Hours before her recent visit to Lehigh’s campus in August, Lauren Huston ’99 was up late putting the finishing touches on the launch of her new marketing agency’s webpage.
“Is it considered an all-nighter if you stay up until 2:30 a.m. AND you’re old?” Lauren said with a laugh. “I think that’s a full all-nighter.”
Even with few hours of sleep, Lauren was all smiles during her walk through campus, and that should come as no surprise to those who follow her narration of “Skylie Doodle” on social media.
Lauren, who has several years of experience in social media marketing and a degree in psychology, has created a major digital presence for her three-year old miniature Australian labradoodle, Skylie.
“How big a presence?” you might ask. Skylie is a bit of a celebrity, boasting a following of more than 35,000 “likes” on Facebook and more than 33,000 followers on Instagram — both totals are more than the Lehigh University Facebook and Instagram accounts.
“I really uphold my interest in the human psyche with marketing communications and formed this little niche,” Lauren said, attributing part of her success to her psychology degree from Lehigh. “You have to get into the psyche of consumers, and you also need to know how to effectively communicate with your consumers and clients. I find that having the communication skills to understand the human mind are invaluable.”
On Skylie’s social media accounts, Lauren whimsically narrates the daily adventures of her beloved dog and uses the platform to promote her favorite pet brands. Lauren hopes that the fun energy that she displays in Skylie’s accounts can make a positive impact in an environment of social media that can often breed bullying and negativity.
“Whomever Skylie is with at the moment, I want them to feel like Skylie is their best friend,” Lauren said. “She’s not better than or anything like that. I just want Skylie to be like the ‘girl next door’ who is friends with everyone.”
With her success creating a strong social media space for Skylie over the last few years, Lauren recently partnered with a fellow “doodle mom” and created Zero to Zoomies — a digital agency built for pet-lovers, pet-influencers, and the pet industry. The goal of their new agency is to partner with clients to drive their business outcomes with social media engagement, influencer marketing, and storytelling.
“Everyone [at Lehigh] has some kind of passion, and I would recommend that they would pursue it early,” Lauren said. “Even if it’s something like what I did on Instagram or Facebook, you slowly build a name for yourself and establish yourself as a guru of a particular field. It could be baseball cards. It could be figurines. It could be your dog. Whatever it is, it is never too early to start documenting whatever your passion is. You just never know what will cross your path that you will be able to monetize. It’s not to say you should only be looking at the money, but if it’s your passion, it’ll be fun to do any job.”
What’s next for Skylie and Lauren? Lauren says that there is a possible book deal in the works, chronicling the adventures of Skylie Doodle and/or tackling the issues of school and workplace bullying.
Lauren’s connection with Lehigh goes beyond her undergraduate years on the Asa Packer Campus. Lauren’s grandfather, Arnold J. Koller ’41, also graduated from Lehigh where he met Lauren’s grandmother, Adele K. Rice, who graduated from Cedar Crest College. Sometime in the 1940s, Arnold gifted a lavalier (shown above) to Lauren’s grandmother, and when Lauren graduated from Lehigh, Adele gifted the lavalier to her. Lauren considers the necklace to be her “most special piece of jewelry.”
Photos by Christa Neu