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"It’s pretty cool that we now live in an age that the person who makes things or designs things can function as their own promoter," says Heilpern. "I don't think I would be anywhere if it wasn't for the access I have to the social media platform. I'm saying this just for me, of course. The amount of Instagram followers does not determine your success in any way."

"There are so many designers that I love that rarely use Instagram and just rely on the distribution of images in a more old-school way. But it sure does help to get images out fast to a large group of people," she says. "It also really helps me gauge interest on a product. Whenever I make something new, putting it online and getting immediate feedback helps me see if a product is worth making."

"The best thing about Instagram is getting love notes from people using their items — that brings me the most happiness," the designer says. "Getting an image from a customer using a mug in the morning and claiming that their breakfast is more enjoyable because of it is one of my biggest joys."

“I think the drawbacks are really more personal,” Heilpern says. “It does feed insecurity sometimes, which is stupid and I try not to let those things affect me. I would be lying too if I didn't admit that if a post gets less likes than usual I'm like ‘Did I do something wrong?’ I know how stupid this sounds but it’s the truth!”

“The pressure to feel present is also a drawback,” she explains. “Feeling like the whole world is watching and comparing becomes difficult for me. The biggest drawback is that images are so watered down now. There is such an abundance of makers, especially ceramists, that I fear everything just blends together.  And because we are all putting ourselves out there so much, showing everything we make, it makes it so easy for people to take ideas or styles away from you. There are a lot of copy cats and it’s very discouraging sometimes to make things when you see people totally ripping you off or ripping your friends off. It can make you feel like you don't want to share anything.”

“I do try to post new things fast,” the designer says. “Instagram puts a time stamp on everything you post and it dates it. So that’s pretty helpful when it come to proving who did what first. I can see how this sounds petty, but when you put your heart and soul into everything you make, it really hurts when its swept from under you. If you like what someone makes, just buy it from them, support them, and don't just make it yourself.”
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