Meet Blair Mlotek and Irina Lerner, Founders of Cleo Social

Each week, Female CoFounder features a female founder in the community. Follow along each week and learn from different founders and their journeys.

FcF: Tell us about yourself. 

Blair & Irina: Irina's first business started back in 2014, when she handmade a toy for her niece and people started asking to buy it. The first of two businesses grown entirely through social media was born!

Meanwhile Blair was completing a master's degree in Journalism at Ryerson University and ended up as a Senior Account Manager in communications agency.

We were both realizing that social media was an incredibly powerful tool for businesses to reach their goals. One day Blair called up her co-founder-to-be Irina and said: "Want to start our own business?" We always laugh that she said yes before knowing what it was!

FcF: What is Cleo Social?

Blair & Irina: Cleo is an everything-social agency based in Toronto, founded by two longtime friends and creatives, Irina Lerner and Blair Mlotek. Cleo is named after the original girl boss - Cleopatra. A woman with serious flair who wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted: her desire to be heard and seen, and that's exactly what Cleo will do for you: give your brand a distinct influential voice on the platforms that matter most. We are not a full service agency: we know what we're good at and we only give you our best. We manage our clients social media platforms from strategy, to content, to execution and community management, ensuring they stay relevant on the channels that matter most to help them meet their goals. 

Cleo Social
- Above: Cleo Social -

FcF: What are some common mistakes that you see people make when they're trying to gain more social media presence/followers? 

Blair & Irina: Something we often see is people posting too often. Social media is about quality and making sure your content is seen by as many followers as possible. It's best to post a few times a week and make sure that content is the same quality as you would expect from a national publication. Another trend that fell by the wayside years ago was that your social media feed needs to match perfectly and look pristine. While you want a specific aesthetic, showing who you really are is what will keep people coming back

FcF: What were the first 3 steps you took after you knew you wanted to pursue this idea?

Blair & Irina: Reached out to experts and sat down for MANY coffees, decided on what values we want to bring to our business, and started pitching companies we love!

FcF: How did you meet your Co-Founder? What do you look for in a Co-Founder? 

Blair & Irina: We've been best friends since high school! We never would have guessed this is where life would lead back then but as we grew in our careers and were ready for the next move we discovered that our friendship worked perfectly as a partnership. Although we do have strict rules about work time versus friend time.

FcF: What advice do you have for other women who have a start-up idea or side project idea?

Blair & Irina: Working with a partner who shares your vision and is there for the ups and downs is everything. It's someone to bounce every idea off of, who is there for the crying and the celebratory drinks, who you can trust with all your ideas and who loves your business as much as you do. It makes it all worth it, even on the days it doesn't feel like it. 

FcF: How can the Female CoFounder community help you?  

Blair & Irina: We're always looking for partners that we can work with to find quality clients together. This means creative agencies, PR and ecommerce specialists - anyone who shares our values and wants to work with companies who are doing great things!

FcF: How can people contact you?

Blair & Irina:

Check out Cleo's website:

You can also email at 

Or, DM @Blair Mlotek in our Slack Channel!


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