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The Millennial Dream: Building A Business Through Instagram

by Paromita Haque
Thousands of students walk through the halls of our most esteemed universities. As time goes on, they all face different paths, many with the hope of having a full-time job or running their own business. What many of them don’t know is that the potential to start those careers fits snugly in their own pockets.

It’s the millennial dream; finding a full-time job straight out of uni- or even in uni if you can help it- dreaming of someday taking destiny by the horns and being your own boss. This is a reality for two university students, brothers Tamim and Samin Azfar, who roam the campuses of their universities with the word “Juggernaut” emblazoned on their track pants, an apparel brand they created and launched all by themselves.

“Obviously at the start, they were like “What the hell!”, you know, they don’t expect it from you,” says 20-year-old co-founder, Tamim Azfar of his friends.

But now, along with his younger brother Samin, he finds himself the co-owner of a 6-month-old start-up company already receiving international orders.

The brothers decided to create a line of athleisure wear that was “good quality, has all the good features and a perfect fit, and is something that’s also affordable and free shipping and everything,

“Maybe that something that other people would wanna get.”

With this belief and no other experience on hand, they began the journey into entrepreneurship.

“We didn’t know pretty much anything, we just wanted to start a business. So after we had the idea we kind of just started, we were like, we’ll do whatever we have to do” says Tamim,

“We had to wake up early in the morning, stay up late at night, use whatever time we had -spent time on the train learning how to draw or something like that…”

“We worked on stuff even in between tutes at uni, even in tutes,” says Samin. “If I knew the content I’d just be sitting on my laptop working on this is whenever I could, like in any spare time. So we were spending less time on other things to make this work out.”

A look at their Instagram page could’ve fooled anyone. The “crisp, clean” aesthetic featured on their page looks professionally maintained, but was actually curated by Samin himself, after taking inspiration from bigger brands and the aesthetic they portray on social media.

Flex. – -@rakinnnn22 -📸@d31t4photography #juggernaut #apparel

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“Obviously they know more about what’s going to attract viewers to click on photos and like them. So I guess I thought if we followed the same methods- if we had really crisp, clean photos with good editing, that’s gonna make people not only like the photos and spread awareness, but also it increases the brand’s reputation”

Though he doesn’t have any formal editing experience, Samin managed to articulate Juggernaut’s images by playing around with the free Photoshop on his school laptop.

As for the photos themselves, they were taken by “hit(ting) up a mate with a DSLR camera and get(ting) them to take the photos.” All of the models are also their close friends.

“They’re always happy to come model…because a couple of our friends actually do bodybuilding as like a real thing, and they want that exposure” says Tamim.

The brothers say that Instagram has helped them build their brand and network to what it is today, calling it “one of the most important things for small businesses.”

“I mean who isn’t on Instagram nowadays, right?… Instagram is…a place for aesthetics and stuff. People check their Instagram before their Facebook,” says Tamim

“You can see on the backend of our brand…where our referrals come from or where people visit our website from and at least 60 – 70 percent is people who’ve found us on Instagram” says Samin.

“If you wanna show people what you have to offer, Instagram’s the best option because there’s such a huge presence of people on there and you can pretty much offer your products for anyone on social media,” says Tamim.

The brothers aren’t the only ones to find success on the platform. 20-year-old Primary Education student Sumayah Gaffoor turned her hobby of doing henna into a flourishing business within four years with the help of Instagram.

“It’s very traditional for some people, for some people it’s just for fun, they like to decorate themselves with it,” she says.

Sumayah’s “not too fussy” with the theme or aesthetics of her Instagram account.

“If someone sends me a photo of henna I did [on them] and it looks nice and it’s clear I’ll post it…I know some people’s accounts have a white background or it HAS to be black and white – mine is just like, if it looks nice I’ll post it. It doesn’t have a consistent theme,

“Some people say my henna page looks a bit messy coz there’s everything, but then others like it like that.”

Her Instagram account @henna_by_sumayah serves as a portfolio of her work that allows clients to preview designs, contact her directly, as well as have her art displayed in public at no cost to her.

She says that Instagram is absolutely needed for smaller businesses, as “you can post more photos of your work…show it off properly. It’s like an album of all your stuff”

She also utilises features such as liking, tagging and following to widen her audience and open them up to her work, as well as networking. She has so far collaborated with fashion bloggers, bridal clothing companies, even calligraphy accounts – simply by tagging them.

The brothers have also capitalised off many features of Instagram, finding that each has a significant effect on the expansion of their business.

“I didn’t really know anything about hashtags… until we started this stuff,” says Tamim,

“The more hashtags you have the more exposure you get; more people have a chance of seeing your thing. So we usually just get random hashtags off anything, like any fitness post…it gets put into those categories and random people will see it, they like it and follow your page and whatnot,

“Through Instagram, we’ve got orders from the US, even though we haven’t done any promotions from the US… Just some random people, maybe they saw the hashtag and they clicked on it, they liked the stuff and they ordered it.”

Instagram has announced earlier this month that they plan on launching even more tools to help conduct business within the app itself. These include features such as “action buttons” which allow customers to directly book or order things they want to buy without having to leave Instagram. They have also moved customer messages from the pending folder to the main direct inbox and implemented “quick replies”, allowing businesses to filter and respond to messages easily.

“It’s not easy to start a business,” says Ali Busacca, Instagram’s Head of Community for Europe, Middle East and Africa in an interview with Verdict.

“We pride ourselves on being an easy solution: anyone with a camera can take a photo and post it online. Additionally, we know that they need insights and we create insights tools. We’re proud of how we have the opportunity to create tools that level the playing field.”

Instagram’s expansion of business tools indicates that they plan to accommodate small businesses like @henna_by_sumayah and Juggernaut Apparel, giving them more scope to reach their audience and expand their business.

As for Juggernaut’s future, the boys are currently working on a women’s line to supplement the men’s line already available on their website.

“We’re really into fashion and we like streetwear and all that kinda stuff, so I think later on -maybe after a few more launches- we might go into streetwear, and then after streetwear maybe more casual wear, like shorts and chinos, and just as big as we can make it really,

“There’s no end goal.”

Stay determined. #juggernaut #apparel #athleisure @saminazfar

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