At PLANOLY, we're committed to empowering marketers and storytellers to create content with ease. This longstanding mission stems from our Founder Brandy Pham's story — and her quest to find a balance between running her (former) jewelry business while juggling the responsibilities of being a new parent. Fast forward to today with a flourishing tech company and two little ones; we've loved watching Brandy embody the essence of modern motherhood by proving that anything is possible when you put determination, patience, and passion at the forefront. Furthermore, Brandy has also embraced PLANOLY's ethos of using social media as a vehicle to connect with others and share personal and professional experiences. To honor this, and in celebration of Mother's Day, we're highlighting a few like-minded moms who are also tapping into the power of social media to build communities and businesses around the world.
The accessibility of the internet has paved the way for tech-focused entrepreneurs like Michelle Kennedy (@michellekennedylon) to create solutions that modern women genuinely need. Just look at her app Peanut (@peanut), which in their words allows its users to "meet as mamas and connect as women." With discovery, chat, and IRL meeting offerings, Peanut has become a one-stop-shop for modern women throughout the world — but the community-building doesn't end with the app itself. If you look at Peanut's Instagram page, you'll find the brand's recognizable pink aesthetic laying the foundation for graphic design-centric content that includes relevant anecdotes and memes and on-brand reposts from like-minded companies and moms within the community. And given the brand's penchant for connection, they also have seamlessly used Instagram as a vehicle to connect their online and offline communities as evidenced in their dedicated Stories Highlights which feature recaps of Peanut launches and gatherings around the world. Finally, to add a more personal point of view to Peanut's overarching narrative, Michelle's personal account rounds out the discussion of the challenges in running a business (and growing a family) as seen in her candid pregnancy journey posts which are contrasted by glamour shots, press clippings, and other entrepreneurial highlights. This holistic approach shows Michelle's deep understanding of her community's needs, and willingness to immerse herself fully in the conversation by using platforms like Instagram as a vehicle for honest discussions. In the art and design space, we've also loved following Elise Peterson (@eliserpeterson) who is the epitome of a cool mom. You may know Elise as a co-host (alongside the equally talented Lizzy Okpo) of the podcast Cool Moms (@talkcoolmoms) or from her work as a children's book illustrator —but regardless, Elise is making her way into our hearts (and onto our feeds!) as a rising micro influencer and artist to watch. Looking specifically at her podcast's Instagram account, the content is truly an extension of Elise's creative point of view, which is evidenced specifically by the multimedia visuals ranging from Elise's artwork to GIFs highlighting compelling soundbites and quotes from each episode. This theme of accessibility is also carried through in more personal content and updates from Elise that range from shots of her in the press to updates around where they're taking the project next. On her own page, Elise also shares updates around the podcast and her art but rounds out the content to include more candid updates of life with her son. In either case, Elise's casual but curated approach (she manages to seamlessly connect her endeavors and priorities as a creative professional and mom despite only having a total of 184 posts on her personal account) is indicative of her inherent storytelling abilities that have paved the way for honest and accessible conversations facing modern mothers and creatives everywhere.
With the unprecedented growth of the blogosphere, there are also a few women in the digital publishing space who are challenging the traditional "mom blogger" content by staying true to who they are — and translating that into their businesses. Just look at serial entrepreneur James Kicinski-McCoy (@bleubird). From serving as a co-founder of Mother Mag to playing shop girl at the once beloved Nashville boutique Two Son, James is certainly no stranger to balancing the demands of modern motherhood and entrepreneurship, and this very notion is brought to life through her candid posts on her Instagram documenting it all in real-time. Whether she's posting off-the-cusp personal style posts or candid moments with her children, James is disproving the stigma attached to airy and often surface-level "mom/parenting content" by staying consistent with what inspires her aesthetically and keeping it real when it comes to her copy and the conversations she's spearheading on her page. This candor now also extends to her latest endeavor, The Bleu (@the__bleu), which is a newly-launched platform that aims to create an inclusive space for all women to find inspiration and joy within their busy days. And when looking at the site's Instagram page, the content mirrors this mission and James' intrinsically fresh sensibility in its visuals alone which range from multimedia collages to portraits of cool women featured on the site captured by James herself. With all of this in mind, James' commitment to consistency and authenticity across all of her channels is the perfect example of Instagram's potential as a place not just for beautiful, filtered imagery but to demonstrate the multidimensionality of women — and that it's OK to share the wins and losses both personally and professionally.
