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University Student to CEO: How Millenials are Using Instagram to Build their Businesses

Millenials are proving that the days of gruelling for a business degree are over – all you need is Instagram and the Internet.

By: Mansib Ahmad

Samin Azfar modelling his athleisure line, Juggernaut Apparel, which he co-launched with his brother, Tamim, on Instagram. Photo credit: @juggernaut_apparel

The world in this very moment is rough, but young people are ensuring the future is progressive – so progressive, in fact, that anyone with a smartphone and Internet can become an activist, an entertainer or an entrepreneur. Social media in particular has become a tool for users to promote their own original content, whether that be in the form of jewellery, music singles or food. The capabilities of these digital platforms have transformed the everyday millenial into a bustling, hustling CEO. This is the case for two brothers, Tamim and Samin Azfar who have launched their own clothing brand, ‘Juggernaut Apparel’, through Instagram.


The word ‘juggernaut’ means ‘a massive inexorable force, campaign or movement’, and this is what the brothers want to encompass in their athleisure clothing line, as they envisioned Juggernaut Apparel to “be more than just a brand”, but rather a “lifestyle”. Started in December 2017, Tamim and Samin, 20 and 19 respectively, says the idea of the business “was pretty random.”


“We would buy a lot of gym clothing that would either be too expensive or wouldn’t fit nicely and we knew a lot of people that had the same problem, especially at our age,” says Tamim. “As students, not everyone wants to spend $150 on a pair of trackies, so we were like, if we can make something that’s good quality, has all the good features, a perfect fit, and is something that’s also affordable [with] free shipping, then maybe that’s something that other people would wanna get. So that’s why we started.”


Both Tamim and Samin are university students studying Commerce. When they started Juggernaut, they “had no clue on anything. We didn’t know anything, we just wanted to start a business.” That sentiment was enough to kickstart their first steps as entrepreneurs, despite their inexperience. While balancing a full-time work and university schedule, the brothers utilised whatever time they had – often learning how to draw and design clothes on the train. Originally, the duo began by handing out samples of their clothes for free at gyms, promoting their brand through word of mouth, and asking friends to model their clothing in an effort to spread word. Although there is a strict focus on “quality over quantity”, both agree that the success of their brand is “one hundred per cent” because of the exposure on social media – particularly Instagram.

The brothers drew and designed a lot of their products on the train. Pictured: Samin Azfar modelling his own created design. Photo credit: @juggernaut_apparel

“Once we started Instagram we’d get views from people that aren’t related to us. We get orders from overseas,” says Tamim. “We can see people from America are viewing our stuff, people from other countries, where we wouldn’t have reached any other way and that’s only because of Instagram.”


Samin agrees it’s “really important and necessary” for smaller businesses to have a dynamic presence on Instagram. “We check where people visit our website from and 60 – 70 percent is people who’ve found us on Instagram.”


He adds: “If you wanna show people what you have to offer, Intagram’s the best option.”


Right now, the brothers are working on expanding their clothing line to include a women’s collection and have hopes to expand Juggernaut into more than just athleisure. “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.”


For small businesses, Instagram provides a creative, expressive platform to promote and advertise products and communicate with their customers. Exposure is essential in business, and Instagram allows companies and brands this opportunity to showcase products, and it can often lead to unimaginable success.

Instagram has made the young, everyday citizen into the CEO of their very own company or brand, all from the comfort of their home.

Sumayah Gafoor, a 20 year old university student, is also an example of this. When her dad returned from a holiday to India, he brought henna tubes home with him. Initially just a hobby, Sumayah eventually decided to start her own henna design services, launching her self-made company on Instagram, @henna_by_sumayah. She now does henna designs on a range of clientele, from people who don’t know what henna is and wanting to try it, to brides for their wedding day.

An example of the kind of designs Sumayah is able to create with henna. Photo credit: @henna_by_sumayah

With the growth of her business, Sumayah says she is now more organised and has created an editable calendar, showing all her bookings, as well as a structured ‘information packages’, detailing the cost of her services.


Instagram has also given her a multitude of business opportunities, including collaborating with big names in the henna industry such as Payal Sharma (@hennabypayal). “I’ve also done collaborations with girls who do fashion and model for clothing who have more followers, so I can have more audience”. Through networking features such as tagging, liking and commenting, Sumayah has established connections with a variety of businesses – including a calligraphy one.


When asked whether Instagram is integral to her business, Sumayah says: “Yeah, Instagram helped me so much. It’s great for advertising and it’s given me so much audience.”


Tamim, Samin and Sumayah have all developed their brand and aesthetic because of Instagram, and the use of hashtags has provided their businesses with accessibility, which is what has drawn them to the platform in the first place.


The co-founders of Juggernaut Apparel are careful about which hashtags they use and on which picture. “I mean I didn’t really know anything about hashtags…what hashtags were meant for until we started this,” says Tamim, “The more hashtags you have the more exposure you get, more people have a chance of seeing your thing.” Although they have had limited marketing and promotions, they still receive orders because of this feature: “People saw the hashtag and they clicked on it, they liked the stuff and they ordered it.”


Even simply providing a link to the product in their photos has boosted business, says Tamim.


Hashtags and links are key marketing features on Instagram. Photo credit: @juggernaut_apparel

Samin says it’s because of social media’s ability to connect anyone, anywhere, anytime that their business has become so successful. “Unless you have a physical site – you have no exposure. With social media, you can expose your brand 24/7, even when no one’s working. It’s important in creating brand awareness.”


Instagram’s features demonstrate that small businesses like Juggernaut Apparel and @henna_by_sumayah, created by common millennials, are able to engage with a wider audience, expand and find success, proving that a business degree may not be necessary in an entrepreneurship – rather, a solid Internet connection. Truly, the future is progressive.