There's no doubt that Instagram has solidified its position as everyone's favorite social media platform over the past year, and with good reason. The rate at which Instagram innovates and releases new interactive features for its users is unparalleled. The past two years alone we've been exposed to Instagram stories, Instagram Live, and just this summer, Instagram Shoppable media. All of this certainly benefits the everyday user, but if you're a business, adapting quickly and utilizing these features can help you build an incredible brand on the platform, and ultimately have a profound effect on the success and health of your business.
When it comes to Instagram, there's no “one size fits all" or “magic bullet" that results in success. Maintaining an authentic, interactive, and entertaining presence that showcases content that your target demographic will love, and be willing to share, is basically the path you want to take.
It sounds easy, but some brands do this better than others. So, below we've listed 5 female founded companies that have built an incredible brand on Instagram and outlined how they've done it.
1. The Sill
Founded in 2012 by Eliza Blank, The Sill is an online plant store that is a plant heaven for everyone that loves some greenery in their lives. The 6-year-old company has built one of the most authentic and engaged communities on Instagram over the past couple of years. The Sill now boasts more than 307,000 followers, gaining on average 770 followers per day according to Social Blade. You're probably wondering, how has an online plant store achieved such explosive growth? 3 words, “User-generated content".
The Sill has done what a lot of other great brands on Instagram have done, they've tapped into a fanatical community on the platform, and this community just happens to be a community of plant lovers. Eliza and the guys at the Sill have a slogan “Plants make people happy", and this is also their own branded hashtag. Thousands of people per week post pictures of their beloved plants under this hashtag. The Sill then picks the most beautiful images and reposts them on to their feed.
The takeaway? Consistently reposting your audiences content is one of the best ways to build an incredible brand and community on Instagram, and it's a win-win for everybody. The user gets their imagery exposed to a large audience, and the brand curates a beautiful feed. Even if you have a small audience on Instagram try building UGC into your strategy.
Founded by Jen Rubio and Steph Korey, Away make suitcases and a range of travel accessories for the everyday traveler. A huge element of Away's success is a result of how they've built an incredible brand on social the past couple of years, and in particular, on Instagram. So, how does one make suitcases sexy in a way that results in hundreds of thousands of followers online? Well, Jen, Steph, and the guys have done two things extremely well.
1. They've tapped into a category of content that we all know and love, travel. Away's content doesn't just consist of their physicals products, but instead, their imagery takes their community on a journey around the world, showcasing the most beautiful locations that their customers visit.
2. We spoke earlier about how successful brands on Instagram utilize every new feature that the platform affords them, and Away is certainly one of the best at adapting early to every little feature Instagram release. From stories to highlights to polls to shoppable media. Away's Instagram account is not only set up to generate sales, but it is also optimized to take its followers on an interactive journey every single day, which is incredible for engagement.
Our takeaway? When Instagram brings out a new feature, don't be afraid to try it out, it might just be the thing that sets you apart from your competitors.
Glossier is the beauty juggernaut founded by Emily Weiss back in 2010. Glossier came off the back of the success of Into the Gloss, a blog created by Weiss out of her New York City Apartment while interning at Vogue. Glossier has created one of the most successful brands on Instagram out of anyone in the beauty business. How have they done this? In a nutshell, their content is just oh so relatable. Below we've listed 3 things that make them a standout brand on Instagram
1. A relatable tone of voice. How does Glossier speak on Instagram? Quite simply, just like anyone who buys their products. Their casual, millennial oriented language speaks directly to their community. Whether it's a meme, a video, or the showcasing of a new product, you can be assured that the copy will be casual and authentic.
2. They showcase their community on their feed. When it comes to brands as big as Glossier, not many post their fans pics directly onto their main feed, but, glossier has garnered such a following, that their customers can't help but post before an after shots of their glistening, reinvigorated skin after they have used their products, and Glossier team is only happy to repost this on to their feed.
3. They have a very distinguishable aesthetic. When you're scrolling through your feed, you'll know a Glossier post when you see one. Their pastel palette is instantly recognizable and incredibly cohesive when looked at on their feed collectively. A pro tip for building a great brand on Instagram, create an aesthetic that is not only authentic but is cohesive, with so much content now vying for our attention on Instagram, having an instantly recognizable look will lend itself to people not “glossing" over your content in the main feed, but will have users subconsciously recognise your imagery, so they are much more likely to stop and engage.
Our takeaway? Take some time to establish an aesthetic that is unique to your brand. Whether it's a filter, a Lightroom preset, or a particular color scheme. Creating something that your audience can become more familiar with over time will pay dividends when it comes to increasing your engagement and growing your following.
Co-founded by Carly Strife, Barkbox is a monthly subscription box of toys, treats, and chews to thrill your dog. The guys at Barkbox have built one of the best brands over the years by primarily being a dominant force on Instagram. Now, you're probably thinking, well isn't it easier to be successful on Instagram when you've got a pool adorable dog content to play with? The answer is yes, but Barkbox has built a following of over 1.4 million by investing time in sourcing only the most comical canine content out there. From memes to viral videos, Barkbox differs greatly from the accounts that we mentioned above in that its primary purpose on Instagram is as a platform to entertain. Collectively, their feed isn't in the same league as Glossier or Away when it comes to being cohesively beautiful, but it's viral centric content will have you scrolling for hours, and will ensure that you come back for more.
Our biggest takeaway from this? If incorporating humor throughout your Instagram feed is viable, go for it, although it might not be directly tied to promoting your product or service. It will act as a brand building mechanism that will deepen your community on Instagram and enlarge your pool of potential customers.
5. Rent the Runway
Founded by Jennifer Hyman, Rent the Runway is also an online subscription-based service that allows women to rent clothing, instead of paying the hefty price that would be associated with purchasing the same item. Like a lot of fashion brands, Rent the Runway has turned to Instagram to foster their community of users online. To date, they have more than 236,000 followers on the platform and are picking up on average 330 more every day, according to Social Blade. So how have they managed to build such a rapid and interactive following? Well, similarly to The Sill, the guys at Rent the Runway have invested heavily in tapping into the lives of their customers on Instagram, and utilizing all the amazing user-generated content that their customers create for them.
Women travel all around the world in clothing that they have sourced from RTR, documenting their journeys along the way. From the streets of Soho to the rustic cobblestones of inner-city Paris, RTR clothing travels everywhere, and their Instagram is the location where they present all of it. In addition to beautiful clothing in breathtaking locations, Rent the Runway also taps into who their ideal customer is, and if you scroll through their feed, you will find images of Sarah Jessica Parker or Sofia Vergara, and in many ways, these women embody who the celebrity Rent the Runway customer is.
A takeaway from this? Find influential individuals who embody your philosophy, then showcase and champion them on Instagram. This will allow your customers to establish a much more tangible connection with your brand and what it represents.
Above are just a few female founded brands that are killing it on Instagram. If you know of more, head over to our Instagram and let us know there.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."