Getting to know Alex Ikonn
Meet Alex Ikonn, verified business and lifestyle influencer with over 220k+ IG followers. Fellow instagrammers are naturally drawn to Alex’s content due to his natural tendency to share all facets of his daily life, including moments of his beautiful marriage with Mimi Ikonn, his adorable daughter, Alexa, his businesses and of course, his continual devotion to self-development, and the practice of gratitude.
Alex is a true dreamer and creator having founded, alongside his wife, Mimi Ikonn, the successful hair extension business, Luxy Hair, Intelligent Change (the Five Minute Journal and Productivity Planner), as well as Love Hair, an all natural and organic hair care line. Through his businesses, Alex’s presence on socials naturally grew and although, having found enormous success online, Alex is a breath of fresh air and it shines through on every piece of social content he shares.
Curious to know more about Alex’s journey? Let’s jump in!
When did you first start using social media?
2008 probably. I was very early on in regards to getting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. In terms of progressing and using instagram for business purposes vs leisure, Mimi and I’s situation was kind of reversed. We built businesses and the influencer industry followed.
I remember Youtube came out in 2008 and I was a social media consultant pushing businesses to get on Youtube, and no one wanted my services. To say the least, I failed at being a social media consultant and that’s how Luxy Hair came to be, we got onto Youtube in 2010, and fast forward to today, this channel now has 3M+ subscribers.
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?
I truly feel my social media platform is a piggyback, and I have my following because of Mimi. Due to this, there was never really a strategy behind my socials, my instagram naturally grew because of the businesses and because of Mimi. However, the same things still apply. When Luxy Hair grew and even when it plateaued in the last few years, it is because we truly lived by the QVC formula (quality, value and consistency) and when we didn’t, it directly affected our success on these social channels.
Right now, the algorithm is against you so it’s always important to check back with this formula and ask yourself, are you delivering value and who do you want your customer to be? If you start doing different things on your page, you have to understand, you may lose followers, but if you are being true to yourself, that’s the most important thing, and if you are consistently providing quality, and valuable content consistently, you will see growth.
How long was it before your social media platforms became profitable? How did you live through those first few months/years? Did you have any struggles?
After we launched the Luxy Hair YT channel in March 2010, it took about 4-5 months for it to flip a profit. This is another case and point showcasing what Mimi and I did – we never focused only on our instagram platforms. The reason why we chose not to do this is because If people are simply banking on only being an influencer and getting sponsored partnerships, I think they are selling themselves short. The real money is when you can create a business out of your brand and that is kind of our speciality and what we’ve done. It’s not for everybody. Luckily, we were able to scale Luxy Hair as a business and sell it, but you can never sell your personal influence.
From the beginning, we were always thinking, how do we create a brand that is beyond us? and what is an idea that can outgrow us as influencers? You need to understand that you cannot influence forever, and you need to be thinking realistically about your cash flow plan for the long term. The business of influencing is not sustainable, which is another reason why Mimi and I are very frugal with our money, in the sense that yes, we live well and have a good life, but we aren’t out buying Louis Vouitton, and spending money on Lamborghinis. You need to have appreciating assets, and always be thinking of your long-term financial plans.
However, words of caution to my personal opinion is that business is not for everyone. Business is difficult, and it’s easier to do deals and sponsorships but each time you do a sponsorship deal, you are selling your trust. This is why Mimi and I do so little of them, because we don’t want to sell our trust.
What did you do prior to influencing on social media? If you weren’t an influencer, what would be your dream job?
I used to work at CIBC bank in Toronto with Mimi. Fast forward to today, I’d love to be a travel influencer, I think it’s still a great possibility for me and when I say “‘travel influencer,” I mean reviewing properties. There is this one account I follow @luxurytravelexpert, and there is no face to this account, it only reviews properties and flights. So, I’d love to do this because if there is one thing that I spend more time on, it’s researching travel plans, places to visit, best flights etc.
What are your thoughts on social media? And what do you think is the most commonly misunderstood thing about social media?
I think social media is amazing. Never in the world have we been able to be exposed to so much and the biggest misconception is that people don’t understand the amount of control they have. You have the control to curate your feed to whatever you want it to be, so if something is upsetting you, you have the power to turn it off. Don’t be a victim of social media. Social media is not making you do anything, just change it.
What negative assumptions, if any, have been made about you via social media?
The biggest assumption is people truly believing that life is easy and perfect. You are really getting into a highlight reel and I am starting to post stories simultaneously to remind people that instagram is only a glimpse of our lives and I am working most nights late in the office.
For travel influencers, I honestly feel bad for them. I travel because I love to and I want to. Most of these influencers are travelling because they are forced to and people think “oh that’s so glamorous,” but in reality that’s so much work having to fly to a new location and shoot content consistently, it’s really exhausting.
Tell us something about yourself that your followers don’t know
We share a lot of our lives and we are very transparent, so there aren’t that many things our followers don’t know. Suprisingly, many don’t know that I grew up in Russian and speak Russian.
Of all the gifted packages you receive as an influencer, which product/item excites you the most? What would be your dream brand to collab with?
For gifted packages, we don’t accept packages now and usually say no to all of them, for environmental reasons mostly.
My dream collab would be Virgin Galatic – I’d love to go to space.
Who are three of the most important, and influential people in your life? and why?
Mimi, Alexa & my mom because my loved ones mean everything to me.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring influencer if you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip?
Think about the business you are building, not your personal brand.
What can you expect to see from Alex in the next decade? Building the foundation for one of his many businesses, Intelligent Change and creating a positive impact on millions of lives in regards to mindset, positivity and well being through his amazing products such as the Five Minute Journal. In addition, his hope is to shift away from success and making as much money as possible, as he feels this is not as important.
Why did he decide to make this shift you may ask? In Alex’s words, “My own personal realization is that most people won’t be millionaires and I don’t want people to feel bad that they’re not successful because in reality that’s not the end goal. The end goal should be if you are doing what you love, and you have the right people around you, that’s true happiness.
As always, thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. If you have a moment, share your biggest takeaway in the comments below, I’d love to chat with you xo
Who are some of Alex’s biggest inspirations?