When she’s not inducing lifestyle-envy all over the ‘gram with her stylish Insta page @hatrikkk, Sophia Athas is killin’ it as the creative director and founder of Hatrik House – the new-age creative agency bridging the gap between the utopian Instagram vs. the real life experience.
Passionate about keepin’ things real, both Sophia and Hatrik House are redefining what it means to follow a feed, to consume a product, and build a brand experience outwitting and outlasting the ever-changing nature of the digital space.
We sat down with the brand-savvy lady behind the scenes to chat all things Instagram, life, business and bridging the gap between them…
How did @hatrikkk come about on Instagram?
I remember first downloading Instagram the year I left school – it was my first time travelling to Europe and my friend Sasha was using it. I remember thinking, ‘What is this?!’
It wasn’t until I returned home that I began posting things, just photos of friends, family and travels. But once I started showing some art, it quickly became more a platform for my work!
What inspired you to create Hatrik House?
Hatrik House is a huge melting pot of creative mediums, mainly graphic design and brand identity. I was casually doing a lot of this for clients in the background, but Hatrik House has been more of a formalised version and portfolio.
What’s the main goal, mission or mantra behind Hatrik House?
I have a team of young women. My youngest employee is 20 and I am the oldest at 26. I suppose our primary mission is to help clients recognise their identity in a social media landscape, creating unique content that stands out from the millions of images and videos being posted. We like to work with likeminded brands and businesses that we align with. Instagram has helped in not only giving me the opportunity to create my business but it remains our first port of call if we ever need to showcase, hire or advertise.
What was the hardest part of getting your business off the ground?
The hardest part has been navigating a space and industry that hasn’t necessarily found its feet yet. The social media landscape is extremely fickle and is constantly changing, and while I like to run things past my mentors or older more experienced professionals, they are just as much in the dark about these things as I am. I don’t think any training or university degree can teach you about how to build a team or react to situations, it’s taken a while to be able to trust my gut instincts and have the confidence to make decisions.
“I don’t think any training or university degree can teach you about how to build a team or react to situations, it’s taken a while to be able to trust my gut instincts and have the confidence to make decisions.”
In your spare time, what’s your go-to creative outlet?
Stitching and sewing. I don’t get time to do this as often anymore but I really miss it.
What’s the biggest misconception about your industry and what you do? How are you and Hatrik House doing things differently?
I think people assume its an extremely glamorous industry 100% of the time, but what people don’t see are the late night emails and deadlines and the crazy (and sometimes rude) feedback you receive from clients.
The more I work and am exposed to the fashion and lifestyle industry the more I recognise a lot of what we see on social media and online is an extremely edited and unreal representation of that person.
Has Instagram helped to grow your business?
I would 100% not have my business if it weren’t for Instagram. In saying that, I am also confident that if this platform were to disappear or change one day, we would find ways to apply and adapt. I find this exciting.
“I would 100% not have my business if it weren’t for Instagram. In saying that, I am also confident that if this platform were to disappear or change one day, we would find ways to apply and adapt. I find this exciting.”
What do you do when you’re not being a creative director and Insta-lifestyler? Do you have any other creative projects in the works?
I spend time with my boyfriend and my family, this is what makes me the happiest and this is where I have the most fun. Creatively I am constantly working and thinking, I think it’s the reality of running your own business.
How do you get motivated or inspired in a creative block?
Buying a print magazine and ripping out my favourite pages. I have a huge cork board in my office that I am constantly adding inspiration to.
“Buying a print magazine and ripping out my favourite pages. I have a huge cork board in my office that I am constantly adding inspiration to.”
What challenges have you faced as a woman in business?
I will never forget sitting in a meeting with a male client (a lot older than myself) while he took out his phone and scrolled to a photo I had posted on Instagram of myself in a bikini. He asked me ‘is this your idea of an office?’
At the time I was taken aback and really embarrassed (either from the regret of posting the photo or the fact that he had seen me in swimwear). I think there are challenges in finding the balance between how much you ‘should’ share and what is a professional representation of yourself when trying to uphold a boss-like persona and being shameless and confident. Looking back at that meeting, the joke is on him, because yes, that is my office when I want it to be, and it’s a lot better than his!
As a creative director, what are your top tips for creating content that stands out from the crowd?
I realise content is extremely subjective, images and videos and trends come and go really quickly, so finding the balance between what people are currently liking versus remaining true to your brand is difficult. Because there is so much out there, creating content that has a purpose and meaning over content for the sake of just posting something is important. People are smart and want to learn things, so teach them something.
“Because there is so much out there, creating content that has a purpose and meaning over content for the sake of just posting something is important. People are smart and want to learn things, so teach them something.”
What’s the next big Insta trend?
All videos – people want motion and audio. Possibly without captions altogether!
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made with Instagram? What advice would you give to others just starting out?
Don’t compare yourself to others. People with 1 million followers aren’t necessarily happier or cooler or more in touch than you are. Comparison is dangerous and extremely unproductive!
What do you think are the most valuable Instagram hacks, features or tools for marketing a business?
Talk to your audience and offer something different. People don’t have much time in a day so when they see your content they want it to be captivating and interesting or they will continue scrolling.
“Talk to your audience and offer something different. People don’t have much time in a day so when they see your content they want it to be captivating and interesting or they will continue scrolling.”
What’s next for you, @hatrikkk and Hatrik House?
I wish I knew the answer to this, it would make my life way easier but the reality is we take each week as it comes. My team are amazing and we have big ideas (and not enough hours in the day), but for the short term, it’s about building our portfolio and continuing to work with our clients and foster these relationships!