The Scoop: When people post on Instagram, their photos eventually get buried under a pile of other images and updates. Treasured memories may get lost in the digital shuffle, and only return when people scroll back through their profile. That’s why brother and sister team Doug and Rachel Pfeffer developed Stitchta — a platform that allows people to turn their favorite Instagram photos into one-of-a-kind physical items. Couples are a big part of Stitchta’s audience, and they can bring their social media pictures to life on throw pillows, tote bags, pool blankets, or ottomans to relive their memories in a new way.
Instagram photos may bring a day or two worth of interactions and fun, but then they get lost under a tower of other posts in a crowded personal feed. They could be treasured memories of life-changing events with a friend or partner, and, instead of being displayed, they get buried on a platform that always has new content.
Stitchta set out to change that. The platform helps people bring their Instagram photos to life by featuring those photos on a variety of stylish products, including throw pillows, tote bags, and ottomans.
“We were seeing all of these photos that were showing up quickly and leaving quickly, and people didn’t get a chance to spend time with any of them,” said Doug Pfeffer, who created Stitchta with his sister and business partner, Rachel.
For example, if a couple took a memorable trip to Paris, they could create a throw pillow from a picture of them standing under the Eiffel Tower. Stitchta’s throw pillows come stuffed with comfortable material and have room for up to 25 pictures arranged in a patchwork style.
Alternatively, a couple could create a collage of their time together by selecting up to 32 of their favorite Instagram photos to put on a tote bag. These tote bags are durable with a laminate lining for those who need to protect books or laptops. Stitchta users can also add text to any design.
Doug told us the company is on a mission to ensure that people don’t just post their memories and forget about them, but instead experience them in unique, tangible ways.
The Founders Combined Their Love of Design and Engineering
Instagram is an entirely virtual platform, which is why Doug and Rachel believed a market existed for people who wanted to bring their photos to life. In 2011, they realized that even the best pictures posted on the social platform were quickly shuffled away from a user’s main page and could easily get lost if a person posted frequently enough.
Doug and Rachel thought about a way to give those often-stunning photos longer lives. They came up with the idea of printing Instagram photos on pillows, where they would be better suited to last.
“Pillows make good gifts, and Instagram’s photos are all square, so we already had a natural grid situation,” Doug said.
Putting the photos on home goods also combined the talents of Rachel and Doug. Rachel is a jeweler, so she used her eye for design to create attractive pillows and photo design templates. And Doug used his experience in software design to create a platform that was straightforward and easy to use.
Six years later, Doug and Rachel still manage and operate Stitchta themselves. The siblings have also experimented with a wide range of products.
The company continues to innovate, planning to add more options — including fanny packs — to its roster. But pillows remain the company’s top seller, and Doug has a theory about their continued popularity.
“Pillows are a good gift because they’re tidy and are perfectly fine just sitting in the living room,” he said.
An Intuitive Platform for Quickly Creating Pillows, Blankets, and More
Users begin by deciding what item they want to design and which images they want to put on it. They can also upload photos from their computer, mobile device camera roll, or directly from Instagram. They can also mix and match photos from all three channels.
Once users select the images, they can decide on an arrangement. They can choose a single photo or a two-by-two, four-by-four, or five-by-five arrangement.
During the design process, Stitchta displays the user’s Instagram photos in a side panel, allowing them to easily select and switch them out to end up with the perfect product. And many users choose a theme for their gifts.
“A lot of couples make gifts sharing their vacations or honeymoons. We see a lot of beach trips, baby collages, and cats and dogs,” Doug said.
When users are satisfied with the design, they can add a message to any part of the pillow. They can choose the color, font, and size of the text, as well as add emojis if they wish.
Once users place their orders, the Stitchta team will start putting the personalized product together in its North Carolina warehouse. Products typically ship within a week of an order placement.
Users also need to be authorized to access the Instagram account from which they want to use photos. That means if someone wants to use pictures from a partner’s account, they’ll need the password.
“You can’t go on the site and use someone else’s Instagram photos. But you can give gift certificates and allow someone to make their own pillow,” Doug said.
Stitchta: Helping Couples Bring Memories to Life
Eight years ago, Doug and Rachel started Stitchta with a simple premise: People should get to experience their most precious photos more often.
At that time, Rachel hand-stitched the pillows and sent them out. Now, the company has grown a reputation for providing users with an easy way to create unique home products and gifts for their partners. And users really get into personalizing their creations.
“I’ve seen someone who put a patchwork together of nice meals they’ve eaten at restaurants. Someone is out there with a sweet tote bag showing all the meals they’ve had all over it,” Doug said with a laugh.
Stitchta’s reputation continues to grow because of the positive buzz that’s surrounded the company since the beginning.
In today’s society of mass merchandising and flash-in-the-pan home decor trends, Stitchta stands out by creating products that will always be meaningful. Doug said he believes that the company’s success stems from the fact that people are searching for personalized gifts.
“It’s nice to know that our platform is being used for gifting sentimental products. Stitchta is used for good, and I like knowing that someone is going to enjoy what we make for them,” Doug said.