I love Instagram.
The millennial dyslexic in me can’t help but be attracted to a social media platform whose USP is pretty pictures organised in a rigid framework and supported by complimentary words and emojis from strangers.
Scrolling through my Instagram feed, which is something I do with shameful regularity, I find myself aspiring for products, interiors and lifestyles which bare no resemblance to my personal tastes, budget or needs.
I dream of chic, clutter-free workspaces with walls painted white, dusky pink or dove grey, hung with portraits of Kate Moss and quotes written in calligraphy, a chair with a faux fur rug casually slung over it and maybe a dachshund puppy at my feet.
In isolation, however, none of these things particularly attract me... what do I care for supermodels whose lifestyles I can neither understand or would want. Why put a rug on a chair?! What happened to cushions? and little sausage dog... you might be cute but I'm more a rescue animal sort of girl.
I was listening to Radio 4's Late Night Women's Hour on Friday and the presenter and guests were talking about women's modern-day attitude to cleaning and the pristine, uncluttered interiors which flood our print and digital lives now.
One of the commentators talked about the concept of the Girl Boss, a relatively young freelancer, often working in the creative industries and usually from their stunningly designed home office or studio.
I use the term Girl Boss with some frequency and a whole heap of irony. Every time I attribute #girlboss to my social media comments or type it in the title of this blog series, I cringe a little and take a brief moment to laugh at myself. Why? you ask, well ... 1) at 27 years old I am becoming awkwardly aware that my girlhood is quite far behind me, and 2) as the owner of a business whose employees amount to one (that would be me) most of the time I find myself simply muddling through life, rather than bossing it.
And I think that really this is the case for most of us 'girl bosses'... some are more organised than others, some have a wonderful eye for interior design and life styling and choose to prioritise this, while others have the money to pay someone else to prioritise it. But no matter how beautiful and coordinated someone's studio looks on Instagram, I promise you when the orders are rolling in or when they are trying to produce a new product and it just won't work, that's when you'll find the more honest version of their workspace and vibe.
And this is really the point of this blog post. Instagram lies or at least it shows only an airbrushed version of reality and this is both one of the things I love about it and also the thing I really despise.
My experience is that we often value ourselves by comparing ourselves to others and Instagram allows us to do this while removing all context and by valuing aesthetics above everything else.
I believe wholeheartedly with the quote "Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle" and yet I find myself doing just this every time I go on Instagram. I look at companies who have been in the industry a lot longer than me and I think 'wow, what they are doing is amazing!' and then immediately afterwards 'but why can't I do that?' and 'Why aren't I that good?'. This is really a double-edged sword because by comparing myself to established businesses I devalue myself, my abilities and my products by disregarding my development, but I also challenge myself to do more and to do it better.
Since the start of the year, I've been putting a bit more effort into my Instagram for two reasons; my boyfriend bought me an amazing camera for Christmas and it would be a waste not to use it; and because I can understand what a powerful sales tool the platform is.
I'm going to continue to work on my social media and hopefully start to integrate a little more of myself into my posts and stories. But this is my disclaimer and I think it's important to admit it, what you'll see is a rose-tinted me... first date Pippa, if you like... or Pippa the Girl Boss.
In reality, there is one corner of the Jeeves & Co. studio which is always messy, I simply swivel my chair and ignore it. I rarely wear makeup or style my hair for work and my prefered work clothing is joggers and a woolly jumper, though admittedly I've recently purchased Lucy and Yak dungarees and am in love with them, but I can't wear the same pair every day! And while my social media is full of positive and productive days, the truth is there are plenty of days spent twiddling my thumbs and evenings spent questioning the intelligence of my decisions. Luckily these days are outnumbered by the busy, happy, productive times.
And that's it from me today, for pretty pictures and witty captions (they aren't really very witty) then please check out my Insta page, while for a more honest account of life at Jeeves & Co. check back here in a month or two (or three).