How One Fashion Brand Used Instagram To Win The Hearts Of Preteen Girls

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Zara Terez

Zara Terez remembers being at a trade show in 2011, peddling her beautiful custom-made leather bags to retailers.

A mix of "uptown classic meets downtown fun," as she told us, the bags were made of genuine leather and had all the makings of a luxury accessory.

Terez left her signature mark inside the bags, with fun prints on stretchy scuba material lining each piece. She was hoping to catch the eye of a buyer and get her goods in store windows.

It worked, but not according to plan. Sitting near the handbags was a box of the scuba material lining, all showcasing the various prints — spaceships and city skylines — and that’s what the buyers were interested in. 

Over the next several months, Terez ditched the bags and began to manufacture leggings out of the scuba material. (Scuba is stretchy, so it’s perfect for that kind of stuff.) The leggings had crazy, colorful designs on them. Terez, who comes from a family of people who work in the garment industry, partnered up with her best friend Amanda Schabes, who still works with her in their Manhattan headquarters as creative director.

Zara Terez

But the funky leggings weren’t for everyone. It was hard, Terez remembers, to convince big department stores and small boutiques that the apparel, priced at $78 a pop (not cheap!), would sell. The stores weren’t sure whether they would actually make money off of the leggings.

Rejections came left and right. Store owners and buyers were too apprehensive.

So Terez turned to a free outlet to get word of her brand out to a big audience: Instagram. And she reached an unlikely audience: very young girls.

In fact, 9-year-olds were the first to pick up on what Zara Terez, now the brand named after its creator, was doing. Terez’s first line — leggings with stars, constellations, and planets — were trendy among young preteen girls back in late 2012 after the company picked up a following on social media.

The company — which didn’t employ a social media professional; it was simply Schabes and Terez — began posting photos of the leggings and sharing them on Instagram. People would tag their friends (that’s Instagram-speak for "look at this!") in the comments, and Zara Terez began to grow a following.

This photo is from two weeks ago, but it shows the kind of power Instagram gave this company.

Then something great happened for the company. Kids started telling their parents about the leggings they were seeing on Instagram, but they couldn’t find the leggings anywhere except for the Zara Terez website.

Parents would visit boutiques and department stores and ask whether they carried Zara Terez Galaxy Leggings. The stores then started calling Terez, as she remembers.

"They were like, ‘Yeah, OK. We get it now,’" she recalls with a smile.

Terez, who is married to TechStars founder David Tisch, also works with her sister. Her mom, Terez told us, was always her No. 1 fan. When Zara was 22 and declared she wanted to start a line of handbags, her mom was the first person to applaud her ambition.Zara Terez

Terez is bubbly and welcoming and kind. She is committed to her work and her dozen or so employees and the young girls and women who buy her apparel. 

"I work 24/7," she tells Business Insider after we asked her about her daily schedule, "but I love it."

The company recently paired with the video game developer King to create a "Candy Crush" line. It teamed up with the cycling studio chain SoulCycle to create a fitness line dubbed "Respect the Sweat." We asked for financial information, but Zara Terez declined to provide it, though Terez cited exponential growth and said she was excited about the future.

Terez is massively popular with the preteen and teen crowd. To be crowned as "cool" by that demographic is no easy feat.

Everything, from the creation to the manufacturing to the shipping, is done in the New York headquarters. Her popular "crushed makeup" leggings were designed when the Zara Terez team took a photo of eyeshadows — greens and pinks — all crushed up. Then the photo was transferred to the scuba material.

Terez says all of the leggings are created this way. The designs all come either from original photos taken by the Zara Terez team or from images for which the company purchased the rights on stock photography sites. The company needs high-res, high-quality images to produce its designs.

Zara Terez

Now the apparel line is in Saks and Nordstrom, as well as smaller clothing stores across the country, but Instagram remains a huge part of the success of the company. The company has 117,000 followers, a massive following compared with a modest 2,000 or so on Twitter, and @ZaraTerez is tagged in a few dozen photos each day. Most are of young girls wearing the leggings, and you rarely see the same design twice.

