Welcome back to Creator Heroes, a series that shines a spotlight on the creators doing inspiring, purpose-driven work. From artists to activists, educators to entrepreneurs, you can expect a wide range of creators from different backgrounds. The one thing they all share in common? Adding value to the world.
Here, we sat down with Paige Doherty of @wandertears, a teardrop camper van business and Instagram community on a mission to help people travel more and live a meaningful life.
Paige shares how she and her husband created a one-stop shop for teardrops out of nothing, how they’ve built an engaged Instagram community of over 60,000 people, the joys of helping people live intentionally, and much more.
How Wander Tears got started
“Our social presence started when we hand-built our first teardrop camper in 2020, and took it for a month-long voyage across the US. We got rained on one too many times in our tent. We thought, let's just go make something that's going to be better and help us travel more.
At first we were just sharing our travels, but then a family reached out and asked if we could build a custom teardrop camper for them. We did that, and that’s how everything got started.
Danny began making plans for other people to make their own teardrop campers in just a few months. We now have this real Instagram community and a private community with people building teardrops using our plans.”
The most rewarding part of the business
“I love when someone finishes their camper. It’s such a big project, and it’s a liberating thing. People are taking it upon themselves to fulfil their dream and travel. We’re working on a build with a client in his 70s - his parents bought an RV, and saved up for years to travel in it. Then they got sick, and they couldn’t go. Life passed them by. So our client told himself, “I’m going to travel before it’s too late” - and now he’s building a teardrop with us, and going traveling around the US with his dog!
It’s just incredible to see people take action, make trips happen, and fulfil their dreams - and for us to be even a small part of that is amazing”.
"It’s just incredible to see people take action, make trips happen, and fulfil their dreams - and for us to be even a small part of that is amazing”.
The first 1,000 followers
"The beginning is the hardest, but it’s also the least amount of pressure. You’re just sharing things and not expecting much.
We naturally made a lot of connections with other travellers on Instagram, just interacting with them and building friendships.
Consistency is crucial to getting off the ground, as is having one clear message of what your account is about. Make your one thing very clear. For us, every photo has a teardrop in it, so everyone who finds our account knows it's a teardrop account.
"Make your one thing very clear. For us, every photo has a teardrop in it, so everyone who finds our account knows it's a teardrop account".
Other than that, it’s about being genuine and adding value. Be yourself, and let your followers get to know you. Don’t only post your highlights reel!"
Failing forward and honing my creator skills
"We wanted to work with brands that we already loved, but I didn’t know how to do it. I also wasn’t the best photographer - so I watched some Youtube videos and downloaded an e-book by @through.the.lyns, a content creator coach. That was really helpful, I’m now much more confident about photography and have worked with several brands!
It’s all about experience - the more you do things, the faster you learn. I have a “let’s just do it” mentality…fail forward and learn as you go. The captions, photos, editing - you’re going to get better through practice.
"I have a “let’s just do it” mentality…fail forward and learn as you go. The captions, photos, editing - you’re going to get better through practice".
In terms of Instagram tools, I only really use InShot to edit my Reels, as well as our Youtube videos".
The horror of getting hacked
“Most of our business comes through social media - it’s such a great way to meet similar minded people. We’d just hit the 20,000 follower milestone, so when we got hacked, it was just devastating. Not only that, it happened two weeks before our wedding - as if we needed more stress!
I was unwell after realizing what had happened. More than anything, I felt stupid for falling for the bait. Looking back with hindsight, there were clear signs that this was a phishing scam.”
Click here to read the full interview with Wander Tears about their experience getting hacked
The importance of setting a schedule
“At the beginning, I was too involved with Instagram. I felt like I needed to reply to every comment immediately, and I was spending way too much time on the app. With so many parts of our business needing attention, I realized that I needed to change this approach. Now I’ve set myself time slots to work on our Instagram, and sticking to my schedule has really helped me manage my time smarter”.
Putting aside the perfectionist
“I post on Instagram at 8pm everyday, and I like to have my content nicely prepared. But there are days where I’m too busy, and don’t have time to prepare anything in advance. So it gets to 8pm, and I throw something together, write down a caption quickly, and publish. Those have been some of my best posts, going way more viral than the ones I spent 3 hours thinking about and perfecting! So hold yourself accountable to your content schedule and try not to overthink things”.
"So I throw something together, write down a caption quickly, and publish. Those have been some of my best posts".
Working with brands - always think long-term
“If you partner with brands, it’s super important you 100% back that brand and their mission. We don’t do a ton of collaborations, as we want to make sure we fully align with every brand and genuinely love using their products. We’ve built trust with over 60,000 people, and I'm never going to break that trust by promoting a brand with a bad product or ethos. Always look long-term over making a quick buck.”
"We’ve built trust with over 60,000 people, and I'm never going to break that trust by promoting a brand with a bad product or ethos. Always look long-term over making a quick buck.”
What I wish I knew when I started @wandertears
“I still struggle with this but: YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO PLEASE EVERYONE! It doesn’t matter what you post, there will always be a keyboard bully out there. When that happens, realize their perception of you has no effect on reality. Do your best to let it go and never let it hold you back from creating content".