Scroll through Instagram on any given night, and you’ll probably come across one of your friends sharing a meme from the St. Louis Starter Packs account. A "starter pack" is a meme, often a collection of pictures, on how you can become something or someone. Run by a person choosing to remain anonymous, the account has 18,000 followers, but the creator isn't chasing notoriety or fortune. The account actually started with an office joke. Read on to find out how the meme account came to be, and then scroll through some of STL Starter Packs' favorite memes for the region.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How did you get started with the meme account?
STL Starter Packs:
It's kind of a dumb answer. But I was at the office. And there was a guy that I worked with that walked over. And he had on a needlepoint belt, Patagonia vest, loafers, and I said, “You are a walking starter pack.” And he said, “I don't even know what that means.” So, I pulled up an example and showed it to him, and then one of my other friends who was sitting there said, “Make one of him.” So I did.
And then it was just another person in the office: “You should do an Instagram account of this.” It started there, and it grew pretty quick. And then I just started doing one or two a week.
How do you come up with your ideas, and what’s that process like?
: Oh, I don't know. Some of it's topical. I'll do one around Mardi Gras, or Memorial Day at the lake or something like that. Sometimes it's just whatever is going on in St. Louis, or the region at the time. And then others, an idea might hit. I'll think of something I saw when I was at, for example, the Tower Grove Farmers Market. I was there and was like, “Oh, there's just so much content here.” There's never really a rule to it. Sometimes it's like, I think of one or two images. And then I'm like, “Oh, my gosh, this fits.” And then sometimes I just think I really need to capture Affton or Chesterfield or whatever. So there's no real strategy behind it. I'd say it's just more on a whim.
Did you ever think it was gonna go this far? Did you ever think you would have this many followers?
: No, definitely not. I mean, when I started, it was kind of a joke. We were just messing around. And I'd have people send me ideas and that, and then, within a month, it had, I think 1,000 followers or something. And from there, it just took off. So no, I never thought it would get close to 20,000 followers. But it's been fun. You meet a lot of interesting people. And, you know, I always joke about the people that have the negative comments, but that's like, point 1 percent. So 99.9 percent of the DMs I get are positive.
You’ve rounded up some of your favorite starter packs for us. What makes those your favorite? Is it audience reaction or is it something else?
: Sometimes it is the reaction. I did one about a year ago about a Eureka subdivision, and the comments and the DMs were just out of control. It was like I awoke a sleeping giant. You had a mix of people like, “Oh my god, that's my neighborhood!” to “How can you disparage our community that way? Go back to Kirkwood,” that kind of stuff.
So yeah, sometimes that's it, and sometimes I just get amused by it, like the nostalgia ones, which I tend to mix in there from time to time. I like those a lot just because they're usually based on my experiences. So I have a lot of fun doing those. I went to Mizzou. The Mizzou one I did was by far the most shared, the most liked, everything. And I never would have seen that coming. In fact, I was like, "I wonder if anybody from Mizzou even cares," and it just blew up. So that was kind of fun. But no, it's, there's not really a perfect science to that either. It is probably mostly based on feedback.
Where do you go from here? Do you have plans for a grand meme empire? Or is this just something you're gonna be doing in your free time for a while? When do you call it quits?
: No, I don't know when to call it quits. It's definitely not something that's going to turn into any kind of full-time job or anything like that. It's more for fun.
I've been approached by a lot of different people wanting to promote products and stuff. And if it doesn't fit, I want nothing to do with it. I'll do those kinds of things, but it has to be something that I'm interested in. I'm not just gonna go out there and push somebody's clothing line because they're paying me 100 bucks or something. It's not worth it. It's more just for fun. And I think that if I did that I would lose credibility. So not to say I would never collaborate with people or do that kind of stuff. Obviously, I would. But it's never going to be something where that becomes the primary driver for the account.
So influencer life is not for you?
: I mean, I've gone to some of the events, and I just don't fit in because I'm not showing my face on these things. So I'm not taking selfies, which tends to be, at these influencer events, a big thing. So any of the stuff I've gone to that I got invited to that I thought was cool, I've had a blast going, but I'm definitely different from most of the influencers in the St. Louis area.
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