A woman's manicured hand clutches a glass filled with a clear liquid poured over ice, her first and middle fingers each adorned by sparkling gold rings. "Two-finger ring stacks are in. Millennial pink is basic. Ugly shoes are money. Juice cleansing is dead. U follow?" reads the caption. It is just one of Dirty Lemon's more than 3,000 posts on Instagram, the social media platform that has been crucial to the direct-to-consumer beverage brand's growth. "I have an order issue," wrote a customer in the comments. "Checking now x," responded Dirty Lemon, whose products include a "collagen beauty elixir" and "charcoal daily detox". Dirty Lemon is just one of dozens of start-ups that have leveraged Instagram's 1-billion users to build their businesses. Larger examples include beauty brand Glossier and mattress company Casper, both of which became "unicorns" last month, after raising $100m (R1.4bn) each. The photo-sharing app has become a nexus of branded marketing, millennials browsing the ...

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