But perhaps it’s the message of inclusivity that keeps her customers coming back. In fact, a huge sign rests above a funky love seat in the Zara Terez office that reads "You can sit with us," a play on a popular quote from the film "Mean Girls" that declares the opposite. A message young girls may need to hear more often.Zara Terez

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5 Facts That Everyone Gets Wrong About Vaping

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5 Facts That Everyone Gets Wrong About Vaping

About a year ago, a couple of good friends invited me to help them run a vape shop and eventual e-juice manufacturer in my hometown (Louisville, Colorado). We in this industry believe vaping to be potentially enormously beneficial to public health, and we’ve been dismayed to see it take a pretty stern beating in the public arena. This, along with the FDA’s recent ruling in favor of strict regulation and all of the various local ordinances popping up, have prompted me to action.

[Ed. note: The author of this piece works in the vape industry and therefore does have a vested interest. Knowing that, we’re running this because we largely agree with the points made here. There are also plenty of valid arguments against e-cigs and vaping, which you can and should read here.]

Well, to list-making at any rate. Because unless you go out of your way to be informed, chances are you’ve been exposed to more misinformation than truth about what the media calls "e-cigs" and what most others call "vaping." Why is that, by the way? Glad you asked.


5. Two Completely Different Products Are Referred To As "E-Cigs"

5 Facts That Everyone Gets Wrong About Vaping

Photo credit: World News Network

When most people think of an electronic cigarette, they think of the product pictured above on the far left. They look like regular ("analog") cigarettes, you buy them at a gas station, and (if you buy Vuze or Blu, the two most popular brands) they are made by tobacco companies—
Imperial Tobacco and RJ Reynolds, respectively. The cartridges in these come pre-filled, and must be replaced with new cartridges. They have very limited flavor selections, and are ostensibly a simple—perhaps healthier—replacement for cigarettes.

Yet despite their impressive sales numbers, the vast majority of those who permanently quit smoking in favor of vaping do not use them. My store doesn’t even carry them. In fact, no vape shops do—just gas stations and convenience stores.

In an actual vape shop, you’ll find products like those in the middle (commonly referred to as APVs—Advanced Personal Vaporizers—or "Vape Pens") and on the right ("Vape Mods"). APVs (most made by Chinese companies like Innokin) contain electronics allowing the user to regulate the power level, produce a moderate amount of vapor, and are generally priced under $100. Mods (mostly made by American companies like Surefire or various small Greek and Filipino companies) are for use with user-rebuildable atomizers, can potentially produce tons of vapor, and can be quite expensive.

Users are typically introduced to vaping with the mass-market products on the left, move to the middle for a more satisfying vape (as the analog imitators are very high nicotine and low vapor), and end up on the right when they really start wanting more flavor and less nicotine (more on that shortly). This is likely why, as sales of mods or "open system" devices have increased, sales of disposables have plummeted (and why tobacco companies that make disposables would rather mods just go away altogether).

This is important because lawmakers and the media absolutely do not differentiate between the two products, yet there is a world of difference. When they claim that "nobody knows what’s in these things," it makes me wonder exactly what things they’re talking about, since . . .


4. E-Liquid Ingredients Are Not A Mystery

5 Facts That Everyone Gets Wrong About Vaping

Photo credit: Russell Mills

My title at my company is Juicemaster General. I know, it’s an awesome title—I made it up. It means that I am responsible for every bottle of e-liquid that leaves one of our wholesale customers’ shelves, and I make 95 percent of it myself by hand. There are only four ingredients, and we did not find a single one of them on the surface of the Moon.

E-liquid begins with the main base, vegetable glycerin. We (and most other manufacturers) use certified organic VG—the glycerin doesn’t carry flavor very well, but does produce a lot of vapor. The next ingredient is propylene glycol—this is usually cited by alarmists as being a "main ingredient in antifreeze." This is incorrect, as they’re willfully confusing it with diethylene glycol, which has actually been found in mass market e-cig products. I absolutely do not add any of that to my liquid because I do not make antifreeze.

Propylene glycol—or PG—is a main ingredient in albuterol, or asthma inhalers, and is perfectly safe to inhale when vaporized. PG is thinner than VG, and carries flavor very well—the next ingredient, flavorings, are usually suspended in PG. Flavorings are food-grade, can be natural or artificial, and are limited only by the imagination of the juice maker.

