When 21-year-old TCU student Victoria Doder left California for Texas, she didn’t realize just how much of home she brought with her.
“My whole family went to school in California, and so seeing girls in big shirts was not my thing, I always dressed as though I was from California,” Doder said.
Doder quickly realized that her style made her stand out.
“Everybody that I would always meet would go ‘Oh my God you dress so Cali,’” she said.
Inspired by the comments on her personal style, Doder decided to turn her Southern California lifestyle into a brand, naming it ‘So Cali Creations’. For now, she’s focusing on selling handmade choker necklaces and bracelets for $10 to $20 each.
Doder makes each piece in her room in her sorority house. She said her client base has grown rapidly, something she credits to her sole form of advertising: an Instagram account.
“I felt like Twitter has gone down since high school,” she said. “I deleted mine and Facebook.”
“People are friends with everybody in the world so I was like okay Instagram is where everybody can post comments, pictures post videos now, DM or whatever,” she said.
Doder said she considered using the popular online marketplace Etsy, but didn’t like how much of the profit the website takes.
According to Professor Artemis Moon, who teaches marketing at the Neeley School of Business, in today’s technology-based world, social media marketing may be all one needs when first starting a business.
“At the beginning, which is the introductory stage, you are trying to make the consumer your target market. Social media has changed the way marketers communicate their brands to their target market. Right now, we have for example for Instagram, we have about 14 million users. And that shows that Instagram and different types of social media are now very actively used by the consumer base,” said Moon.
Moon said social media can make the consumer feel more connected with brands, giving them the sense that their voice is being heard or their opinion is counted.
“It has more personalized the way the marketers can reach their target market,” Moon said.
Doder was inspired by the reach of Instagram after seeing her brother use it for his own company.
“My brother actually started his own business of making surfing fins and that’s kind of what he used to promote it, and he knows a bunch of well-known surfers,” she said. “So I was like okay if he knows people I could reach out to people.”
In addition to running her own account, Doder reached out to over fourteen well-known models and other social media celebrities to promote her line, sending pieces of jewelry to those who responded so they could showcase it on their own accounts. Some of the models have as many as 200,000 followers.
“I think it spreads the word so that it’s not just like people in California, or Texas where I go to school, are aware of what I’m doing,” Doder said. “So that people in different countries are aware or different states are aware.”
Moon said this idea of using social media celebrities to promote a brand is a common and well-used strategy.
“The strategy that [Doder] is using is actually what we call placement strategy. In other words, the product is used by a celebrity or by a person of interest or movie or a TV program,” Moon said. “It is not a new strategy, but it’s part of what we call trying to get your brand out there to the consumer so they have the feeling that it’s not only them who’s going to be using the product but they are partially using what the person that they are interested in or that the are following, what they are using.”
Doder said Instagram has connected her with clients from all over.
“I had a girl reach out to me who’s from New Jersey that wanted them and I was like ‘whoa,’ was not expecting that.”
For more information on So Cali Creations, check out its Instagram account.