All wrapped up – behind the packaging – Sophie Callahan Photography

Sophie Callahan Equine photographerAs anyone who regularly reads this blog or follows me on social media will know, I’m a big Sophie Callahan fan… for so many reasons, but this blog just focuses on one of the many things I love about Sophie’s business, Sophie Callahan Photography, and what she does.. you might call it packaging or customer experience. I believe packaging is part of the customer experience. Here’s a bit about Sophie’s branding, her packaging and a recap about her commercial and portrait equine photography business.

Tell us a bit about your brand, Sophie Callahan Photography, and what you do

I am an equine photographer and I photograph the relationship between horses and their humans all over the UK and then package up their memories in tangible form. Whether that be in the shape of a canvas, a USB, or simple prints.

Let’s start with your branding – how did you decide on your logo, the colours and your branding overall?

My logo was actually knocked up within seconds, as a temporary fix, when I very first started and wanted to get some photos online as quickly as possible. It was never meant to be permanent, but it’s actually one of the things people love about my brand. I’ve had so many comments about how recognisable it is and I’ve even had people say they can’t wait to see their images with ‘the blue and pink Sophie Callahan Photography’ on them. So light blue and light pink feature heavily in my branding, as does white as I want to make everything quite feminine and ‘dreamy’. 

How did you decide on your packaging? What elements did you consider?

sophie callahan packagingWhen I was deciding on my packaging, I wanted to go for a look that brought the femininity of my brand and the earthy, natural side of horses together. My prints come in brown, natural kraft boxes and my USB sticks come in bespoke wooden boxes, with the client’s favourite image printed onto the wooden front. I then use branded stickers to add my logo and my USB sticks and CDs also have my logo printed onto them. I’m a big fan of hand-written notes, so I include a thank you card in every package, with a little hand-written message on.

What kind of response have you received to your packaging?

Since improving my packaging, I have seen a huge increase in the number of people who post pictures of their parcels onto social media. This is great advertising for me and often results in enquiries from new potential customers. I get a lot of messages and emails thanking me and commenting on how beautiful the parcel was.

Do you think packaging adds to a product and the customer experience? Was this something you factored into your product quite early on or something that has evolved over time?

Absolutely! I think when you are offering a high-end product or service, the packaging needs to reflect this. My packaging has definitely evolved over time and I still tweak it or try new things every now and then. As somebody who loves packaging, it’s fun to try out new ideas and take the time to make your work look pretty. When I first started, I wasn’t charging the prices I am charging now, so spending money on beautiful packaging just wouldn’t have been an option. But as my prices have increased, the value I offer my clients must increase too and my products must reflect the investment they are making.

Are there any other brands who have packaging that inspires you? Or that you think is done really well?

Sophie Callahan PackagingI am big candle fanatic, so I always love receiving White Company and Jo Malone parcels, for birthdays and Christmas, and they always beautifully presented. I also really love make-up and the Charlotte Tilbury burgundy and rose gold packaging is the stuff of my dreams! And lastly, I’m a brand ambassador for Hiho Silver, so I receive a lot of their beautiful jewellery through the post and I have their boxes stacked up on my vanity unit, because I just can’t throw them away. My other half is constantly complaining about the amount of empty bags and boxes I hoard, but how are you supposed to throw away something so pretty?

Where can we find you online?

WEBSITE: http://www.sophiecallahanphotography.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SophieCallahanPhotos/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/sophiecallahan/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SophiecCallahan

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/sophiecallahanvlogs

A few minutes with… Karen McConnell

Karen McConnellIn this week’s ‘a few minutes with…’ we catch up with Karen McConnell from KA Equestrian. Karen is a complete star and is incredibly forward thinking in the way she approaches her business. And she’s an incredibly talented and thoroughly lovely person too!

