Monique's Experiments

Terra Simply

❓ Terra Simply is a DTC ecommerce candle brand based in St-Louis, MI and created by Dianna Allen.

🗓 Launch date : December 2019

💰 Price : Candles range from $14 for a mini-candle to $36 for a double-wick candles. Terra also offers monthly subscriptions for $30/month. 

💸 Current revenue : $52k ARR (Source)

📈 Acquisition channels used : Instagram, Twitter, Wholesale orders

🌎 Website 

Terra Simply

Acquisition channels

Best channels

Most of Terra Simply’s customers come from Instagram, and she doesn’t do paid ads.

Most of Terra sales come from Instagram (@terrasimply), and at the time of writing, the account has 3,147 followers. 

This was the case even in the company early days, and in Q1 2021, with less than 500 followers (428 to be exact), Terra made $980.18 in revenue (Source) ! 

This proves once again that engagement > followers ! Let’s see how Dianna has built an engaged audience on Instagram : 

  • Connecting with the IG accounts of other local businesses

It’s easy to get lost in trying all the Instagram growth hacks , but at the end of the day consistently posting relevant content and engaging with your followers/other accounts is by far the best way to get quality followers (you’ll notice that I didn’t say “get a lot of followers”…) 

Not only she invested a lot of time posting manually on Instagram, but she also targeted very specific accounts : local businesses based in St-Louis, MI, and who had customers who might be interested in buying homemade candles. 

An example of a great collab : this giveaway with a local influencer
  • Using relevant hashtags

The account uses a mix of small, medium and big hashtags related to Terra Simply (candles, small business), which is in my opinion the best way to use hashtags for organic reach (I wrote about this topic in this blog post)

Here’s some of the hashtags used in the account’s posts : 

    • #stlouisbusiness (7.878 posts)  
  • terrasimplyinstagram
    • #shopsmallmovement (49.990 posts)
    • #candlemaker (448.293 posts)
    • #smallbusinessowner (10.087.450 posts)
  • Working on her feed aesthetic 

Instagram is a very visual medium, and having a pretty feed can help leave a lasting impression on your audience. As you can see below, Dianna has consistently worked on refining her aesthetic and her branding.

terrasimply
An evolution of Terra Simply’s feed

📈 Some stats : 

  • For the past 4 months, on average, Terra Simply’s IG account has gained 338,5 followers per month 
  • The last 12 posts got an average of 110 likes and 5 comments/ post
  • On average, the account posts every 2 days

More details about Terra Simply’s Instagram stats I retrieved from my Instagram Google Sheet

 

Although most of Terra customers come from Instagram, Twitter is where the company first got its traction.

At the time, Dianna had 1.9k followers on Twitter.  (Source). I assume that her previous project, Budget Meal Planner helped her get some of those followers.

I really like the way she used Twitter to launch Terra : rather than to say “hey guys, I’m launching a candle company, go check it out”, she framed it as a challenge “I’m going to try to make $100 in 30 days”.

Just like this, she got a lot of attention and made people invested in her journey (“Will she succeed ? How will she do it ?” )

Also, challenges are pretty popular on Twitter (eg : 6 Startups in 6 months, Ship 30 for 30, etc.), so it’s something Twitter users are familiar with.

At the time of writing, she has 3,424 followers and she still  posts about her journey as a small business owner : 

Terra also has an “official” Twitter account,  (@terra_simply)  with 192 followers at the time of writing. 

Very early on, Dianna realized that she could grow faster if, in addition to selling directly to customers through her website, she also sold them to local professionals that would be interested in gifting candles to their clients, and to gifting companies like Greetabl (a company also based in St-Louis like her !).

Reaching out to those companies was a success and led to her closing her first wholesale orders. Greetabl ended up making an order of 700 candles 🤯 ! 

My takeaways from Dianna’s cold outreach : 

  • Don’t hesitate to reach out. Even if Terra was a very young company at the time, she took the plunge, sent her first emails, and it worked out ! 

As she explains in her blog : “It felt very intimidating sending this email at the time. As they were the first company [Greetabl] I ever reached out to. But guess what? They emailed me back and invited me to drop off samples at their office!”

  • Send personalized emails !

Other

I don’t think that she has given much thought to her SEO strategy, but just by sharing her journey on the Internet and with her local community, she has managed to get great backlinks. Here are some of them : 

❤ What I like

  • How she framed the launch of Terra as a challenge :

  • How consistent she has been : She started Terra as a side-project when she was a freelancer, and she kept working on it in the evenings, even when she only sold 3 candles a month.
  • How she made sure to be rooted in her local community : Yes, the Internet is awesome, and it’s a great way to make people discover your products… (I mean, I’m in France writing about a business based in the United States, all thanks to a Woman Make webinar !) But there’s also power in being rooted in your local community, especially when you sell physical goods. For Dianna, branding Terra Simply as the best place to get candles in St-Louis was a key factor in the company’s growth (Source)

Similar marketing deep dives you might like :