Let's Stay in Touch (Without Social Media)
I quietly quit Instagram and Facebook last week.
Business, personal, everything. I just... stopped. (Did you miss me? lol!) Call me crazy - maybe I'm having a mid-life crisis, maybe I'm stubborn, or spoiled, maybe (probably) all of those things are true - but, I just don't want to play the game anymore. Everyone says you have to "if you want to have a business" but, A) Who decided? (*cough* Meta,) B) Why has everyone blindly agreed for so long? And, C) Do you? Really? LET'S FIND OUT.
It's not business, it's personal
I don't know. What is there to say that I haven't already said about it? I turned 40 and realized that I don't want to take these apps with me into my next decade, so I gave myself the gift of freedom. So far, I’ve got to say, it feels amazing. Even though I haven't used these apps regularly for a long time, only using them for business purposes was still too much for me. Business purposes… what does that even mean anyway? I suppose I was using social media in the hopes of reaching the right customers, but I haven’t actually been reaching anyone at all there for a while. Twinkle Apothecary, LLC (a one-person, artisan craft business,) is only a corporation as far as the IRS is concerned anyway. To me, this business is deeply personal, and why shouldn't it be? I make the things that you put on your face and body with my own two hands. It’s not even a brand, really. I’m just a woman in a room with some ideas about how things should feel and smell and work and look, and if you agree, you can buy them. I don’t need it to be any more than that. I'm not asking you to buy into a lifestyle or change the way you look. Either you get it, or you go to Ulta. But I think the human-to-human connection we have is special. And this is the reason to shop at a small business, right? If this work isn’t allowed to be personal*, what is the point?
So, I, personally, cannot continue to do something that goes against my core values. I understand now that this struggle against what feels right for me vs. what I feel like I “have to do” as a “business” has been the root of my burnout over the past few years. There are a million reasons why I don’t feel that social media companies align with my (and Twinkle Apothecary’s) values, but mostly, scrolling makes me feel bad. I know that I'm not alone in this, so I don’t want to encourage anyone to do things that make them feel bad either. For me, scrolling makes me feel like I'm never doing enough and will never be good “enough” even through, logically, I know that I do SO much and have so much goodness to share! I also don't need to be bombarded with ads every waking moment of my life. I don't want to reverse my gray hairs or fix my supposedly sagging skin. I don't care about whatever the next buzzy ingredient, or tool, or supplement, or fashion trend is. I'm 40, not a kindergartener, so I don't need to be pointed at from peppy videos (gross) that are trying to teach me things. It's all just silly. (And not in the good way.) As much as I love the idea of having a way to stay in touch with all of my friends and acquaintances and favorite small local businesses, logging into these apps and scrolling for hours every day is simply not how I want to spend the rest of my precious time on this earth.
I do LOVE this work though, and I want to be able to spend much more of my precious time making beautiful things to share with you, (even if it doesn't work out because I stopped doing the thing that everyone says you have to do and I have to go get another job and make perfume on the side!) but Instagram/Facebook/TikTok/Twitter make me feel like giving up and throwing it all away. So obviously, they've got to go.
But it’s not goodbye!
We've been fed a lie over the past 15 years or so, that these apps are the only way to "connect" with one another, but that's simply not true. There are SO many other ways to connect.
I even made you a little infographic to illustrate my point.
(Those people are dancing because they are free.)
So let's discuss.
1. Twinkle Apothecary's website.
I'm out here on the og, the world wide web, doing my thing, which is (and has been) totally separate from social media from the beginning. I know a lot of people thought of my brand as an "Instagram brand" over the years, but I never liked that term or concept. The whole point of being on Instagram was to get you to leave Instagram so that you could see everything I have to offer here, then, to purchase the things I have to offer, and then, to enjoy your elevated products/routine/quality of life.
So, hi. I’m just cutting out the middle man, really.
