A sweet success story: how Isabelle Garson went from video store clerk to Cookies' social media manager
May 2, 20236 min read
Isabelle Garson’s path to her current role as social media manager for the lifestyle brand, Cookies, has been anything but traditional. After dropping out of art school to avoid student loan debt, she managed a video store for six years — before answering a job ad a friend had posted to Facebook. This led to a customer service role for a startup health app, where she rapidly moved up the ranks thanks to her knack for taking on, and quickly resolving, challenging tickets. After surviving a big layoff at the company, Garson found herself the sole member of the company’s marketing team, in charge of all social media.
“Our socials had been geared toward ‘fitspiration,’ but I tried a different tactic,” she says. “My goal was to meet people where they were and encourage more of a health-at-every-size approach.” Positive engagement started to go up, as Garson made real connections with the company’s app users. She realized she had a knack for this as well — and decided to strike out on her own: In 2014, she launched Gut Feels Media, a social media specializing in spiritual and artistic clients.
We sat down with the California native to learn more about the unconventional career path that led her to her current role. Read on to learn about her proudest career accomplishments, the challenges of working with a regulated good on social media platforms, and more.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a social media professional and media producer, and I currently live in Santa Rosa, California. I work with the cannabis and lifestyle brand, Cookies, as their social media manager. I love spending time online, but I also love hiking, camping, going to the ocean, having large dinners with friends, exploring the latest cuisine and beverage delights, and watching and making music and movies. I am grateful to share these adventures with my fiancé Jacob and our adorable dachshund black lab mix puppy, Oona.
How did you running your own agency lead you to your current role at Cookies?
I got a lot of experience running Gut Feels Media, working with everyone from Yoni healers to national event promoters on all things digital marketing, including some podcast production. After a couple of years, I decided to apply for an in-house role at our local performing arts center. In an unexpected turn of events, I did not end up working there. Instead, I followed the hiring manager to his new job at a booking, talent management and concert promotion company, where he hired me as his assistant marketing director.
Then and there, I had achieved my lifelong dream of working in the entertainment industry.
Working in the music industry in the 2010s was an incredibly exciting experience, as we really saw transformation of the music industry with the rise of streaming. With the help of great mentors, who were ex-Bill Graham Presents/LiveNation founders, I worked with local, national, and international touring acts and producers on music festivals, concert tours, and music releases. My first focus was always social, but I also found myself managing the box office, doing videography, running experiential activations at events, serving as artist and VIP liaison, hosting open mics, and guest hosting a segment on local music for our local NPR affiliate.
From there, my co-workers and I formed our own marketing agency, specializing in music. Soon, we joined forces with another agency, and I was in charge of paid media. I ran millions of dollars worth of music advertisements on social media and search for both national and international artists. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, we suddenly had a lot less business because concerts were a huge part of our paid media services.
That’s when the opportunity to work at Cookies came my way. Cookies had been a client, and they were looking to create a social system that could scale to hundreds of cannabis retail locations. Today, I’m a full-time employee of the best-known cannabis brand in the world — whose CEO and co-founder is a rapper. I’m in charge of growing and maintaining our social media system.
What do you love most about your role at Cookies — and what’s the biggest challenge your team is working on right now?
Being a social media manager is a very demanding, but very fun job. Especially if you love learning about and engaging with people like I do. Working for Cookies is incredible because they really take care of their employees, and our team is full of badass sweethearts. It’s really rewarding to work with a company that has such an impact on people’s lives and truly is a lifestyle. Working with a regulated good on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok is a huge challenge. We’ve had many of our accounts deactivated, including our main brand account with 275K followers. The task at hand is to work with the social platforms and get them to understand that our company is a positive lifestyle brand that follows all community guideline and deserves a voice in the global conversation.
Why did you choose Sprinklr’s Unified-CXM platform, and how do you use it?
We first started using Sprinklr in April of 2021 for Sprinklr Social and Sprinklr Insights. We were most drawn to Sprinklr because it is a best-in-class listening tool. The amount of customization that is possible within the Sprinklr platform sets it apart from any social media management platform I’ve used previously. It’s definitely a program that you grow into and continue to refine. We’re continuing to grow together with Sprinklr.
Today, we use Sprinklr to manage our digital assets, publish content, and draw meaningful insights from our voice of customer and content strategy. It’s amazing to have such a versatile research product in our pockets at any time. We’re really starting to see the ROI on having a content library linked directly to our scheduler with custom fields that return data for reporting.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve posted via Sprinklr?
The hottest content we’ve posted to one of our owned channels was a how-to on breeding cannabis, which we posted on TikTok. We love that we can publish TikTok directly through Sprinklr now.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Getting to the point of mastery and reputation that I’ve been invited to keynote conferences — and hearing positive feedback from people after those presentations has also been incredibly gratifying.
What’s next on your personal bucket list?
Getting married! We’re going to drive our travel trailer the entire length of Highway 1, from our home in Santa Rosa all the way to the northern border of Oregon. We’re also planning a trip to New Zealand. I can’t wait to visit hobbit country and our good friends who have moved there!