hihoandco group shot
Image by Matt Sweeting Photography

Unless you’ve been in a hole for the last few weeks (and that’s fine, we all need to go to ground occasionally!), you’ll know all about #hihoandco. This event was put on at Blackdown Shepherd Huts in Somerset, by Hiho, on Monday 11th Feb. As you’ll know if you know me at all, I work with Hiho (and have done for a while!), and I was also part of the organising team for the event. Hiho & Co was, quite simple, amazing, and I loved every moment. I lost my voice for three days afterwards but gained huge amounts of amazing memories and good vibes… so I’m fine with that!

I could write a very long blog about the Hiho & Co day, but I thought it would try and find the top five things about the day… it’s taken some thinking about, but here goes…

Five things I loved about #hihoandco

  1. The venue. Oh my. This was something else. I work with Blackdown Shepherd Huts and was absolutely blown away the first time I visited. The huts are like nothing I have ever seen before and are so beautifully designed. Not only was I amazed by the huts, but the workshop. I have this thing about workshops and warehouses – I kind of love them. I see them as the heart of the business and am always amazed by the degree of organisation in them. The Blackdown workshop was next level with specially designed bit for each thing – like the special sinking floor, for example. More than the beauty of the venue alone – the Blackdown team. Will, who owns Blackdown, along with the rest of the team, allowed us to completely take over their premises for two days… seriously- how many people would let you do that?! They also let us use another hut (the selfie hut) and take over their tearoom. I loved them all before but I love them even more now.
  2. Capture By Lucy. I’ve been a fan of Lucy and her amazing backdrops for quite some time. I think she’s incredibly talented and I love what she creates and the story behind her brand. But in person? She’s absolutely lovely! Not only did she handle the level of madness that follows me around, but she delivered the most amazing talk to the Hiho & Co guests. I’m going to treat myself to a backdrop too – I just need to decide which one!
  3. The brands. We were very, very lucky to have the most amazing support from some incredible brands in the equestrian and country industry, as well as those beyond. Mackenzie & George are heavily involved with Hiho & Co as Melanie (co-founder) is also part of the organising group. We had Fairfax & Favor, Albion Saddlemakers, Joules, Cupsmith, Hullabaloo Drinks involved with the goody bags. In addition we had additional props loaned from The Tartan Blanket Co and Albion Lifestyle. It was great having such an incredible range of products to use in our workshops and for dressing areas.
  4. The team. I have to talk about the team, don’t I? Whenever we embark on one of these events, I’m reminded how incredible the people I work with are. At the head of the Hiho & Co idea is Emma Warren – who’s also MD of Hiho Silver. This lady is so hardworking, kind and welcoming – words can’t express it. She’s also a sandwich short of a picnic. But no one who wasn’t would suggest these big things… and pull them off to such a degree, would they? Next up, Melanie Clarihew. Melanie, and her husband Chris, founded Mackenzie & George, and are some of the kindest, hardest working and most talented people I know. I’m regularly found laughing about something random with Melanie, but I am always in awe of what they create. The new luggage tags that they made and personalised for each goody bag were a great example of this. They’re amazing. Ruth Chappell- my little roomie and organisation whizz kid. Ruth is the lady behind Dressage Anywhere and I’m so impressed with how she runs, manages and promotes that. But at Hiho and Co, she keeps us organised. She sorts out so many behind the scenes things, and is a fixer. She makes me laugh a lot and has the kindest soul. I love Ruth a little bit. Then we have Rachel Bragg aka Sweet Images aka the flatlay queen. Rachel is also a very good friend and her gentle encouragement to everyone is incredible. She has no idea how good she when it comes to her teaching or photography, but she is next level. And shares this all so so willingly too. And last but not least is Sophie Callahan. The photography whizz kid. I have so much respect for Sophie – not just her skills but her whole demeanour. I adore Sophie and constantly learn from her attitude to life. She’s very laid back and takes the knocks in a way that she uses them to fuel her rather than lets them get her down. If you’ve read her baby blog you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. She’s stubborn as a mule too – and if I told her off once for trying to lift something heavy, I told her off 10 times… but I was the same when I was pregnant!
  5. The people. And this is a big one. The people who came to Hiho & Co were incredible. We had a lot of people come and see us for the second time (after coming to the first event held at The Fish in September) and it truly was like meeting up with a load of friends. How good is that? I feel that everyone who comes to one of these days is there for the right reasons. They get a huge amount of value from the workshops we run, but there’s also a lovely vibe, the chance to find new friends and so much more. Some of the people attending shared lifts – some even went out to dinner the night before – and this really did warm my heart…
hiho and co cupcakes

So there you have it – five things I loved about #hihoandco – but be in no doubt I could have written a book on the subject! If you want to see a little more of the magic, pop on over to Instagram and have a look at the #hihoandco hashtag. Equally, have a look at Hiho’s own blog and follow the links listed to the blogs created by some of our amazing guests.

