If you happen to ask Instagram influencer Ambar Driscoll about her group, “Bamby Collective,” she’ll make it clear that whereas the group does have a number of the makings of a small enterprise – they’ve launched a signature product, their model revolves round a central tenet, and their following consists of many who love their mission – it’s actually about making a protected area for younger girls all over the place.
Actually, in Bamby Collective’s first ever Instagram put up, the caption reads: We’re a web based group & protected area for women + younger girls to speak brazenly, search recommendation, be motivated, be taught self-care and be uplifted
Ambar began the Collective in 2019 not as a result of she had a spark for an revolutionary product or has a ton of enterprise savvy, however as a result of she benefited from on-line areas up to now. Particularly, Ambar had used a health app that, together with offering customers with workout routines and exercises, additionally included a communal facet the place ladies might join and help one another. However, to entry this area, people needed to pay a subscription price. This received Ambar considering of find out how to recreate an identical area for others.
“I just wanted to have an accessible community for any young woman from anywhere, with any background, to be able to join and have that community aspect for free,” she mentioned.
However earlier than the thought for the group got here collectively, Ambar was already recognized by tons of of 1000’s of followers. Although she initially was thrust into the general public highlight due to her relationship with YouTuber Casper Lee, Ambar shortly made her personal title for herself on social media. Specifically, customers resonated together with her openness about physique positivity.
Ugne Jurgelenaite, a 24-year-old Bamby Collective member based mostly in London, initially got here throughout Ambar by way of Caspar’s content material, however mentioned she finally adopted Ambar due to her physique positivity posts. Ugne was capable of relate to Amber’s content material because it was one of many first instances she noticed this explicit message being unfold by somebody who wasn’t essentially plus sized. One put up specifically, the place Ambar uncovered how her abdomen seems to be naturally with out flexing, caught Ugne’s eye.
“Instagram was – and still is – such a place where you think all of these people have these amazing bodies,” she mentioned. “But it’s like wow, [Ambar’s] not afraid to show that.”
Speaking brazenly about her physique wasn’t all the time straightforward for Ambar. For years, she had struggled with disordered consuming and even had an consuming dysfunction. However ultimately, she discovered consolation in different Instagrammers who have been posting content material revolving round physique positivity which in flip helped the influencer heal and develop a extra optimistic self-worth. She then realized she could possibly be sharing related content material to her 269,000 followers.
“I thought, well, if this is the content I’m enjoying and if I’ve got kind of a large following, and yet, none of my content is showing my vulnerabilities then I just didn’t want to be one of those people who [their followers] compare themselves to without seeing the real vulnerable sides beyond that.”
And whereas Ambar was already serving to ladies like Ugne by way of her private account, the itch to construct one thing larger that will transcend herself and develop right into a community of like-minded younger girls fueled her to launch Bamby Collective.
It began with a Fb Group
Ugne’s first enterprise into Bamby Collective, like most members, was by way of the personal Fb group. Although she had been following a number of different Fb teams – together with one for women new to London – she was shocked at how energetic and engaged Bamby Collective’s members have been. On any given day, you could possibly discover posts asking for relationship recommendation, on physique positivity, and shifting suggestions. However it doesn’t matter what the dialog revolves round, Ugne mentioned members are all the time form and useful to at least one one other.
This supportive and open setting was precisely what Ambar had envisioned early on. However even she was bowled over by how shortly members have been capable of join with one another regardless of by no means having met.
“It’s quite touching seeing girls share their vulnerable sides on Bamby,” she mentioned. “So many are quick to offer support, help, or just be someone to talk to. So it’s amazing seeing the impact Bamby has had on members’ mental health just through the support of other girls.”
Although Bamby Collective initially launched in late 2019, it carefully coincided with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic — one thing that looks like divine timing for Ambar. At a second when many individuals have been coping with lockdowns, restricted social gatherings, and simply feeling remoted on the whole, having a web based area like Bamby turned an ideal outlet for many who have been harassed by the pandemic.
Whereas a ton of Bamby Collective members occur to be based mostly in or round London, the place Ambar herself resides, this on-line group contains younger girls from all around the world, permitting contributors to bond and join with individuals they usually wouldn’t have an opportunity to fulfill. For Ugne, scrolling by way of her Fb feed and seeing the assorted posts from the group has been a optimistic addition to her social media routine.
“Girls are not afraid to just post there and everyone is very supportive,” Ugne mentioned. “No one’s ever gonna judge you. It is a friendly, safe space.”
