Equestrian marketing

Marketing is a key part of any business… including equestrian, country and rural businesses.

It’s one of the ways that a business promotes itself to its target market, to the end user or business (if they’re a business-to-business product or service). Of course, PR tends to work hand in hand with it, but it’s a key part of getting your message out there.

As part of my website, I like to shine the spotlight on the marketing that goes behind small businesses, particularly in the equestrian sector. I guess part of the reason for this is because I find it fascinating, another part is that I’ve working equestrian, canine and country PR and marketing for years, and thirdly because it is essential in terms of a business’s success.

Here you’ll find a mix of tips and tricks as well as real life experiences from some of the small business owners that I have had the pleasure of speaking to.

As ever, you’ll find a lot of this content is related to equestrian marketing, or rural marketing – that’s just because that’s where my experience is. You’ll also find that the tips and ideas discussed are very transferrable!

Equestrian business – 5 reasons to be your own equestrian PR

be your own equestrian PRI get asked a lot if people can do their own PR for their equestrian business. You want to know my answer? Without fail? It’s YES. Not only CAN you do your own PR but, initially at least, I think you should. You might think I’m poacher turned gamekeeper here. But trust me, I’m not. The way that marketing has moved over the last few years means that your PR and marketing budget needs to be spent in more areas than every before. It used to be that PR and marketing were the only ways to get your equestrian business out there. That’s no longer the case. In fact, some people don’t invest a penny in ‘old school’ equestrian PR and still do really well because they’re leveraging everything else available to them. So here I’m going to give you five reasons to be your own equestrian PR… it’s not as hard as you think…

5 reasons to be your own equestrian PR

 

Reason 1 – It’s not that difficult

Some people would have you believe that writing a press release is the same as brain surgery. It isn’t. Press releases should be short and to the point, contain newsworthy information, cover a handful of key points and be well written. This applies to all businesses, not just equestrian businesses. Obviously an equestrian PR should do more than just write press releases but this is one key thing that they should do. The truth is if you have a bit of time and a good command of the English language, you can do it.

Reason 2 – YOU build the contacts

If you undertake your own equestrian PR, it means that when you start you’ll have no contacts to send your press release to. Oh no. Game over. Well no. When I started my equestrian PR business I had a list like yours… and you know what I did? I just started contacting editors of magazines and websites, forming contacts and building a press list. My press list. A press list that I can contact with news and exciting things whenever I like. Without a gate keeper. More than this, a number of the contacts I made as an equestrian PR have become great friends, so that’s a win too. If you do this yourself for your equestrian business, the same will happen for you.

Reason 3 – You can nurture relationships

Press releases aren’t the only thing to be aware of when it comes to equestrian PR, there’s a few other facets to this… but all are infinitely easier if you have good relationships. I’ve managed to secure a number of regular monthly columns for a number of my clients – why? Well, they’re exceptional at what they do, first up, but secondly I have built the relationships with the press to say ‘Hello – I have this idea – what do you think?’. You can do this for yourself. You can nurture the relationships for your business yourself. You can start to work with and help magazines under your own steam.

Reason 4 – You’ll understand the process a lot more

Equestrian PR is a long game. You do get some results overnight thanks to the digital age we live it, but many magazine lead times are long so it can be months before you make it in. It’s important to understand this process. It’s important to understand that quality images matter, that when someone says they want 50 words – they mean it, and lots more too. This means that if you do decide to work with an equestrian PR, you will understand what they have to work with.

Reason 5 – money, money, money

If you undertake your own equestrian PR you will save money. You might decide you’d rather pay for someone to manage this side of your business for you, and that’s fine. Conversely, you might be able to use that money on a professional shoot, or a Facebook ad campaign, or a trade show. I’m not saying that PR isn’t worth spending money on – good PR certainly is an great investment – but you might find that YOU can perform many of these tasks yourself, allowing you to pay for help in other areas, or spend your money on other things.

Other blogs you might like…

Five things to look for in an equestrian PR agency

What is equestrian PR?

Follow me on Facebook for more hints and tips on how to promote your equestrian business

Hiho Silver #styleskillsandsilver Instameet at The Fish Hotel, Broadway

The Fish Hotel BroadwayThere are going to be a few blogs about Hiho Silver’s amazing Style, Skills & Silver event, because I’m still buzzing from it. Last Thursday (6th September) was the day of the event we’d been working towards for a while. And I say we because it really was a we. The event was the brainchild of Hiho’s Queen Bee, Emma Warren, but the two workshops that were held were a huge team effort, that I will tell you about in more detail soon. Today, we’re focusing on the beautiful venue – The Fish Hotel, Broadway.