Tell us about you and your background I’m Karen and I own and run KA Equestrian, a busy backing, schooling, training and livery yard based in beautiful Perthshire, Scotland. I was born in Surrey as my parents were living there at the time but they’re both Scottish so a few years later we moved back to Scotland and settled in the outskirts of Edinburgh for most of my school days. I was lucky to have ponies growing up and loved all Pony Club activities and generally messing about on the horses. Dressage was definitely not on my radar in those days! When I left school I went to work on a dressage yard, studied for my BHS exams and learned to start horses and school them on and that is where things changed for me. All through University and other ‘real’ jobs, I always had horses for training on the side until the summer of 2009 when I got ill and was signed off work for three weeks with suspected swine flu! After a few days I felt better but had to stay off work just incase. I set up a website and a FB page, pulled the name “KA Equestrian” out of thin air (my maiden name was Anderson hence the A in the KA) and it just took off. No planning whatsoever. There have been HUGE learning curves along the way but eight years on, we’ve grown massively and are thriving.

On a day-to-day basis, in addition to running the yard, managing the property, training horses, coaching riders, competing in the dressage arena, and creating lots of content for our blog and social media channels, I’m a mum of two young children, Cora who’s five and Callan who’s three. I have this nagging ambition to become a Grand Prix dressage rider and now that the kids are a little bigger, I’m actively pursuing that goal. Life can be a bit of juggling act at times but I’m so lucky to be able to do what I do.

What made you want to start a business? I’ve always liked to be in control of my own decisions and anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not great at being told what to do (!) so being my own boss was always inevitable. KA Equestrian was born out of a love of training horses, teaching them new skills and watching them develop.

How is your business different? KA Equestrian has evolved over the years and what made us different in the beginning, a business whose sole focus was starting young horses, has also changed. We have a number of niches – our backing process ‘The Right Start’ is still very much a core part of the business but we’ve also developed a few other niches – retraining ex-racehorses, and coaching young riders. What KA Equestrian has become is a family-friendly yard where everyone is welcomed and respected and help is tailored to their individual needs and dreams. 

What makes the services you offer at KA Equestrian special? The services we offer are special, I think, because we pay attention to the details and KA Equestriangive real consideration to whether our clients are benefiting and if not, we find out how can we change things up to better meet their needs. When it comes to the horses in our care, to ensure we don’t bend to the pressure sometimes applied by owners, I always ask myself “What would I be doing if this was my horse?” and go with that. That way I can know we’re doing the very best job, making the right, not always easiest, decisions and I can sleep better at night!

If you had to sum your business up in five words, what would they be? Quality, Friendly, Training, Coaching (and) Livery

Does KA Equestrian have a motto or ethos? Our tag line is “Home of Happy Horses” and that applies to both our livery and training clients. Happy horses, to me, are well nourished, cared for, respected, loved, protected from harm and abuse and given every opportunity to thrive. It’s important to me that our little bubble here at KA Equestrian is also home of happy owners and riders, but that doesn’t have the same ring! My top priorities at the yard are to maintain and develop an excellent facility and to ensure everyone feels welcome and respected.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be? I know the sensible advice is to plan and prepare BUT I like to think big and move fast. Be brave, and if it feels right go for it!

Tell us one thing that helps you manage KA Equestrian more efficiently I simply could not run my business without my phone and I can’t imagine using anything other than an iPhone. I’m on the yard most of the day and without the means to make calls, take pictures and videos, reply to messages and post to social media, the business would grind to a halt (or I certainly would as I’d have to do all that in the evenings once the kids are in bed!)

What’s the best thing about running KA Equestrian? Gosh, there are so many good bits – the freedom to think big and make a bold move, the flexibility to fit in the school run, a hair appointment or a day away, and the fact I get to do what I love every day – there’s never that Monday-morning feeling.

And the worst thing about running a business? Hmmm, I used to take things very personally when things didn’t go the way I’d hoped and it took a lot of work to put that in a good place in my head. I think when you are your business, it’s very hard to not take things personally if a client isn’t happy with what you’ve done or a project you’ve been working on hasn’t worked out – there’s no corporate structure to hide behind. That’s been my biggest challenge to date but I think I can now see the difference between things I have a legitimate reason to be disappointed with myself about and those that are more to do with the circumstances or a particular client.

KA EquestrianTop business blog you follow Well, obviously Rhea’s blog along with all the amazing help and advice she gives me as one of her coaching clients (thank you :-)), but I also love Marie Forleo and Seth Godin – both seriously positive and motivational.

Best business book you’ve read I don’t really engage with text books but I LOVE autobiographies from business people – I want to know not just how they make the decisions they make and the strategies that they use but how they live their lives and how they fit it all in. I really liked Tamara Mellon’s book ‘In My Shoes’ as it was very honest, she wasn’t afraid to appear flawed.

