Using IG Stories to Your Advantage with Wesley Turner
Listen on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts
This week, I am so excited to share Wesley Turner with you. Wesley’s been at this for about 14 years with his businesses Farm Shenanigans, The Nested Fig, and Petal Pickers! He’s all about home decor and decorating.
Listen, if you do not know Wesley, you will today. And after today, you will be an avid, loyal, faithful follower. I promise. He’s got an Instagram audience of over 122,000 people, and he’s here to share his story along with his tips for using what we’ve got to our advantage.
Using IG Stories to Your Advantage
Wesley has some great ideas to share with us on how to stay present in stories and be yourself each day. He has turned his dream into a reality by being consistent and sharing what he’s up to!
Listen in as he shares with us all about his:
- Farm purchase which led to appearing on HGTV
- Transition from strictly storefronts to a full-blown online business
- Successful business name changes
In this episode, we cover:
- Best tips on growing with a team
- How showing up for your audience plays a key role in your business
- His story planning techniques
Links and resources mentioned during this episode:
- Visit Wesley’s websites, Farm Shenanigans and The Nested Fig
- Connect with Wesley here on Instagram
- Download The Nested Fig app HERE and enjoy 20% off when you use the special discount code: Podcast20
- Connect with Melanie on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
- Liking the show? Write a review!
SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW
I am honored to share a new Blogging Creative on Fire each week on the podcast to bring you inspiration, behind-the-scenes secrets, and quality tips. I hope it is truly helpful for you. One of the best ways you can bless me in return is to subscribe to the show and leave a review. By subscribing, you allow each episode to be downloaded straight to your phone which helps the download numbers and ensures you never miss an episode. And when you leave a review, you help show others the value of what we provide! You can GO HERE to subscribe and review!
Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
#1 Listen to the Podcast:
Each week a new episode is released with inspiring ideas and proven methods to grow your business from other Creatives on Fire!
#2 Join us over in the FREE Facebook Group:
Did you know we have a great community of creatives that are waiting to meet you? Join us over inside the Creatives on Fire Community group today!
#3 One-on-One Call:
If you need help determining a specific, personal passion or business destination book a 1-on-1 consult with me so that we can take deep dive into what you need to be doing on a daily basis to make it happen.
Complete Transcript of this Episode
Melanie: I am so excited this week, super thrilled to invite Wesley Turner from Farm Shenanigans here as our guest. Wesley’s been at this for about 14 years. He has the business Farm Shenanigans, and it’s all about home decor and decorating. Listen, if you do not know Wesley, you will today. And after today, you will be an avid, loyal, faithful follower. I promise. He’s got an Instagram audience of over 122,000 people, and that’s nothing to sneeze about. Wesley, welcome to the podcast.
Wesley: Thanks for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Melanie: I’m so excited you’re here, too. I know everybody says that, but I really am, because before we got started, we were giggling, and I was like, I hope I don’t laugh.
Wesley: She’s like, you got to be serious. Now. I’m like what? You can’t tell me that right before you hit record.
Melanie: I know. So if you don’t know Wesley, he is full of fun. And every time I’m up in his stories watching, I’m just mesmerized. And I always get a good chuckle because he’s always fun. So, Wesley, tell us a little bit about your business.
Wesley: Okay. Well, I have a few businesses. I think at this point, I call myself a serial entrepreneur. I’ve been business my whole life. So my first business I started in 2009, which is the Nested Fig Garden, and that’s a Garden boutique retail store located right here. I’m in Greenville, South Carolina. And then a few years later, in 2013, I started what is now the Nested big home. And that’s our furniture and home decor store. And that’s another retail store right here in Greenville, South Carolina. And then as my third spin off business, I have the Nested Fig, which is our online store. You can find us online at TheNestedFig.com or we even have an app that you can download, but that is our warehouse online boutique that we ship all across the country. So that’s my three main businesses. And then, of course, I have my Instagram page, Farm Shenanigans, which kind of wraps all of that up together.