Rhea Freeman Newsletter Link
batch working and batch content with rachel bragg of sweet images photography

What do you think about batch working? Do you know what batch content is, or do you think I’m talking a different language? Don’t worry – batch working will change your world, whatever you do. In this podcast, Rachel Bragg from Sweet Images Photography tells us how she makes it work for her.

Batch working and batch content with Rachel Bragg

In this episode we talk about the value of producing batch content, batch working, tips for both and a whole lot more. In this episode of the Small & Supercharged Podcast with Rachel Bragg from Sweet Images Photography, you will hear…

  • How time consuming it can be to NOT batch your work together (and why looking at it differently can save you a lot of time).
  • The many different ways that small business owners are pulled, meaning that the time we have is quite short, and how that means we have to make it count.
  • How the idea of batching (and the practical application) became apparent to Rachel when working for a commercial client.
  • The way that batch content can actually help you to create your best work as you can create all the content when the conditions are optimal.
  • How the act of just planning the time to create the content can make you more productive as you can start to create a props list on the lead up to the event too. Preparation is so important.
  • When you’re batch working, you also need to make sure you have everything where you need it to be. This helps you use your time as well as possible.
  • How to create more than one image out of each shot you’ve set up. We talk about batch working with flatlays, and how the angles and the position you take the images from can make even more content from each flatlay you’ve set up.
  • Why it’s important to make sure you plan what you want to shoot, what you want to achieve, and know why you’re doing it. When you’ve done this, work out what you could also shoot at the same time. This should give you additional content for the future.
  • How important it is to be ruthless with your time and literally book out the time to create your content.
  • How DSLRs are good BUT, for the vast majority of us, a phone camera is more than adequate. In fact, sometimes the really modern phone cameras are better in some situations that DSLRs, especially if there’s a light issue.
  • The importance of props and how these can help with the story.
  • We talk through a few scenarios and the props that you can find that are easily to hand and can be used (that won’t cost you a penny and can really add to your images).
  • How you don’t need to have lots of posh, expensive props to make a flatlay work. You just need to make sure it’s relevant.
  • The idea of taking lots of shots when you have a session set up. It’s something I do (as a non-photographer… and I always like to try and stack the odds of getting a good shot in my favour!), and Rachel also talks about whether or not it’s the right thing to do!
  • How to edit the images on your phone, and how you can actually batch work really effectively on your phone.
  • The value of images. Why images are such a key part of your content, and the every day consumption of images. Why batch working is so, so important, to ensure you get the number of images you need.

Where you can find Rachel…

A massive thank you to Rachel for chatting about batch content and batch working on this week’s episode. To find Rachel online, you can find her…

Sweet Images Facebook Page

Sweet Images Instagram

Sweet Images Website

…and if you want to see Rachel’s work in action, have a look at Hiho Silver, Mackenzie & George and Smart Grooming’s Instagram feeds.

Image by Sweet Images UK

Today’s blog focuses on one of my lovely clients, Hiho Silver. Well, after #hihoandco on Monday, it seemed as good a time as any to share this!

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Hiho Silver for quite a few years now and I’m so, so proud to work with them. Not only is the jewellery stunning (and can put up with the level of abuse that happens to it in my daily life!), but the people are lovely too.

As I get to hang out with Hiho Silver a lot, I thought it might be fun to share five things you might not know about Hiho Silver. I mean, you might do, but I thought it would be quite a fun way to lift the lid on this popular equestrian jewellery company. Are you ready? Let’s look at five things you might not know about Hiho Silver…

Hiho Silver is 25 years old this year!

Yep, Hiho is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. On the wedding anniversary chart this is… silver! To celebrate its 25th year, Hiho will be releasing a number of super special, limited edition pieces. I can’t tell you what they are or who Hiho is working with – because Emma and the team would actually shoot me – but trust me when I say you have some real treats in store!

Not all silver is the same

Ok, this is a fact about silver rather than Hiho Silver, but it’s an interesting one all the same. Not all silver is the same. Hiho use sterling silver, meaning it contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another metal. Pure silver is a really soft metal, meaning that if you were to make jewellery out of it, it wouldn’t stay in the shape it was meant to for long. By adding another metal and making sterling silver, Hiho’s pieces are a lot more durable, but the additional metal is chosen so it doesn’t detract from the silver’s beauty.

