I’m a 29-year-old Instagram influencer who made $17,000 in one month

  • Marley Mauvais is a 29-year-old fruit influencer and plant-based content creator who lives in New Jersey.
  • In 2019, she started an Instagram account to share her fruit-based recipes with others, and slowly began to make and sell the products and home remedies she used.
  • In September, Marley recorded her first five-figure month, making $17,000 from a combination of sales on her website as well as paid speaking engagements and food demos at local colleges.
  • Instead of mimicking other people’s paths to success, Marley encourages fellow entrepreneurs to carve out their own niche. Especially online, she says being authentic to yourself is the best way to gain traction and build a community.
  • This is her story, as told to freelance writer Nasha Smith.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

I used to cook for my family a lot, and I enjoyed taking photos of the spread and posting them on Twitter and my personal Instagram page. This was back when these apps first came into existence and also during a phase where I would just eat a lot of fruits. One time, a photo I posted got 100 retweets, even though I had zero followers at the time. 

In January 2019, I created a food page on Instagram. I started off posting fruit plates and small recipes like hibiscus tea with ginger, lime, and cinnamon. I also posted small snacks like fried plantain and tapas, and then began sharing full dinner plates as well. I can’t even explain how I started to gain traction — I think people just gravitated towards me authentically sharing what I loved. 

But I didn’t consider myself a ‘fruit influencer’ until I received a PR box from kitchenware company Imusa. I was very amused when I saw myself addressed as this on the label, but I decided to own it. I searched for the hashtag on Instagram and found one guy who was using it,  and he agreed to let me have it. 

The term started to spread in popularity in April after BET reposted our #DontRushChallenge

Although there are plenty of fitness, beauty, and lifestyle influencers, as a fruit influencer I don’t fit easily into those categories.

Marley Mauvais

Mauvais says she had to carve out her own space on Instagram.

Photo: @zenial.pro

My Instagram is a plant-based community for beginners. I have free recipes, products for sale, and share my own daily inspiration. I distribute a lot of information — that’s the heart of my business. 

Sometimes I can get extremely overwhelmed with the number of people who ask me questions, ask me to clarify something, or suggest I post a recipe. I get at least 100 DMs a day and that’s just if I don’t post anything. It kills me to be unable to reply to everyone, as I truly love interacting with my followers. But I absolutely, positively will always be the only person talking to my followers through my personal account. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able…

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