Turn on desktop notifications, bookmark the page, and check in occasionally! I've got new things (and blogs) happening here on this very website all the time. And you don't have to scroll through a bunch of ads, or a bunch of humblebrags about everyone's supposedly perfect life/families/houses/vacations to get here.
You can even put a magic portal to Twinkle Apothecary right on your iPhone home screen, if you have the latest iOS update. (Sorry, there probably is a way to do this on an Android phone but I’m not sure how any of that works.)
Open Safari and type in twinkleapothecary.com
Click on the share icon at the bottom of the screen:
Click on "add to home screen":
Et, voilà. It's just like magic. (Don't forget to allow push notifications, which I send whenever I post a new blog, product, or have important news to share!)
While on the website, you can reach me via the chat box on the home page (a pink bubble on the lower left of the screen,) and you can also ask me questions directly on the product pages.
I know that a lot of people have trauma over email because of work and believe me, I get it. (See the above picture.) But, I am trying to cultivate a more joyful inbox for myself, which includes subscribing to newsletters from my favorite brands/people/authors, etc., whose messages I'm excited to open and read, while at the same time, unsubscribing from the junk/big box retailers/unsolicited b2b marketing, etc.
Why email? I find that as a business owner, emails are now FAR more effective for communicating what I have to share with you vs. social media. (One of my Instagram/Facebook posts might get 15-100 views at best, while an email always gets at least 500 -1000 opens, and then the people who open my emails actually to go my website and buy things. Imagine!)
Because emails are so effective for my business, I treat them with reverence. They are always personal notes from me, and I aim to make them something you’ll be excited to open and read. I try to send 1-3 per week. Ideally I'd like to send 3, but, quality over quantity, right? It depends on how much I have to share! Every week is different. Life has been pretty busy lately so I've only managed to squeak out 1 for the past couple of weeks. If that feels like too much for you, perhaps you and Twinkle just aren't a good fit. And that's ok! I do hope you'll come back around to visit me online someday though. I'd hate for you to miss out on something good just because you needed to clear some other spammy bs out of your inbox...
3. Text messages
Ok. Say you want to stay in touch with me, but you really can’t do email. No problem! I will send you 1-2 text messages (usually it’s just 0-1, I’m still getting the hang of it) per week to let you know what’s new in the world of Twinkle.
Personally, I find text messages from brands to be annoying and invasive (is nothing sacred!) but I fully understand that I am an old fuddy duddy. If you want texts instead of emails, sure. Ok. I can do that!
I know what you’re thinking - and yeah, Pinterest is social media. But it’s also not. At its core, Pinterest is a visual search engine. So I can post pictures of my products there, and anyone who’s looking at indie perfumes, or even pictures of perfume or skincare bottles might stumble upon one of mine. From there, they can go straight to the product listing online, and, bam - that’s where I trap them and never let them leave my rose and clary sage scented web of desire. Lol. I love Pinterest because it feels more passive than social media. More easy going. There’s no timelines or urgency to posting there. I have pins from 5-6 years ago that still drive tons of traffic to my website. And the people who find my brand on Pinterest actually buy things, without me having to hustle and play influencer lady 24/7.
Of course, there are ads on Pinterest, (this is one of the few places that I will pay to advertise my own products!) but I can easily hide/block the annoying ones and get back to searching for what to make for dinner, or giggling over absurd vintage makeup ads, or simply zoning out and filling my creative cup with aesthetic design inspiration for the day.
I mean... this one KILLS ME. I feel like if you saw this kind of an ad from a brand today you'd assume they used some kind of AI generator that had become horribly confused, and that a social media intern posted it without realizing it was a mistake. But a whole team of mad men probably came up with this while drinking scotch in their office late one night. Then they hired a photographer who took all of the photographs on film, and developed them in a darkroom, then a designer probably cut everything out and designed the layout by hand... it's just so ridiculous and amazing. Also, history! But I digress!