Melanie: I love that. So tell me your thought process behind all of that. So you had your businesses, and then you decided on Instagram to do a little bit different route, more of like a personal so that you could blend them all together, right?
Wesley: Yeah. So I started the retail store, the Garden Store, because my degree is actually in Horticulture. Kind of drifted away from that over the years. And when we opened the Garden Boutique, I had a little bit of home decor in the store as well. But as that business grew, we kind of was displacing the home decor side. But I love anything design, and that’s why we call our garden shop a boutique, because we do potted arrangements. We’re really focused on design. So as our garden store grew and the home decor was kind of getting pushed away, our customers were saying, we really like the home decor. We’d like to see more of that. So then I was like, well, maybe I should have a second store. So that’s when I got into home decor, furniture and more design. So that led into the second store. So then in 2019, we were actually moving our home store to a new location. And at that time, I had been on Instagram for a few years, since 2016. And I really got on Instagram because we were moving to a farm here, and we were renovating the house. And it was really just I thought this would be a cool place to document for us, not really thinking people would follow along, document for us the process of renovating our farm because it was a wreck. But that’s a whole nother story.
Melanie: Wait, let’s pause there. Okay, so when you were renovating the farm, you got a call.
Melanie: And what happened?
Wesley: So we ended up on we bought the farm. We bought the farm. That’s the name of the show, right? On HGTV. So that was a lot of fun, and that was all Instagram. One day I opened up my messages, and there was like a message that was like, hey, we’re a producer for a TV show. Would you be interested? And I was like, oh, this is a scam, or whatever. And then I ended up looking it up, and I was like, oh, it’s actually a legit company in person, and that sort of thing. And it just kind of fell in our lap sort of situation.
Melanie: Did that send some business your way or did it your way?
Wesley: Yeah, it did. Definitely did. And then it definitely created a cool factor, like, oh, they were on that show sort of situation too. So it was a good thing, and it was a great process and a fun thing to do. Okay, so we got the farm renovated, and it was about literally renovating our farmhouse and that sort of thing. But then as we was kind of I mean, we still got lots we could do, but as that kind of wrapped up, it was like, well, now what am I going to show on Instagram? Because I had accumulated or started accumulating a decent following. And so then it just naturally progressed to me decorating our house and that sort of thing. So I started showing that, and then my followers were like, where can I get that? Where can I get this? Well, I was using everything from my own two retail stores and we weren’t shipping or anything like that online yet. So in 2019 when we moved retail stores, I was like, we really need to start offering things online as well. And so we did that and we were shipping out of literally a room the size of a closet. I need to go measure. I need to post this on my stories one day where we started from, because it was probably a ten x ten office space in our retail store, and we were just pulling items as we sold them directly off the floor or from our little bit of backstock. So that started kind of accumulating in that. And then when of course, the shutdown happened in 2020 and we were shut down here in South Carolina, we were only shut down for a few weeks, but at that time I was like, we really need to be online more. Because everything I would post or anything, it would sell out within an hour because we only had small quantities like we were used to having in our retail store, maybe twelve of an item or this or that. So I was like, we need a warehouse and we need to start shipping online. So that’s how we took the business from just being local business to our warehouse space. And we ended up renting a warehouse space that we thought, oh my gosh, we’ll never fill this up. And then six months later we were like, oh my gosh, we need a bigger warehouse space.
Melanie: Funny how that works, right?
Wesley: And so we moved to like double the size warehouse space in 2021, and now we’re actually looking for a larger warehouse space, so we’re on just a fun journey with the doll.
Melanie: It sounds amazing. So tell me the difference between Nested Fig and Four rooms.