Something we might not know about you I once shared a helicopter with Pierce Brosnan in Monte Carlo – doesn’t get cooler than that right? Well, if I had my pick of Bonds it would have been Daniel Craig!

What’s your top business achievement? Oh gosh, you know I’m really not sure… nothing massive YET! But I’m really proud of the busy yard I have now, I’ve worked hard for it and I know we do really good work, offering real value to our clients both human and equine.

Find Karen McConnell and KA Equestrian at…

Website – www.kaequestrian.com,

Facebook www.facebook.com/KAEquestrian,

Twitter www.twitter.com/KAEquestrian,

Instagram www.instagram.com/KAEquest

A new service from the Equestrian Creative Network that you might like…

Equestrian Creative NetworkAs you may know, I am a member of the Equestrian Creative Network, and have been since it began, actually, here’s my profile if you fancy a look. Headed by the lovely Liam Killen, ECN provides a place where creatives (so that’s marketers, photographers, PRs, magazines, copywriters, illustrators… the list goes on!) can showcase their skills. Equally, it provides a place where people looking for a particular service can come too. But now there’s something new…

How can the Equestrian Creative Network help me?

Well, it depends what you do as a job. If you’re looking for promote your services as a creative in the equestrian industry, it’s great for that, as it’s way more than just a listing. You can add your press releases, videos and more, as you’ll see here. I provide exclusive content and have done an ECN Live too. Using ECN also means that the press releases I choose to publish through the site get promoted on the Newswire and through ECN’s social media feeds… so that’s good.

If you need a graphic designer, or a PR person, or a web developer, or any other creative, then you can pop on over and use the search function. You can select where you want to look by country too.

And as a news outlet, or a magazine, or website, you can receive all the latest news straight into your inbox.

So what’s new on the Equestrian Creative Network?

The Equestrian Creative Network has just added a ‘request a quote’ feature that allows you to add your brief and give relevant professionals signed up to the service the chance to quote. Neat hey? As you’ll see, you can add your budget as well as more information, to help get quotes that are relevant to your needs. Here’s a link to the ‘request a quote’ page on ECN.

 

How collaborations work between brands… with Hiho Silver

How collaborations work between brandsI’m very excited to be able to bring you a real life example of how collaborations work between brands. Or, at least, how they can work when they’re done well. And, to make it even more exciting, WE HAVE A CASE STUDY. Oh yes. How collaborations work between brands using a real life example. The real life example uses Hiho Silver, who recently completed a superb competition online that allowed people to win a lovely prize each day for 10 days, to celebrate reaching 10k fans on Facebook.

How collaborations work between brands… and why it matters

If you follow this blog you will know that I am a big fan of collaborations. Why? Because they work. They generate feel-good for everyone involved. Customers win. Businesses win. And it doesn’t have to cost all that much either. What’s not to love? Collaborations can add lots of value to your brand, your followers and the company you’re collaborating with too.. so why doesn’t everyone do it? It’s simple, it takes quite a bit of leg work and often an ability to put your brand’s needs on a level to brand you’re collaborating with. For everyone to win. Everyone needs to win. But that’s a whole different blog.

Now, onto the case study – Hiho Silver

As you may or may not know, I am very proud to count Hiho Silver as a client and the people behind this brand as friends. Hiho Silver is interesting for so many reasons, not least because of the amazing exclusive country and equestrian jewellery designs they create. But more about that another time (or just follow them on Facebook or Instagram, or have a look at their website to see for yourself!). Another thing that is superb about Hiho is the company’s ability to fully embrace new ideas and work with others. It’s refreshing, forward thinking and is one reason the brand is as successful as it is.

ANYWAY. To celebrate Hiho Silver reaching 10k fans on Facebook, it was decided that we’d create a competition to thank the fans for their continued support. The Hiho Facebook community is a special one and gratitude is a theme that runs through everything Hiho does, and it’s always nice to have a reason to celebrate. As it was Hiho’s 10k, it was decided that one prize would be offered each day for 10 days. And that fans could enter on Instagram and/or Facebook. The entry mechanisms were slightly different (and native to each platform), but both options were there to give people maximum opportunity to get involved. So far, so good.