The Fish Hotel, Broadway

Based on the Farncombe Estate, The Fish Hotel is a real hidden gem. And it is properly hidden too! You clamber up a hill called Fish Hill (and it’s a serious hill with some quite surprising bends!), before taking a left down a long drive. The Estate is massive and contains three amazing venues/hotels – there’s The Fish Hotel, Dormy House and Foxhill Manor. As you turn off the main road, you are taken down an incredibly long drive. It would have been useful if I’d measured the length of the drive but this thought only dawned on me as I started to write the paragraph. The thing is, the length of the drive isn’t the thing you remember. It’s the view. I headed to the venue with Ruth (Dressage Anywhere) and as I’d been there before, I wittered on about the view for most of the drive down the drive. I’ve seen the view before but it was no less impressive second time around. Worcestershire stretches out beneath you and it’s just a sight to behold. I took a picture when I went for a recce, but it doesn’t do it justice. The scale can’t be appreciated in a picture. The entrance is impressive and sets the tone for everything else.

Springfield House

The Fish is made up of a few different areas. The Hook is the restaurant were we had a very nice pizza for dinner the night before, Springfield House is where we held Style, Skills & Silver, we stayed in the Coach House (I think). They also have a number of other buildings in the grounds, including some stunning shepherd huts by Blackdown Shepherd Huts that people can stay in too. It’s clearly a big place, but the careful design of it all means it all feels rather private and lovely. There’s also a lot of greenery – when we walked up from the restaurant the night before (we didn’t stop setting up until gone 9pm so dinner was quite late), it was lovely – tree lined, beautifully lit… heavenly.

Springfield House has quite a different vibe to the restaurant but it’s absolutely lovely too. It manages to strike the mix of modern, cosy, funky, quirky and practical. And that’s quite a combination! We had four rooms in total on two different floors. The first floor was where we held the workshops – the space and the light were lovely and worked so well with the practical workshops. Up a level we had a lovely lounge where we met at the beginning and end of the day, and the room next door where we had lunch and chatted too. The rooms were lovely and having the space over the two floors worked so well with the way the day ran.

Where we stayed

The night before I stayed in the Coach House. I shared a twin room with Ruth and it was the most beautiful room. Lovely fresh white bed linen, Galaxy hot chocolate (yes, I’m very easily bought!), a huge bathroom with lovely toiletries. Everything was beautiful. But like with Springfield House, it was beautiful but very cosy and comfy too. There was a handwritten welcome note, really lovely blankets on the bed, a wooden book with ‘All you need to know’ written on it including all the important things you needed to know, like how the wifi worked. The decor was so pretty, but so comfy. I couldn’t fault it.

Breakfast was included but as I made my way down I got summoned by Sophie and Harriet, who were also staying in the same building, to have a look at their room and give opinions on what to wear. I say summoned. Sophie shouted out the window and I decided I’d rather spend time with them than eating. I felt a little nervous anyway and the last thing I need when feeling a bit nervous is food! Their room was as lovely as ours. It was a slightly different design. It had a little hall and a gorgeous outside terrace space with a glimpse of the stunning view I have spent a lot of this blog wittering on about.

This isn’t a TripAdvisor review – I mean, why be conventional?! But I wanted to explain a bit about the venue as it was really special. It’s not your average hotel, or conference room, or meeting place. It’s way more special than that. I’m looking for an excuse to return as soon as I can!

Find out more about The Fish Hotel here…

To see more about the event, see Karen & Clan and Sophie Callahan’s vlogs.

Do press releases ONLY work if you advertise?

Do press releases only work if you advertiseA little while ago I had someone explain to me that press releases were pointless if you don’t advertise with the publication. I couldn’t disagree more. In my experience (and, let’s be clear, I send a lot of press releases and have been for a number of years!), this is certainly not the case. More than this, it’s really underestimating the full scope of a press release. Let’s have a look at this in phases…

What’s a press release?

In really simple terms it’s a document that informs the press about a new product, services or newsworthy ‘thing’. This has changed a bit in recent times because ‘the press’ now includes websites, bloggers and various other channels too.

