I’m Jess. Content Creator and Knowledge Base Writer at PayGo
Here at PayGo, I’m known as a bit of a hobby collector. I love creating unique and beautiful things using skill, tenacity; and, quite often, fire and other melty burny things. I’ve built, upcycled, or reupholstered most of the furniture I own. If it can be sequined, jeweled, or otherwise sparkled, I’ve glittered it. I keep sketchbooks and rolls of painter’s tape stashed around my home like Easter eggs.
How about construction? I wield a cordless drill like a medieval weapon of war. Hardware store employees fear and respect me.
And what of sewing? My dining room is stacked three feet deep in fabric. I lost my dog somewhere near Taffeta Ridge two days ago.
Good old-fashioned wall art? I’ve tried every medium from inks to encaustics. My local frame shop refers to me in their records as “overtime Jess.”
Glass blowing? Not yet, but I have a blowtorch and my landlord is going out of town next month.
Weirdo Misadventures? I’ve had a few.
The best thing (or worst, from my rental deposit standpoint) that’s happened to me in the past few years has been the advent of Instagram. I don’t follow friends and family and post selfies and vacation pictures like a normal human. Instead, my Instagram account is dedicated to the international community of weird and wonderful makers like myself. I follow close to a thousand different accounts and hashtags, from metalsmiths to wildlife photographers to cartoonists.
By far the most detrimental to my bank account and free time are…the historical costume creators of Instagram.
There’s an international community of sewing and history buffs. They’re dedicated to bringing back the fanciest and most over-elaborate clothing of the past thousand years from around the world. These buffs track down historical patterns, fabrics and techniques to bring past fashions back to life. They have many, many wigs.
As a history and tailoring fan in general, this is my perfect storm of weird, wild and wonderful. My mornings consist of at least one hour of rapidly cooling coffee and breathless Instagram stalking of my very favorite designers. I follow their projects like most people follow sports teams. I regularly get the 24-hour Instagram time out for overeager heart-ing (I will never apologize for my enthusiasm and support!).
For me, and the rest of this odd (but very fancy!) group of enthusiasts, Instagram has become a place of gathering for those of us who have always felt a bit left out by normal life, and normal social media. There, we can express our love of petticoats and panniers in a group of like-minded people we probably would have never even known existed. We share sewing tips and modern hacks, we support each other’s successes and learn from each other’s failures. We move as a group. A group that is decked out with organza and ostrich feathers and has to walk through doorways sideways, but a group nonetheless.
So why am I telling you about my weird hobby?
Because it’s a hobby I didn’t even know I wanted to have until Instagram told me about it.
Without Instagram, I would have never known there are places online that sell whalebone alternatives. I wouldn’t have even known that whalebone alternatives were a thing. Mon Dieu! I wouldn’t have even known that my home state is home to hundreds of locally-owned and completely historical dressmaking pattern and supply shops. C’est vrais! Also, I wouldn’t know what a robe à la française is or why I’m wearing one to my next family reunion (I do own more than just yoga pants and character t-shirts, aunt Karen). I would have just kept on working on my little projects, without having any idea of the entire universes of content I was missing out on.
At over one billion monthly users, Instagram is a veritable beast of a social media platform, and it’s rapidly becoming a vital marketing tool for small businesses. Its predicted ad revenue for 2019 is over $10 billion. The tiniest of cottage industries can make a huge impact and gain thousands of followers with little more than a good product and some smart marketing. Several of the accounts I follow have started with one person, a sewing machine and a dream. The results? International brand recognition, publishing deals and hordes of well-tailored fangirls and -guys (gentlemen, your breeches and waistcoats have not been forgotten) following their every post.
What weirdo-ness do you possess? How about your business? Chances are that you can find your fangirls and fanguys on IG. In the coming weeks the marketing team at PayGo will be sharing more about how you can find your kind of weirdos on Instagram.
Weirdos Work at PayGo
Note: A few of the brave weirdos hard at work at PayGo have offered to share a bit about their weirder side. In case you missed it, you can check out The Weirdo Times of PayGo CEO, Chris Peterson by clicking here. More to come…