So, where does the collaboration come in? And how do collaborations work between brands?

Hiho collaborates with a number of brands throughout the year on a range of different projects, so it made sense to speak to some of Hiho’s ‘friends’ to see if they wanted to be part of the celebrations. Why? Just to get free stuff? No. It was more than that. The brands that Hiho collaborates with have been chosen because they have a similar target audience – ie – they make/sell products and services that the majority or a significant portion of Hiho customers would be interested in. For this competition, Hiho decided to speak to Annabel Brocks (who provided a stunning Contrast Leather Belt), Evemy & Evemy (who provided a Pluma Silk Scarf), Mackenzie & George (who provided a Chatsworth Belt and personalised keyring), Femmes Fatales (who provided a day’s shooting) and Fairfax & Favor (who provided a Pembroke Handbag). In addition, Hiho provided an Exclusive Hammered Pheasant Necklace, an Exclusive Spinner Ring, an Exclusive Cherry Roller Bangle with CZ Roller and a Leather Wrap with horseshoe or cartridge slider. So there were 10 prizes in total. And so it began. One prize a day for 10 days… and didn’t Hiho’s fans love it! Oh yes. And then some.

Did the brands involved benefit from the collaboration?

And did the brands that were involved benefit too – oh yes. Exposing some of their products to Hiho’s fans and followers (and their fans and followers as people frequently shared posts on Facebook even though this wasn’t an entry mechanism… because it can’t be according to Facebook terms and conditions). Hiho put together two graphics each day during the competition and posted these on its various social channels. In many ways it was a simple competition, but the planning to make the simple competition work was quite involved. Worth every second, but it takes time. To make collaborations work between brands – between anyone – you have to dedicate some time to the cause. And then the results really mean something. And everyone wins. Which is what it’s all about!

 

A few minutes with… Chloe Bucknell – The Gin Kitchen

The Gin KitcheDo I have a treat for you this week!? If you love gin, this is a gem! In this ‘a few minutes with…’ I catch up with Chloe Bucknell from The Gin Kitchen… a mobile gin bar. I know. I spoil you…

Tell us about you and your background
We are two childhood friends, Chloe Bucknell and Evie Marsh, who found a joint love of horses and all things country at a young age. Even before we were old enough to drink gin, we were thinking about it. Our parents may have only allowed us to try the tonic, but we knew for years it would taste better with juniper berries and a few botanicals. From our first sip, we fell in love with the infused drinks and soon became ‘ginfatuated’!

Chloe has a background within the Events & Exhibition Industry whilst Evie has the Hospitality and Catering knowledge. Having visited many distilleries across the globe, combined with hundreds of hours spent serving behind pub bars and finally, sampling over 250 expressions, we decided to share our experience with everyone. With our love of the outdoors and gin collided, we found ourselves creating The Gin Kitchen.

The Gin KitchenWhat made you want to start a business?
We actually happened to be sat in a pub having a in tipple after a long day out horse riding when we came up with the idea of being the UK’s answer to stationary drinking. With gin fans increasing by the day all over the world, we thought it was only right we supported this concept by occupying the minds and hearts of gin drinkers. Even those who claim they don’t like the generic ‘gin’ drink, we have proven to change their mind with our vast and continuously growing collection. Gin has never been this good, and it might never be this good again! We want to encourage people to enjoy it whilst they can, by letting us put a drink of their choice firmly in their hand, at events all over the UK.

How is your The Gin Kitchen different?
Unlike other mobile bars, we offer a gin experience alongside their chosen G&T. We’re all about customer service, providing people with a high-class drink to enjoy whilst creating a new experience for the gin loving community. We have so many ideas that will all be revealed over the next 12 months but we guarantee there is a gin out there for everyone. We offer packages for ‘Tie-The-Knot’ kind of days to Corporate Brand Launches or Birthday parties, the range of events we cater for is endless! The Gin Kitchen provides you with a contemporary yet country mobile horse trailer bar, knowledgable and friendly staff but most importantly, high-quality G&T’s and Gin Fizz Cocktails throughout your event.

If you had to sum up The Gin Kitchen in five words, what would they be?
Unique, Fun, Creative, Dynamic, Gin-Lovers!

