Meet Brandy Pham, the creator behind Planoly! Planning your Instagram grid is no easy feat, but using Planoly makes life a whole lot easier! Read on to learn about how the app came into being and stay tuned until the end to see our exciting announcement!
Plus, we are so excited to have Brandy joining us at our Austin Workshop in February 2017! She’ll be speaking on Social Media Day (Saturday, Feb. 11th) of our Workshop, so snag your seat now–you won’t want to miss this!
Tell us about your background and how you’ve gotten to where you are!
I studied fashion design and have been in the fashion industry for over 10 years. I started off in apparel in New York then fell in love with jewelry design in the process. I started my own jewelry brand since then and have been sold in stores like Henri Bendel, DKNY, Anthropologie, Cynthia Rowley and the W Hotels. My designs have been featured in countless publications like Teen Vogue, Domino, InStyle, Nylon, Garance Dore’s Love Style Life book; and have been worn by Selena Gomez, Solange, Laverne Cox, Kristen Bell, Garance Dore, Chriselle Lim and Julie Sarinana. Hard work, dedication, and perseverance (aka hustle) were really the driving force behind everything and how I’ve gotten to where I am today.
How did the idea for Planoly come about? Was there a certain problem you were trying to solve?
We dreamt up and built Planoly because Instagram was such a vital part of our Brandy Pham jewelry business. If I didn’t post, I didn’t get a sale, and my husband quickly called that out. When I became a new mom, it was a full time job in itself and my time was limited. As the sole content creator, I would have to plan out my Instagram content and draft my captions ahead of time (during nap times and late at night). I would take photos and edit them on my iPhone, e-mail to myself, visually plan my feed on photoshop, draft my captions in Evernote, set alarms for when to post, then copy and paste to Instagram.
My husband thought I was insane for doing this, and wanted to ease this process for me so he set out to make Planoly come to life for me. There was nothing like Planoly on the market when we first started. We were the first visual planner for Instagram and it was truly a labor of love! Our goal was to make the Instagram process easier and more efficient for businesses and power users.
What was the most difficult thing you had to overcome when first starting your business?
The most difficult thing we had to overcome when starting our businesses was finding the work-life balance. I know everyone talks about it, but the struggle is real. We all love what we do and it’s hard not to just get laser focused and to just work around the clock. We had to tell ourselves that it’s okay to take a break, to step away from the computer, and to not answer those tech support e-mails at 3am. You have to take care of your physical and mental health in order to function properly and be happy!
How did you first get the word out about your program?
It was all organic. We personally reached out to our community by contacting everyone we knew and the people we admired. We set up meetings for demos and personally told our story face-to-face. We wrote e-mails and made personal phone calls as well. The people who loved the application and supported us from the beginning would tell their friends about it and it just spread through word of mouth.
It's better to start your business off right, instead of 'right now.'
What is something you wished you knew when you initially started Planoly?
Building it right from the beginning will save time and money in the long run. It’s better to do it right, than right now.
How important is your grid on Instagram?
An image is worth a thousand words! Literally! It’s so important to visually tell your story on Instagram. Your audience and new followers should be able to know exactly what your brand, message and style is from looking at your Instagram grid at first glance. In this day and age, it’s all about visual storytelling as our attention span gets shorter and shorter.
In your opinion, how does Planoly significantly differ from other Instagram planning apps/programs?
We are the first VISUAL planner for Instagram and knew the importance of planning your grid from the beginning because we came from that point of view. We’re our own target market and we’re more than just a planner/scheduler. We want to help brands and influencers manage the whole cycle of an Instagram post. This means discovering content, visually planning, scheduling, analyzing, and managing comments all on one platform. Other apps/programs do 1 or 2 parts of this cycle (and only on either their app or their website, not both like Planoly). We are the end-to-end Instagram visual management platform.
You recently worked with us as a sponsor for InstaCamp. How has working with other companies or influencers helped you grow Planoly?
It has been really great partnering with companies and influencers who believe in our platform and use Planoly daily. We only work with partners who are truly interested in our platform so the message is more authentic. Having an organic and authentic message from companies and influencers helped spread the word quicker because their followers appreciate hearing how they personally use Planoly.
What has your journey taught you about running a business & being a leader?
It’s tough. You have to wear multiple hats and juggle a hundred different things at once. What I’ve learned most is that patience is the key to everything. You can get overwhelmed with daily tasks if you try to tackle them all at once so I prioritize my list daily and tackle them one at a time instead. The same goes for working with the team. I have to have patience since everyone works at a different pace and style. It’s definitely a journey and I’m still learning.
If you had to describe this entire process in three words, what would they be?
Always move forward!
Want to learn more about Planoly and planning your grid? Don’t miss out hearing Brandy speak at our Austin Workshop in February 2017! She’ll be speaking on Social Media Day (Saturday, Feb. 11th) of our Workshop, so be sure to sign up!