A press release is usually a concise text document that gets over the key points in a concise way. It’s not a book. It’s not a brand manual. It’s not your company’s history. It’s newsworthy content delivered in a succinct way.

Then what do you do with your press release?

You send it out to your contacts. These should be people you have reached out to in the media connected to your business (could be niche, national, regional, B2B, B2C… loads of options). The idea (and hope!) being that the person who receives it (traditionally a journalist but could be blogger, website editor, etc etc), sees some merit in what you’re saying, feels it’s valuable to their audience and uses this content. It could be online or in print. That’s the basic idea.

Ah- so press releases only work if you advertise?

No, no they don’t. Some magazines/websites work on a policy that DOES favour the content from advertiser- I’ll give to that. Why? Because advertisers support their business and allows it to run and keep functioning. There. That’s the basics. BUT many do not operate this as an editorial policy. I mean, one could argue that the above is actually advertising in itself, but that’s another debate. Many review and consider content in a press release (if it is worthy and actually new/interesting) for the what’s new sections, or product sections, or editors/bloggers reach out about tried and testeds and further opportunities. I’m not saying ‘this is what should happen, but it doesn’t’, I’m saying this is what DOES happen, because I know it does and have a lot of press cuttings to back this up.

But let’s clear one thing up right now. Not every press release you send will get the exposure you think it should. Some might not get picked up at all. This is annoying. If you were to speak to a magazine and pay, you could well bag yourself some advertorial space in the publication to run your release. Or you might be able to negotiate additional promotional opportunities moving forward. That is true. But people also pay to advertise and their product doesn’t get chosen. It might have a bearing on it (in a keeping advertisers sweet way) but I can categorically tell you that there IS a point to press releases. Even if you don’t advertise.

But if the press release doesn’t get used, it’s wasted

No. Whether it gets used or not, you should not send out one press release about a new product, service or newsworthy thing, mop your brow, and exclaim that the job has been done. It hasn’t. Repurpose the content. Tweak it and write a blog – or even a series of blogs depending on the story. Create a video. Take images and short clips for social media. Create graphics using snippets from the press release. BE CREATIVE. Having a press release written can be the core around the promotion of a new product or service. Repurposing and making sure you extract every bit of juice out of the story makes a press release incredibly valuable – it’s the cornerstone to the rest of it.

So, when you get told that press releases only work if you advertise, if you get asked ‘do press releases only work if you advertise’ then I would urge you to say no… because it’s simply not the case.

What’s lip balm got to do with a Royal Wedding?

Royal Wedding What’s lip balm got to do with a Royal Wedding? This was the exact question I asked myself when an ad for a very well known brand of lip balm popped up in my Instagram feed. Oh- did I forget to mention- it was a special edition Harry and Meghan wedding edition one? Yep- I thought it was a bit strange too… and even though the angle is clear, it still feels odd to me. As a long game strategy, what does it bring to the table?

Has lip balm got anything to do with a Royal Wedding?

In my opinion? Nope. But then I don’t think that half the wedding themed stuff I’ve see has either. I completely 100% understand why people have brought out Royal Wedding themed things, I really do, but for me it’s got to fit the brand. It always has to feel on brand and not like the company is clutching at straws. An attempt to grab a bit of the spotlight when it’s shining a long way away from them and their brand. Do you know what I mean? Capitalising on the things that your brand is doing, that match the values of your brand – absolutely – but when it’s random? It just feels odd. Like a vegan friend eating a steak because it’s now on trend and popular.

But it gets even weirder than lip balm…

Yep… after that Royal Wedding edition of lip balm popped up, I kept seeing everything connected to the Royal Wedding. And don’t think I’m anti that either – I really hope they make each other very happy and live happily ever after. I have no issue with weddings, or marriage, or the Royals, or businesses trying to capitalise on a current event – newsjack if you will – it can have huge value. Note the use of the word can. I think when done well, and in a way that is reflective of the brand’s values, target market, etc. etc, it can be a very valuable tool. Shall we explore some of the other fun wedding themed products I’ve found? Just for kicks… I’m not going to name brands because I am sure there’s more than one doing the same thing… but here we go…

Wedding sausages. The one I found did amuse me as it combined sweet ginger and American mustard, but a wedding sausage still seems a bit of a stretch,

Crisps. I’ve seen ones combining ginger with edible glitter

Swimming costumes. These are very, very special and Harry’s chin groove falls in a really awkward place…

Dog neckerchiefs… because all dogs are pro the Royal family, aren’t they?

