And by paper swans, we actually mean paper EVERYTHING. Ross Symons, the nimble-fingered creator behind @white_onrice, has used social media to build his incredible origami brand from the ground up. Last week, we stole all his paper and forced him to tell us his secrets so that we can start up a rival company. *Evil laugh*
Here’s what he had to say on the intricacies of creating a solid brand with the power of social media.
Paper + Instagram = origami awesomeness
I started folding paper (origami) a few years ago and when I realised that I really enjoyed it, I wanted to share some of the things I folded. I decided to use social media to share my passion. I have been a registered Twitter user for a long time, but I just never really got into it. I often use Pinterest to find cool creative ideas but I found that Instagram had the right blend of interaction and content for me.
“Instagram was my social platform of choice simply because of the sense of creative community it embraces.”
I was on Instagram all the time. I love that you can post a photo and connect with complete strangers from anywhere in the world. Finding inspiration and sharing ideas with those people is easy, which keeps that creative flame burning and helps you build relationships.
Turning a passion project into a brand
At the beginning of 2014 I very impulsively started a 365-day origami project. I wanted to post one origami figure a day for a year, and I decided that Instagram would be the best place to share this little project. When I posted day 1 of 365, I had about 120 followers. Within 4 months I was up to 1000 and I am now approaching 2000. I’ve never really been one to try accumulate likes, retweets and comments but the more people I interacted with, the more I started realising that turning a passion project into something more fulfilling and rewarding was possible.
I followed my love for folding paper and as a result, I launched a brand, which was not the initial plan. I now make paper lampshades, do commission origami installations and have started teaching origami. People have started contacting me to do collaboration projects too.
All we can say is HIGH FIVE, Ross. You may have your paper back now. Now, guys, go follow @white_onrice for a daily dose of super cool papery creativity and be inspired to take your own account to the next level. Keep an eye out for our next post – we’ll be sharing Ross’s top tips for effective Instagramming. (You can thank us later. With chocolate).
(Written with love by You&Me’s awesome copywriter: Jenny Coulson)