How a Hashtag Impacted the Design Industry

Meet the Founder of #HandmadeModernHome. Erin Francois describes her interior design style as Handmade Modern Home and it’s at the core of her content strategy on her blog, Francois et Moi.

We sat down with Erin Francois, blogger and founder of the #HandmadeModernHome hashtag. Handmade modern home is how Erin describes her interior design style and it’s at the core of her content strategy on her blog, Francois et Moi. The style can be described as “perfectly imperfect,” or, as making things by hand to connect with others who care about similar things. 

screenshot of #handmademodernhome on instagram

Full Time Blogger

Before she began blogging full time, Erin worked at the International Design Center in Minneapolis. In 2016, when her blog following started grow, she transitioned from the Center to digitally connecting with readers as her full time gig. She also knew she had to get strategic about how to drive traffic to her blog if she wanted monetize it. Shortly after shifting to blogging full time, Erin began to really focus on her Instagram account. She started the hashtag #HandmadeModernHome as a way to build a community of people with like-minded interests and design styles. The hashtag has now become a place for DIYers, interior designers, makers and artisans to share their homes and projects.

screenshot of the instagram account @francois_et_moi

Building a #HandmadeModernHome Community

Erin’s hashtag has evolved and now extends beyond just Instagram. Initially, she was the only person using the hashtag. In an effort to enlist more people to join her, she began scrolling through the Instagram feed, tracking down new people to follow. This led to her host a Thursday night #HandmadeModernHome highlight reel, where she featured people who were using the tag. That got her a stronger following and greater exposure, growing to her following to more than 16k. Since launching the hashtag, Erin has moved the highlight reel to her Instagram stories to organically share her ideas whenever inspiration strikes. 

The hashtag celebrates making things with you own two hands, as well as supporting artisan-made over mass-production.

Erin Francois
photo of child climbing on chair in stylized living room
Welcome to the Wednesday that feels like a Tuesday + the night of #HandmadeModernHome Highlight Reel! The first feature is an account you’ll definitely want to check out: Casia @casiafletcher ‘s pre-war bungalow is a feast for the minimalist’s eyes and the moments she captures of her little 👧🏻 are just the absolute sweetest. Minimalist design & cute kiddos: what could be better?!

Expanding the Community

In addition to the momentum on Instagram, Erin saw the hashtag build a community of 11k on Pinterest. The #HandmadeModernHome group board on Pinterest has driven a new community of people sharing a similar passion. Each social media community helps build relationships, share ideas and connect to one another across the internet. 

We know that there are many benefits to being a part of a community, including communicating with likeminded individuals. Sometimes, relationships that start in the hashtag community move into real life connections. Through the hashtag, Erin has become friends with notables such as Lea @creekwoodhill, who specializes in interior and product styling, and Colie Christensen @haus_31 who is a marketeer and a designer. They have met in person at local events and coffee shops, where they talk about the design world and life in general.

I love that #HandmadeModernHome is now a multi-platform place of inspiration that’s open to everyone to engage with and enjoy.

Erin Francois

I am for everyone using the hashtag. The people in the #HandmadeModernHome community are truly what make this little hashtag so special!

Erin Francois

Another benefit of being a part of a digital community is to support one another. This is done through engaging with, commenting on and liking someone’s content. Another way is to feature other accounts on yours, as Erin has done. Through collaborations or partnerships, a niche following can often develop, which provides the return of growing recognition for an account to new eyes. This strategy is beneficial to both parties if executed in a seamless way. 

Erin has done a fabulous job of creating an online community of quality people. One of our favorite parts about it is that is the user doesn’t have to sift through the clutter. The sheer size of the community positively impacts the quality of the content with each new project and tag. Although the community has DIY projects, the care, attention and quality of each project is at the top of the game. You will not find any #PinterestFails in this group!

portrait of Erin Francious in her dining room writing in a journal
You can also follow Erin on her blog at Francois et Moi  and read more about her own remodeling projects.

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