Do you have a motto or ethos?
“It’s never too early for Gin O’Clock”

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?
Challenge yourself and never give up on your dreams. We both had an idea that we turned into reality and it makes you extremely proud to see hard work paying off. Take the risk and believe in yourself but most importantly, enjoy it and have fun!

One thing that helps you run your business more effectively?
Our trusty Apple products! Our iPads turn into our till systems, our Macbooks into our Marketing tools and our iPhones for being sociable on the go.

Best thing about running a business?
We get to choose who we work with, lucky for us, we’re two great friends who know get to spend even more time together. Not only that, we have taken the risks and are proud of the rewarding outcome of what we are achieving. We’ve challenged one another but we’ve followed our passion and we both feel pride in building our own business for other people to enjoy.

Worst thing about running a business?
Besides drinking far too many gin samples… Hmm, I can’t think of any negatives that The Gin Kitchen has provided us!

Top business blog you follow
It might not be a blog but @theginguide has to be one of our favourites!

Top business achievement
Becoming 90% booked up through to the end of the year and seven 2018 bookings within our first eight weeks of launching The Gin Kitchen!

Where can people follow you or your business online?
www.theginkitchen.co.uk

 

Twitter – @GinKitchen
Instagram – @theginkitchen_trailer
Facebook – www.facebook.com/theginkitchentrailer

 

If you’d like to see a few more ‘a few minutes with’ blogs – why not check out Rosie Neave from Pheasant Plucker & Son here,  Athena Cauley-Yu from Meticulous Ink here or Anna Butler from Butler Stewart here?

How collaborations work… and what is a collaboration?

How collaborations workI believe collaborations can be HUGE for business. But just to be clear and help you push forward with your own collab, I thought I’d address how collaborations work. But not before addressing what a collaboration is.

What is a collaboration?

A collaboration is when two or more people or companies work together to produce something. This dictionary definition puts it a little more eloquently. You hear of celebrities collaborating with brands, bloggers collaborating with each other, influencers working with companies, and brands working with other brands. It really is as simple as that. Sometimes companies pay for celebrities and influencers to work with them, and sometimes it’s free. It depends very much on what the collaboration entails. What is key, well, in my mind at least, is that EVERYONE wins from the collaboration. Everyone’s efforts are rewarded. Everyone’s time is repaid. And everyone works together to make it a success. Collaborations are great. They allow you as a brand or influencer to spread your reach and be introduced to other people who might be interested in you, your products and what you have to say. Well. This is if you choose well. But that’s a whole different topic.

How do collaborations work?

I’m confident in saying that there is no one size fits all. I see collaborations popping up all the time in various different forms. David Beckham collaborated with H&M on a collection and the relationship grew from there. Youtubers regularly collaborate by appearing on other Youtubers’ channels – such as Tanya Burr and Zoella – yep – they’re pals, but they collaborate on the platform – actually, Zoella has a whole section dedicated to collabs here. Ed Sheeran (ohhh… I love Ed) collaborated with Rudimental on Lay It All On Me, and because I really do love Ed Sheeran, I’m also going to mention when he collaborated with Rupert Grint (aka Ron Weasley) on the video for Lego House. So, both parties win. Both parties get exposure to a different audience.

These are slightly random examples, I’ll give you that, but it’s to illustrate the diversity and the scope. But you know what else you could do? You could guest blog for someone and let them guest blog for you. You could organise a competition with another brand and you could both ‘donate’ prizes and promote to both of your fan groups. You could work with an influencer or blogger on a product that you’d maybe share the profit from. See. The options are nearly endless. And in all cases pretty exciting.

So, are collaborations easy?

They can be, or they can take blood, sweat and tears to set up. Even when they’re ‘easy’ there’s often a lot of leg work involved… but does that mean they’re not work it? God no. If both parties are pulling in the same direction and both enthused about it, it can be HUGELY rewarding and deliver exceptional return on investment…

A few minutes with… Rosie Neave – Pheasant Plucker & Son

Rosie NeaveThis week’s ‘a few minutes with…’ is all about Rosie Neave from the fun and fabulous Pheasant Plucker & Son. You might have seen her gorgeous products with fun prints on Instagram, that’s how the business first caught my eye, but there’s a lot more to it as Rosie explains…

Tell us about you and your background

I’m Rosie and I recently moved back to Lincolnshire where I was born and brought up. I’ve spent the last 15 or so years living in big cities like Leeds and London so it’s good to be back. I originally trained in Multimedia and started my career as a graphic designer but somewhere along the way, I fell into working in marketing and PR for arts organisations such as English National Ballet and the Royal Opera House.