Asides from networking by way of the Fb group, Bamby Collective members are additionally invited to on-line gatherings, together with month-to-month Zoom guide golf equipment and Netflix events the place the ladies might watch a film collectively nearly and chat by way of the feedback.
However as soon as Covid restrictions eased, Ambar was eager to create in particular person alternatives for members to fulfill and develop deeper relationships with each other. The group has had a number of conferences together with an ax throwing occasion, pet yoga, and a galentines artwork occasion.
Oftentimes, Bamby members arrive to occasions solo, with the hopes of connecting with others there. Displaying as much as occasions by themselves is only one instance of the methods Bamby Members are capable of categorical their vulnerabilities.
“The events are amazing. Most of the girls come on their own, which I think is quite a brave thing to do,” mentioned Ambar. “I feel like in our culture, meeting up with a stranger to date is so normalized, but it’s not [normalized] to meet up to make friends.”
Initially, Ugne held herself again from going to a Bamby meet up for this very cause – she had nobody to go together with. However after connecting with some ladies by way of the Fb group, she ventured to her first in particular person occasion: pet yoga.
She even attended Bamby Collective’s first ever in a single day retreat this July. Ugne had such a good time hanging out with different Bamby members that she and a bunch of ladies she met from the retreat are actually planning to have their very own private getaway. As somebody who just lately moved, this group has supplied Ugne with alternatives to fulfill new individuals.
“I moved to London nine months ago. So besides people at work, or my flatmates, I didn’t know many people and now I definitely have a wider network through going to these [Bamby] events. I’ve gained a few new acquaintances and friends.”
And whereas assembly different members has been a spotlight for Ugne, with the ability to join with Ambar has additionally been a optimistic expertise for her particularly due to how relatable she says the influencer is.
“The first time [meeting Ambar] was kind of intimidating. But she’s super friendly to everyone and makes everyone feel very welcomed. She’s very down to earth and not intimidating at all.”
Bamby Collective’s optimistic affirmation jewellery
Consistent with Bamby Collective’s mission to offer an encouraging sisterhood for younger girls, Ambar launched a jewellery assortment of optimistic affirmation bracelets. Prospects might buy the fragile bracelets in both model – “I am enough,” and “I am strong.” Creating these merchandise was one thing Ambar had been considering of doing even earlier than she began the collective as these phrases have been mantras for her rising up.
“My mom is an art therapist and she’s always been really big on gratitude,” Ambar mentioned. “And she or he’s all the time used optimistic affirmations. So ‘I’m strong’ and ‘I’m enough’ literally come from her and the impact that had on me, and seeing the power that words can have.”
Implementing these affirmations into her daily routine has allowed Ambar to reverse negative thought patterns and helped her live a more balanced, healthy life. While she was excited to release these products so her followers could benefit from these affirmations, she was also cautious. The influencer said she never wants to make Bamby Collective members feel like she is trying to profit off of them.
This is why it was also important for Bamby Collective to donate 5 percent of proceeds from the jewelry collection to Imkaan – a UK organization with the mission of addressing violence against Black and minority ethnic girls and women.
In this way, Ambar is thoughtful and deliberate in everything she shares with her fans – including her love for exercise. Recently, the influencer has participated in multiple marathons and has incorporated long-distance running into her daily routine. Still, she is careful to not send the wrong message about working out and has made it clear that she exercises for her mental health and not to obtain a slimmer body.
“I think [exercise] is such a life hack,” she said. “If I’m feeling like sh*t, and then I go for a run – I feel 10 times better afterwards.”
The Future of Bamby Collective
Currently, most Bamby Collective events are centralized to London, but Ambar was able to host one event in Cape Town, South Africa as she has a ton of fans there because of her boyfriend Caspar’s South African heritage.
Internet hosting extra gatherings outdoors of London is a purpose for Amber as she would love for Bamby Collective to develop. She envisions that in the future the group might even have a number of places all through the world – Bamby Collective hubs in massive cities. And whereas Ambar plans to be carefully concerned in these potential places, she can also be snug with, ultimately, permitting them to be run by native Bamby leaders.
On this means, Ambar needs the main target to be on the people who make up the collective, and never on her. A sentiment that Ugne can already relate to.
“It’s nice to meet Ambar but the community isn’t about, ‘let’s meet Ambar,’” she mentioned. “It’s about, ‘Let’s get together as a community of strong women.”