After setting up the Dundee Etsy Team I was delighted to be able to attend my first Etsy Team Captains' Summit last weekend! I know I've been to Etsy HQ in London before, but this time it was a completely different atmosphere as the team put so much work in to make it an inspirational weekend for all of the guests.
We were all booked into the same hotel near HQ so it made it feel a bit like a school trip or something! On the Friday evening, some of us got together for dinner then bright and early on Monday the weekend itinerary began. We had so much amazing food, including breakfasts each day at 'Eatsy' and everyone was well catered for. We all had lovely goody bags and a summit notebook to help process all of the talks and panels, there were lots of opportunities for discussion and idea sharing so those who have been running their teams for a while could share their experiences for us newbies to learn from. The Saturday night was a fab Captains' dinner at the postal museum with a ride on the underground 'Mail Rail' and cocktails. Wow!
I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the of the information and activities and people I met but I'm also so excited to get started on working out how to make things happen with the Dundee team to build a lovely community here.
I'm very excited to announce the launch of the new Dundee Etsy Team! After being involved in Etsy through mentoring for the 2017 Etsy Resolution programme and selected as an Etsy Educator at the end of last year I learned so much about the amazing communities that have come about through Teams. Etsy Teams are set up by groups of local sellers to create a space for like-minded creatives to support each other in running their small businesses.
The Aberdeen Etsy Team is super inspiring so I was keen to see what Dundee had to offer once I moved here... sadly nothing. Yet! So I've taken the first steps, setting up the social media and am organising our first meet up this month. Hopefully I'll find others who would like to help run the team so we can grow it and plan lots of workshops, events and other fun stuff - so watch this space!
I'm so excited to announce the launch of Vegan Dundee, a little side project I've been working on with my friend Falda. Vegan Dundee is a lifestyle blog featuring all of the new and exciting vegan friendly places around the city. We'll be writing about restaurants, cafes & coffee shops as well as events and beauty. There's also a little 'Outside Dundee' category which allows us to include any places from our travels around the UK. We've made every effort to create an easy to navigate system with places searchable by category, on a map or by A-Z.
Since moving to Dundee at the end of last year we'd been having weekly catch-ups which involved lots of vegan cake. Falda already has her blog Falda Eats (which is about encouraging a sustainable life that focuses on achieving health and happiness) and although I'm super busy with JillyJilly I do love a chance to play at food photography! It made perfect sense for us to work together on this and would give us the excuse to start investigating what vegan delights Dundee has to offer. We already have a list of around 50 places we've heard have vegan options so it may take us some time to get around them all!
Do pop over and check it out, would love to hear what you think and if there's anywhere in particular you think we should feature. We're also on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.
Blushberry Botanicals is a luxury vegan cosmetics brand based in Scotland which uses the finest natural ingredients in their delicious product range. I should add that this is my Mum's new business which has just launched this week!
While my Mum has been busy perfecting her recipes I was working on the branding and packaging design. It's certainly been a challenge trying to show off a product that most people prefer to smell and try in person! After lots of development, you'll see we came up with a simple look which makes it flexible across multiple products but easy to keep consistent. The hand-drawn font style gives it a more organic feel to compliment the ethos of the brand.
I had a lot of fun with the product photography for this too! Especially all the edible props. We used Photoboards backdrops and lots of natural textures to bring the scents to life on screen. Check out Blushberry Botanicals here and on Etsy.
For more of my product photography, you can visit Lifestyle Photo Studio.
You might have noticed my excitement on social media recently as we've been counting down to moving day. We've just bought our first house!! As of 21st September we became home owners and on Monday we spent the first night in our new home in Dundee. Of course we'll miss Falkland, and have loved our 3 years there, but we're only half an hour away should we fancy a visit! We're looking forward to being back in a city, especially a city with so many creative things happening, and can't wait to start exploring.
First though we have a lot of unpacking and decorating to do. Of course, the priority is to get my new studio ready for work next week but with my Mum here she's been wallpapering the dining area which is actually the only area I planned out! If you'd like to see updates you should check out my Instagram stories but I can do some before and after posts once we're all done.
So here's a quick image of the dining area plans. I love this wallpaper and can't wait to see how it all comes together! Better get back to work...
Can you believe JillyJilly will be three next month?? We certainly can't but I suppose when you look back over the years it does make sense... more on that in a future post! A rebrand has been on the cards for some while now, it was just a case of finding the time which isn't always easy, especially as a DIY job! To make it even more of a challenge it wasn't just a new logo I had in mind, a new website too! Of course that meant new packaging and some photography too.
I started this work alongside running the shops, back in January, and to say I underestimated the time it would take would be an understatement and a half. Here we are, 3 months later and ready to share with the world!
Our new logo kept the same colours but has a much simpler finish which I've used across the website and packaging. The scattered dots just felt really fun and fresh for me and I'm so excited about your new polkadot mug boxes!! These will be finished with hand tied bows in our lovely brand colours. As for the earrings they are now backed on square cards with a quirky polkadot reverse.
Our new website was a huge job, the product listings alone took weeks, and I insisted on transferring over our old blog posts much to David's dismay (his job, of course). I hope that it's easier for you all to navigate, especially as we grow our product ranges. We have shop features like refine by price and colour now! Fancy!
