With over 85,000 followers on Instagram, over 121,000 YouTube subscribers, and a feature in Better Homes & Gardens’ Do It Yourself Magazine, it shouldn’t surprise “Farmhouse on Boone” homesteading influencer Lisa Bass that fellow shoppers in search of a good bushel of peas or the perfect watermelon recognize her. “I get recognized at the farmer’s markets, which I never thought would happen,” says Bass, a petite, 33-year-old with brown hair, long curls, five kids (with a sixth on the way), a husband who she “retired,” and a new house in Troy, Mo. Her family, small-town roots, and farm-centric life produce a steady stream of social-media content — posts about making butter from raw milk in a blender, transforming vintage tablecloths into pillows, and a step-by-step video of the gutting and restoration of her 2,400-square-foot Victorian farmhouse on seven acres. All that content has earned her sponsors, adoring followers, media attention, and a way to support her family.
It all started in 2015 with an Instagram account and a blog, Farmhouse on Boone, that provided her with an outlet to share things she was learning about sewing, cooking, gardening, and baking and act on her commitment to a healthy lifestyle for her family. “I loved the idea of going back to the roots – literally,” she says. “And just living a simple lifestyle.” The oldest of four girls, Bass tried to embrace the city life when she left college in St. Louis. That lasted a year. Now, as a wife and mother, she focuses on homeschooling her children, working with her husband Luke to make, build, and construct the things they need, and connecting with local farmers and food suppliers to support a farm-to-table existence for her family. Although Bass is not a full-time homesteader, she does grow what she can and relies on connections for the rest. Growing up in Missouri, Bass knew a great deal about local resources, the climate, and growing seasons. “We have made local connections and balance it all to teach our kids the same,” she says. “We enjoy going to markets and getting to know our dairy farmers and meat suppliers.”
I get recognized at the farmer’s markets, which I never thought would happen.
Brands and fans respond to her aesthetic, her persona, and her content. “I found her on YouTube, with a recipe video of strawberry lemonade, and I heard her say ‘Missouri,’ and it just stuck,” says a self-proclaimed Farmhouse on Boone fan Kara Barker. “All of her content resonates with me – the recipes, antiquing, and natural products. She inspired me to start a YouTube channel, and it’s been a year. I love every minute of it.”
For Bass, becoming a homestead influencer has been a trial-and-error operation, and she admits her audience interaction hasn’t always been strong. “The biggest impact has been incorporating video content into my social channels,” she says. “Once I started posting regular YouTube videos, my Instagram audience doubled.” Bass’s success led her to create an online course titled “Create Your Blog Dream,” and she advises beginning bloggers to invest in a DSLR camera, a good computer like a MacBook Pro, and video-editing software and to post solid content twice a week and promote that content on all platforms. Bass also does her research, follows her gut, and enlists a small team to help her with building social-media engagement, editing, and managing her accounts and sponsorships. She admits to connecting with brands that resulted in less-than-satisfactory experiences. “I’ve definitely said ‘yes’ and regretted it,” she says. “But, I’ve also said ‘yes’ and never looked back.”
If you want to do it for the quick money, it is not the job for you.
One of those no-regret relationships is with Berkey Water Filters. Bass raved about the filters to everyone she knew for eight years, sharing her love of the product and the brand’s mission. So she decided to pursue them. “She actually contacted us, and her interests in health, wellness, and homesteading were right up our alley,” says Gina Gallardo, affiliate manager of Berkey Water Filters. “We were so impressed with her content and brand aesthetic. She was the ideal customer we were aiming for.” Gallardo says her socials and attitude – “professional, friendly and just a great person” – resonates with their audience and customer base, and has “made such a difference” in their sales. The mother of five (who delivered her third child in the back of a van going 75 mph down the highway) also has worked with Burt’s Bees Baby.
Bass says she has learned that brand relationships are tricky, and she warns aspiring influencers they should not expect to make any money for at least a year. “If you want to do it for the quick money, it is not the job for you,” she says. But with three years under her tool belt and apron, Bass has grown full-time influencing as a homesteader into a way to support her growing family and construct a lifestyle that reflects her interests and values.
Jo Allen is a contributing writer for Rooted. When she is not reading the latest fashion magazine, chugging iced coffee, or binging the newest Netflix hit, Jo likes to spend her time writing as much as possible. Before receiving her master’s degree in the Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, she worked for Hearst in social media and received her bachelor’s in communications from Niagara University.