Interview with a Dogfluencer: @rescueinstyle

Christine Nendick and I entered the Instagram world a little over three years ago, and I have loved following along with her journey! She has a great sense of style, and an even greater heart. Using her page to draw attention to local adoptable animals, Christine has connected countless forever families and raised awareness of important issues facing Chicago's pets. She's co-founded Rescue Chicago, an organization that raises funds, transports critters, and donates a variety of essential supplies to local animal welfare groups. She's been featured by the likes of Lauren Conrad and Target, among others! Here are a few of her thoughts on getting out into the world to do good:

What initially motivated you start your account?

I volunteered at a few rescues and I wanted to do more. After scrolling through Instagram one night, I stumbled upon a fashion blogger sharing a pic of her dog. Sadly, the dog wasn't a rescue and I thought it was such a missed opportunity. After realizing nobody was combining fashion and adoptable pets, I decided to create the platform myself. My hope is that with adding a fashion element, people who normally wouldn't follow rescue accounts are seeing how many animals are in need of a home. 

What do you feel is the best recipe for building an engaged following? 
Knowing your followers and being real. I have built relationships with a lot of the people that follow me. We have conversations and I reply to every message I receive. Additionally, I've found the photos that are genuine and "real" have a much greater impact than a flawless photo. I try not to use too many filters in stories, and never edit out things from my pictures (except the occasional dog poop!). 
What have been your favorite opportunities that you’ve seized as a result of your pup’s influence? 
Oh man, so many amazing opportunities! I've gotten to work with so many amazing rescue organizations and have spoken to some truly brilliant women. Last year, I had the biggest year by starting my own foundation, Rescue Chicago, with two other women in the rescue community. I never thought that I would have created my own nonprofit and it's been incredible. Probably the most unbelievable moment is when I won Chicago's Best Fashion Blogger of the year. The fashion community in Chicago is insanely talented, to even be nominated next to some of the best was a true honor. Winning just showed me that my audience is so engaged and passionate. It made me feel so lucky to be able to share what I do with so many people because in the end, it brings more exposure to the animals. And to me, that's what it's all about.
Have you had the opportunity to partner with any brands? If so, which, and how did it go?
Yes! I've partnered with a few. Most recently, I've been working with Fetch Eyewear. One of my favorite companies! They are a glasses company that donates 100% of its proceeds to animal rescue. Our partnership has been wonderful and I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with them. (Psst: Code "Rescueinstyle" gets you 15% off and a portion is donated to Rescue Chicago!)
If you could go back and fix one mistake you’ve made along the way, what would it be? 
Oh man, there are too many to count! I'm not sure I would fix anything to be honest. Every mistake I've made has truly taught me something. There are organizations I no longer support and a few outfits that are cringeworthy, but I learned something each time. I guess the only mistake I made was not starting sooner!
What have been your greatest frustrations in navigating social media?
It's constantly changing. As soon as you figure out how to best navigate it, something happens. It's hard to keep up with, but I really enjoy the platforms. I just wish I were "better" at them?!
Any favorite apps, equipment, or tools (please include any affiliate links)? 
I use retouch to remove the occasional dog poop (nobody needs to see a poop pile) haha! Snapseed is great for quick photo edits, Darkroom has the best filters. I try not to get too crazy with editing photos though. I do have a photographer, Margaret Rajic, who is beyond incredible so I am lucky she sends me fully edited photos. But, when I post a selfie, I try to get it looking as close as possible to her work!
Full disclosure, some of the links above are affiliate links and Christine may make a commission or receive benefits from purchases made using them. A quick browse of her account and it’s clear that she fully endorses these products and use them frequently. Such a lovely way to both support Christine and support small businesses!


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