BETA
Close

5 Female Founded Companies And How They Won Instagram

People

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.

2. Away

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.

3. Glossier

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.

4. Barkbox

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.

Career

Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.


In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.


Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.