Selfies and sales: Instagram users employ app to peddle wares

Published: Sunday, Sept. 22 2013 3:40 p.m. MDT

“The only fees I pay are through PayPal, which is maybe 5 percent on each invoice, which is pretty low,” Reed said. “I found out with eBay it all depends on your feedback. And there are some really mean people out there that will attack you. I have a good product, an audience that trusts me … and (Instagram shops) cut out any negative feedback.”

Like Reed, Shalice Brawner of Chicago said she enjoys running her hippie-chic Instagram shop, @herchicboutique, as a hobby, but also as a way to make some extra money and to fund her shopping habits.

“My gift is thrifting,” Brawner said. “I can find a needle in a haystack. I’ll go to a thrift store, and I’ll find things that are literally in Nordstrom right now.”

To aspiring sellers, however, she offered the caution that having an Instagram shop isn’t easy. Besides finding the time — Brawner has four children under the age of 5 — it’s difficult to take good pictures, and it’s time consuming to deal with emails and shipping.

“If you’re selling, it’s just about having really high standards for yourself,” Brawner said. “There’s an art to doing it well. The market’s almost getting really saturated … and you have to stay competitive.”

However, she said it’s worth it because it’s her passion. Brawner has built up her followers and ships all over, even to Guam and Canada. As a self-proclaimed virtual stylist, she’s built a relationship with a few of her consistent buyers and even feels like she can shop specifically for them while still sticking to her style.

Eventually, she said, she wants to use her Instagram shop to raise money and send proceeds to a charity.

Email: madbrown@deseretnews.com

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