Specially designed deep fried chicken buckets. No other words needed 

Wooden spoons. So you can see Meghan or Harry’s face when you’re cooking.

There are more – plenty more… just have a Google.

 

So, why do I object to these? On one hand, I don’t. All of these have attained many column inches online which has, no doubt, raised the profile of the brands involved. It’s probably generated significant sales too. So that’s gone well…

But long term… will it make a difference to the brand, to loyalty, to product development and reputation? Will it make people become raving fans of the brand… or fans at all? For some, it might do. If someone tries one of the wedding themed sausages or crisps and really likes it, they might be tempted to buy more from that brand. Maybe. Or maybe they make a ‘serious’ company that prides itself on a range of values appear more flippant and frivolous?

What do you think? What Royal Wedding themed products have you seen?

Do you think they’re a stroke of marketing genius or a bit tacky?

What’s ‘thought leadership’ and why should you care?

What's thought leadership and why should you care?Have you heard the term ‘thought leadership’? Have you wondered what it means and why you should take thought leadership seriously? It sounds a bit weird, but in essence it’s very very simple, and it’s something that you can use your blog to help you with.

What does thought leadership mean?

When I talk about thought leadership with my clients, I usually then mention blogging… maybe even vlogging, but blogging is the first point I talk about. In whatever profession you’re in, if you’re looking to attract clients, becoming seen as an expert in your field is a very very good strategy. This does, however, rely on you being good at what you do and actually being an expert, but that’s a whole different blog. Even if you’re an expert in your niche only, that’s fine. You don’t need to know everything about everything. You need to be able to inspire, be honest and genuine, and share your thoughts and your style online. Thought leadership allows you to share your thoughts, ideas and expert advice in a way that people will see you as a leader – as an authority. This authority will make people think about you when they have an issue or a question about something that’s well within your field of expertise. And that’s why it matters…

And what if you don’t want to be seen as an expert?

Well, exploring the idea of thought leadership might not be for you. But then you might also need to think about what this is projecting to your potential customer. If you are looking for help and advice in an area, who do you look for? The chances are that you’ll look for someone who is an expert, well known, etc. in that area. It would be a bit weird to work with someone who wasn’t, wouldn’t it?

There are many ways that you can find people to work with. Word of mouth, social media, asking for recommendations, etc. But having a point online, such as your blog, where people can come and read your genuine and honest thoughts and ideas is a great idea. It’s another reason why blogging should form a key part of your marketing strategy.

Does it work?

Yes. I can honestly tell you that I have had people reach out to me because of something that they have read that I have written. However, there’s one way that it really won’t work. I write about stuff that I know about, that I’m confident about, that I have read about and learnt about and that I’ve tried and tested and experienced. I will never stop learning. In many ways the term expert does feel a bit like an itchy jumper for me, but I do know my stuff and I know that the theories I apply and the knowledge I share works, and works well, when applied. But this has been achieved through failures, trying and testing things.

I really enjoy sharing my knowledge. I love helping and supporting people. And I feel humbled and honoured when people email or message me to tell me that something they read on here changed the way they viewed things, allowed them to try new things or helped them learn something… or even explain something they haven’t really understood previously. I like that. I like it a lot.

A few minutes with… Hannah Moule- The Business Barn

The Business Barn

Hannah Moule (left), Rosie Hopkins – Business Manager (right)

This week’s ‘a few minutes with…’ is special for a few reasons. Not only are we speaking to Hannah Moule, founder of The Business Barn, but I am also delighted to announce that I am working with the company as their digital marketing partner. This means that I will be providing them with content in this area to help support the users of the service. And I am very excited to be involved. It was a huge honour to be asked and I’m very excited to see The Business Barn grow and develop. So, without further ado, over to Hannah…

Who are you?

Hannah Moule

What’s your business called?

The Business Barn

When did it start?

We launched the concept of The Business Barn at the 2017 Farm Business Innovation Show. However, we have officially launched the business this January (2018)

If you could sum your business up in one sentence, what would it be?

An online resource providing inspiration and business advice for diversifying farmers and rural business owners.

Tell us a bit more about your business – what makes you different and what was the idea behind it?

The Business Barn is a website dedicated to providing inspiration and business advice for those looking to diversify their farming enterprise or start a rural business. My background is in rural surveying and I was frequently being asked  where to find specific resources and advice. There is lots of information out there, but there was not one central place to find rural specific information; hence the reason for The Business Barn.

