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2021 Social Media Trend Forecast

As we enter a new year, there is much anticipation about the upcoming trends for Social Media + Marketing. From Planoly announcing new updates, Pinterest launching exciting new features + every expert sharing their predictions. Whilst our thoughts won’t cover everything (the Marketing world is endless, as many of us know!) we have compiled our top five trends which we think will be at the forefront of Social this year.

5. Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing has secured its place in the business models of household brands and this is only set to increase in 2021. However, to our delight, this trends has developed to include ‘nano-influencers’. For reference: nano-influencers have from 1,000-10,000 followers. Brands that take the time to focus on influencers with a smaller audience are getting it right! Food for thought: often nano-influencers have a tight-knit relationship with their audience, a higher engagement rate and are more likely to work with brands they genuinely have a passion for and they are incredible for cost-efficiency.

If you are a Content Creator or an Influencer and you are looking to spend more time developing your Influencer Marketing strategy, we would recommend placing a real focus this year into creating high quality. This stems from an interesting and aesthetically pleasing grid + consistent posts. Brands ultimately look for Content Creators who have an ethos, or an authentic tone of voice – being real is the near filter. 

Accounts we love to follow are @megankatemarchant, @househomo {who we had the absolute pleasure of interviewing}, @dralexgeorge and so many other fabulous individuals.

4. In-App Shopping

Falcon described it as ‘the rising-tide of social eCommerce’ as we are seeing an acceleration of eCommerce by 5 years since lockdown began. The rise of eCommerce is forcing brands to take to Social Media as a must when selling their products. 

A majority of us already find online shopping incredibly easy… yet with Facebook and Instagram introducing Native Checkout, there will no longer be a need to leave the app + shop via the brand’s website. With a combination of Apple Pay, we will be able to place orders + finish checkout right on our social channels – a feature predicts to challenge Amazon!

As well as ensuring your Social Shops are set up + working well, Hyper-Personalisation has come key. Reading your insights + understanding what you audience wants is crucial – using the data you collect to target your audiences more efficiently. 

3. Educational Content

Become the expert in your field. It’s no longer enough to simply provide a product or service in 2021. To stand out, consumers need to think of you as an expert in your field; they need to be able to come to you for advice, teachings and incredible excellent customer service. 

But, how do you achieve this? By creating online content tailored to your consumer audience  – this may include top tips, trends, techniques and everything in between. 

Example: the beauty industry is setting an example; with brands collaborating with popular Content Creators, celebrities and experts to create online masterclasses, mini-tutorials and top tips Reels. By doing so, elite beauty brands who have often lacked a personal touch, have now been able to gather engagement from an involved audience and personalise the band experience for the first time. 

2. Micro-Blogging

Micro-Blogging has risen in popularity since the creation of TikTok and shows no signs of slowing down. For reference: Micro-Blogging refers to the act of creating concise posts with the main aim of interacting with an audience. They are often short, targeted and fast-to-read. Great to read whilst in the queue, on-the-move or as part of your lunch break.

Content ideas include behind the scenes footage {gold dust for authenticity!}, ‘a day in the life of’, and consequently achieving a personalised approach to social media – we have waved goodbye to the filter perfect photos + brands, relying now on a true reflection of the team behind the brand. As a result, we begin to see thriving engagement rates which is the end goal after all!

1. Reels

We’ve said it before and we will say it again, Reels!

Social Media experts have expressed that Instagram Reels are currently the most efficient way to boost your page, increase your page visibility and avoid the algorithm punishing you.

It is important to note however, that this is due to the fact that Reels are Instagram’s latest posting feature. Ideally, Instagram would have you posting a Reel daily but for those with other priorities this can be excessive and unmanageable; we would recommend trying one or two a week just to help give yourself that well-needed boost.

Top tip: stay creative, authentic + showcase exactly how your products can help others.

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We would love to know how you get on whilst trialling our top tips, we would love to hear about your successes. As always, if you do want to try out these trends but don’t have the capacity or vision, we would love to help. Get in touch.

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We meet the first closed-loop yoga brand

What was the initial inspiration to start your own business?

The seed was planted at an art exhibition in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2017. In one artwork the Turkish female artist Pinar Yoldas accused yoga practitioners of acting hypocritically. She pointed out that they often think they are acting very sustainably, but then they do not think about their yoga mat. Through this artwork, our founders Anna and Sophie felt caught. Ever since that day they have been working on building a sustainable yoga brand that offers closed-loop products.

