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Beloved Shirts

 

How I turned my freelance blogging gig into a position as Vice President of Marketing. 

Beloved Shirts is a startup that was born in a basement with just a website, Facebook page and an Instagram account.

I was employee #3, doing just about anything that involved marketing or advertising, writing all consumer-facing stuff we put out (emails, Instagram posts, product descriptions, sales, promotions and apologies to customers for their orders taking so long because a Buzzfeed article brought in so many sales that our overseas manufacturer couldn’t keep up). 

 
 

We were relentless on Instagram. Posting every day since day one. Then, one day, Katy Perry saw our clothes on Instagram and had to have it, which led to this photo where she’s wearing a pizza onesie (the branded term is Belovesie) in a mob of people. It earned us a ton of media because nobody had seen anything like that before. We ended up collaborating with Katy on a left shark Belovesie and a line of Christmas characters too. 

But even before Katy Perry, our Instagram presence got us noticed by a writer at Buzzfeed. After her article, we had orders coming in every minute, or every other minute, for a week straight. You can read it here.

Video: Jamie Robison

Our holiday campaigns were big business, earning us $117,000 in sales our first Black Friday/Cyber Monday (remember, out of the basement with just our social media accounts–no paid media), and $206,000 the next year (by now, we had ditched the basement for a warehouse with a halfpipe painted like a watermelon). 

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I also tried my hand at designing a few sweatshirts. They sold pretty well, but not as well as our pizza stuff. 

We had a lot of fun on Instagram. It’s where we created the voice for the company and the name for our loyal customers, #BelovedPeople. We were doing memes before every account on Instagram was. Here’s some of my best work–shoutout to @zerbz85

Shoutout to m'boy @mudkipp. #nikefreestyle

A post shared by Beloved TV (@belovedtv) on

Here’s an example of how we would interact with our customers: a guy commented on one of our Instagram posts asking us to make a gif of @rpwelch, so we went to his account, followed the link in his profile to his tumblr page, saw he had so many good gifs, but also had beats on there and so I freestyled to one for him. He was pretty pumped up: “holy shit........... you used my beat and ur lurking my blog wow...........i'm speechless...you guys are the best ;)“

Video: Jamie Robison

@jerrobison lived the brand so hard that he bought a Bentley and wrapped it in Beloved’s watermelon print. 

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It was one of those things where I was at the right place at the right time. I felt really lucky to be a part of something built from nothing, and to see how you can use an Instagram account to build loyal customers who made the brand a part of their identity. I wonder if I peaked there, where I had so much freedom to put any idea into the world and see what would happen. That freedom and trust was part of what made Beloved so great.