By Cait Munro
As the founder of F*Hits, Brazil’s most prominent influencer network, Alice Ferraz knows a thing or two about innovation, entrepreneurship and overcoming adversity. Even so, she says 2020 has been her most difficult year as a professional. “Quarantine has been the most challenging moment of my career and, at the same time, a great opportunity to rethink how we want to position ourselves and what we would like to communicate going forward,” she explains. “Human behavior is undergoing intense changes and our work as a content house has to accompany this process.”
As coronavirus forced shutdowns across the world, Ferraz spent four months on the coast of São Paulo with her family, a “moment of connection and a learning experience,” she says, admitting that the change of pace felt odd at first for a woman used to always being on the go. Eventually, it even shifted her sense of style. “I realized that my image, at home holding Zoom meetings, was simpler than I had ever imagined: less makeup, no heels, fabrics more comfortable to touch.”
With a background in fashion public relations, Ferraz founded F*Hits as a blogger network back in 2010, when Instagram was just arriving on the scene and no one fully understood the power of influencer marketing. She’s now a fixture on Business of Fashion’s prestigious BoF 500 list and one of Brazil’s most powerful women according to Forbes: an established leader in two industries, fashion and social media, both currently jeopardized by a shrinking global economy and rapidly changing consumer preferences. “Content creators who only post pictures of the outfit of the day show a superficiality that no longer makes sense or engages the audience,” Ferraz offers. “Using influence to build change in the world, proposing ideas, concepts, real conversations—these are fundamental.”
For highly visible influencers like the ones who make up the 220-strong F*Hits network, staying relevant in today’s tricky sociopolitical climate requires thinking differently about what they can offer followers and advertisers alike. To that end, Ferraz is opening a “phygital space”—that’s physical meets digital—where F*hits creators can go to film content, hold client meetings and connect offline. The space, a house from the 1940s in the Jardim Europa neighborhood of São Paulo, was decorated by designer Rodrigo Ohtake and will be open three days a week. “The staff has a more flexible schedule, but the truth is that the house is a space where we want to be, to exchange experiences and work together,” Ferraz explains.
Never one to stop hustling, Ferraz has also spent the last six months penning a weekly column about style for Estado de São Paulo, Brazil’s second most widely circulated newspaper. “The readers are very demanding, they value good copy and this pressure is welcome—this new effort requires my dedication,” Ferraz notes, adding, in a statement that could easily apply to her career writ large: “The effort to achieve excellence is a muscle that must be worked on to develop.”
Click here to read the full article in our Fall issue of Bal Harbour Magazine.