BYU graduate becomes unlikely Pinterest influencer

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BYU graduate Shayla Brummer Moller is paving new paths for her social media and marketing career through a Pinterest following of 2.5 million.

BYU graduate Shayla Moller found a job using her Pinterest presence to share her style, blog work and other content. (Shayla Moller)

Moller, born in Johannesburg, South Africa, has worked in various positions since graduating BYU with a degree in graphic design in 2014. But one of the most unusual aspects of her career is her work as a professional pinner.

“I feel lucky that I get to do something that I enjoy and make money doing it,” Moller said.

She didn’t understand Pinterest when she first got the account in 2012 .

“But I got one anyways,” she said. “I never tried to gain a following. I just loved to pin things.”

Moller checked up on her account often and followed people who followed her. After her first year of pinning, her following jumped from 400 to 70,000 followers.

Shayla Moller’s Pinterest following went from 400 to 2.5 million followers after Pinterest featured one of her boards on its home page. (Shayla Moller)

“When I signed on, I couldn’t believe it,” Moller said. “I kept refreshing and over time as I refreshed, the numbers would go up and up. My following continued to increase like this until I got to about 2.5 million followers.”

Moller’s sister-in-law, Grace Brummer, couldn’t believe Moller’s sudden Pinterest fame.

“We were sitting at dinner when she told us and every time we refreshed it, her following would go up by thousands,” Brummer said.

Moller first thought it was a mistake, but Pinterest sent her an email informing her that it chose to feature her “fun stuff” board on the website’s home page, where new pinners easily follow and pin from popular boards upon signing up.

“I didn’t think anything would come from it until I started being contacted by companies like Hello Society that are warehouse websites with lots of different companies’ products on their website,” Moller said. “Originally I had a deal with companies like this; that if I pinned products through their site, I could get a cut from the click throughs.”

Opportunities to earn money from advertising have grown as the social media platform itself has grown and developed. Moller now earns a flat rate from curated content.

She attributes her success to her dedication to stay true to her taste, style and aesthetic.

“I treat my Pinterest page more like a Tumblr than a board full of spammy ads,” she said.

A spread of Moller’s photography she has down for her freelance photography work. (Shayla Moller)

This success has enabled Moller to work with prestigious brands such as Nordstrom, Fossil, Kopari, VH1 and American Eagle.

Moller sometimes creates her own content for her boards and works with various companies by creating content for their products.

Brummer said her sister-in-law “has an eye for style and design. She notices unique things and is able to spot different things in pictures.”

Moller’s husband, Nicolaus, has never been interested in social media platforms but is excited for his wife and her success. He recognized that the Pinterest presence is a nice way for the couple to have a little extra income as they start a family.

“(She) has always been one to do what she likes,” Nicolaus said. “She doesn’t hesitate to do what she wants or wear what she wants. She doesn’t need a ton of validation from other people. I think that sometimes people have good taste but they are too scared to do what they like. I think that is why people are drawn to her style.”

Moller does not have specific plans for the future, but says she will continue pinning. She said she’ll be flattered if people continue to follow her, but her Pinterest is just an afterthought — her main focus is her baby boy.

“That’s why I went into graphic design in the first place,” Moller said. “I can do it from home when I have kids. Now, not only can I do freelance work as a graphic designer, but I can work on my Pinterest while still being a stay-at-home mom.”

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