Please do have a wee look around, I'd love to hear what you think.
Just before Christmas I found out my application to be an Etsy Mentor was successful. I couldn't believe it! Along with two others, the lovely Alyssa of Clarise Crafts and Monica of Handmade by Monica, I would be mentoring for the Etsy Resolution 2017 programme. When I applied I never thought I'd be chosen, and I probably wouldn't have done had I known. That sound sounds daft, but this year I'm really trying to push myself to do more things that scare me. Going to Etsy HQ in London and helping new Etsy shops was definitely one of them.
Last month was the mentor training day so off I went, with my Mum who used to live in London and wasn't going to miss out on an excuse for a visit, it was such a great experience. Look out for a wee vlog about it soon!
The mentoring itself was a little scary to start with, it really made me question my abilities and feel a bit like an imposter, but I had to remind myself that I'd been selected because they believed in me so I should too!
My week was photography and I put together lots of tips on things like using a phone, editing apps, prop boxes and figuring out a photo style. We each had to do a video session which was definitely the most nerve-wracking part but I did it and the feedback was lovely. Now it's over I miss being able to help everyone! Maybe it's something I could add to our blog or Youtube in future? Let me know if that's something you'd like to see!
I've had so may of you asking to see our wedding photos, if you were one of them it's the post you've been waiting for!
We are super lucky to have a fantastic photographer in the family, my sister-in-law (it's so weird typing that!) Emma of Fairytale Asylum Photography. If you read my previous wedding planning post you'll know that our day was actually two days and a total mish-mash of our friends and families skills coming together for a really fun, informal occasion!
Emma took our wedding party photos, the ones where my lovely sister Amy did my make up and treated me to some pampering (she's a beauty therapist). We got ready at my parents house after a busy day of friends and family decorating the hall which was at Ferryhill Parish Church. We had some photos taken at Duthie Park in the Winter Gardens before guests arrived then our wee party began! We won our amazing wedding cake from Cake in a design competition, but also had invited our guests to take part in a bake off (the prize was a JillyJilly apron!), we had a vegan buffet from Castleton Farm Shop which was delicious and surprised all the meat eaters. My dress was from Chotronette and accessorised with lovely bits and pieces from Etsy sellers, and of course my Mum made our beautiful wedding rings!
I should really let the photos do the talking as they totally capture our day, bake off, pinata and all! Thanks so much Emma!
I was delighted when Wayfair got in touch about a collaboration on home office spaces. They'd seen my previous studio tour post and asked if I'd like to write some tips on creating an inspirational work space.
I was to choose some items from their website and style them in the JillyJilly studio - choosing was the hard part! In the end I went for a wee teapot in a lovely aqua colour, some warm white berry lights and, my favourite, this gorgeous pink quote wall decal.
Head over to the Wayfair blog to read the post which also features the offices of Lady Like Len and The Guilty Girl Blog.
Recently I've been struggling to feel motivated with social media. Between Facebook ads becoming even more unaffordable and Instagram announcing it's no longer going to have a chronological feed it feels like fighting a losing battle. Trying to develop content with the thought that nobody will actually see it definitely makes it difficult to find time to dedicate every day.
We decided this needed to stop as it meant our marketing was becoming a stress and a chore. I wanted to work on a strategy which meant there's not as much last minute pressure, especially on days where I have no clue what to share then end up posting nothing and feeling guilty. Consistency and content are the keywords that popped up in all of the research I did on strategy. Next up, most of the advice on 'what to post' is to try and stick to one third selling to two thirds behind the scenes (story telling, design process, personality etc). If you've been taking part in Joanne Hawker's #marchmeetthemaker on Instagram then these are the type of non selling posts you might want to share. Do try to consider your own target customers and what they'd like to see most.
Thinking about what you want to post is one thing but actually finding the time to do it is another. Thankfully, having a planner means you can be more consistent and schedule posts ahead of time, then add more daily updates when it feels natural!
I've created two versions of our planner which you can download for free. If you do use either I'd love to see so please do tag us in any pics! The first is a blank canvas for you to develop your strategy from scratch (download here), perfect if you're already posting regularly but want to keep it organised. The second is what I've worked on for myself, it's also available as a Photoshop doc here so you can break it down to suit you but I'll explain how I'm using it first.
- Plan for week ahead on a Sunday
- Schedule archive blog posts for Twitter each day
- Share motivational quotes on Monday (like one at the top of this blog)
- Create themed Treasury for Tuesday (tag other businesses)
- Write blog for Wednesday (keep blog calendar/ideas in notebook)
- Share past images for Throwback Thursday
- Make collage of week highlights for Friday catch up
- Schedule a product each day
- Add additional daily updates/product launches if working on something shareable
If all goes to plan then on Sundays I'll make myself a big cuppa and sit down with my planner and a notebook to prepare for the week ahead. With the help of scheduled posts (I'm using Hootsuite for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) I can create most of my content in a couple of hours. This means I can get on with designing and making during the week and only post extras when I have something I want to share rather than the usual feeling of need to share. There's no pressure as if I don't have time to post then my scheduled items will still pop up themselves, yay!
This has turned out to be a rather chunky blog post, I hope you find it useful anyway. If you'd like to download our other free planners check them out here. Let me know if you'd like to see any other downloads and printables on the blog by leaving me a comment.
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