Women in Business

How to make $780k on Instagram

  • Written by Scott Broome

Australian lifestyle brand, Stoned Crystals, reshapes the future of online retail with live Instagram broadcasts

Once touted as a simple photo-sharing app for the aesthetically elite, Instagram is now considered one of today’s most influential and formidable marketplaces. With over 200 million monthly active users and an algorithm in favour of digital commerce, the social media platform has proven to be a critical communications tool for businesses during the global pandemic.


With 47% of internet users spending more time online, home décor and crystal styling brand, Stoned Crystals, today reports a +134% increase in Q1 year-on-year sales despite dismal economic trends and the temporary closure of their bricks and mortar store. Accrediting Instagram for their continued success during lockdown, the brand has enjoyed an average online return of $180k per month since February and is forecasted to exceed $1.7M in sales by the end of the 19-20 financial year. 


Utilising Instagram’s live video broadcast functionality, the aptly named Stoned Crystals Live Sales was responsible for over $780k worth of revenue for Stoned Crystals in 2019 and was expertly refined during lockdown to recreate an authentic in-store customer experience.


Conducted triweekly, each live event is structured by category and incorporates a unique selling mechanic that fosters human interaction and real-time dialogue in a fully immersive and mobile environment. Incorporating a number of experiential marketing tactics, Stoned Crystals Live Sales has become a resource for crystal related news, lifestyle tips, styling tutorials, brand commentary and exclusive community rewards.


“Instagram Live Sales is the closest thing to selling in person that technology has to offer,” said Ashley Bellino, founder of Stoned Crystals. “Although COVID-19 restrictions have eased, a post-pandemic mindset will remain for some time so it’s important for brands to think about the future of retail and how they can evolve and adapt to the customer’s changing needs.”

First conceptualised in 2017 following an urgent need for cash injection, the success of Stoned Crystals Live Sales is attributed to a synergistic mix of bold branding, entertaining content, purposeful merchandising, smart selling cues, engaging discussions, value-driven promotions, memorable hosts, and practice.


“In a way, Instagram has transformed into something more intimate,” said Ashley. “Customers want to see what happens behind the scenes; they want to be part of a brand’s narrative and they want to know they’re cared for well beyond the transaction.”


According to Boston Consulting Group, 76% of Australians are now shopping online compared to 39% four years ago; and 1 in 3 consumers will continue to do so over the next 12 months regardless of stores reopening.


Bringing crystals into the mainstream, the brand’s inaugural Geo Gems Collection has been a popular choice for Australians seeking to create a wellbeing space at the home or office. Including the laser-cut Black Hex (Obsidian), Chevronica (Amethyst), Love Triangle (Rose Quartz), Captain Jack (Pyrite) and Clear Boy (Clear Quartz), each gemstone offers individual benefits for the mind, body and soul, and is uniquely shaped to offer visual and aesthetic value.


Founded in 2017, Stoned Crystals currently employs a team of 15 staff members across two locations. With the increase in sales over lockdown, the brand accepted their biggest delivery since launch—7 pallets of crystals weighing in at 4 tonnes—and is due to release their own proprietary Live Sales app which will enhance the customer’s online shopping experience even further.