Wesley: Okay, so now everything is the Nested Fig. So what we did originally we started our garden shop, which was called Roots, and that was our garden boutique. And then when we opened our home store, it was called Four Rooms. Again, it was just the local store. And then when we did start selling online in 2019, we were just using our local store name as our website. Our local website. So Four Rooms ofgreenville.com and when we decided to get a warehouse and I wanted to be like, oh, this can be a brand. That’s when I came up with the Nested Big name, because I thought that just sounded because having a website like, oh, go to Four Roomscreenville.com sounds like a local, smaller brand. And so when I started online in the warehouse, we started the Nested Big. And everyone wants to know, what is the Nested? Where did that name come from? Yes, it’s completely made up. Okay, so I was like, oh, I need something that kind of sounds like organic. Because I really liked our store name, Roots. But I needed something that sounded organic, but I didn’t want something that dated the business, either like something vintage or something farmhouse or something. I was like, the Nested Big could be anything. You don’t even know. But really, it started with things like Spruce Home or just went down a list and then basically landed on the Nested Fig. And it was completely made up. There was no social media, no Google, no anything had claimed the Nested Big. So we were actually able to get the Nested Big trademark, which is a huge feat, especially in the business world. It took us about 18 months for the process. So once we were able to get the Nested Fig trademark, now we have gone back and rebranded the local retail store so that everything is the Nested Fig. So we have the Nested fig, which is our online nested fig garden and nested fig home. So Roots and our home store name, four Rooms are no more, basically.
Melanie: Got you. I know the trademark journey very well. I did that for craftathon and woo. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it. You’re all good now.
Wesley: That’s our name and we can use it. It’s exciting.
Melanie: Tell me about this exciting thing called the Nested Fig app.
Wesley: Okay, so the Nested Fig app, we love it. So it’s through a platform called Comment Sold. So a lot of people may be familiar. Some boutiques use that. And if you’re a boutique or have any of your own products that you sell, you need to sign up with them. I am an advocate for doing this, but it makes it convenient so that we are in your phone right there. We’re in our customers pockets as a business, that’s what we want to be. But we also do live sales in our app. We usually do two a week, sundays and Thursdays at 08:00 P.m. Eastern. And that’s a lot of fun because we’re able to connect directly with our customer. I am there. I’m usually a train wreck, and I’m showing you items up close. We do a lot of styling, so actually like, styling the items and showing you how to do things with them. So it makes it very interactive and fun. And we love that.
Melanie: And you do some of those at your home and some of them at the warehouse, correct?
Wesley: Yes. So we will do them sometimes. A lot of times at the warehouse, we have like a live sale room where we can set up things. Sometimes we’re actually just in the warehouse, we do them from the retail stores as well. We will take our set up there and roll through so you can see things in different settings. And then when we go to markets where we’re ordering products for the retail stores, in our online store, we will also do live sales from showroom. So we take it on the road too, which makes it a lot of fun.
Melanie: That is a lot of fun. And it also mixes it up for your people who come back all the time, right? That’s super awesome. And how do you balance all of this?
Wesley: Well, some days better than others. But I do think having everything as one brand has helped balance it. Because at one time it was trying to keep everything divided. Like when we would go to market to order products, it’s like, oh, this is for this store, this is for this store, this is for online. And now it’s all one brand, one company. So that makes so many things, accounting wise, payroll wise, ordering wise, all of that so much easier. So that’s one thing that well, when I started out, I didn’t know I was going to have three different ones. But that’s one thing I wish I had done earlier was combine them all. But that’s just part of the process. And then good employees, I have great employees that I can trust and help keep everything on track. It’s very important to have those employees. I feel like a lot of business owners sometimes when they’re especially starting out small, are afraid to hand over certain aspects of the business. But you definitely have to as a business owner, be in tune and in touch with it. But you can still rely on employees to do that. And that’s one thing that I did very early on was to I knew I wanted to not just be working in my retail store every day as this person. I wanted to have a broader range. And so I’ve kind of learned to do that over time, to trust people and know when I need to be like the person doing something. And that’s actually what got me to really want to grow Instagram as well. Because when I got on Instagram in 2016 and we were renovating the farmhouse, we bought it during the summer, which was our slower month retail, and I noticed a lot of our local customers were following along. And then I would see them out maybe at the grocery store or in the retail store and they would be like, oh my gosh, I’ve loved following this. And they knew everything and I was like, oh my gosh, they feel totally connected to me even though I haven’t been in the store as much, because I kind of stepped away to fast track some of the renovations during our slow season and I realized that they still felt just as connected to me. And that’s when I was like, there’s something to being on social media and having that broader connection because now they’re at home, whether they’re laying in bed at night or on their sofa and they are seeing things that I’m doing and they still feel connected to me as a business owner and that sort of thing. So I saw the value in that pretty early on.