A note about these ingredients—the "we don’t know what’s in these things" arguments dissolve in the face of numerous studies like these, showing that not only do we understand completely what’s in these things, but we also have a solid understanding of their (negligible) toxicity when vaporized.

The final ingredient is pharmaceutical-grade nicotine, and all juice manufacturers make their product available in varying nicotine strengths. They range from ridiculous (up to 36 milligrams per milliliter—basically a Lucky Strike with the filter ripped off) all the way down to nothing at all. That’s right, zero. So what’s the point of selling a "tobacco product" with no nicotine, you ask?


3. Many Vapors Use Very Little To No Nicotine

5 Facts That Everyone Gets Wrong About Vaping

You may be tempted to think I’m full of crap, but our sales figures don’t lie: In our business, e-liquid in very low to zero nicotine strength (6 mg per ml and below) outsells medium-to-high strengths (12 mg and above) by better than a two-to-one margin. Also, considering that literally every single e-liquid manufacturer offers zero-nicotine liquid—and at least one makes only that—it’s safe to say that there would be no supply if the demand did not exist. I personally had quit smoking for two years before I started vaping, and I use zero-nicotine liquid daily.

There are reasons for this. Most users start off at a high nicotine level when they are still getting off of analog cigarettes. When a beginner graduates to a device that produces more vapor, they don’t need as high a concentration of nicotine to be satisfied. Then, they may want to further "step down" (decrease the nicotine strength) once they find that high nicotine actually screws with the flavor of an e-liquid. Simply put, the less nicotine you use, the better your liquid will taste and, despite what media pundits seem to think, it turns out that even adults like things that taste good.

And I don’t mean "kid-friendly" flavors like watermelon and blueberry—although I do have a good blueberry vape if that’s your bag. One of our blends is an extremely complex mixture of oatmeal, rum, raisin, and anise. Another is an ice-blue, damn near unidentifiable tart-sweet menthol blend called Heisenberg. We’re not going for the kiddie market here.

You may be picking up that I’m referencing the many, many media assertions that we’re "targeting" children—trying to hook in kids with sweet flavors, and maybe even get them smoking. Say, did you know that . . .


2. The Vapor Is Far Less Harmful Than Cigarette Smoke

5 Facts That Everyone Gets Wrong About Vaping

The average person has probably heard two things about the vapor produced by electronic cigarettes: either it’s perfectly harmless, or it’s worse than cigarettes, forest fires, and nuclear explosions combined. You’ve probably heard more than once that "not enough studies have been done."

Here’s where my job as author of this article gets really easy. In case you don’t have time to read the linked studies in their entirety, allow me to quote:

A 2012 Greek study entitled Acute effects of using an electronic nicotine-delivery device on myocardial function: comparison with regular cigarettes: "Absence of combustion and different chemical composition, leading to less toxic chemicals created and absorbed . . . electronic cigarettes may be a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes."

A 2012 research paper entitled Levels of selected carcinogens and toxicants in vapor from electronic cigarettes: "We found that the e-cigarette vapors contained some toxic substances. The levels of the toxicants were 9–450 times lower than in cigarette smoke and were, in many cases, comparable with trace amounts found in the reference product . . . our findings are consistent with the idea that substituting tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarettes may substantially reduce exposure to selected tobacco-specific toxicants. E-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy among smokers unwilling to quit, warrants further study."

A 2012 study entitled Comparison of the effects of e-cigarette vapor and cigarette smoke on indoor air quality: "For all byproducts measured, electronic cigarettes produce very small exposures relative to tobacco cigarettes. The study indicates no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions based on the compounds analyzed."

You may not have realized this had been studied so extensively, and I could link to many more. I’d like to draw attention to that last study, however—the one focusing specifically on "secondhand" vapor. The first inroads being made into legislating our industry are arguing that vaping should be restricted to the same areas as smoking as the vapor isn’t safe. Across the board in our industry, though, the feeling is that . . .


