Arpi Khachatryan of Luli Bebé: Five Ways To Leverage Instagram To Dramatically Improve Your Business
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
When you first start a business try to do the social media part yourself initially. Of course, you will need to hire people in time to be able to continue growing, but early on, it’s a good way for you to authentically connect with your earliest customers, build relationships and learn what kind of information they need from your brand. Additionally, you know your own business the best and no one will be as committed or as passionate as you are.
As a part of our series about How To Leverage Instagram To Grow Your Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Arpi Khachatryan.
Arpi Khachatryan is the founder of Luli Bebé chic and sophisticated Monaco diaper, travel and snack bags made of vegan leather designed for function and fashion. The brand has become an insta darling and currently has an instagram following of 375K. Visit the site at https://lulibebeus.com/ or on instagram at @luli.bebe.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Luli Bebé was founded in 2017 after I had my first baby. The name Luli Bebé is the combination of my daughter’s name Lucy and my niece Lily. As a new mom, I found myself searching for the perfect diaper bag and began importing bags from Spain. I was able to market them in the US and had successful sales but I realized that although the bags were beautiful, consumers seemed to be in search of a bag that functioned more as a fashionable backpack.
After just three months of selling the imported bags, I decided to design my own unique diaper bag where I would be able to fine tune the necessities that I knew I wanted in a backpack style diaper bag as well as be able to choose the materials and colors. After a lot of research and time spent finding manufacturers, the Monaco Diaper Bag was born. The name Monaco was chosen because I lived in Spain for over 10 years and visited Monaco frequently and it was a place that was near and dear to my heart. Since then we have expanded the product line to include a smaller version of the backpack (Petit Monaco), a snack bag and most recently a classic travel bag.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
It was the day that I received an email from a Nordstrom buyer telling me they found the Luli Bebé brand on Instagram! The buyer said the Nordstrom team loved the designs and were interested in selling the Monaco bags at Nordstrom. Yes, NORDSTROM!!!! At first I was nervous that it might be a scam but after double checking the email, we could see that it was indeed from @nordstrom.com, I still get goosebumps telling the story. The best feeling ever!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of my earliest mistakes was displaying my cellphone number on our Instagram account and business website. I would get calls 24/7. My lesson is to never share a personal cellphone on a business page. Even if you are just starting a business it’s better to get a google number or share a company customer service email because you won’t stop answering your phone and, by the way, it won’t be potential customers or clients calling, but rather a lot of marketers.
Ok. Let’s now move to the main focus of our discussion. For the benefit of our readers, can you explain why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
The primary reason that I am an authority on marketing a business through Instagram is because we have built our business on this platform. Within the first year of business, we had already grown to 100K and our current following is 375K. It’s one of the things I am most proud of is that our customer base was grown organically, by word of mouth. Our diaper and travel bags are a very visual product which displays well on Instagram so I knew right away that that was going to be a primary vehicle for us. I was diligent in selecting the right influencers for our brand and pursued them relentlessly. It took about 10–15 times of outreach in order to get a response, but it was well worth it. Instagram growth is like a big snow ball once you are on track, but you have to consistently work at it and continue to do the things that brought you success so the momentum continues to build as well. In the early days, you might see 1–5 people following, then slowly you get to a point where your business gains 100–300 new followers a day due to increased content sharing.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
Definitely Instagram! 90% of our customers are from Instagram. Honestly we are so fortunate to be in the era where Instagram is #1 platform for businesses. Many people, before buying, check a company’s Instagram account before buying the product because they can see first hand reviews and how the products are used and look in real life. In addition, top Instagram influencers have a very dedicated, loyal following who trust their brand endorsements, especially when they are organic. So when you collaborate with an influencer in the primary interest category of your brand/business, baby/parenting, in our case, it’s a great way to tap into a network of ready to go potential buyers.
Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share five ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
Number one, when you first start a business try to do the social media part yourself initially. Of course, you will need to hire people in time to be able to continue growing, but early on, it’s a good way for you to authentically connect with your earliest customers, build relationships and learn what kind of information they need from your brand. Additionally, you know your own business the best and no one will be as committed or as passionate as you are.
Two, do your research and locate key contact influencers in your space and try to collaborate with them. The influencers don’t need to have a massive following, there are many micro influencers that have a lower but mighty, highly engaged following. We have had 50 sales from an influencer that has only 5000 followers. Also, content is very important on your own feed and working with influencers will drive beautiful photos you can use on your social media.
Three, contact complementary brands that are in the same industry and try to collaborate with them.
Four, participate in giveaways, they are great for growth!. Always make sure the giveaways are in your niche. If you are selling a baby product don’t participate in a beauty giveaway. You will grow your following with people that want to win the product you are selling.
And lastly five, If you contact influencers, brands, giveaway hosts and they don’t respond, follow up as many times until they answer! Yes, sometimes this will mean emailing or messaging them 10 or more times. But persistence pays off!
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would love to be part of a movement that inspires a wave of mama entrepreneurs that crush it in the business world while also reveling in their role as a mother. Women in business add tremendous value to the market and are also an example for their kids at the same time.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Definitely Kim Kardashian, she has been my biggest inspiration. It has been my dream since day 1 to meet her and gift her my baby products! I know we would become friends, we are both Armenians and also I was born in the city of Gyumri, where their ancestral home is located.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!