by Carol Caveney
As a (very) small business with an even smaller marketing budget, one of my early priorities - after working on my product range and branding - was to put time into developing a strong online business identity.
Step one was the development of an ecommerce website. Somewhere to showcase and sell my products. Somewhere to act as an anchor to my social media presence and online and offline pr activity.
Having worked on big budget corporate websites for many years, I very much wanted to create a site that communicated as much about the personality behind the brand as it did sell.
I also wanted the site to feel as carefully handcrafted as my products. In short, I wanted my fingerprints to be all over it!
So, I really didn’t want to create a bland boring and predictable ‘about me’ web page.
You know the sort of thing ‘a mommy myself … couldn’t find the products i wanted … didn’t like the fabrics out there … so I created my own …’
Instead, I wanted to find a way for people (taking the time to stop by and have a browse around my shop) to see a little more of the real me. To understand what makes me tick and what really inspires me.
I wanted to create a place where I could share what it is that I love and care about, a place to share links and the things that I find and enjoy. To show that I really am so much more than just a maker of (lovely) bibs n’ bobs.
The answer came in the form of a blog. So, three months ago I started a new journal page on my site. I called it sewlattedough, wrote a short post entitled ‘hello’ and I haven’t looked back since.
I thought I would want to write about the business, but I don’t … my blog is my indulgence, a place to ramble on about the meditative properties of baking, or my latest crafty project, without feeling the need to reign myself in. As such it is very therapeutic. I do still write about the business, but maybe less than 1 in 5 articles cover new products or business news.
I didn’t think many people would read it, but they do … I thought a few people might stop by every now and again. Last month my blog stats showed that over 500 unique visitors stopped by (editors note: since first writing this article back in November, Carol's unique visitors have increased to over 1600 a month). Each month the stats grow. Not huge numbers to some, but certainly bigger than I expected. Any many of these visitors go on to have a little browse around my shop. Which is rather nice.
I thought I would find it to be a bit of a chore, but I don’t … I worked in marketing and communications for many years before starting my business. Always writing what others wanted me to write. Having my carefully crafted words heartlessly edited and re-written. I love writing for myself. Publishing the posts that I want to publish is a joy.
I didn’t think people would get it, but they do … so many unexpected people have said that they enjoy my blog … that they’ve made one of my crafts, tried a recipe I’ve linked to, or just enjoyed looking at one of my snaps. I feel very, very proud (and usually go a bit red) when that happens.
I thought working from home and blogging would be a lonely business, but it isn’t … I’ve met many lovely new people over the past few months. Lovely bloggers, lovely tweeters. People who, like me, are busy beavering away building dreams. Often working at home. Juggling business brilliance with the demands of little ones, big ones, household dramas and the weekly shop. Some make me laugh out loud, some make me cry. All of them make me feel part of something good.
So far, so good.
I think I might just keep at it.