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Instagram Star Pia Muehlenbeck On Snapchat, Style & Slinkii

Instagram Star Pia Muehlenbeck On Snapchat, Style And Slinkii
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In an exclusive interview with The Carousel, Pia Muehlenbeck reveals how she turned her social media savvy into a profitable business, launching her active wear label, SLINKII, a stylish and eco-friendly range of athletic attire.
The brand is booming; with yoga pants and crop tops running (or downward dogging) out the door. So how exactly does a social media business come to fruition?
The Instagram star come entrepreneur shares a wealth of business knowledge; offering her top tips for starting a small business, the potential of digital marketing and why she swapped the Bar for lycra.
Pia Muehlenbeck has built a business through social media
Pia Muehlenbeck has built a business through social media

How did you start out? Why did you shift from law to this?

Originally SLINKII was a blog. I was studying Law at university, and to be quite honest I needed an escape. I loved training and fitness so I would force myself to take breaks from studying so that I could do SLINKII-related things, try new workouts, recipes and training gear. I found it really relaxing. When I left university, and got a job in a law firm, I realised pretty quickly that the rat race wasn’t for me, and I wanted something different. I had fairly good traffic coming to my blog, so I decided to monetise it. I loved Yoga (among other sports), but I realised a lot of mats were made from unhealthy substances, so I decided to make my own eco-friendly mats. From there it sort of snowballed, and I made a small range of supplementary gear, pants, tops and bras. Now we’ve got a full active range, swim range, and are about to drop menswear next month!

How long did it take for you to really build a noteworthy following and engagement?

I would say about a year. My personal Instagram grew from 0 to around 700k, and SLINKII grew to around 35k in a year. Now they are both around double that. It really takes patience!

Why did you choose activewear?

It sat well with my lifestyle. I was always training or running errands and activewear would be my go-to clothing of choice, so after yoga mats it seemed like a natural progression to explore. I was always wearing yoga pants thinking to myself “I wish these were cuter”, so I decided to make activewear that’s not only comfortable but looks stylish enough to wear pretty much anywhere!

Pia Muehlenbeck has a following of 1.3 million on Instagram
Pia Muehlenbeck has a following of 1.3 million on Instagram

What social media platform do you feel is the most vital in building a successful business?

Depends what year you ask me that question! Right now Instagram is so hot, but Snapchat is coming up quickly, although I feel Facebook is also making a strong resurgence. I’m seeing a LOT of web traffic come from Facebook recently, and whilst Snapchat is good and fun, there is no quick way to link to your brand.

Any tips for people starting out?

I think my biggest tip is just to get started right away. So many people daydream about having a business but never actually start or they focus on perfection rather than actually just ‘getting going’. I would definitely say hiring a great photographer is the biggest key. My partner is one of the best, so I’ve been so fortunate to have him next to me every step of the way.

What are the biggest misconceptions about social media business?

That it’s easy! If you mess up something, your customers will not think twice about leaving comments all over your photos to make you take note! So you really have to run a slick operation otherwise it’ll become very overwhelming.

Pia Muehlenbeck swapped the Bar for SLINKII
Pia Muehlenbeck swapped the Bar for SLINKII

How do you deal with criticism and trolling?

If you have time to criticise or troll someone else, you are just a bit of a loser, so it really doesn’t bother me at all. I just delete and block. Bullies are just idiots, and I don’t have time for that. Positive vibes all the way! Most of my followers are absolutely beautiful souls, I’ve made friends with lots of them outside of social media which has been such a fantastic experience.

Do you think social media business has an expiry and will eventually become futile? Or do you think it’s still on the rise?

No, it’s massively on the rise. You only need to look at the numbers to see that. Most people get their news from links on Twitter or Facebook, not CNN or SMH directly for example. That won’t change any time soon. Instagram is still rising solidly and it’s become intrinsically part of our culture.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m launching a menswear range next, and then *drumroll please!* a new women’s collection, which I’m so excited about. It’s very different to anything I’ve ever done before so that’s going to be a fun one!

Written by Chrisanthi Kaliviotis

With her lyrical turn of phrase and penchant for uber-glamour, Chrisanthi Kaliviotis is in her element writing about beauty for The Carousel, while weaving in fun fashion and pop culture references. She also loves a road test, so we send many of the new hair tools that arrive her way (she actually knows how to use them). Have you seen that hair?

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