Danie Berger of DIY Danie on YouTube on growing an authentic brand as a creator
Danie Berger is a YouTuber, artist, creator, and founder of a purpose-driven clothing line.
She’s a woman of many talents. What’s most striking about Danie and her work is that she’s strategic in what she does. Each part of her brand has a purpose and intention behind it. And she’s built a following through multiple avenues in her creative ventures over the years.
I sat down with Danie to talk about her journey to becoming a full-time creator, what she looks for in brand partnerships, and where her brand will head in the future. Here’s what she had to share.
Becoming a full-time content creator
The path toward being a full-time content creator started merely as a passion for Danie. The passion sparked from living in unique, quirky homes that required unique solutions. Basement apartments and small spaces present nooks and crannies requiring special furniture and other accommodations.
Danie couldn’t find the answers in stores for her uniquely shaped spaces, so she began creating her own. As she started building and creating her own solutions, she quickly found a deep passion for it.
Paired with her newfound passion, Danie’s career journey prior to full-time content creation provided the skills and experience needed for full-time creatorship. She built a content and digital production career that translated to her desire to pursue content creation over time. Before becoming a content creator, Danie worked as a digital producer.
She produced online how-to content for various brands and loved her job. She loved telling stories and telling other people’s stories. And after observing others create how-to content, she quickly realized she could do the same thing.
Danie never planned for her passion to become her full-time business. Starting out, it was nothing more than a passion project that she enjoyed. But deep down at her core, she knew she didn’t just want to create content. Instead, she inherently wanted to make people feel something.
She wanted to inspire and empower others to dabble in the DIY realm and create their own solutions for their unique problems. So she took the need to make people feel inspired and paired it with her love for building things for her own home and launched her YouTube channel.
The transformation from passion to business, Danie says, was “pure luck.” She hoped for the best but ultimately focused on her desire to inspire others. This authentic, inspirational driving force is what has helped Danie build her brand into what it is today.
“I had a passion for wanting to inspire people to feel something, and that’s why I went into content creation. I wanted to create content that would inherently make people feel something.”
Building an authentic brand that’s more than just a name
When it comes to building a brand, Danie has always focused on putting her energy into one platform at a time. Having to focus on too many channels and platforms at once is overwhelming. She invested her time and energy into her YouTube community at first and then used other social media channels, like her Instagram account, to market her YouTube channel.
When using social media, she quickly learned and noticed that people are craving real interactions and authenticity. With this, Danie realized that the content that tells her brand story the best are the things she shares that are most real to who she is.
She isn’t afraid to share when she makes mistakes or gives a behind-the-scenes look of her hanging out with her dogs. Relatability as a creator gives people something to subscribe to and follow along with.
Danie suggests having a voice for yourself and sharing the real side of you for those starting to build their brand. Edited versions of yourself aren’t as appealing to followers. People want to connect to real people.
When creating DIY Danie, she asked herself who she was and who she wanted to represent. DIY Danie is also a subset of a larger brand Danie has built known as DIY In Progress. So when creating the DIY Danie brand, she considered how all of the pieces fit together and what each one stood for.
Having a clear foundation of her brand and who she wanted to represent has also helped Danie build strong brand partnerships.
“Do something well first, and then grow. I’ve been focusing on my YouTube and making sure that the story was prominent. Because if you grow a community somewhere, it will grow everywhere else.
How creators can successfully work with brands
Ensure flexibility will be included in the relationship
When working with brands, Danie highlighted the significance of ensuring flexibility will be built into the partnership. Creators have audiences that they’ve built trust with, and maintaining that trust with the audience is crucial. Danie emphasized that using her own voice and believing in the brand is key to success when she approaches relationships with brands. Creators need the autonomy to decide what the message is they’re going to share with an audience about a brand.
One brand that Danie has built a successful partnership with is Milanote—an electronic app that helps creatives organize their ideas. Working with Milanote is easy because their brand messaging and what they do is so clear that it makes it simple to integrate into Dani’s lifestyle.
One piece of advice Danie has for fellow creators building brand partnerships is to find brands that you genuinely believe in, because it’s much easier when the brand is integrated into your life. The support comes naturally when you genuinely believe in the brand or product wholeheartedly.
Outsource brand partnership coordination if needed
There are handfuls of ways for creators to work with brands, and no one way is the right way. For Danie, working with a multi-channel network (MCN) has been beneficial in navigating the world of brand partnerships.
Danie enjoys working within the confines of her creative box and lets other people do the job of brand negotiations. Outsourcing to the MCN gives Danie the freedom to focus on the creative work. Brands work out to Danie directly and to the MCN, and then she works with her brand managers directly to determine if a brand is a good fit or not.
And part of knowing if a brand is a good fit or not comes with having a clear vision for your own brand. Identify dream partnerships, and then seek them out, or work with your team to do so. You have to know who represents your brand well, especially when outsourcing brand partnership coordination, so your team knows who and what to look for.
Always test your brand partnerships
From a creator’s point of view when it comes to testing brand partnerships, Danie said, “You always date before you get married.”
There needs to be a healthy relationship that feels good between the creator and the brand. When it feels right, it will come easy. Brands and creators should leave feeling good after a trial run together, and those are the types of partnerships you should go for.
“At the beginning, ask yourself: What is the dream partnership? Who do you want to work with? Who represents you in the best way? Who represents your brand?”
The future of DIY in Progress and DIY Danie
What’s next for DIY Danie and the DIY In Progress brand? Danie’s exploring a few new and different avenues. One of which is children’s literature focused on inspiring young minds to be creative.
When I asked Danie where her brand is five years from now, she leaned into the idea of the children’s literature avenue working out first and foremost. Beyond that, she hopes that she is still sitting in the same space but inspiring way more people. Danie loves YouTube and creating and envisions growing her audience to keep up with her dreams of inspiring people. And finally, she hopes to have a larger team behind her supporting her growth.
What we’ve learned from Danie is that building a brand as a creator requires knowing who you are, holding to it, and sticking to your true and authentic self.
“The smartest thing I’ve learned about being a business owner is knowing when to slow down and be methodical about your next move. It’s like a game of chess.”
One final piece of advice from Danie to fellow creators: Always be thinking ahead and planning for the future with the foundation of who you are at the root of that.
You can find Danie Berger all over the internet at:
YouTube: DIY Danie
Pinterest: DIY Danie
Society6: Danie Berger
Facebook: The Diaries of DIY Danie