But before you think ‘this sounds odd’ – it isn’t. The hallmark 925 is used on a lot of silver, including Hiho’s, and the 925 refers to the percentage of pure silver in the jewellery. All Hiho is made with the highest quality 925 sterling silver, and pieces over the minimum legal weight threshold have a hallmark as a further guarantee of quality.

The Cherry Roller

Ah- the Cherry Roller. I LOVE this piece, but there’s a lot more to it than just a beautiful piece of jewellery. The Cherry Roller was designed by the Hiho team and is exclusive, trademarked and copyrighted. This piece took a long time to refine – and I know a lot of testing went on behind the scenes before it was sold. There are lots of clever elements in the design, not least the fact it can be customised with the beads a customer chooses. This, to me, makes it even more special.

Hiho Silver was in an old piggery for a number of years

Hiho may have started life at Forde Abbey, but a good fews years ago the team relocated to a piggery. Ok, that’s not quite true. Although the building used to be a piggery it had, obviously, been converted into a pretty impressive office space with everything you’d expect. They’ve now moved to the old granary.

It really is a team effort…

And this is one of the really lovely things about Hiho. The team. When a piece is designed, so many people chip in with their thoughts, ideas and so on, to help perfect each piece and make it as good as it can possibly be. Of course there’s usually a lead and someone brings the seed of the idea which is then developed, but everyone brings something to the party and I really think that is why Hiho’s jewellery is so special. This collaborative way of working doesn’t stop at design – on no. When we are planning a campaign or a sponsorship or anything else, everyone involved has a say on how we can make it better so we get the desired outcome. It’s a rather lovely way of working…

To find out more about Hiho, have a look at the Hiho Silver website, or go on over and follow them on Instagram or Facebook.

If you liked this, you might also like…

Why I love the CZ Roller Bead

Hiho & Co Instameet

Instagram stickers you might not use (and why you should)

Have you used Instagram stickers? These can be such a great way to add something extra to your Instagram Story and, actually, encourage engagement too. And that’s what today’s Small & Supercharged Podcast is all about.

In addition to Instagram stickers, I’m also going to talk about GIFs, which can be great things to add to your Instagram Stories, to make them more fun or relatable, or just to add an extra dimension.

Instagram stickers, GIFs and more that you might not use…

In today’s Small & Supercharged Podcast, I talk about Instagram stickers that you might not use, the great things about GIFs, and what you can link to from Stories. Here are the show notes from episode 22, Instagram Stickers you might not know about or use…

  • I talk about GIFS. I love a GIF. I talk about the kind of GIFs you can use, when and why you could use them, and why you need to keep on brand when adding them.
  • The Product Tag. I talk about how the Product Tag works, when it’s useful for brands (especially those with under 10k followers). The Product Tag allows people to move from Instagram to your website without having to go to the link in your bio and embark on a rather clunky process. If you have over 10k followers (and a business account) you can have swipe up (which is also good!), but the product tag can provide more information in a shorter amount of time.
  • The Countdown Sticker. This is a great way to show how much time you have until a launch, event or something else. The Countdown Sticker automatically updates too, so you don’t need to worry that someone looking in 12 hours will be receiving out of date information.
  • The Poll Sticker. This is not a new thing, but it’s still great. It’s a really good way to get feedback on any question you like (that has two possible answers!). You could ask people what colour they prefer in a piece of clothing, for example, which can be useful and great for engagement. You can also change the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to words of your choice. Don’t forget, you can share the results of the poll, which can help you with your content creation and, also, shows that you value the opinion of your fans.
  • The Questions Sticker. This is good for lots of different things. Make sure you guide them with the sticker – sometimes being really broad, like ‘Ask Me A Question’ can be a bit wide, depending on your audience. Try and make it easy for them to ask a question. You can use the Questions Sticker for so many reasons – what’s your favourite event, share a winter must have, etc. Use these instead of Polls when you have more than one possible answer.
  • Links. Not quite a sticker but (maybe) even better. We talk about what you can use this for. If you have over 10k followers, you can link to a URL, and then swipe up to a page on your or any other website. If you don’t have over 10k followers, you can add a link to an IGTV video, which can be a good way to get it under the noses of your following.

Don’t use the same stickers each time as people will just switch off… and you don’t want that. It can turn something that should be engaging and fun into an annoyance.

So here are six ‘functions’ you can add over your Instagram Stories. Go off, have a play, and I would LOVE you to tag me if you give them a spin. I’m @rheafreemanpr on Instagram, as always!

Rhea Freeman Newsletter
5 apps that help me run my business

How many apps do you have on your phone? I have quite a lot on mine. Some apps I use once in a blue moon (like Shazam… I use that as my musical memory!!), but some apps I use each day, and some apps help me run my business. These five apps are ones that you might not know about – or at least, don’t know loads about. So you won’t find Instagram, the Facebook apps, or Twitter in this list. I mean, they really do help me a lot, but I think everyone has those on their phone, don’t they? These are five apps that help me run my business that you might not know about… are you ready?