Explain ‘the first closed-loop yoga brand’ to our readers.

hejhej’s vision is to reduce the amount of plastic waste on our planet and promote conscious consumption through their yoga products. Every product is recyclable at the end of its lifespan. That’s how we close the loop, how we do not produce further waste and give our mother earth a break. We are enthusiastic about raw materials that flow in endless cycles. After all, we are motivated to make this planet a place worth living for future generations. Another benefit of recycling is that we spare lots of natural resources by using as many already existing materials as we can. By doing so, we can proudly say that we are the first closed-loop yoga brand.

Where can we purchase your mats?

We sell our hejhej-mat and our other yoga products like the yoga mat bag, the yoga strap and soon our yoga bolster online in our own web-shop. Our mats are 100% made in Germany.

Luckily we also have a bunch of partner yoga studios and shops that use and sell our products. There are a few local stores and yoga studios in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy and Ireland for example that we’ve also listed on our website for you.

Why yoga? Where did the passion to produce a gorgeous yoga product stem from?

Anna and Sophie are both passionate yoga practitioners. So the idea really came from an inner calling, as one could say. We weren’t all about founding our own business at first, but we were all about our passion to do something good for our environment and combine that with something we truly appreciate. That’s how we got to creating our own yoga product.

We love your content. Have Social Media helped to build your brand?

Thank you so much. We’re all about minimalistic and natural vibes. Social Media has definitely helped to build our brand, it is such a beautiful platform to create a whole story around our yoga brand. It also allows us to connect with yoga-lovers from all over Europe, and even beyond. Especially right now, we’re happy to see our hejhej-mats in many people’s home-practice. We share those special photos regularly in our hejhej-moments. We love the sense of community those photos create. We might all be at our homes right now, yet we are still connected through yoga and our interest in making this world a little healthier.

We find spending time on the mat helps with mindfulness and leading to a more productive working space. What are your productivity hacks?

A clean desk (less distraction), open the windows regularly, do intentional breaks where you really do not look at the laptop or phone, stretch (lots of it) and lots and lots of liquids (tea, water, and a little coffee). And then, whenever we feel tense, roll out the mat and move!

On days you are feeling uninspired, what are your top tips to shake the funk?

Definitely spending time in nature and digital detox. To us, there is nothing more relaxing than the sounds of nature. It really helps us to recharge and reconnect with our inner muse.

What advice would you give to your 20 year old self?

Open your eyes, open your heart, embrace life! There are so many beautiful people and opportunities around you. Embrace them and ask yourself.. ‘what do you really enjoy doing?’.. Then- do more of that!

Finally, what piece of advice would you give to other entrepreneurs at the moment?

Stay strong, stay healthy and never hesitate to ask for help or advice. That’s a lesson we’ve learnt early on. And lastly, believe in your self and your beautiful idea. You got this!

… and are there any small businesses you would like to say ‘hello’ to?

Yes! hej to Mit Ecken & Kanten, an imperfect online shop. Hej to dariadéh and hej to our local zero waste shop, and also hej to natural products and inclusion, Mari & Anne.

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5 must-reads for a mindful + positive 2021

By now we have started to settle into 2021 and our New Year’s resolutions have slightly dwindled. Yet, we’re ambitious, focusing on mindfulness whilst entering another year of predicted confusion and uncertainly. 

Reading is proven to reduce stress, fights depression symptoms and improves brain connectivity – keeping our minds active during a furloughed season, or allowing us to ‘take a break’ from our home offices.

With this in mind, we have collated a list of our top five mindfulness reads.

5. ‘Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living’ By Fumio Sasaki

If you are looking to simplify your life and escape normality and the materialistic nature of today’s society, ‘Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living’ is the book for you. Teaching that less definitely is more, Fumio Sasaki teaches his incredible theories on living a simplified, cleaner and more meaningful life.

4. ‘Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe’ By Yumi Sakugawa

One for the dreamers. This book combines beautiful words with even more beautiful illustrations; helping you on your way to self-discovery *listen up Pisces people, this one’s for you*. Reviews of ‘Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe’ have expressed the inevitable need to read this book over and over, to continue reaping the benefits.

3. ‘Tiny Habits’ By BJ Fogg

If you are looking to improve your lifestyle but do not have the time or energy to reinvent yourself or pick up a new hobby, ‘Tiny Habits’ is for you. Fogg encourages just that, ‘tiny habits’ to help you make BIG changes to your everyday life.

It wasn’t until we read this book that we noticed it’s the small things, getting up slightly earlier, moving a little more each day, completing that one extra job that really helps your motivation, productivity and consequently your positivity.

