Doing it for the Ladies: Dr. Brasfield’s Instagram Aims to Make Women Feel ‘Beautiful and Fabulous’

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Dr. Athena Brasfield’s eponymous Instagram page, drbrasfield, is a hub of color and scenery reflective of the woman who runs it. Brasfield launched the page in October of 2018, and today it stands at 4,066 followers. The aim was to create a space that showcased not just the clinical side of optometry, but also the more fun, fashionable and creative side of the science as well. “I used to want to work in the fashion industry when I was a young girl, but I wanted to do something with more meaning, such as helping communities and giving back to others,” she stated.

“Optometry allowed me to do both. On the medical side, we treat unusual pathology, save sight and help others see the world more clearly. But on the retail side, we have the opportunity to help others look and feel their best, which is more creative, fun and exciting.”

drbrasfield features images of Dr. Brasfield in various colorful ensembles. Whether on an excursion to the Live Oak Canyon Adventure Farm, in her offices at Coachella Valley Optometry (located in Indio and Coachella) or an industrywide conference, such as the Island Eyes Continuing Education Conference in Hawaii, she is always rocking a bright pop of color, accessorized with a pair of carefully selected frames. Each post is accompanied by a caption which either gives bite-sized information on an optometry-related subject, a personal anecdote or an inspirational quote for her followers.

Her target audience is women who need vision correction. “I want women to see that wearing eyeglasses or sunglasses can make you look and feel beautiful and fabulous,” she told VMail Weekend. “I also like to show others how building an eyewear wardrobe can complement your appearance and be fun and exciting to choose from just like your clothing and shoe wardrobes are.”

Because she knows exactly whom she is speaking to, creating content for her page isn’t a big challenge for Dr. Brasfield; she knows that her followers are regular, working moms like herself so she posts content that she knows is relatable and easily attainable. She said, “The images I post are me in my own outfits, in my own eyewear. The styling is my very own, what I feel good in and what I think is fun to wear. I share those images because I hope that those are the things the everyday woman would want to wear, and I can set the example of always pairing a fabulous outfit with even more spectacular eyewear—to generate excitement about the complete look.”
Her life as a practitioner also serves as an easy source of inspiration. In addition to receiving suggestions from her patients and staff, industrywide campaigns such as “National Sunglasses Day,” or “Glaucoma Awareness Month” make for great captions.

   

Being a working doctor also allows Dr. Brasfield to hone her content. Coachella Valley Optometry serves the underprivileged rural communities in the area who are underinsured and below the poverty level. While she knows that most of her patients aren’t looking to her Instagram for information, being in constant contact with them helps her select topics for her followers.

“Interacting with my patients and my community helps me to better understand their needs and their habits. I believe there is a public awareness issue out there in that most of the population my clinics serve still aren’t aware of the benefits of preventive eyecare, nor premium eyewear products. Through this, I am better able to identify what topics I can post about that will have a positive impact in the lives of others,” she said.

Being on social media has also allowed Brasfield to be in constant contact with members of the optical community whom, in years prior, she would only run into at conferences or events. On top of being a full-time practice owner, Brasfield is also a wife and mom to a six-year-old and while time management has proven to be a hassle since the conception of her page, she has found that the online optical community is always more than willing to offer some virtual support.

“The most rewarding aspect has been the relationships I’ve been able to build with my virtual community. Those of us dedicating the time and putting in the effort to create meaningful relationships with our followers and our fellow industry leaders really feel a connection to one another,” she said. “If I’m struggling with an issue or feeling uninspired, the IG community has been nothing short of amazing. They are just so supportive, and it’s obvious that optometrists on Instagram value community over competition.”

Though she has garnered a tremendous following in the few months drbrasfield has been up, Dr. Brasfield plans to continue growing the page with more relatable content for working women like herself. Future topics she would like to tackle include being a working mother/practice owner and balancing the two, working with your spouse and keeping your relationship strong, as well as optometric business management.

“Vulnerability is a huge challenge. For many years, I felt I had a dual personality: ‘work’ me and ‘outside work’ me,” she explained. “The ‘work’ me was professional, conservative, and business-minded. The ‘outside work’ me was fun, creative and colorful. I often felt that the two had to remain separate to have a successful career. But with my IG page I made a decision to show that ‘outside work’ personality more and more while still maintaining my ‘work’ title and expertise.

“As a clinician, it makes you more human. It’s about finding a sense of balance between everything. And I think that’s important to share for women ODs, as we often find ourselves feeling that pressure and struggling with trying to maintain our professional lives and personal lives to a tee,” she concluded.