Published on December 24, 2018

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courtesy of @ThingTesting

Think about the last time you scrolled on your Instagram account, observed advertisements on public transportation, or scrolled the web. Chances are that you’ve been served ads for many of the same up-and-coming companies time and time again—and chances are that you’ve wondered if said companies were really all that good.

Thanks to @ThingTesting, it’s easy to find out.

I had been working in tech for a while but not in a city where things like Birchbox, Casper, Glossier, and SoulCycle were accessible. So when I moved to London a year and a half ago to work for Backed VC, I had this magical list of products that I couldn’t wait to test out,” says Jenny Gyllander, the venture capitalist behind the product review Instagram account. “My own curiosity was the main driver for finding and deciding which products to test, but now, nine months later, I have more criteria and structure for selecting companies to review.”

Using her own background as a venture capitalist, Gyllander knows how to gauge quality not just of a single product but as a company at large. Her reviews are, indeed, visual pleasing—she sets the products in question against seamless pastel backgrounds—but more importantly, they’re thorough and informative, reviewing products from her professional stance, as well as her personal taste.

 

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“Most importantly, there is always something unique about the things I test, be it in their team, supply chain, materials, brand, or how they are marketing it,” she says. “It’s also become increasingly more important to me to feature companies that take sustainability and diversity seriously. My goal is not to encourage any extra consumption of products, but to elevate interesting new companies doing things differently.”

The review period is something Gyllander takes seriously, devoting whatever time is necessary to a thorough test and avoiding any sway of marketing. “Sometimes buzzy products are interesting exactly for the reason that they are hyped. The question is, what’s this buzz about?” she says.

“When I go into the testing phase, I don’t read anything about the products (for example, beauty products have to be tested for 21 days minimum before any differences on the skin can be seen). After testing, I often interview the founders behind the products so that I get a sense for the purpose of the business and the backstory of the products. But I always write my subjective opinions first before having done any other research on the company. My North Star is honesty.”

 

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The result is a detailed review page where quality is not condensed to a point or star system and where consumers can get to know a bit more about the product they’re considering. Sometimes, the hype is worth it, and sometimes, it’s not.

“As the following grew, I definitely became aware of the opportunity to give emerging brilliant companies a platform to shine and be discovered,” Gyllander says. “My goal right now is to see how far I can take that and explore new ways of product discovery, powered by honest reviews and community.”

Curious what she recommends? Below, check out five hyped companies, along with Gyllander’s honest thoughts.

Floom

 

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“The online experience is smooth, flowers high quality, personalized messages included, and same-day delivery saved my life.”

Public Goods

 

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“Most of the products I received from Public Goods I really liked because of three simple reasons: They are natural (see ingredient list pic four), they are cheap, and they have minimalistic packaging.”

Naadam

 

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“For me, best of all is the edgy positioning of this cashmere brand in what is, let’s say, a dusty and traditional segment. Alongside the new line, Naadam launched a radical campaign on the streets of New York featuring goats doing the deed and an even-cheekier tagline: ‘Sustainable cashmere, coming soon.’”

 

Brightland

 

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“I’ve used half of the bottle in two weeks and l-o-v-e it. Super smooth and rich in taste. For a label and packaging lover like me, the bottle itself just makes the kitchen look better (it’s UV powder–coated to protect the oil from damaging light).”

Seed

 

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“Benefits? Better gut health, digestion, skin, etc. I saw a pretty much instant and massive change in all these areas after only a few days. Don’t know what I was doing in a pre-prebiotics life.”

More cool Instagram accounts to follow:

Inside the Homes of Instagram’s Top Plantfluencers

These 4 Fresh Floral Designers Will Turn Your Home Into a Color Wonderland

11 Instagram Accounts That Will Fuel Your Inner Neat Freak

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