2. ‘Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come’ By Jessica Pan

A hilarious story surrounding the life of an introverted woman who challenges herself to leave her comfort zone and pushes herself into an extroverted life for an entire year.

Combining complete empathy for shy introverts, with useful advice on how she came to push her limits and live a life with no restrictions, this fiction novel is one to add to your list for sure.

1. ‘The Secret’ By Rhonda Byrne

And in the top spot, of course, Rhonda Byrne’s classic, ‘The Secret’. Now this book is renowned for its themes of manifestation and the law of attraction. Allegedly used by the most successful people on the planet, the teachings in this book are ones that we cannot turn a blind eye to.

I’ve recently started reading ‘The Secret’ and I totally recommend, having a positive attitude, whilst difficult to harness at the beginning, is now second nature.

We would love to hear which top five you picked, and the benefits you reaped from them. As always, if you have any recommendations for us to add to our list, we would love to hear from you. Happy reading!

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Shake off the Lockdown funk | Y&M Productivity Hacks

In a time where the world is upside down and we all have a need to look at our businesses in a new way, evaluating the way we work can help us be more effective and our days more efficient.

We are all working in new ways and harder than ever before to ensure our business is successful during such a difficult time – but are we productive? How many of us can spend a full day being busy, but get to the end of the day and wonder…. what we have actually achieved?

If we continue to work in the same way – can we expect to see different results? Here’s our top productivity hacks to help ensure your working time is productive.

1 ~ Stop Multitasking

Whilst it may seem more efficient to do multiple things at once, are you really making progress with the task you are attempting to do? Or are you even doing them well?

Studies have shown that multitasking can actually decrease your productivity by up to 40%. So although it may feel you are ticking off some of your to-do list, none of it was given 100% of your focus and expertise – which may actually cost you more time in the future if you have to go back and redo some of this work. Research has also shown that when those who multitask try to focus on one thing – they are actually work less efficiently than those who rarely attempt to multitask.

This is one of the best, yet most difficult, habits to break. As soon as it feels that time is short – the habit of multi tasking is so easy to slip back into. But having the right tools and a team around you who understand the false-efficiency of this habit, you will be able to focus on individual tasks and ticking off your to do list with confidence.

2 ~ Set a goal each day 

To forget about multitasking, you have to retrain your mind to concentrate on single tasks.

This goes against everything our busy, digital lives encourages us to do but the solution to this problem also lies in the same digital tech that exacerbates it. There are a variety of  productivity apps to help organise your workflow and keep focused on the task at hand. These tools encourage you to set a single goal for each working day, which constantly reinforces the idea of focusing on individual tasks. You can break daily goals into multiple tasks or work sessions, where you’ll only work on that specific task {and nothing else} for the allocated time.

That way … there’s no time left for multitasking!

3 ~ Identify your most important tasks and set a schedule

Before your day starts, whether it’s the first thing in the morning or the night before, create a plan of attack for the day. Start by writing down your tasks that are already scheduled for a specific time, such as your working hours, meetings, doctors’ appointments, etc. Take the time to prioritise the top three tasks for the day. Be clear with what you write and use more than a three-word description.

For example, ‘research Social trends’ is bad. Instead, use  ‘Research the new Instagram algorithm to boost our organic engagement’. This will prevent you from drifting to semi-related tasks that don’t actually accomplish anything.

Then see how you can effectively fill in the rest of the time. Write each task that you want to get completed into your schedule so there is no question what you’re doing next once something has been completed. This will take out any of the guesswork as you move through your day and prevent you from accidentally wasting time because it hadn’t been assigned to anything.

4 ~ Take regular breaks

Building regular, short breaks into working time increases focus and productivity. Studies have shown this gives your mind a chance to recover from intense focus but you have to be smart about how you spend your downtime. Your instinct might be to open Facebook or Instagram but this digital onslaught of content doesn’t allow your mind to truly switch off.

To maximise the benefit of each break, it helps to avoid anything that’s mentally taxing in any kind of way. This is especially true for short breaks where you’re going to have to get back to work in a matter of minutes. For a five-minute break to actually count, you’re going to want to avoid anything that divides your attention, involves any decision-making or requires concentration.

Your mind is hard at work during each session and now you want to focus as little as possible. The best thing you could do is zone out completely and think of nothing or meditate to relax your mind and body. Another good option is to do some yoga or stretches while keeping your mind clear, giving yourself a cognitive break but also an important physical break from sitting down.