What made you want to start a business?

I’ve got two small children who are now four and three and I started thinking about starting a business when my youngest was a baby. My mum has always run her own businesses so it didn’t feel too intimidating and I really wanted to have the flexibility of working for myself. I liked the idea of making decisions for me rather than someone else.

Pheasant Plucker & Son MugHow is Pheasant Plucker & Son different?

As a small business, Pheasant Plucker & Son is really ‘hands on’ and I’m closely involved in everything that goes into it – designing the products, sourcing the packaging, doing the marketing, product photography, dealing with customers, overseeing the orders, you name it! It means that when people shop with us, they’re ordering from real people so we’re able to offer a much more personal service. For example, someone ordered some candles the other day for her Mum who is going through chemotherapy – she dropped us a note with the order and we made the parcel extra special for when her Mum opened it. I think it’s little things like that that sets us apart from other larger businesses.
What makes your products special?

Our products are special because although they have a very country feel, they’re quite contemporary and bold – I like to use a lot of bright colours and strong typography in the designs. Everything is made in the UK and nothing is mass produced; they’re usually made by other small businesses that I try to build on-going relationships with. When I’m designing our products, I try to imagine different people using them so I hope they have a broad appeal.
If you had to sum up your Pheasant Plucker & Son in five words, what would they be?

Fun, quirky, colourful, practical, stylish

Do you have a motto or ethos? Not as such but a friend has a framed print in her house that says ‘work hard and be nice to people’ and that always seems a good thing to aspire to.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what
Pheasant Plucker & Son Candlewould it be?
Work your ass off and stick at it… and try not to get too discouraged when things get tough.

One thing that helps you run your business more effectively The support of my family – I couldn’t do it without them.

Best thing about running a business? There are so many brilliant things about running a business! Some of my favourites are being creative every day, having new ideas in the middle of the night and my phone making a ‘ker-ching’ noise when an online order comes in!

Worst thing about running a business? The hard days when it’s difficult to prioritise what to do first and you have a gloomy feeling that you’ll never have another customer again.

Top business blog you follow – I get Seth Godin’s daily emails. There’s often a real nugget in there, which makes me think differently or inspires me.

Top business book you’ve read – I really enjoyed Anything You Want by Derek Sivers. I read the whole thing cover to cover in one evening.

One thing we might not know about you- I’m obsessed with my chickens.

Pheasant Plucker & Son Tea TowelTop business achievement – I haven’t achieved it yet. I’m always looking forward for the next step.

Where can people follow you or your business online (website, social media
handles, etc)

Shop: www.pheasantpluckerandson.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pheasantpluckerandson

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/pheasantpluckerandson

Blogstars – Andrea Owen – Mud on my Mulberry

Andrea Owen In this ‘Blogstars’ blog, I chat to Andrea Owen – aka Mud on my Mulberry. Andrea is a country blogger who has horses and dogs, but has really worked hard to create several points of difference between herself and other bloggers. And her look book and ‘Shop My Look’ features certainly do that. Here are a few words from the lady herself…

Why did you start blogging? My blogging kind of came by accident I guess, I began by sharing pictures of outfit ideas, beauty tips, my dogs and horses on Instagram and it evolved from there. I love writing and it felt like a natural progression from Instagram to give people more information and write more which is why I started the blog. It’s really important to me to write from the heart and stay genuine, and I think that comes across in my posts. I have some really exciting projects on the go and cannot wait to get them out there too!

How do you measure the success of Mud on my Mulberry? I measure success by the feedback I get from people, all of which so far has been really positive. I think it’s easy to get consumed with how many followers you have or haven’t got and how many visitors you have to your blog, but I don’t think it matters if you have 10 or 10,000 as long as they like what you are doing and the response is positive then that’s all that matters.