With the above examples in mind, discover our brief chat with two amazing moms we love who shared their journey in building global businesses, the role social content has played in their success, and how they use platforms like Instagram to inspire conversations with working moms everywhere.
Brandy Pham of PLANOLY and StoriesEdit MEET BRANDY: Hi! My name is Brandy Pham, and I'm the Founder, CCO, and CMO of @planoly. Instagram has been an essential part of my career (past and present). Without Instagram, my previous jewelry line wouldn't have been as successful, and PLANOLY wouldn't have come into fruition. I'm genuinely grateful to the community and amazing talent I've connected with on this platform; and since becoming a parent, my relationship with Instagram has become more personal. It has been incredible to experience the support from other women and moms, especially when I share vulnerable stories of my son and our journey with autism.
BRANDY'S TAKE ON INSTAGRAM AS A VEHICLE FOR SHARING:I found that if you're willing to share your story, Instagram can be a beautiful community if you're open to it. I felt it was vital for me to share this side of my life because it isn't always perfect like people think from looking at my Instagram grid. Everyone struggles, and it can feel lonely. There's a level of empathy and understanding that people can connect with, and the response has been heartwarming. I've had moms of special needs children reach out, share their experiences, and also share tips and strategies that have worked for them, which is valuable information! I appreciate everyone who has taken their time to comment and DM messages of love and support. For moms who may be struggling with how much to share online, everyone is different, and it's what you are comfortable with sharing. Just know that you don't have to tell every detail of your life on social to be transparent. It's OK to be vulnerable, but it's also OK to keep some things private.
BRANDY'S TIPS FOR MODERN MOTHERS AND MARKETERS: PLANOLY was inspired by my first son Teddy and designed so I could run my business and execute my PR/Marketing strategies more efficiently as a new mom, so it was made for modern/working moms. With that said, here are a few tips:
Jaime Schmidt of Schmidt's Naturals and Color MEET JAIME: I'm Jaime Schmidt, entrepreneur, investor, and founder of the brand Schmidt's Naturals. I started the company in Portland, Oregon, in 2010, and grew it to acquisition by Unilever in 2017. Social media played a significant role in the growth of the business, through advertising, beautiful storytelling about our products and the people who use them and engaging conversations with our customers. Having invested all my energy and attention in the business, it was only within the last year that I began using Instagram for my own personal brand outside of Schmidt's. Today, Instagram is where I share my stories and thought leadership in support of other entrepreneurs. My latest project is the venture capital fund Color, which I created alongside my husband and business partner, Chris Cantino, to support inspired and underrepresented founders. Through social media, we're able to discover emerging brands and entrepreneurs.
JAIME'S THOUGHTS ON USING INSTAGRAM TO DISCUSS THE REALITIES OF MOTHERHOOD AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: It's only natural for me to share stories about my son, Oliver — he is at the forefront of everything I do. In fact, the Schmidt's business was born with him in the womb, as I was mindful of using healthy products and eating the right foods while pregnant. As a growing number of women are embracing entrepreneurship alongside motherhood, I think it's so important to see stories from others who are balancing hustle with the needs of their family and household. I'm a proponent of highlighting the real ups and downs we experience as working mothers. Women are not slowing down in taking on positions of leadership and investing in our careers, so the more we understand about the challenges and the stressor points, the more we can be of support to one another.
JAIME'S ADVICE FOR UTILIZING SOCIAL MEDIA AS A WORKING MOM: Follow the people and brands who make you feel empowered, hopeful, inspired, and understood. Create a social media network that prioritizes real talk, not just pretty pictures with perfect stories. Don't be concerned with emulating the success of others — just be you. It's important to keep in mind, too, that businesses can't rely on social media alone to succeed.