Sarah Gibson Tuttle doesn't come from a background in nails. In fact, her career began in equity sales trading. But her obsession with the perfect manicure (and at-home manicure) was always top of mind, and she was convinced she could elevate that experience while making it fun and enjoyable. Since opening her first nail salon in Los Angeles, in 2013, Gibson Tuttle has opened an additional two locations and launched a slew of products (nail polish and care) that help the user conduct the perfect at-home manicure. She even launched a tool dubbed the Poppy - a universal nail polish bottle handle to help steady the hand while painting.Meanwhile, the inspiration for both her products and the content her team puts out is inspired by literally everything. Gibson Tuttle notes that it can be her favorite drink at Starbucks, a new pair of sneakers, candy at Target, and the O&J community. Here, the founder and nail connoisseur explains why Instagram is Olive & June's most engaged audience, the reason natural light is your best friend, and why conversing with your community is the best thing you can do for the algorithm.
Olive & June's feed is very educational from a "do your own nails" and "care for your nails" POV, yet beautifully designed. How do you balance the two?
We're all about beautiful nails for everyone, whatever your mani style. Our community is full of people who are just learning how to do their nails, but there are also some die-hard nail obsesses who are continually looking to step their nail routine game up. We work hard to strike a balance of education (including the best nail tips and hacks!) while also providing major mani inspiration. When your nails are cared for, they look beautiful. After that, we just get to have fun.
When it comes to Instagram and Pinterest, what is most important to Olive & June?
Our most engaged audience is currently Instagram. We have such an amazing community there that has been building from the first day we opened our salon doors. But, we're bringing at-home manicure magic to everyone, everywhere, so we'll keep growing on every platform. TikTok is lowkey our new obsession.
PLANOLY is about making the lives easier for social media users and to organize their content. How do you strategize your feed and stories?
We look at the month holistically and factor in what's happening on our launch calendar, what holidays or cultural moments are coming up, etc. We always want to feature a fun nail tutorial that anyone can do themselves at home because education never stops. And then we always leave room for spontaneity. We like to surprise drop a new ombré look.
You utilize a lot of UGC in your feed. How do you pick and choose what should be added?
Our community is so awesome and creative— they make it so easy! We're so lucky that they're constantly trying new looks and sharing them on their channels. For us, we want our community to feel like they can see themselves in any look we do, for any mani skill level, any style, any nail shape.
What are your best social photography or editing tips for beauty bloggers and brands?
Natural light is your best friend! There is no substitute for it. When the light is good, generally, everything falls into place, and the true hue of the polish shines through. Super macro shots of hands and nails are great—people really want to see the detail. Fun rings or accessories don't hurt, either! We live for nail files.
You have so many great aspects to your brand (your salon and your nail line), but there's a lot to talk about. How do you strategize when to speak to what?
We just strive for balance. Nails are so personal, everyone's tastes are so different, and we always want to make sure we have something for everyone on every step of their journey. We also are constantly engaging with our community and finding out what they want to see, what they want to learn. And then we just move, fast!
The algorithm on Instagram can be tricky. How do you tackle that?
For us, it's all about testing and learning. We spend a ton of time during the day chatting with our community (seriously, DM us anytime) and learning what they like to see, what their days are like, etc. And then we take that and see how we can make someone's Monday morning with a fun post, or rescue them from the Sunday Scaries with an evening post.
Do you have a Pinterest strategy? What does that look like for Olive & June's?
What are the biggest challenges for Olive & June's Instagram? And Pinterest?
Not enough hours in the day. There is so much we want to do, and we're an amazing, but very small team.
What is your average engagement, and how did you initially grow on both Instagram and Pinterest?
Our average engagement is incredibly strong, over 1.5%. And for video, which is a huge focus of ours, we look at the number of views over the ER. We initially grew on IG by sharing the amazing manis that were happening in our LA salons and by our incredible community constantly posting about their experiences. Truly no one had seen manis like this before in a salon like this before. People were coming from all over the world to get their nails done at Olive & June! We feel so blessed to have the support and love of our community.