BYU senior Sydney Sexton has made her way through college supporting herself with her Instagram platform, @likenewlulu.
“Basically I resell Lululemon, in simple terms,” she said.
On July 1 2020, Sexton launched her account with only one hundred followers. Today, the Instagram business has more than 23,000 followers. Over the past two-and-a-half years Sexton has shipped out more than 6,000 orders.
Sexton’s goal was to resell as her full-time job in college and she said she has succeeded in doing so. She said she has maintained organic growth and consistent sales by mastering the Instagram algorithm.
The method she used to get her business off the ground was “spam following,” she said. She would find Instagram accounts with similar demographics and follow all of their followers in hopes of a follow-back. Over time, she accumulated thousands of followers using this method.
She invested in Facebook advertisements to boost the expansion and popularity of her platform. The advertisements allowed her to stay targeting her desired demographic in a more natural way, she said.
The current algorithmic method she follows, is to post stories daily and on the feed two to three times a week. Stories, posts that stay viewable for 24 hours, are where she sells individual items daily. On top of her daily story sales, she makes permanent posts called “drops.” The drops contain ten items of similar colors and a range of sizes.
When sourcing pieces, Sexton seeks pieces that are sold out, discontinued or considered rare. On top of having a desirable range of items, she also resells at retail prices. “It is actually the best account ever. I would be willing to pay above retail price for the super pretty and rare colors she sells but I don’t even have to when I buy from her,” customer Ashlee Hill said.
Sexton frequently scrolls Poshmark, an online thrift store, to source her items. Once she finds an item she thinks her followers would like she orders, receives, washes, repackages and reships. To claim items, customers direct message Sexton and pay her via PayPal or Venmo.
To make it a more personalized experience for her customers, she said she uses a logo and packaging she created to match her platform.
Customer Bella Retting said she appreciates how Sexton “does the dirty work.” Finding items that are both fashionable and high quality in an online thrift store is challenging, Retting said. She added that having a more refined and reliable platform to shop for her favorite brand makes sustainable and affordable shopping much easier.
Sexton is in her final semester of communication studies and said she hopes to continue her business and take on social media advertising post-graduation. The challenge in continuing her business is being able to keep a consistent stock and stay up to date on the algorithm, she said. Sexton explained Instagram demands consistent posting to stay a relevant account and slacking off can cause her account to lose activity.
Sexton’s business is an official LLC and she said she makes sure to disclose the fact to all her customers that her items are second-hand and not direct from Lululemon.