Instagram has played a huge role in the growth of Otherland, and they've grown leaps and bounds by taking advantage of product placement in the digital age. By putting their products into the hands of the right people, they've managed to create an impressive name for themselves in the self-care industry. In our part two interview with founder Abigail Stone, she shares her tips for branding, utilizing customer feedback, collaborating on products, and much more. (Discover part one here.)
We literally built and designed the product and packaging from day one knowing that Instagram would be a key space it would live and have to perform well in. Our first hire, the wonderful Larissa "Larz" May, was brought on to head content and social--we knew it would be the most important organic channel for us and a key vehicle for us to bring the collection stories to life and into a real-world context. Instagram is so F-ing AWESOME for brands because it's the BEST way to connect with customers and prospective customers on a daily basis. There's nothing better than seeing a customer share your product on Instagram and to share in that joy and delight with them! We share "Customer Love" with our team internally and often with our vendors--it's rewarding and motivating to see their reactions! Adding a focus on Instagram and influencers to your business may seem intimidating, but remember it can be accomplished by a small team and it scales as you grow your following. Larz is AMAZING at what she does -- she's a one-woman show!
In addition to being a huge source of traffic to our website and expression of our brand identity, we value direct engagement with our customers and feedback. For instance, we realized through watching customer unboxing stories that customers couldn't remember the scent notes of each fragrance, which at the time appeared only on our website, or if they had received as a gift would have no knowledge of. It turns out that being told what's in a scent has a huge impact on how people experience it, so we started including the specific fragrance notes on our candle toppers (lids).
On an artwork buying trip to Paris for Ralph Lauren I had visited the famous concept store, Colette, and bought a candle with an illustration by Jean Julien. When I started to think about creating Otherland, I remembered this, and with my background in and a lifelong love of art, I thought it would be cool to take the idea of an artist collaboration candle to the next level. We were fortunate to meet Amber right after we launched Otherland and instantly knew we wanted her to be our 1st. While we also work with artists on the seasonal collections, they work under our specific creative direction and concepting, and so the Artist Editions are different in that it's all about the artist and their own story and style. Amber's work is incredible, and it was a challenge for us to figure out how to tell her story and spotlight her work through our website and social media content--it's very different from a seasonal collection. Her edition has been a big success, and we're excited to see how the series evolves!
We love the planning features and use them every day, especially for Instagram stories, which can be hard to draft in Instagram or plan out in a spreadsheet. We can rearrange content and images easily as we draft, review, and edit different slides for the story we're planning to figure out the best storytelling flow to get our point across while keeping it short and sweet. It's also super helpful to build hashtag pods and have them organized and ready-to-go within the app. There's SO much content we have to create and share on a daily basis, each with captions, tags, and hashtags, that having a service like PLANOLY to keep everything super organized and easy to access makes all the difference!