Calgary Businesses Using Instagram


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When it comes to finding one-of-a-kind gifts, clothing, and home decor produced by small business owners, Etsy still takes the cake.

But unless you’re in a popular niche with little to no competition, it can be challenging for people to find your store on the platform organically.

Searching by location is a filter option but it still relies on the fact that you know exactly what you’re looking for. This quirk of the platform can bury unique items and special crafts under a mountain of more ‘relevant’ products.

So, what’s the solution?

Many YYC-based Etsy Shops have started using Instagram to expand their organic reach and build loyal fanbases for their products using quality photography, strong hashtags, and personality.

If you’re thinking of starting an Instagram account to promote your products or services, it’s always good to see what successful accounts are doing to make that happen.

Design By Streetlight | @designbystlight

Design By Street Light

First up is Design By Streetlight, a Calgary-based watercolour/acrylic artist producing OOAK art prints for sale on Etsy and a few other platforms.

Designbystlight Post

The thing that makes this Instagram account stand out is the care and attention given to:

  • Photographing; the tools, materials, and finished prints.
  • And the personal updates the actual artist behind the account (Stephanie Fowler) supplies with her posts.

It’s a nice mix of professional and personal that adds value to the prints customers buy because they get to see a little bit of the work that goes into each piece.

Designbystlight Wall Post

Best of all, this account is an excellent example of quality overcoming posting inconsistency. When Stephanie does post, the updates are received well, even tho she doesn’t appear to be posting on a consistent schedule.

Her work is excellent, so taking attractive pictures is easier. However, there is still quite a bit of framing and experimenting with things like time-lapse videos to keep audiences engaged.

Jaybee Design | @designjaybee

Jaybee Designs Profile

Jaybee Design is a Calgary-based Stationary and gift shop with an extensive selection of items available on Etsy and other platforms.

Jaybee Designs Instagram

The thing that makes this account stand out is the professional level of attention to the aesthetic component of an Instagram account.

They utilize Instagram Story Highlights to provide helpful customer information, announce upcoming sales, and highlight new products.

Jaybee Designs

The photography often employs bold, single-colour backgrounds that highlight the products in an eye-catching way.

RuralCreative | @ruralcreative

Rural Creative Profile

Rural Creative falls into a specific niche–signs and small decor items made entirely from reclaimed wood. It’s the kind of thing that’s very popular in Alberta but rarely something you look for on purpose.

These factors make this company the perfect candidate for Instagram.

rural creative posts

Wooden objects can be difficult to make ‘pop’ in thumbnails, but they’ve made it work by using a variety of background textures to create interesting images.

This account has a lot more of a homey voice behind it with a mix of product showcases and personal updates, which works incredibly well on Instagram.

It’s easy to get in your head about how ‘professional’ you need to sound when promoting your business, but personality trumps a corporate ‘robot-voice’ any day.

Friday Sock Co. | @fridaysockco

friday stock co profile

Friday Sock Co. is a ‘mismatched-socks’ manufacturer that has been based out of Calgary since 2015. Unlike a lot of the other examples on this list, they have their own website in addition to an Etsy store.

friday stock co posts

However, I wanted to include them because they have an excellent mix of creative ideas and professional photography.

friday stock wall post

If you have the budget, outsourcing to creatives that know how to create strong content can give you a boost to your online presence and take some of the stress off.


instagram post

Whether you’re an established company like Friday Sock Co.⁠ that’s branching out to other platforms or a brand new business creating your own pieces, one at a time, content is king!

  • Use timelapse videos to give people a sneak peek at how you design and build your products before you list them on Etsy.
  • Use Story Highlights to showcase new products, product information, and promotions.
  • Take the time to build up an image library and experiment with background colors, textures, and framing.
  • Focus on creating and sharing content you are genuinely passionate about instead of worrying about how often you need to post.
  • Use a mix of hashtags that target both small niche audiences and ones that can cast a broad net i.e. #woodensigndecor and #instart.

A lot of these pointers may seem simple but they’re worth repeating. Whether you’re new to Instagram or a long-time user, checking out successful accounts will give you a lot of helpful reference material for your own posts and highlight reels.

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