Instagram Like a Rock Star: Lessons From NYC’s Catbird

How the tiny Brooklyn jewelry shop earned 121,000 Instagram followers

Catbird, the influential Brooklyn jewelry and gift store, feels like a quaint little neighborhood shop. But the 10-year-old retailer charms jewelry lovers all over the world through its witty, pretty Instagram feed, which at press time boasted 121,000 followers. A quick search shows that feeds for comparable stores on Instagram typically have between 1,500 and 18,000 followers. 

How did the retailer establish its Insta-reign? By harnessing wit and whimsy (and good photography) to showcase its distinct point of view. Check out some of its most beguiling recent posts—and why they’re so effective.

 

Courtesy Catbird

Girlfriend-to-girlfriend banter is a constant in Catbird posts. This adorable photo, which showcases a new ring holder for the store, comes with an equally cute line: “Could there possibly be a more perfect place for your off-duty rings?”

 

Courtesy Catbird

Posts often evoke celestial, mystical, or hyper-romantic concepts—and they come off as stylish and endearing, not hippy-dippy. This photo, showing a model who manages to look both trendy and classic, is accompanied by the line, “Have a beautiful night, all you silvery swans.” 

 

Courtesy Catbird

Simply styled setups spotlight product without reading advertisement. The fun caption on this vignette: “It’s Friday night, let’s have a party!”

 

Courtesy Catbird

Posts often feature a single, floating piece of jewelry—unfettered by background or styling. It’s effective when used sparingly (this opal ring garnered more than 5,000 likes in less than three days). 

 

Courtesy Catbird

Oftentimes, the jewelry is not the thing. Catbird is masterful at cultivating a vibe in its posts. In this one, a jet-set femme shows off the retailer’s famous stackable rings.  

 

Courtesy Catbird

Short and sweet is sometimes the most effective. The text—”Tumbling into the weekend”—pairs perfectly with a stack of beautiful rings tumbling over.

 

Courtesy Catbird

Sometimes random is good. Why is she looking in the mirror? Who knows. The image makes people stop and take notice. And look how many ring styles are featured.

Courtesy Catbird

The feed often features illustrations. Presumably by staff and friends of the shop. It mixes things up nicely. This one, for example, feels nothing like an advertisement and everything like the doodling of a talented shopgirl. 

 

Courtesy Catbird

The posts embrace quirkiness. Case in point—these unusual star earrings are teamed with this charmingly kooky caption: “Brand new star earrings make us all a little weepy with love and longing.” 

JCK Magazine Editor