While regular, short breaks are important to keep you fresh and focused, don’t skimp on taking a longer break during the day – typically the lunch hour. A longer break allows you to fully unwind and to take a 30 minute walk around outside, or a 20-minute nap, and sit down and eat a proper meal away from your desk. These are all essential activities for overall health and wellbeing, which will spill over positively into your work.

5 ~ Block distracting apps and websites

Research has shown that the average digital worker can’t go more than 6 minutes without checking their email or instant messaging. The digital nature of our work and social lives leaves us constantly checking for notifications and this constant distraction hampers our ability to focus on tasks for even short periods of time.

There are a number of website and app blocker tools on the market. You can create a list of apps and websites which will automatically be blocked during working sessions. You can even prevent notifications coming through during work hours and they’ll automatically come in once the session has finished. Don’t be afraid to use that ‘do not disturb’ function on both your phone and your email.

6  ~ Create a dedicated workspace

This one has never been more relevant than in recent times if you are working from home or remotely. Don’t just sit on the couch or at the dinner table – create a dedicated workspace where you can go to work and then leave it once you’re done.

If you’re working from home, take advantage of the space you have to create a home office dedicated for work and nothing else. You are creating a productive environment to have a productive day and keep it organised. Keeping an orderly work space will make you more efficient and calm. A self-imposed clean desk policy is a good place to start!

7 ~ Know when to say no. 

For some people saying no is hard, but if you really want to elevate your productivity levels then you can’t let people dictate your day.  Often we can take on more than we are able to do – whether that’s time physically or mentally. Others people’s requests do not have to take priority over our own workload.

8 ~ Tame your email inbox

Set aside time each day to check your emails. We could spend all day responding to emails as they come in, monitoring all of the notifications and adding tasks to our day. The ‘Four Hour Working Week’ suggests only checking your email for half an hour twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.

Ask yourself – does this email need my attention or is this just for information? In the digital world we live in, most of the communication we receive is via email – but is it all necessary? How many emails do you receive a day where you are copied in to a conversation that does not need your time and energy when trying to be more productive? Ask you team to copy you into less emails, but also think… do you need to copy people into your email? Could the conversation be more effective if done over the phone.

Once you have actioned an email – move it! Whether that be to another folder if you need to refer back to it or just hit that delete button – having a clear inbox makes us feel less overwhelmed with the thought of tasks yet to be done. There is also that sense of achievement when you look at a clear inbox.

9 ~ Keep a pen and pad nearby

Memories are notoriously unreliable and distracting thoughts can ruin concentration for the task in hand.  If you try and remember everything you need to do, you’re going to end up with a lot of unfinished tasks. Don’t take the risk, write down everything you need to remember. 

Doing this will remove that thought from your mind and you can get back to what you’re doing. Keeping a pen and pad works just fine, but feel free to use an app on your smartphone to do this. It’s really your preference. At the end of the day, go through this list of thoughts or tasks and move them to the relevant place – maybe tomorrow’s to do list?

Keep focused. Have a break. Share your Productivity Hacks with us.

Written by our Guest Author, Debbie Coates.

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All things bold + beautiful with House Homo

Tell us about House Homo, how did it begin?

It all started last January when I came to view this house; as soon as I saw the archway in the hall I knew I needed to a) buy it IMMEDIATELY and b) paint it gold! I wanted the house to be super colourful and fun so the rest just sort of fell into place after that, the Instagram following was just an unexpected, dreamy, totally supportive bonus!

Everyone’s toolbox when decorating a house is so different, how do you find it best to go about deciding on the final idea?

I’d love to say there was a really clear method but it varies each time! I usually start with a colour palette and go from there but, more recently, when I decorated the bathroom, I won £100 worth of paint from Pickleson so I picked 5 different colours and just let the colours decide where they wanted to go; it was definitely stressful and time consuming but I love the result. 

The same thing happened with the guest room too, maybe that’s my method now?

I usually have one really clear nugget of an idea so I just run with that, even if it doesn’t work and you paint over it later! It’s definitely always best to go with your gut instinct!

Your style is so bold + beautiful, have you always had an eye for home decor + final details?

I come from a background in Visual Merchandising so I’ve always been big on fashion and finer details but i just fell into home decor in the last few years, and now I’m obsessed. I eat, breathe, sleep interiors now. In my last flat, I used to do monthly Feng Shui move rounds and change everything up, I guess practice makes perfect!

You have come so far with your brand + your social media, what was the initial inspiration to launch your own channel?