What is your favourite part of the website?

The opportunities section, which is designed to be a platform for the industry to share business opportunities to the benefit of the agricultural and rural sectors.

Who designed your logo? 

In the initial stages, a freelance graphic designer

One thing we might not know about you?

I used to be an auctioneer and have a pet farm tortoise

Favourite podcast?

Rock ‘n’ Roll Farming Podcast

Best business book?

The John Nix Pocketbook

Best advice you’ve ever been given? 

‘Do the job well and the rewards will come.’

Favourite quote

“It’s nice to be important but important to be nice.”

Business Brands you love 

Innocent branding

Who do you admire? 

Beatrix Potter for her determination to buy land and farms with the wealth she built herself

Richard Branson for genuine entrepreneurship

Quick fire questions…..

Dogs or cats? Dogs

Blogs or vlogs? Blogs

Favourite blog/vlog? Deliciously Ella

Tea of coffee? Tea

Sweet or savoury?  Savoury

Where can we find you online? 

Facebook The Business Barn

Twitter @businessbarn_uk

The Business BarnWebsite www.thebusinessbarn.co.uk

Is the tide turning on influencers?

is the tide turning on influencers?If you spend any time on social media, you might have seen the story about social media influencer Elle Darby. In case you haven’t, I’ll give you a very brief recap. Elle has an impressive following on Youtube and on different social media platforms. She uses this in various ways and part of this is working with brands to review/collaborate with them. You can read all about Elle and the issue here. She contacted a hotel about a collaboration (which involved her staying at the hotel for free in exchange for exposure). The hotel didn’t take it well and published the email and a rather ‘spirited’ reply explaining why the answer was no.

The whole story is very interesting, and the comments from people supporting both sides are also very interesting. From accusations of bullying to freeloading and everything else in between, the story of Elle Darby and the hotel could signal something else. Is the tide turning on influencers?

Is the tide turning on influencers?

As you may know, I do work with influencers with a number of the brands I work with. Some influencers are worth their weight in gold, go over and above, and the investment made in them in terms of product is repaid over and over. Some don’t. I have worked with influencers who fall into the don’t category and it’s not good. You feel like your client has been ripped off and badly treated and it’s horrible. The client is left with a very bitter taste. And then the client distances themselves from that influencer (or waits for them to do as they are meant to) and it’s a horrible, uncomfortable process. And then, if you’re lucky, the influencer has a bit of a strop when you know full well they haven’t done what was promised AND they’re eyeing up a competitor’s brand. Luckily the latter are in the minority if you put a lot of effort in to finding the right people, but it’s out there.

For a while now, I’ve seen the tide turning on influencers. Not the good ones I hasten to add. There will always be a place for good, genuine people to work with brands they love. Always. But for those who don’t deliver, I think it’s going to be a very interesting year. Brands are realising that, actually, they have the power. And that in many cases their followings far exceed that of the influencer. Of course, the size of a following isn’t the only reason a brand would choose to work with an influencer. It is, however one metric in a range I look at when I assess someone. There is huge value in a lot of aspects of what an influencer can offer and what value they bring to the brand… but that’s a different blog!

So do I agree with what happened to Elle?

Nope. I do feel that she was called out and publicly humiliated and that wasn’t nice or necessary. I didn’t think the email was horrific, but it wasn’t the best. It was actually a lot better than some of the ones my clients get barraged with each day. Of course, pitching it differently could have resulted in a different outcome, much like the tsunami of requests for free ‘stuff’ my clients receive. I continue to be blown away by the nerve of some people, but that is a whole different blog.

In Elle’s defence, she does have a good following. I haven’t spent a huge amount of time watching her content or looking at her following as I don’t think we share that many similar interests, but that’s not a criticism. And in the hotel’s defence, the email was impersonal, didn’t really show an affinity or connection with the hotel, no research had been done and she’d possibly underestimated the size of their own social media following. Also, it could have been the 20th ‘begging’ email that hotel had had that day. But calling someone out on social media like that is never good. And the barrage of hateful comments that have been directed at her are not necessary either.

Is it because people don’t understand the power of an influencer?