If you want to see all of the pretty things that I make without the noise, I highly suggest following Twinkle Apothecary on Pinterest. And if you want to help my products get seen by more people, re-pin them to your own boards! Since all of my unbranded bottles are unique, you could even make a game out of looking for the ones that ended up at your house and make your own little gallery of your personal Twinkle collection. Then, you could go back to those pins whenever you’re ready to reorder!
Any of these look familiar?
5. The Shop app
I'm not here to serve up free content to keep Meta or TikTok preying on people’s insecurities any longer, but I’m not actually against all big tech companies. Shopify (the platform that hosts this website) does so much to make e-commerce accessible for independent brands like mine. If you miss the Twinkle mobile app (RIP) and/or prefer a mobile first shopping experience, I highly suggest downloading Shopify’s Shop from your app store and liking Twinkle Apothecary to stay up to date on my newest products and any future sales.
Honorable mention: Etsy. You can't use your twinkle rewards coupons on Etsy, but, I don't know, maybe you're a die-hard Etsy fan or have an Etsy gift card... you can follow and shop Twinkle Apothecary there too!
This is my preferred way to connect with you in place of social media. It’s not about the money for me, but rather about how that $5/month paywall magically filters out all of the trolls and judgy hate followers that have made Instagram such a miserable place for me to share my work with you over the past few years.
I know that I’m a good person who has delightful things to share with the world - also, I’m an artisan, not a lifestyle influencer - so I don’t need to perform for an audience of strangers who never buy my lovely products but are ready to tear me down at the first hint of a perceived misstep or misspeak. Patreon is a healthier place to share because it’s a reciprocal exchange. You give me $5, (or $4.50 if you pay annually,) I give you behind the scenes pictures of my work and life, thoughtful blogs, customized products, mail-in refills for 20% off the retail price, DIY recipes so you can make my products at home, a weekly Q&A, and group chats…
I mean, I don’t know, that seems like a pretty fair deal to me.
The other cool thing about Patreon is that it’s a passive way for you to support my independent business, even if you don’t need to shop for skincare or perfume at the moment. So if you’re not a hater and you have a little extra money to spend with a maker who shares your values, c’mon and join the party. I promise I won’t force you to participate in the group chat or read my rambling blogs if you don’t wanna!
Honorable mention: YouTube.
I’m going to save any future vlogs for Patreon, but I have no beef with YouTube. I’ve been uploading all of my short-form videos there, and they actually drive traffic to my website, unlike Instagram and Facebook reels. So follow me there if you want to see my shorts! (Videos, not the pants! If you want to see me wearing shorts, Patreon is the place for outfit selfies. Oh, also, you can follow my Poshmark closet if you want to see my clothes.)
See? SO many ways to connect.
I hope you’ll stick around, check in occasionally, read my emails, and/or follow me on all of the platforms listed above, because even though I’m done with social media, I am not going anywhere, and I have so many good things in the works to share with you!
Thank you so much for reading. See you… well, here!
*I don’t read all of the comments when people are anonymously trash talking me online, or rather - I read enough to know I don’t need to read any further - but one I did see - one of my favorites that’s stuck around in my brain over the past year or so said something along the lines of “She’s got to learn that if she wants to have a business she’s got to be more professional and can’t act like she’s just joking around with her friends all the time.”
Well, I couldn’t disagree more. First of all, I already have a business. Twinkle Apothecary has been my full time job for almost 8 years now, so I’ve clearly demonstrated that I am professional enough to serve many customers, and not just the ones I’m personally friendly with (although that does include many of you, and I am so grateful for your friendship!)
Secondly, my preference as a consumer is to shop with independent artisans who make high quality products and are also real, human, funny, and flawed. (Because we all are.) I’d actually like to see fewer individuals who are mimicking corporations, and more humans who have something good to share with the world and are creative enough to and earn a living in a way that aligns with their values. But, maybe that’s just me. We don’t have agree, and you are free to shop at any professional corporation that meets your needs. I’m going to keep doing my thing!