Building a Brand with the Modern Man Journal

Advertising junior Toraki Maehata spent the summer of 2017 traveling the globe. He spent three weeks studying abroad in the United Kingdom before moving to Los Angeles. From the waves of Venice Beach, California to the hills of Runyon Canyon in L.A., Maehata experienced L.A. while interning as an editor for the Modern Man Journal.

Modern Man Journal is an blog and Instagram account with over 60,000 followers featuring men’s fashion and lifestyle. It’s founder and previous MSU student Dathias Hoang moved from East Lansing to NYC to start his own online brand. Through determination, passion and a little PR, the Modern Man Journal has collaborated with some of the biggest retailers out there including Daniel Wellington, H&M, Timberland and Coca Cola. Maehata fulfilled his editing position and shadowed Hoang, while dabbling in photography, styling and public relations. Maehata also got the opportunity to enhance his own Instagram under Hoang’s guidance.

“Coming back from a study abroad trip prepared me to take in everything that L.A. had to offer,” Maehata said. “The Modern Man Journal is a one-man show, as Dathias Hoang does everything for the blog and Instagram himself. From adjusting the studio lights to observing the way he changes settings on the camera to create the perfect shot was an incredibly humbling experience.”

Building an Instagram Brand

Thanks to an oversaturated market, blogging and growing a social empire seems almost impossible. How can you capture the attention and an audience of 60,000 people? Modern Man Journal showcases the culture of LA, while communicating with other influencers and followers through hashtags and comments. Maehata experienced the behind the scenes work of building an online brand.

Maehata got to attend private events in the L.A. area that served as networking and PR opportunities for the blog. He would communicate the brand to other bloggers and companies for potential future partnerships. Through experience, he strengthened his ability to network professionally.

“It was difficult in the beginning learning to network at certain events,” Maehata stated. “I was at social events where I wanted to be friendly while remaining professional. I can apply my new skillset to every aspect of my own life moving forward.”

Social influencers like Modern Man Journal partner with brands to promote or feature certain products. The influencers grow such a large following that they ultimately become a brand name themselves.

“Instagram as much as it is a business is a lifestyle,” Maehata said. “You have to know the right people and network all the time. It is so important to be yourself, while knowing who your audience is.”

Advice For His Peers

Internships not only add value and experience to a resume, but also enable students to develop their skills and find their passions.

“You have to be passionate about what you are doing,” Maehata said. “It makes the job more exciting. You are able to learn a lot more. Passion is noticed by others and with hard work, only good things can follow.”

Maehata has had an eye for men’s fashion since middle school. He has used clothing as a way to express himself and stand out from others. Maehata found other ways to express his love for fashion through photography. He picked up a camera as an undergrad sophomore and joined VIM Magazine, MSU’s student-run fashion publication.

Maehata is striving for another internship with a media agency for the summer of 2018. He ultimately wants to move to L.A. after graduation, to pursue a career where he can utilize his passion for men’s fashion and focus on digital media.

By Brooke Segal