Maybe. To someone not involved in the world of social media and influencers, it does look like someone has asked for something for free. End of. But that isn’t the case. Influencers can be big for a brand. If Zoella uses your product on one of her videos, your brand will get a LOT of exposure. That has a lot of value. Look at the stats related to magazines and their circulation, and even website visits… and now look at the size of Zoella’s audience. And now you’ll see what I mean. Of course, Zoella is queen of the influencers, but I’m using her to push the point. The right influencer can do big things for a brand. But unfortunately there are a number of people who sport the ‘influencer’ or ‘brand ambassador’ badge, and they don’t deliver, so they really are just asking for free stuff.

So is the tide turning on influencers?

I think yes, actually, the tide is turning on influencers. I think brands are seeing the true value of influencers, good and bad. I think that this will help the good influencers rise and do much better, but I think that the people who are falling short are in for a tough time. And I do also think that influencers will also start to see the value in the fact that brands are now also influencers in their own right, with bigger followings and better connections. I think we’re in for an interesting time.

Lecturing at the Royal Agricultural University – Equestrian PR

royal agricultural universityI was incredibly honoured to be asked to give guest lectures at the Royal Agricultural University in November, not once, but twice. As a country and equestrian PR and marketing consultant and business coach, my skillset fitted the needs of two of the courses running. I have to say that I genuinely love teaching and working with people (hence the sidestep from straight equestrian PR and marketing to a mix of this and business coaching over a year ago). The one to one equestrian and small business coaching I do helps me with this enormously, but there’s something about being face to face with a room full of people and chattering away to them.

What was the lecture about?

Both of the lectures at the Royal Agricultural University were about PR, marketing and social media. The second one focused more around where I do most of my work, so I’ll focus on this. This lecture, which was a mix of a group lecture and then working with the individual groups, was all about PR, marketing and social media. In essence, how you get the world to know about your product or service. So right up my street. It’s amazing to see how much things have moved on since I started doing this job actually, and speaking to the students really does confirm this. It’s also amazing to look at what additional opportunities are available now, because of how digital and social the world is. But that’s another story.

Not only did we look at some of the amazing stats surrounding the world of social media (and when you start talking about BILLIONS of users of anything, I think that’s pretty incredible to be honest!), but also at how some of the business ideas have a more mainstream angle too. I think that’s a really important point. A lot of my clients are predominately equestrian or country or canine, but so many have a mainstream connection too. If you’re making accessories for dogs, looking slightly outside true canine is a very good plan, because of the sheer number of homes that have dogs. A piece of jewellery, even if designed with equestrians in mind, can have a much more mainstream place in the hearts of people too. And all of this while maintaining the brand’s core values. Just because you could promote what you do in another area doesn’t necessarily mean you should. And sometimes you should, but it’s part of the long term plan.

What happened in the individual groups?

Getting under the skin of businesses really makes me tick as I start to see exactly what’s going on, the USPs and what opportunities are there. This might mean exploring the story behind why a brand or product was created and how we can translate that into column/web page inches/social media campaigns. It could be where a product is sourced. Or its design. Or where the profits go. It could be the ‘scratch’ the product is trying to ‘itch’. What problem is it solving? What thinking is it tapping into? And how can we make sure that, as a business, we are letting people know about this information? You really don’t score any points for keeping products secret (well, not if they’re ready for sale and you actually want to sell them!). I LOVE this side of things. And speaking to the groups was SO interesting. There was a real mix of business ideas coming through and some superb marketing and promotional ideas. As with all clients, I never dictate. I listen to ideas and learn a huge amount (hopefully adding information and ideas to refine and improve!) as well as throw new ideas in the mix, so it was a really exciting session. Lots of brainstorming, lots of ideas, lots of note taking.

So what happens now?

The last class of students I had the pleasure of working with are creating business plans and presentations for a ‘Dragons’ Day’ later this month, as part of their final year’s studies. I’ve been part of this event for, gosh, I think the last four years, and I absolutely love it. I work with two or three other experts in their field and the students have their business plans and ideas critiqued. There’s always a numbers wizard (accountant!) last year’s was Ed Jenner, and I have sat next to Phil Duff (Phil’s quite impressive… not that I tell him that!) on each panel too. Phil is best known for the Ariat brand in the UK, but he has many more strings to his bow. I’m honoured and excited to be part of this year’s panel too. And I’ll make sure I let you know how it goes after the event.

To find out about last year’s Dragons’ Day, you can have a catch up here!

