lifestyle

How two sisters grew their Instagram following from 1 to 100,000.

We started our blog, How Two Live, as a diary to one another.

Two sisters, one living in Paris and the other in Melbourne, have been writing posts to each other daily to share what we were eating, drinking, wearing, and doing. We soon realised we weren’t the only ones reading our conversations, and saw an opportunity to build our little diary into long-term careers…

We’ve spent the last two and a half years building up a loyal tribe of fans, ranging from teenage girls, to their mums, to the bored at work 30-year-old. We have over 100,000 followers on our Instagram @howtwolive, and our website howtwolive.com has had close to a million hits.

Attention seeking. Clown lookalikes. Total freaking weirdos. Yes, we’ve heard it all – but the one thing they don’t realise is that we like being told we’re different, because it’s all part of our game plan. Here’s why…

Jess and Stef- How Two Live (Image: Instagram)

1. We don’t conform.

Denim cut offs… stripes… white shirt… boyfriend jeans… ankle boots… more stripes… fedora… oh another striped t-shirt…

Sound familiar?

Our Instagram feeds are cluttered with the ‘blogger uniform’ – and plenty of girls have made huge businesses out of just this.

But instead of competing with the zillions of chambray shirts out there, we get up in the morning and unleash our inner creativity.

Because we love to dress like no one’s watching. And because despite what the bullies told you in high school, being different is a good thing… especially when it comes to business.

2. We genuinely care.

Two mornings ago, we were driving from a meeting to a shoot, breakfasting on the run while trying to respond to emails. We get a Snapchat from a 16-year-old girl, telling us she’s about to walk into an exam, and is really nervous.

We immediately stop everything, find an upbeat song on the radio (Taylor Swift, obvs) and Snapchat her back with lots of ‘woooooooo’s and ‘you got this girl’s.

Because our fans are everything, and if we don’t make time for them, how can we expect them to make time for us?

Click through for a gallery of How Two Live…

3. We make it about more than just us.

A lot of our fans are teenage girls, and we know many of them might look up to us as they would a big sister. So while we like to show them that life is all about having fun, we also try to teach them the importance of giving back.

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Our book, #HOWTWOLIVE is a series of how to (or ‘how two’) projects, with a range of fun guides from nail art to recipes to blogging.

In addition, we’ve added in a How Two Make An Impact section to each chapter, with ideas on how they can use their new skills for good, from cheering up a friend to raising money for a charity.

This is just one example of how we encourage girls to think about the bigger picture, but if you look closely at the things we post and the decisions we make, you’ll realise this is part of almost everything we do.

Because we have access to the next generation, and we want to influence them to use their powers for good.

“While we like to show them that life is all about having fun, we also try to teach them the importance of giving back.” (Image: Instagram)

4. We support other women.

Competing with your gal pals is so last season.

From being part of female entrepreneur groups, to giving our peers shout outs on Instagram, we see other women as the people we can grow together with, not the competition.

Last year we ran a blogger workshop for 50 young women who wanted to learn how to make their blogs a success. We shared our secrets with them and handed out our email, and we are still mentoring some of these girls today. 100% of the profits from the workshop went to the incredible not-for-profit, Big Brothers Big Sisters Australia, and the contribution meant at least two young girls could be mentored for a year.

We’ve built a network of people who we support, and who support us back.

Because if we don’t stick up for each other, this will always be a man’s world.

5. We think outside the box.

When we were first approached to write a book, the freak out was real. Us? On paper? But everything we do is totally and completely digital…

The solution? Combine the two, and encourage our book readers to interact via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, visit our website and YouTube to take projects to the next level, and share their creations with us on social media.

“When we were first approached to write a book, the freak out was real. Us? On paper? But everything we do is totally and completely digital…” (Image: Instagram)

A #book that uses #hashtags to communicate with its readers? #YouSawItHereFirst

Because your lightbulb moments might be yellow, but ours look like rainbows.

#HOWTWOLIVE goes on sale September 1st. For a full list of stockists visit www.howtwolive.com.

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