Instagram blow-up led to major business success for Gemma Crowe, founder of Infamous Swim
Gemma Crowe, founder of Infamous Swim
Fri 20 September 2019 - 10:00 amEntrepreneur | Featured
Gemma Crowe founded Infamous Swim, an online swimwear brand for women, men and their children, in 2018. She witnessed her business’s Instagram blow up overnight – literally – with hundreds of thousands of users (now a 233k following!) clicking the follow button.
The brand was launched initially with no more than a few thousand followers, however after launching her additional ‘mini swim’ range, Gemma saw the social media explode with traction, which led to the company’s growth. So, what’s the formula?
Gemma believes you need to really live and breath your business, your brand should be personal, inspiring, creative and most important eye catching. She also believes that influencer engagement can absolutely work, if you do it right…
In today’s entrepreneur interview, we chat to Gemma about the scaling of her online business, how social media should be used to build a brand successfully and where she sees Infamous Swim heading in future.
What was the motivation for starting your own business?
Inspired by my own lifestyle, as a mother of three, I released a line of matching swimwear for mothers and their daughters. I don’t believe that being a mum means a beach uniform of rash shirts and sarongs. All women deserve swimwear that makes you feel sexy—without compromising your authenticity. A confident woman stands out naturally, so my goal is to inspire confidence.
The idea of matching mother and daughter swimwear is innovative, value-adding and just quirky enough. Combine this with my own experience as a mother of three and you get the perfect combination – someone is who able to connect with my audience and provide what they really want.
Where did the idea for your business come from originally?
From a young age, I had an obsession with swimwear. Throughout my teenage years, this developed into a very expensive addiction. Weekly, I was purchasing multiple pairs of swimwear. Working in the surf industry helped me sustain that habit!
I grew up with my Mum being a very good sewer, she would make so many beautiful dresses and majority of our dance costumes.. I would sit with her and ask her to make all sorts of clothing items when I was young – I think deep down it has always been a passion.
My passion for Infamous & Mini Swim collection actually came about through Instagram – I am Instagram mad, I love the little communities of women built through this platform, not only for the lovely imagery but day to day conversations about kids, breastfeeding, husbands, working with kids, you name it, we discuss it!
I have such a love for beautiful Instagram accounts where Mumma’s would match with their minis! Its such a hit, and I realised there was nothing in the market for beautiful high quality swimwear for mums to match with their daughters.. So my idea for matching mum and mini swim came about!
Was it hard to build initial following when you founded Infamous Swim?
When I relaunched as Infamous & Mini Swim, something just clicked! I had the right product with the right influence and at the right time! It just went crazy!
What was the Instagram spike caused by? Did you expect the growth and was it calculated?
At the time, it went by so fast, and I felt like I had no idea how I ended up where I am. When I relaunched Infamous Swim and introduced the Mini Swim range, I just did not expect the response I got. My Instagram blew up, practically overnight! The morning after releasing my designs on Instagram, I was bewildered by the response! In less than 24 hours, my designs were creating a whirlwind of interest. I picked up a whole pack of Instagram followers that are now numbering over 200k.
How did you get the brand to such a well-known position now?
I’m big on relationships, I love to connect with my following I’m a real nurturer.
I think being so real on my platform really fit with the whole brand of Infamous & Mini. All us mums need to stick together, we have built a real community. Mums talk, so the positive vibes out there about Infamous are spreading.
What tips would you give other startup founders for building their brand through social media?
I believe Instagram was the key ingredient to this recipe for me. Definitely be personal, it does take up a lot of time so you can’t expect it to be easy. I was on my phone a lot in the startup phase and still am! But it doesn’t feel like a job to me, I love chatting to my customers. But now I have had to hire help, as our DMs are crazy!
Also importantly, what specific tips would you give for converting social media engagement and ‘likes’ to sales?
Keep your page aesthetically pleasing but not too glossed over. I know there are a lot of marketing companies that like an Instagram to look perfect, but if it doesn’t suit your product then post what you feel. We keep a nice mix of ‘real’ with ‘funny’ and aesthetically gorgeous on our page. We love to mix it up! I’m a sucker for seeing the ‘real’ behind a page. I love to engage in similar culture to mine. It’s important for my buy in to a product so I like to do that for my customers. This helps my customers purchase! Also make sure you’re on stories, this is the big win right now!
Where do you see the brand in future?
Right now I am still chasing my tail so forward planning has been difficult, when we blew up so quick it’s been a hard time between horse before the cart or visa versa. We have now gained an Operations Manager and a few internal staff members to start forward planning and getting out of the reactive stage into the proactive stage.
Our goal for 2020 is to be firing up in the USA and worldwide. We already ship to the world however this year was a little clunky in our marketing strategy without enough time for forward planning.
We look forward to being off the pre-order train and doing new drops of swimwear quarterly! Stay tuned on what’s next!