Meet Instagram’s new power sellers, style influencers who are changing the face of modern marketing
A recent Instagram post from jewelry retailer Bernie Robbins Jewelers showed a young blond woman standing in front of the colorful, whipped meringue–shape domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square. The woman’s eyes were closed peacefully to the setting sun, her left arm flung over a shoulder. Gleaming on her wrist was a chunky steel watch. Jewelry brand Gabriel & Co.’s Instagram account (@gabrielandco) was tagged, and the hashtags included #BernieRobbinsJewelers and #BernieRobbins.
The woman was Kristina Smolyar, a social media influencer with 14,000-plus followers, who’s based in Philadelphia—near two of the Somers Point, N.J., retailer’s four locations.
The Instagram post—along with several others on both Smolyar’s and Robbins’ feeds—was the product of a partnership between the retailer and the up-and-coming style influencer. Before teaming up with Smolyar, the store collaborated with Philadelphia style-guy-about-town Ian Michael Crumm, who has more than 300,000 Instagram followers, on posts and even an in-store appearance flagging Crumm’s favorite pieces. Crumm was also the store’s face for the Swiss watch brand Tudor in late 2016, when he posted a series of artsy photos of his wrists strapped with Tudor timepieces.
Harvey Rovinsky, owner of Bernie Robbins, says the campaigns with the young fashionistas have “dramatically increased the reach of what we do. We all know that any kind of an editorial mention is more effective than advertising—and that’s what this comes down to. These are people who are using their network to increase our reach.”