Melanie: And I think that just to lend to that comment because I think that’s gold is your stories. Like you don’t just leave it in a post once a week. You are in their face several times a day. How do you plan out your stories? Do you plan them? Is everything on the fly? Do you have times you post? How do you do your stories?
Wesley: Okay, so just this week I’ve decided I’m trying to write down on a calendar and plan out some posts. I go really back and forth. It’s probably one of the things that I struggle with most personally is some days I feel like I’m not adding enough value to my stories and it’s probably just the feeling more than the viewer is or whatever. Because some days it’s just me, you’re following me around. Like I may be at home doing something, then I’m at the warehouse and then I might show you new arrivals and that sort of thing. But I’m trying to get it where at least every day I want to show one either styling or design tip or something like that. And I may not hit it every day, but up until this point it’s been pretty much on the fly as far as it’s just me in stories. I just pull out my phone and whatever I’m doing and I want you.
Melanie: To know that you is enough. I think that’s all people want, people are people watchers and they absolutely love seeing you brush your teeth or whatever the heck.
Wesley: I know it is so true because as a follower of people that I follow, I have to stop and tell myself, like, oh, I enjoy connecting and following with that person. And they didn’t do some project today or something like that. But there gets to be this internal pressure, like, oh, my gosh, I need to be showing some type of something. So I know I won’t do that every day, but I am trying to at least plan out like maybe every other day there’s some type of something that adds value in that sort of thing because I do appreciate everyone’s time and I want to share my knowledge and stuff like that as well. But most of the time it is on the fly. Or if there’s a season change like Easter, I will do a lot of decorating in my house and we have a videographer that will come and I will have him video and edit videos and those will be posted as well. So I do kind of a mix. But the most important thing is, especially if you’re a business owner or a brand, you don’t have to own a physical business, but if you’re on social media, you have to show up every day and show your face. It is so important to show your face. And I know a lot of people will get hung up on that and not like, oh, but you talk to people all day long, it’s no different. Just show your face. No one’s going to judge you about.
Melanie: That is so true. And they even have all the convenient filters now, should you desire. You don’t have to go crazy with them. But yeah, there’s plenty to just give you that subtle little push if you’re struggling. So I totally agree with showing your face because people connect with people. They don’t buy products, they don’t buy even necessarily brands as much as people or the way that brand made them feel or something of that nature.
Wesley: Right. And I feel like right now, as small business and again, that could be if you’re just an influencer, that’s a job, that’s a business. For the first time in so many years, we have the one up over big box stores and that sort of thing. Even if you’re promoting their product as an influencer, you have the one up because they can’t make that connection. That’s why they are investing in influencers. So if you have anything of your own, or if you want to be your own brand or your own influencer, you have to show up and be that face because you have the advantage right now, because big box stores can’t compete with that.
Melanie: That’s exactly right.
Wesley: It gives small businesses an advantage for once.
Melanie: I know, right. And we’ll take it because it’s really, like you said, it’s not that hard. Like, put one leg into your pants at a time and just put on that phone and be done with it. And then you’re done. You will reap the rewards.
