Behind the Scenes

Beyond hashtags: A behind the scenes look at ByHolguin

Gone are the days when stories were only told in books, and when influencers were only known for lengthy hauls or how-to videos. Enter 2023 — a time where storytelling and influencing now go hand in hand, and social media platforms and digital creators hold the same power that many news organizations do. 

Storytelling via content creation allows individuals to create communities that go beyond the average audience. Eduardo Holguin, a 23-year-old creative from the Dominican Republic, is a key player in the world of visual storytelling on social media. Holguin graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, and currently works as a full-time art director for McCann, a global advertising agency in New York City. Beyond the classroom and office, Holguin is the chief executive officer for ByHolguin, a self-founded and titled brand that uses art direction and other creative elements to spark conversations. What started as a small Instagram community has now become a global storytelling medium that has given Holguin a plethora of exciting opportunities, both professional and personal.

Storybench sat down with Holguin to discuss his brand, and understand how he uses his platform to grow as a creative and tell stories visually.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

What is ByHolguin, and how do you use social media to bring it to life?

ByHolguin is an advertising and marketing space that uses the visual effects and visual advertisements of photography in order to communicate a story through text messages. ByHolguin content can be featured on @ByHolguin, a specific portfolio Instagram page, and on my public account, with the hashtag #ByHolguin. I use the hashtag to tie all of my branding together. At SCAD, I learned that in order to have a brand that is cohesive and has extensions of itself, it needs to have something to come back to. I used that hashtag in order to interconnect all the conversations that I have through my work, as well as the conversations I have with myself. 

Holguin upon graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia with a BFA in Advertising and Branding in May of 2021. Photo courtesy: @eduardoholguinm.

How does ByHolguin go beyond Instagram?

Eduardo Holguin: ByHolguin goes beyond an Instagram because of the conversations it starts, and the human connections it forms. I have clients who eventually become friends and brand partnerships that eventually become part of my day-to-day. By starting these conversations on ByHolguin, people truly connect with each other. I learn about different individuals’ stories and styles and tell their stories, whether they are art directors or work in finance. Featuring them on ByHolguin is like entering them into a database of sorts, which leads people to connect. For example, say I featured a fashion marketer on my Instagram, maybe I’ve taken pictures for her or worked with her creatively. She could reach out to another person that’s on ByHolguin, like a stylist, and eventually, they can create a project together. Amazingly, this has happened multiple times in the past. 

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What has been your biggest work accomplishment and why?

EH: My biggest accomplishment is definitely when I shot the 2022 Met Gala. I feel like that was something that gave me the credibility I needed, but at the same time made me understand that hard work does go far.

Sometimes we need to understand that even though we might have years in the industry, we need to settle down and come to terms with the fact that everyone starts with baby steps. It doesn’t matter if we encounter phases in our lives filled with “small steps” rather than “big steps” as long as we assure ourselves that we’re here to thrive. At the same time, however, it’s crucial to understand that we shouldn’t be greedy and that we need to learn how to humble ourselves when we are in new areas of expertise. 

“Sometimes we need to understand that even though we might have years in the industry, we need to settle down and come to terms with the fact that everyone starts with baby steps.”

Eduardo Holguin

How has ByHolguin connected you to new individuals, and what have they taught you?

EH: ByHolguin has allowed me to network and pushed me to connect with individuals that have taught me a lot, honestly. I have used my content as a tool to form relationships with people in various industries, which has even given me the chance to shift a little from the advertising industry into to the fashion industry. By working with others and hearing their stories, through assisting them, working with them, collaborating with them, what not, I have discovered new things that I want to do with my life. Building these connections has allowed me to break into things like New York Fashion Week, photographing big functions, attending brand events, solidifying brand partnerships, and even connecting with publications like Glamour Magazine.

I feel like everyone I encounter in my path adds to the developing story of my life, and is a stepping stone that adds to my learning capabilities. Putting in the work to form these connections helps you grow in the industry, and that is really important in a city as big as in New York. It’s also really cool to see how it’s helped me connect with my audience. I’ve noticed that creating behind-the-scenes content of these amazing opportunities gives my followers a glimpse at what it’s like, and allows them to learn about these new experiences with me. 

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Do you have a non-work-related project you felt really passionate about on ByHolguin? Tell me about it. 

EH: Apart from professional accomplishments, I try to incorporate passion projects into my content to make sure I am being real. I really like to spread awareness on mental health. Every now and then, I use my platform to drop little mental health check-ins in order to remind my followers that what they’re seeing on their screens is often a highlight reel. I make sure to let them know that it’s important to check in with their mental health because it’s been something that wasn’t always linear for me. Sometimes people don’t realize that these amazing things I share online can be overwhelming for me, like balancing my full-time job on Fashion Week, for example. My followers don’t necessarily get to see that, so I really love to try and keep it real as much as I can. I honestly just really love to reflect and understand the worth of mental health and try to spread awareness on that. So I make it a point to take a break and create a space in my platform to show the importance of mental health, and how things can be great at times, but that sometimes we do need to check in and pause, and that’s okay. 

Do you have advice for incoming creatives or visual storytellers?

EH: Never stop pitching. Sometimes we think we’ve hit a limit, or that we are already in a certain position where we can stop, but we have an overload to grow. I would expand as much as possible, even if it means you have to be all over the place for a time period in your life. Also, that there’s always room to connect with people, it just helps you grow. Just because they have less work experience than you or less followers than you or less services to give you doesn’t mean they won’t help you grow. There’s always something new to learn, so definitely keep it real and keep yourself humble, and understand that meeting people gets you places, but also teaches you things. 

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