but how do we get there? How do we get more eyes? How do we get more people to maintain support?

Quality is what we need to focus on more. Organization is also something that we need help with. Everything is pretty disorganized tbh. That's on me. Most of all of this is on me.

Where we are fucking up:

  • Promotion of pieces

  • Quality of pieces

  • Workflow organization

  • Discipline, as in keeping on task

These are generalities and not applicable to everything or everyone. I'm not trying to talk shit, just trying to get an understanding of where we are at.

Overall, we are doing well. I just want us to be doing better. I want us to be growing. I want people to want to read every piece that is posted in order to learn something new.

I think it's just time I sit down and speak to the team face to face and talk about frustrations. I need to lead and not just sit by. When I was making content for a media company a few years back, a talk and transparency would have been very appreciated. Just letting things be wouldn't help anyone.

I'm not mad at anyone. This is still all new. We are all trying to figure things out. Especially me. I've never done anything like this before. I have lead groups before, I have made content before, but I'm still so new to everything.

What can I do in order to be a better leader? What can I do to better motivate the team? What can I do to effectively communicate my concerns without attacking?

These are all questions I need to ask the team. I appreciate every single person that has been a part of this project. I just need to communicate better.

So yeah, this was just a lot of brain vomit. A lot of thinking and questioning for an answer of just communicating to the team. I'm going to be honest, communication has been one of skill I truly need to work on. I accept things as they are and just let it be. It's not good to be like that.

I want us to succeed. I want us to be pushing out amazing pieces. I want our readers to feel eager for the next piece. I want them to learn something new. I want the readers to connect with the team. I want to build communities for the team.

It's a learning process. I feel much better now than I did at the beginning of this post. We can always grow and become better. I can't feel defeated and give up. It's not fair to everyone. Just another obstacle we'll get over.

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