It has been a LONG TIME since I blogged but that's what happens when Covid takes over and nursery is closed. The kids have been at home for two months straight, we're all sick of each other, and I've had no time to write. Or do anything without having to just do it and hope for the best.
But now they're back and I have FIVE HOURS of undisturbed time (yes, five hours per week, but I've got to grab it where I can) so here we go.
This blog post is all about collaborations. They are the best thing I've done, and you should be doing them too.
There are obvious rules. Are you going to collaborate with someone who runs another ballerina pump business? No. Follow them on instagram, be inspired by what they do, work out what you like and what you don't like. Take the good bits, make them your own, and leave out the rest.
Be nice - it's not about keeping everything to yourself. As long as it doesn't damage what you're trying to do, remember; a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
How do you start a collaboration? What goes with shoes? Jewellery. Clothes. Shoes are essential, but they're also a treat. What else is a treat? Perfume. Chocolate. New make up. Instagram is a minefield but if you know how to filter out the noise, it's an absolute gold mine of people and products that you are going to love.
The major rule and the only one I have stuck to rigidly, is DO I LIKE THIS PERSON? Could I have a cup of tea and a chat with them (in non Covid times)? Like the person behind the account you stumble across; how they come across, what they do, their product - and you'll want to collaborate.
I dream of seeing my Sloafers on certain people because I just like them. And those are the ladies I message. I've just been lucky enough to get our Sloafers on the feet of the very impressive Pandora Vanderpump.
A guilty pleasure of mine, I've been watching the Real Housewives of (anywhere) since I can remember. It's addictive. It's a gateway drug. I moved onto Vanderpump Rules and occasionally get to zone out of a hectic life with this great escapist TV show. The more I watched, the more I could just see my blush Sloafers on Pandora, who makes the occasional appearance on the show in between bossing the food and wine industry, writing and film production, and being hugely philanthropic. She's lovely, well dressed, loves pink pretty things, and I wanted my shoes on her feet.
I contacted her and we chatted, a pair of shoes FedEx'd to LA and a little wait for the right weather to come along, and a story popped up.
I was so excited when I got the notification I did lose all my cool and ran around the kitchen screaming. Within an hour I had 90 followers and had made five sales. This continued and the 24 hours that her story was visible did absolutely magical things for my business. But as well as that not too insignificant detail, I enjoyed the process - I enjoyed talking to her, making a plan with her, and seeing it all come to life. It makes me smile thinking she's rushing round living her busy life with my shoes on her feet - we make shoes for women rushing around living their busy lives and it's awesome that she's one of them.
It's not always about making instant sales, but building a community.
You never know who you start talking to and how you can end up working together. Two collaborations with two gorgeous jewellery brands - and I have great photos, but I also have two new friends. We're talking about new colours, new content, and instagram LIVE sessions. We also have competitions about who has the most annoying children and why the dishwasher constantly seems to need emptying. We are looking forward to post Covid wine.
I've just worked with two incredible women, Jaime - a freelance food and travel journalist - who guest featured in our first blog, and Carrie. Who as well as working in law, speaking several different languages and having a translation business - decided to set up a cashmere brand. We've had a lot of fun bringing our instafam a luxury work from home wardrobe giveaway and it's generated sales and followers. I'm looking forward to supporting them, and being supported by them, in the future.
It can be a lonely place, running a business. There are so many people that will not reply, will say no, will be guarded. Leave them to it. There are many people - and more than the first group - of people like you who want to make this fun, who want to succeed, but who want to see other people succeed. I'm really looking forward to bringing you more collaborations in the coming months; and a massive thank you to all the amazing women that I've been working with.
Collaborate, and you'll grow.
Photos courtesy of: