This post is a follow up to a previous article – Sew Pro Convention: Part 1. If you are unfamiliar with Sew Pro, hop on over to that post for a quick skim. Also, Stephanie from Modern Sewciety and I chat all about it on her podcast. Check it out here!
In Sew Pro: Part 1, I outlined the two day schedule of the conference and the overall mission of the event. In this post (and this is where it gets exciting!) I'm diving in to a couple of the lectures I found especially helpful and interesting. So without further ado, the categories I will touch on include: Creating a Following and Brand Loyalty and How to Style Your Products for Photography.
Creating a Following and Brand Loyalty
This lecture was delivered by the charismatic and fashionable MiMi G. of MiMi G. Style. If you're like me, and live under a rock, you may be unfamiliar with Miss G. (I'm embarrassed to say that I was. But NO MORE!) She has an inspiring and empowering story of changing her life from being a homeless high school dropout, to skyrocketing a self-made career.
Currently, MiMi G. has 236k followers on Instagram, 604k Likes on Facebook, 135k subscribers on YouTube and 68k followers on Pinterest – that's over 1 million combined social followers!
I could easily spend a lot of time talking about this lady's accomplishments, but I want to get to the fantastic content of her lecture.
Make a list of all the small things that separate you from the crowd.
When MiMi G. started her blog there were tons of DIY/Craft/Sewing blogs out there. A lot of those bloggers were further along in their careers and seemingly taught, sold and sewed everything there was to make.
However, MiMi says this about why she started her blog anyway: I DIDN'T GIVE A DAMN! I knew my focus on fashion sewing was different and I was willing to jump off the cliff. I wanted to GIVE, GIVE, GIVE and I did!
What she learned from the experience:
- You MUST build relationships.
- You MUST be consistent.
- You MUST tell a story.
- You MUST add value.
Use the 60-20-20 formula. Spend 60% of the time to educate, serve, story-tell. Spend 20% of the time to inspire. The last 20% of the time gives you an opportunity to sell.
The secret to brand loyalty? Be authentic, speak in your voice and inspire, don't copy!
- Be human: Share personal stories, respond to comments, ask questions.
- Write for your readers: People come to be entertained, keep it fun!
- Add a subscription form to your blog posts: Keep in touch!
- Create a community: Create projects, sew-alongs, online workshops, educational posts.
- It's NOT about how many "likes" or "followers" you have: It IS about participating in a conversation in an authentic way.
93% of shoppers buying decisions are influenced by social media and 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations vs ads and TV.
How to Style Your Products for Photography
Jenny Fox-Proverbs stole my heart the moment she opened her mouth and an adorable Irish accent came bubbling out. With bright auburn hair and a cheerful disposition, she was a sincere joy to listen to. The 45 minutes flew by leaving many of us lingering for minutes after just to get a chance to chat with her.
Jenny has been editor of Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine since the launch in October 2013. You can read more about her on the bios page of LP&Q Mag. I'm going to skip to the juicy stuff cause she said a lot.
Why take the time to style a photo?
- In a very competitive market, where the image is king, pictures are very important to your success.
- Styling shows your personal aesthetic as a designer.
- Photo styling brings value to your craftsmanship and brand.
Things to consider when styling...
- The main objective in styling a photo is to create a cohesive look – effortless yet charming.
- Think about how you want your product to appear.
- What first impression do you want to make? Mood – cool, confidant, nostalgic, excited, charming, etc...
- Where will the images appear? Social media? Blog? Website shop? Use fewer props if you know the picture will be displayed small (eg. on a cell phone).
- Some good prop ideas: shelves, crates, plants, books, clocks, mugs, flowers (don't be afraid to use colorful props, just make sure it compliments and does not compete).
- There are multiple books on how to successfully style a photo: A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book, Capture Your Style and Art of Everyday Photography, to name a few.
Get inspired for photoshoots by looking at how other people, companies and magazines do it. Some great examples are: Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, CB2, Pinterest, Google "quilts on beds" or "quilt photography."
I'd love to hear your thoughts on what these two brilliant ladies shared. Do you have questions about social media or photo styling? Leave a comment below! I'm not an expert, but I'd love to get the conversation going – maybe we can help each other!