Wesley: Yeah. And if you do it every day, you will improve. If you think you’ll improve. I look back at some of my save story highlights and I’m like, oh my gosh, I was such a slow talker and everything. I have really trained myself to talk faster, especially when Instagram stories were 15 seconds because I’d be like, okay, I got to make this point in 15 seconds. Speed it up so you’ll naturally improve.
Melanie: Yes. A lot of times I’ll just put it on and be like, oh wait, what am I going to even tell them? I don’t even know. So if you’re struggling with what to tell them, what’s your advice?
Wesley: I would just say, again, just show what you’re doing that day, tell them what you’re up to and it gets the conversation started. Or if you have a thought about, oh my gosh, this funny thing happened to me years ago, I’m going to tell this. People love that connection. And you don’t realize maybe the person watching you is in a remote or rural area who hasn’t had contact with other people. Maybe they’re on a farm or maybe they aren’t feeling well and so they’ve been in bed for a few days or whatever. So people like you said, will make that connection kind of no matter what you’re doing.
Melanie: That is so true. Think about the people that are watching you. They’re not all other influencers.
Wesley: Right, exactly.
Melanie: Okay, wesley, is there anything specific that you’re particularly proud of.
Wesley: Holding it together? No.
Wesley: I’m very proud of, I guess, our businesses and the growth of our businesses and what we’ve put into it. We’ve worked really hard, and to see that it has paid off. We started the garden shop. I was 28 years old, and I started it with $20,000. And that was it. That was it. And we managed to make it work. So to look back, I guess we’re, what, 14 years in now and see what we’ve accomplished and how far we’ve come, I’m very proud of that.
Melanie: You should be. It’s awesome. I love all your stuff. What advice would you give yourself back at the very beginning when you didn’t have any followers on Instagram and you had no idea what you were doing?
Wesley: Oh, my gosh. Just to stick with it, to do it. And that’s one thing. Like I said, I kind of saw the potential there. And back when I started in 2016, being an influencer and linking things wasn’t even a thing yet. I mean, it was just barely starting, and it was starting more with you would promote show a product, but you couldn’t really link it or anything, and I just stuck with it. I feel like this is going to go somewhere, because there was a lot of times that I should have just not been on it or whatever. But I did make it into part of my daily life and make Instagram and social media part of that. And so, yeah, just stick with it, and it will pay off. Because there was a lot of times I was like, I just want to be done.
Melanie: Yes. Crawl into a hole.
Melanie: Well, what’s next for Nested Fig?
Wesley: Next for Nested Fig? Well, hopefully we’re going to get a larger warehouse. We’re working on kind of looking at places for that, so hopefully that will come to happen. I got to will it happen, right? Finding the right spot already. I know, right? So that would be good to keep expanding that. For me, personally, I want to start a podcast of my own. We talked about this. We met in person in Waco when you talked about doing podcasts. But there’s a lot of funny stories there that I want to do, so I want that to be next on the list. And then business wise, maybe another retail store. Can’t talk about it yet, but maybe.
Melanie: You got so much in your back pocket. I love it. I love it. Well, Wesley, where can we find you online? Where’s the best places?
Wesley: Okay, so if you want to see me on the Daily, follow me at Farm Shenanigans. That’s where I’m super active on Instagram. And then for the business, of course, I would love for you to get the app. I’m going to give you a special coupon code, too, for that, so you can check us out. And that’s the nested big. So if you want to get our app, you can search the Nested Big in the App Store phone, Tablet, Android or Apple. We are there. Or you can just check us out at TheNestedFig.com.
Melanie: Love it. So, I heard you say you’re giving us a code, so, listen, if you’re listening, we will be having a code. It will be over on the blog post as well as in the show notes, if you are there as well. So, Wesley, thank you so much for spending a few minutes with us and sharing some of your tidbits and tips. I absolutely love hearing about your journey. You’re amazing. Cannot wait to see what is on the horizon for the Nested Fig.
Wesley: Thank you so much.