1. Vaping Does Help Smokers Quit

5 Facts That Everyone Gets Wrong About Vaping

As our industry continues to grow, even mainstream publications are being forced to concede that there is some evidence that electronic cigarettes might be effective in helping smokers to quit. We have known this for some time. Once again, I’ll let the evidence speak for itself:

"Most participants (72 percent) were former smokers, and 76 percent were using e-cigarettes daily. At baseline, current users had been using e-cigarettes for three months, took 150 puffs per day on their e-cigarette and used refill liquids containing 16 mg/ml of nicotine, on average. Almost all the daily vapers at baseline were still vaping daily after one month (98 percent) and one year (89 percent). Of those who had been vaping daily for less than one month at baseline, 93 percent were still vaping daily after one month, and 81 percent after one year. In daily vapers, the number of puffs per day on e-cigarettes remained unchanged between baseline and one year. Among former smokers who were vaping daily at baseline, 6 percent had relapsed to smoking after one month and also 6 percent after one year."

"In a large, international survey (emphasis mine) of current, former, or never users of e-cigarettes, 72 percent of users reported that e-cigarettes helped them to deal with cravings and withdrawal symptoms, 92 percent reported reductions in their smoking when using e-cigarettes, and only 10 percent reported that they experienced the urge to smoke tobacco cigarettes when using the e-cigarette. Moreover, of more than 2000 former smokers in this survey, 96 percent reported that the e-cigarette helped them to stop smoking."

"In smokers not intending to quit, the use of e-cigarettes, with or without nicotine, decreased cigarette consumption and elicited enduring tobacco abstinence without causing significant side effects."

Compare this to a truly negligible success rate for traditional nicotine replacement therapy like the patch and gum—upon which some pharmaceutical companies hang their hats—and it’s easy to see where the opposition comes from. Perhaps this is why the United States Food and Drug Administration is pushing legislation that will hand the reins of our industry over to Big Tobacco—those staunch guardians of public health—while putting companies like mine six feet under.

Meanwhile, some of the actual guardians of public health are already coming around on the issue. Many of the links I’ve used are compiled here, and this database is added to regularly—the ever-growing pile of evidence that the media is only giving you one side of the story.

This article has been excerpted with permission from Listverse. To read in its entirety, head here.

Related Links:


This article has been reposted with permission from Listverse. To read in its entirety, head here. For more from Listverse, you can head here or Like them on Facebook here.

Image: Shutterstock/Nengloveyou

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AKAI Rhythm Wolf Review: Analog Doesn’t Always Mean Better

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Dance music, it seems, has come full circle. Techno’s roots began with affordable oddball hardware, abused into new genres. And now, the appetite for cheap little boxes that make grooves is back. But does “cheap” and “analog” always make for a winner? Well, not necessarily. But let’s find out why. This is the AKAI Rhythm … Continue →

The post AKAI Rhythm Wolf Review: Analog Doesn’t Always Mean Better appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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Meet KORG’s New Sample Sequencing volca – And its SDK for Sampling

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The KORG volca sample is here – and it’s more open than we thought. We’ve seen KORG’s affordable, compact, battery-powered volca formula applied to synths (BASS and KEYS) and a drum machine (BEATS). I’m especially partial to the booming kick of the BASS, the sound of the KEYS (which despite the name also works as … Continue →

The post Meet KORG’s New Sample Sequencing volca – And its SDK for Sampling appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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CERN scientists discover 2 new subatomic particles

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Cern-large-hadron-collider

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Scientists at the world’s largest smasher said Wednesday they have discovered two new subatomic particles never seen before that could widen our understanding of the universe.

An experiment using the European Organization for Nuclear Research’s Large Hadron Collider found the new particles, which were predicted to exist, and are both baryons made from three quarks bound together by a strong force.