 

 

Doris & Co – Hold Fast Mug – Advent Calendar Competition

Hold Fast Mug - Doris & CoToday I have one stunningly lovely Doris & Co Hold Fast Mug up for grabs. I have one and use it every day… and get rather cross if others get given it with their tea in… but enough about me and my ‘protective’ feelings towards my Hold Fast Mug…

Why am I giving away a Hold Fast Mug from Doris & Co?

Doris & Co is a sister company to Hiho Silver, and a business I am very, very proud to support. The British made creamware that Doris & Co is known for is beautiful, lovely to hold, beautifully designed… and hard as nails. The phrases and words on the mugs are all thoughtfully chosen and make you feel warm and fuzzy… without any nausea(!). The designs are gorgeous and exclusive to Doris. And the brand is friendly, welcoming, inclusive and fun. I love that the pieces are as beautiful as they are practical. I love ‘nice’ things, who doesn’t, but two toddlers, the naughtiest dog I have ever met and more means that delicate things don’t say ‘nice’ for long. Despite my best efforts. But Doris & Co products are the exception. They’re dishwasher proof, robust, well made… and I haven’t managed to break mine some two years on. I’m not trying to, far from it, but you know what I mean!

Why do I like the Hold Fast Mug from Doris & Co?

You may have noticed a very strong equestrian and country theme to my blog, clients, musing and content. That’s not something that’s done for show, it’s just me. I have horses, I’ve worked with horses in the past. We live at the back of beyond. I spend a fair amount of time outside, and so on. The Hold Fast Mug captures so many of the elements that I love. There’s a strong equestrian theme, there’s a strong nod to the countryside, and you’ll know by now that I LOVE a quote or saying. And ‘Hold Fast’ gives a good nod to that too. It is my favourite mug for many reasons, and if I can share a bit of Doris & Co with you this Christmas, well, the pleasure is all mine.

Would you like to win a Hold Fast Mug from Doris & Co?

I have one Hold Fast Mug from Doris & Co to give away… and the competition is only running until midnight on the day this blog is published. If you read this afterwards and you love the mug too, just pop on over to Doris & Co’s website and see Hold Fast and some equally lovely ‘friends’. However, if you’re in time, all you need to do it pop on over to my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page, watch the video that will be pinned to the top today and enter. That’s it! Of course, I’d love it if you’d tell your friends by sharing the post.

I hope you enjoy my advent calendar competition – best of luck!

Fairfax & Favor – Boot Tassels – Advent Calendar Competition

burgundy boot tassels from fairfax and favorToday I’m giving away this gorgeous a pair of burgundy boot tassels from Fairfax & Favor. A BIG thank you to Fairfax & Favor for kindly donating these to my advent calendar competition.

Why am I giving away a pair of boots tassels from Fairfax & Favor?

If you follow me on any social media platform or read this blog, you’ll know I am a big fan of Fairfax & Favor. I’ve collaborated with them on videos about their Explorer Boots, I’ve reviewed their packaging, I’ve interviewed co-founder Felix Favor Parker… and I own enough Fairfax & Favor to start a small shop. And I will extend my ‘stock holding’ soon too. I admire what they have achieved as a company and I love the products. And if you ever get the chance to visit the team at an event – DO IT. The stand is beautiful, the products are gorgeous, and the team are a real delight. It’s a masterclass in customer service and branding.

Why do I like the boot tassels?

I am lucky enough to own a pair of Explorers and a pair of Reginas, and although I really like the matching tassels, I have a navy bag and wanted to tie the tan boots in with it… so how to do it? Tassels, of course! I own the navy and plum ones for my own use and I really, really love them. They transform the look of the boots to give a more coordinated look without having to buy more boots. Although I would never, ever discourage anyone from buying more boots. Just for the record. I like the tassels because they are fun and really do change a look. Yes, they work well on Fairfax’s range of boots, but also look great on other boots, bags, even as keyrings. And the burgundy is really nice and festive, so perfect for this time of year.

Would you like a win a pair of Fairfax & Favor’s burgundy boot tassels?

Silly question! I have one pair up for grabs… and the competition is only running until midnight on the day this blog is published. If you read this afterwards, don’t worry, the burgundy tassels (and a LOT of other colours!) are available on the Fairfax & Favor website. However, if you’re in time, all you need to do it pop on over to my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page, watch the video that will be pinned to the top today and enter. That’s it! Of course, I’d love it if you’d tell your friends by sharing the post.

I hope you enjoy my advent calendar competition – best of luck!