Tell us about the post you’ve most enjoyed writing/has been the best received I’ve just started the look book page on my blog and these features are definitely the most fun, and the feedback on them Mud on my Mulberryhas been fantastic. I began doing the look books as I felt that would make me individual and different to similar bloggers, plus I love photography, so it enables me to get creative with ideas and themes. I’m just at the beginning of the development of these and I have plans to make them even better!

How you promote Mud on my Mulberry? I promote my blog mainly through Instagram. Instagram is a really strong tool to grow your network and following. Using strong imagery and carefully chosen hashtags can have a real impact on your followers. I also find that following interesting brands or people and commenting on other people’s posts grows my following.

Any tips you’d like to pass on to first time bloggers/people who are interested in blogging? My advice to first time bloggers/people interested in blogging would be find what makes you different to everyone else- there are so people blogging now, you need to find what makes you different. Also, be yourself because this is what people want to get to know, stay genuine and true to yourself- it’s easy to be influenced by what others are doing, but don’t be afraid to stand out!

Andrea Owen Mud on my MulberryHas anything ‘good’ come out of blogging? Lots of good things have come out of blogging, I’m lucky enough to be a brand ambassador for some wonderful companies which obviously comes with perks of being sent some lovely things to include on my blog and in my look books, as well building relationships with the people who work for or run those companies. I’ve also made a strong network of like minded bloggers. We all bounce ideas off each other and it’s fab to have them for support and encouragement. It also gives me a platform to experience new things. This year I want to try polo for the first time and I’m also going shooting for the first time too!

Where can we find Mud on my Mulberry online?

Instagram: mud_on_my_mulberry

Blog: www.mudonmymulberry.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTLP4PEag5CmYpddqqKN4pw

How to deal with being copied…

How to deal with being copiedWe all know the saying from Charles Caleb Colton that states ‘imitation is the highest form of flattery’ – but it sure as hell doesn’t feel like that when it happens. Being copied can really get under your skin. And that’s why it’s important to work out how to deal with being copied.

At first you feel you’re being paranoid. But then people start to bring it to your attention – you already knew but you decided to take a deep breath and move on. But people keep messaging you and emailing you. And then you remove your head from the sand you realise what’s happened. How do you deal with being copied? Here’s my take on it…

How to deal with being copied

Being copied sucks. I said it. I’ve seen it time and again. It’s happened to me a few times. And I really don’t like it. It annoys me when I put so much time and effort into creating really good copy and content to have someone else apply about 2% of the thought I’ve put in and ‘pay homage’ to it. And then people start to email me about how such-and-such is copying me. Yep. I know. But if it’s not word for word copying, as in, plagiarism, or something that uses your intellectual property/copyright, it’s tricky (although I would advise that if you feel you have a case or you’re unsure, seek legal advice as I’m not a solicitor). You might just need to suck it up! That said, I had two clients a few years ago call me to ask me if I was working for a competitor because the wording they were using to describe their products was the same as ours. I wasn’t. It annoyed me. It annoyed them. And I remember things. I also have clients who deal with various levels of being copied. They deal with it admirably, but it’s still very annoying.

So, why did I tell you that? It wasn’t a rant, but it’s to show that the advice I am planning to give comes from a place, not of blissful happiness about a situation that continues to get under my skin, but one of annoyance as I know that everyone else who is being copied feels. So here goes…

Six ways to deal with being copied

  • Rise above it. Try and see it as flattery and perhaps the other person having a lack of imagination or ideas. Try not to take it personally.
  • Take the compliment… if you can. If you copy a sequence of events, like how to make a cake, the chances are you’ll get a similar outcome. Maybe that person wants to be just like you?
  • Don’t let it hinder you. I know of people who have become so cross about being copied that it’s actually reduced their own growth. They haven’t released blogs, articles or even products for fear of being ripped off. I understand the reasoning, but don’t let them stop you. You’ll always be the first.
  • Use it to spur you on to be bigger and better. It’s hard, really hard, but try.
  • Unfollow and unlike. On social media. Unlike and unfollow their pages. It is just going to bug you. Stay in your lane, lovely, and don’t worry about the rest of them!
  • And, as mentioned above, if your ‘superfan’ has done something that you believe you can do something about, seek legal advice.

How do you deal with being copied? Has it happened do you?