5 apps that help me run my business…

  1. Later – now, I don’t really use Later from the app but it’s very useful to have! If you don’t know about Later, it’s a social media scheduling tool that I first learnt about because of Instagram. It’s an Instagram approved app and allows autoposting. Until fairly recently, you couldn’t autopost on Instagram. This meant that scheduling apps would send you a tactful nudge to crack on and do it. They allowed you to copy and paste but, for me, it didn’t really help me. Autoposting does. I do all my scheduling from the laptop but I find the app really useful in case I’m out and about and something hasn’t autoposted or I need to tweak the schedule due to any number of factors. It’s really handy to have.
  2. Repost – I know there are a lot of apps that let you repost – and I’m not saying that this is the best out there because I honestly don’t know, but this is what I use. I like the simplicity of it. Quick sidenote, you should always ask permission to repost or share someone’s pic on Instagram too, but this means that if you want the image credited in this way, it does it for you. It’s free too!
  3. Dropbox – as with Later, I use the desktop version a lot more, but I do use the app version too. When I give seminars or anything that requires slides, I usually take them on a USB stick (usually as per the venue’s instructions), but I put them in Dropbox too, you know, just in case. Equally, I have a LOT of images in my Dropbox from different clients, so if I’m out I can quickly find something if needed.
  4. Quickbooks – this is the app that I invoice through. I kind of hate invoicing anyway, but this app makes it very easy and very quick to do. As with Repost, I know there are quite a few invoicing/accounting apps out there… I just use this one!
  5. iMovie – this is a little miracle worker. For all my ‘big’ videos, I get my husband to edit them. He has a Mac, uses Final Cut Pro, and can do a lot more than I can. But over Christmas when I was making a lot of short videos that didn’t need a lot of editing, I used this. I think for basic edits, the app is superb. It allowed me to add titles, music, trim clips and add different transitions really easily. It was a bit fiddly when I did a more complicated edit on one of the Dimpsey videos so it’s not something I would want to use routinely for more complex projects. That isn’t because of the capability of the app though, that was more screensize. I think when you have a few things at work, you need all the space!

So there are my top five apps that help me run my business. If you liked this, make sure you check out the Small & Supercharged Podcast all about apps I use to help run my business, there’s even more on there!

Why start a blog - Charlotte Miller- The Forelock Journal

Do you have a blog? Have you ever been tempted to start one, but just talked yourself out of it over and over again? We’ve all been there.

Whenever I publish a blog I still ask myself if it’s the right thing to do and the best use of my time. But it really is SUCH a fundamental part of the way I market my business. But what if the blog isn’t for business? If it’s just for fun? Why start a blog at all? In this week’s episode of the Small & Supercharged Podcast I talk to Charlotte Miller, aka The Forelock Journal, all about her award winning blog. The whys, the hows, and everything else too.

Why start a blog… and what does it mean to win awards for your blog

Here are the show notes for episode 21 – why start a blog and what does it mean to win awards for your blog – with Charlotte Miller from The Forelock Journal. In this episode you will hear…

  • The inspiration behind The Forelock Journal- and where Charlotte’s passion for writing came from.
  • How Charlotte started The Forelock Journal.
  • The original idea behind The Forelock Journal, the kind of content Charlotte decided to include on the blog and why.
  • How Charlotte integrates her social media with her blog, how she shares the content on her platforms, and how it differs.
  • Charlotte’s aims for The Forelock Journal over the next 12 months.
  • How scary the equestrian world can be, and how Charlotte wants to help people who are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Great things that have happened since starting The Forelock Journal.
  • How having the blog has changed Charlotte’s perspective on social media
  • Managing the voice of self doubt and what to do when the niggling voice gets loud.
  • How to write content for a blog – how batching works for Charlotte.
  • The schedule that Charlotte works to for The Forelock Journal.
  • How Charlotte won Haynet’s Equestrian Blogger of The Year and what that meant to her.
  • The difference between mainstream blogging and more niche industries (such as equestrian and country) and the opportunities provided by Haynet for the blogging awards.
  • The #horsebloggers and #ruralbloggers groups on Facebook available for people in our industry who want to blog.
  • Charlotte’s top tips on how to get started as a blogger if you want to start your own blog.
  • The importance of focusing on your goals, your vision and what you want to do, as well as establishing your own style of writing is really important.

A HUGE thank you to Charlotte for chatting to me – you can find out more about Charlotte and The Forelock Journal by following the links below…

The Forelock Journal Website

The Forelock Journal Instagram

The Forelock Journal Facebook