CIM042: Running a Popular WeChat Account in 2019: What Works and What Doesn’t with Hailey of Sugarandspice

March 26, 2019

In this episode I spoke with Hailey, one of the co-founders of the fashion and lifestyle WeChat Official Account Sugarandspice. If you’ve read my book, Digital China: Working with Bloggers, Influencers, and KOLs, then you may be familiar with her name as we used the SugarandSpice mini-program shop as a case study in the book.

Hailey and the account Sugarandspice are yet another one of those examples of KOLs who have claimed a niche in the market and set the bar really high when it comes to the content they produce and the brands they work with.

As usual we cover a wide variety of topics including:

  • What is unique about their content and why it appeals to their audience
  • Their criteria for working with brands
  • What it’s like to run an official account in 2019 and how they continue to grow
  • The pros and cons of running a mini-program e-commerce store
  • Tips for brands who want to collaborate with influencers
  • The changes they plan on making this year

Check out my book: Digital China: Working with Bloggers, Influencers and KOLs

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Detailed notes:

About Sugar and Spice:

  • Their Official account has approx. 250,000 followers
  • Hailey and her co-founder were high school classmates and roommates
  • Saw a hole in the market and decided to fill it
  • Unlike many accounts which are led by one influencer and a team, SugarandSpice has two co-founders, Hailey thinks this has been beneficial because they had each other to lean on, an accountability partner, especially since until recently they have been running this account while holding full-time jobs


  • Currently publish about 1 post per week but now that they have both quit their full-time jobs and can invest more time, they will hopefully increase the number of posts
  • Either way, they value quality over quantity
  • In many of their articles they like to go deep and share the history and culture behind an item; there are many nouveau-riche in China who buy things because they can, not because they understand it, so their content helps educate consumers
  • They still produce all the content themselves, they feel it is tough to outsource because readers are so familiar with their writing style
  • Travel content increasingly popular
  • Have a series called monthly haul where they review their favorite 6 items they bought that month, that is also very popular
  • The content must have a takeaway

Brand collaborations:

  • They are notoriously selective when choosing which brands to work with
  • Must get the product at least a month ahead of time so they can use it
  • Products must meet their standards - If they feel like they wouldn’t be willing to buy the product themselves then they won’t share it
  • Their followers are very savvy; they understand the industry and know that influencers will work with brands, but since they are so stringent about who they will work with their followers don’t mind as much
  • Now that they are full-time, they want to go deeper with their brand partnerships and try to collaborate in new ways
  • First time working with a brand will often do a smaller collaboration and if it goes well they will expand the scope

Growing a WeChat account:

  • Fewer people are willing to share articles, that’s why the new Wow (看一看) feature is very important, helps with discovery and reach
  • Definitely seems to be a bottleneck these days
  • But she believes meaningful, quality content will still always do well
  • They use Weibo, Douban, Wangyi and other platforms to help them drive people to their WeChat account

E-commerce mini-programs:

  • Featured SugarandSpice in my book as they were one of the earlier accounts to work with LOOK to launch an e-commerce mini-program
  • With LOOK they can essentially create a mini-program store and then curate items from retailers, essentially create their own storefront, and they get a commission for selling those items, but they don’t have to deal with logistics
  • The mini-program is doing very well, they are one of the top 15 partners with a top luxury e-commerce platform
  • But Hailey says they barely promote the store, maybe once every couple months or so, because they don’t want followers to feel forced
  • Treat it like affiliate links, just letting their followers know, hey, if you want to buy something, get it through our store and you’ll know it’s exactly the item we recommended
  • Mini-programs stores much faster than H5 stores, WeChat really pushing them
  • Hailey thinks it’s necessary for luxury brands to have one, gives the example of Burberry’s monthly exclusive WeChat capsule collections

Tips for brands:

  • Don’t treat KOLs like traditional media, we will not just repost your press releases
  • Estee Lauder holds its own KOL conferences where they have discussions with KOLs to learn how they can better help the brand grow socially
  • Developing relationships is important, will make you stand out from other brands

Guest: Hailey

WeChat Official Account: sugar___spice


Host: Lauren Hallanan



WeChat: H1212118514

Thanks to our sponsors PARKLU: and The Meet Group 

For additional information and show notes head over to www.chinainfluencermarketing.comIf you like this podcast and know someone who might find it interesting, please share! 

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