In a statement Wednesday, officials at the lab known by its French acronym CERN announced the discovery, which could shed more light on how things work beyond the "Standard Model" physics theory explaining the basic building blocks of matter. The results also were submitted to the publication Physical Review Letters. Read more…

More about Science, Cern, The Large Hadron Collider, Switzerland, and Us World

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The fascinating differences between men and women astronauts in space

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The fascinating differences between men and women astronauts in space

NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute have published a new research paper detailing how space flight affects "cardiovascular, immunological, sensorimotor, musculoskeletal, reproductive and behavioral implications" on men and women. Here are the highlights:

  • Orthostatic Intolerance, or the inability to stand without fainting for protracted periods, is more prevalent upon landing in female astronauts than in their male counterparts. One possible reason for this observed difference in orthostatic intolerance between the sexes is reduced leg vascular compliance, which was demonstrated in bed-rest studies – which is a ground analog for spaceflight.
  • Women have greater loss of blood plasma volume than men during spaceflight, and women’s stress response characteristically includes a heart rate increase while men respond with an increase in vascular resistance. Still, these Earth observations require further study in space.
  • The VIIP syndrome (visual impairment / intracranial pressure) manifests with anatomical ocular changes, ranging from mild to clinically significant, with a range of corresponding changes in visual function. Currently 82% of male astronauts vs. 62% of women astronauts (who have flown in space) are affected. However, all clinically significant cases so far have occurred in male astronauts.
  • Changes in function and concentration of key constituents of the immune system related to spaceflight have been reported. However, differences between male and female immune responses have not been observed in space. On the ground, women mount a more potent immune response than men, which makes them more resistant to viral and bacterial infections; once infected, women mount an even more potent response. This response, however, makes women more susceptible to autoimmune diseases. It is not clear if these changes on the ground will occur during longer space missions, or missions that involve planetary exploration (exposure to gravity).
  • Radiation presents a major hazard for space travel. It has been reported that female subjects are more susceptible to radiation-induced cancer than their male counterparts; hence radiation permissible exposure levels are lower for women than men astronauts.
  • Upon transition to microgravity after arriving at the International Space Station (ISS), female astronauts reported a slightly higher incidence of space motion sickness (SMS) compared with men. Conversely, more men experience motion-sickness symptoms upon return to Earth. These data were however not statistically significant, due both to the relatively small sample sizes and small differences in the incidence of SMS reported by the men and women astronauts.
  • Hearing sensitivity, when measured at several frequencies, declines with age much more rapidly in male astronauts than it does in female astronauts. No evidence suggests that the sex-based hearing differences in the astronaut population are related to microgravity exposure.
  • The human musculoskeletal response to gravity unloading is highly variable among individuals and a sex-based difference was not observed.
  • Urinary tract infections in space are more common in women and have been successfully treated with antibiotics.
  • There is no evidence of sex differences in terms of behavioral or psychological responses to spaceflight. Analysis of ISS astronauts’ neurobehavioral performance and sleep measures showed no sex or gender differences using the Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) of alertness and Visual Analog Scales of workload, stress, and sleep quality. Since all all astronaut candidates undergo a robust process of psychological screening and selection, the likelihood of an adverse behavioral health condition or psychiatric disorder is greatly diminished.

Although there are a lot of differences, at the end one thing is clear: Both men and women are pretty much screwed up when it comes to long stays in microgravity. We evolved to walk on Earth, not to be weightless in space. You can read the paper here.


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The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee’s underwater photos

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The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

Sarah Lee is one of the best photographers I’ve ever found. It’s not because of her perfect technique and aesthetics. It’s that she has the ability to evoke nostalgia with every shot—even if I have never experienced her scenes in real life, I’ve lived them in my dreams of eternal summer. She told me this via email:

My aim in making photos is to capture and accentuate the beauty in what surrounds me. Photography to me is a mode of visual problem solving and a way to perpetuate the stoke, whether it be above the surface or below.

Her work truly lives up to that objective. Enjoy:

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

Her surface photography is as powerful and evocative as her underwater:

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

The beautiful and surreal sensuality of Sarah Lee's underwater photos

From Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Sarah Lee is incessantly glued to camera viewfinders, swim fins, and the sea. Her passion for photography, particularly underwater and surf photography was shaped by a childhood where she was constantly playing in and around the ocean. As a long-distance swimmer and surfer, her strength as an athlete in the ocean and tide allows her to capture swimmers and surfers in the special way she does beneath the sea.

You can (must) follow her on her website, Instagram, and Facebook.


This is part of a series in which we are featuring futuristic, striking, and just beautiful photography. If you are a photographer with awesome work, please drop me a line here.


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