Locals Doing It Right: Stella Collective

Locals Doing It Right: Stella Collective

As a digital marketing agency and lover of #LNK businesses, we’re always on the lookout for locals who understand social and wield its power perfectly to further their brands. We don’t provide services for any of these businesses, so just consider us not-so-secret admirers. Enjoy a clean take on Stella Collective’s social aesthetic.

The Lincoln boutique scene has steadily grown from a handful of mom-and-pop stores to a thriving (and competitive) marketplace. One of the drivers of this growth has been social media. These specialty stores have used their feeds to develop their brand and gain customers in both Lincoln and the Midwest.

Julianne Glasco, Alison Hill, and Toby Burnham were some of the first entrepreneurs to enter the Lincoln boutique market. Glasco specialized in women’s clothing (Stella Clothing); Hill, in mid-century and vintage furniture (Loft & Craft); and Burnham, in all things plants and nature (Hunter Gatherer). And in 2015, the three decided to combine their passions into one space — Stella Collective. Located at 14th & P, these three have created a unique and beautiful space that is calming both in-person and on social.

For Stella Collective, social media is much more than posting a pretty photo or maintaining a consistent aesthetic. By using social media as a platform for reaching their customers, the three boutique owners are able to capture the same feelings a customer feels wandering through the store and recreate that for customers scrolling through their social media feed. To learn more, we sat down with Stella Collective’s online business manager, Cameron Van Hoose.

WHAT IS STELLA COLLECTIVE’S FAVORITE/MOST IMPORTANT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM TO USE?

Our favorite social platform to use is by far Instagram. We find that it’s the best platform for us to engage with our customers, to understand our audience, as well as to learn what it is that our customers are looking for. It’s not just a “pretty pictures” tool for us. It really shapes and helps drive our vision and what we would like our store to become in the future.

WHAT MAKES STELLA’S AESTHETIC DIFFERENT FROM OTHER BRANDS?  

Just as we are, our page is very eclectic! We get bored easily with everything looking similar. We understand that cohesion is important, but we feel that there can still be cohesion in eclecticism. Our founders are very culturally diverse in many ways, and we do not shy away from expressing that on our social media platforms. We want to stay true to ourselves while also promoting great products, so we are constantly challenged by doing both. 

HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA HELPED YOU BETTER CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY?

Engagement with your audience and customers might be one of the most important rewards that social media has to offer. Without it, it’s all he said, she said, and word of mouth. Now, we feel that our community is seeing Stella Collective as a one-stop shop for clothing, furniture, plants, gifts, etc. The list goes on and on. It’s an amazing feeling when we see people’s faces light up when they walk into our space. It’s very warm, welcoming, and just a happy place to be in. It’s thrilling to hear our customers say those very words and we know it wouldn’t be possible without social media.

WHAT ARE SOME DIFFICULTIES THAT YOU HAVE OVERCOME ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

1. Consistency! There’s this fine line between posting too frequently or not enough, and we’ve struggled to figure out what our audience prefers.  
2. Content! Our followers typically do not like to see the same content more than once, so we are constantly taking new photos, thinking outside the box and coming up with new ways to show what we are all about. It’s grueling work, but we know without good content, we create an impression that we don’t care when we of course do.
3. Competition! Our concept is a great one, but it’s not a new one. Finding ways to stand out amongst the retail industry giants can be very intimidating, but little by little, our small voices are getting heard.

WHAT MEMORABLE INTERACTIONS HAVE YOU HAD WITH YOUR CUSTOMER BASE VIA SOCIAL?

We’ve had so many! Our favorite might have to be from a gal who had seen our store’s aesthetic and was planning her wedding and wanted a similar vibe at her reception. Because of that, she hired our team to decorate and stage her reception, and it was one of the most beautiful days and moments to be a part of. That one is tough to beat, but we love when our customers know that we are listening to them. When we respond they take notice and compliment us on that. It makes our hearts swell a bit!

WHAT IS ONE THING THAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF STELLA COLLECTIVE’S SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE?

What makes me most proud is that now that we have learned and are still learning what our audience wants to see from us, we are now reacting to that and mixing it up a bit. We have so much untapped potential, yet it makes me proud to know that we have recognized this and are actively and constantly thinking of new ways to widen our audience. Another thing that makes me proud, as I previously mentioned, is that we are true to ourselves. We are not in the business to be anything that we’re not, and I think that’s really refreshing!

Do you know another local business thriving on social media? Let us know and we may feature them in a blog post!

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