When you 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 house for younger girls in every single place.
In truth, in Bamby Collective’s first ever Instagram publish, the caption reads: We’re a web based neighborhood & protected house for ladies + younger girls to speak overtly, 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 previously. 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 assist one another. However, to entry this house, people needed to pay a subscription price. This acquired Ambar considering of find out how to recreate an identical house for others.
“I simply wished to have an accessible neighborhood for any younger lady from wherever, with any background, to have the ability to be a part of and have that neighborhood facet without spending a dime,” she mentioned.
However earlier than the thought for the group got here collectively, Ambar was already identified by a whole bunch of 1000’s of followers. Although she initially was thrust into the general public highlight due to her relationship with YouTuber Casper Lee, Ambar rapidly made her personal identify for herself on social media. Particularly, customers resonated along 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 in the end adopted Ambar due to her physique positivity posts. Ugne was in a position to 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 publish particularly, the place Ambar uncovered how her abdomen seems naturally with out flexing, caught Ugne’s eye.
“Instagram was – and nonetheless is – such a spot the place you assume all of those individuals have these superb our bodies,” she mentioned. “Nevertheless it’s like wow, [Ambar’s] not afraid to indicate that.”
Speaking overtly about her physique wasn’t all the time simple 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 had 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 might be sharing comparable content material to her 269,000 followers.
“I assumed, nicely, if that is the content material I am having fun with and if I’ve acquired type of a big following, and but, none of my content material is displaying my vulnerabilities then I simply did not wish to be a kind of individuals who [their followers] evaluate themselves to with out seeing the true weak sides past 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 may 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 non-public Fb group. Although she had been following a number of different Fb teams – together with one for ladies new to London – she was shocked at how lively and engaged Bamby Collective’s members had been. On any given day, you might discover posts asking for relationship recommendation, on physique positivity, and transferring suggestions. However it doesn’t matter what the dialog revolves round, Ugne mentioned members are all the time type and useful to at least one one other.
This supportive and open atmosphere was precisely what Ambar had envisioned early on. However even she was stunned by how rapidly members had been in a position to join with one another regardless of by no means having met.
“It is fairly touching seeing ladies share their weak sides on Bamby,” she mentioned. “So many are fast to supply assist, assist, or simply be somebody to speak to. So it is superb seeing the impression Bamby has had on members’ psychological well being simply by way of the assist of different ladies.”
Although Bamby Collective initially launched in late 2019, it carefully coincided with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic — one thing that seems like divine timing for Ambar. At a second when many individuals had been coping with lockdowns, restricted social gatherings, and simply feeling remoted basically, having a web based house like Bamby turned an ideal outlet for individuals who had 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 neighborhood contains younger girls from all around the world, permitting individuals to bond and join with individuals they usually wouldn’t have an opportunity to satisfy. For Ugne, scrolling by way of her Fb feed and seeing the varied posts from the group has been a optimistic addition to her social media routine.
“Ladies should not afraid to only publish there and everybody may be very supportive,” Ugne mentioned. “Nobody’s ever gonna decide you. It’s a pleasant, protected house.”
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 e-book golf equipment and Netflix events the place the ladies might watch a film collectively just about and chat by way of the feedback.
However as soon as Covid restrictions eased, Ambar was eager to create in individual alternatives for members to satisfy 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 in a position to specific their vulnerabilities.
“The occasions are superb. Many of the ladies come on their very own, which I feel is sort of a courageous factor to do,” mentioned Ambar. “I really feel like in our tradition, assembly up with a stranger to this point is so normalized, however it’s not [normalized] to satisfy as much as make buddies.”
Initially, Ugne held herself again from going to a Bamby meet up for this very purpose – 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 individual 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 gaggle of ladies she met from the retreat are actually planning to have their very own private getaway. As somebody who not too long ago moved, this neighborhood has supplied Ugne with alternatives to satisfy new individuals.
“I moved to London 9 months in the past. So apart from individuals at work, or my flatmates, I did not know many individuals and now I positively have a wider community by way of going to those [Bamby] occasions. I’ve gained a couple of new acquaintances and buddies.”
And whereas assembly different members has been a spotlight for Ugne, having 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 primary time [meeting Ambar] was sort of intimidating. However she’s tremendous pleasant to everybody and makes everybody really feel very welcomed. She’s very right down to earth and never intimidating in any respect.”
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. Clients might buy the fragile bracelets in both model – “I’m sufficient,” and “I’m robust.” Creating these merchandise was one thing Ambar had been considering of doing even earlier than she began the collective as these phrases had been mantras for her rising up.
“My mother is an artwork therapist and he or she’s all the time been actually huge on gratitude,” Ambar mentioned. “And he or she’s all the time used optimistic affirmations. So ‘I am robust’ and ‘I am sufficient’ actually come from her and the impression that had on me, and seeing the ability that phrases can have.”
Implementing these affirmations into her day by day routine has allowed Ambar to reverse detrimental thought patterns and helped her dwell a extra balanced, wholesome life. Whereas she was excited to launch these merchandise so her followers may benefit from these affirmations, she was additionally cautious. The influencer mentioned she by no means needs to make Bamby Collective members really feel like she is attempting to revenue off of them.
That is why it was additionally necessary for Bamby Collective to donate 5 p.c of proceeds from the jewellery assortment to Imkaan – a UK group with the mission of addressing violence towards Black and minority ethnic women and girls.
On this means, Ambar is considerate and deliberate in every part she shares along with her followers – together with her love for train. Lately, the influencer has participated in a number of marathons and has integrated long-distance operating into her day by day routine. Nonetheless, she is cautious to not ship the flawed message about understanding and has made it clear that she workout routines for her psychological well being and to not receive a slimmer physique.
“I feel [exercise] is such a life hack,” she mentioned. “If I am feeling like sh*t, after which I am going for a run – I really feel 10 instances higher afterwards.”
The Way forward for Bamby Collective
At the moment, most Bamby Collective occasions are centralized to London, however Ambar was in a position to host one occasion in Cape City, South Africa as she has a ton of followers there due to 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 at some point the group might even have a number of areas all through the world – Bamby Collective hubs in huge cities. And whereas Ambar plans to be carefully concerned in these potential areas, she can 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 is good to satisfy Ambar however the neighborhood is not about, ‘let’s meet Ambar,’” she mentioned. “It is about, ‘Let’s get collectively as a neighborhood of robust girls.”