I started the account just before the first lockdown just to document the progress; a lot of my friends live across the country and world so it was the easiest way to share it with them. I had no clue it would have grown as quickly as it has, or that I’d be working with so many amazing brands before the year was out!

Do you feel that social media has had a crucially positive impact in your journey?

100%, the interiors Instagram community is the biggest love fest I’ve ever known! Everyone is so supportive and caring, it’s like having 22,000 best mates on hand day and night! 

It’s definitely pushed me to be more daring too, there are so many amazing accounts celebrating the colour revolution so I have a duty to the movement!

The world’s most recent events have caused us to adapt and become more ‘digital’ with decor shopping + our own businesses, how did you find time at home? What were your productivity hacks?

I actually love shopping online for interiors; Birmingham is a great city but it is definitely lacking in interiors shops, so this way I get the whole world of interiors to draw from!

For productivity, I find it so easy to get sucked into an Instagram hole sometimes so I try to hide my phone away to focus on projects. I try and set myself daily goals – even if it’s really small like tidying one room – so anything after that is a bonus and you feel super productive.

We love that you complete most of the DIY yourself! As we both know, the Design world is forever evolving – how do you stay on top of the latest trends?

It’s definitely hard to keep up! I try to avoid following trends too hard because I don’t wanna dilute 

what I’m doing but I’ve tried to make your Instagram feed look like my ideal magazine, so every time I open it I see something that inspires me! That way you see trends coming up through all different angles; trickling down through fashion, budding through the interiors community, from architects, anywhere and everywhere! 

Most important question, what is your favourite colour + store for home pieces?

My favourite colour hands down is orange, definitely need to incorporate some more orange into househomo, I’ve just painted over the orange dining room! 

My favourite store changes so quickly, ask me tomorrow and it will be different but a great option is Trouva; they have SO many different styles and boutiques so you’re not only getting so many options, you’re supporting local business too!

Finally, what advice would you give your 20 year old self now?

Stop going out and focus – I was definitely a bit wild aged 20!

I know it sounds so cheesy but I would tell him to believe in himself more, I was so unsure of what I wanted / what I wanted to do, but who knows I could have been the new Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen by now.

Check out Richard’s journey here.

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Loungewear brands for your WFH wardrobe

With most of us WFH, we wanted to share with our favourite chic loungewear brands to serve you in style.

With sustainability at their core.

Tula and Tye are a fabulous unisex loungewear brand, that focus on slow fashion through the use of sustainable and ethical manufacturing. Their main aim is to recirculate waste materials to avoid them going into a landfill. Inclusive and eco-friendly – we love it!

Going one step further, Tula and Tye use recycled materials for labels and tags, reusable packing and even biodegradable bags when it comes to packaging. If that wasn’t enough, 5% of all of Tula and Tye’s profits go to non-profit organisations to help remove the plastic from the planet’s oceans.

 

Trading since ’95

Thought have been trading since 1995 and pride themselves on using sustainable yet luxury-feel fabrics, hemp, bamboo and organic cotton. Their hashtag #StyleWithThought really says it all, and to add they have a wonderful blog which helps you live more thoughtfully and as a result more sustainably!

Now, Thought offers a huge range of different sustainably made items therefore we recommend having a browse as you won’t be disappointed! They also offer Blue Light Discount for all of you heroes out there (NHS, police, emergency services, social carers and armed forces).

 

As seen on Instagram

One of our luxury favourites, Intimissimi! Worn by Social Media stars Lydia Millen and Suzie Bonaldi, this brand provides the most beautiful and self-indulgent pieces – with the price tag to match! Beautiful silks in daring red, classy pinks to classic black, Intimissimi will leave you feeling elegant, there is no doubt.

If pyjamas just won’t do, Intimissimi’s range is far and wide, spanning from luxurious natural cotton underwear, modal and cashmere bodysuits, bamboo playsuits and silk trousers.

 

Something for everyone – all included!

Here’s one targeted towards the young adults, Oh Polly produces cosy yet stunning loungewear sets. Comfies but make it fashion. Oh Polly are known for their inclusive sizes and ranges they have to offer. Oh Polly offer a petite range for those 5 ft 3 and under, and their size range goes from size 4 – 18. Fashion combined with inclusivity? We LOVE that!

Not only this, but Oh Polly’s business model allows you to mix and match your sets to suit your needs. Leggings and hoodie? Hoodie and shorts? Shorts and Bralet? They’ve got you covered.

 

Honouring Mother Earth

Christy Dawn are one of those loungewear brands that you cannot fault. The materials? Beautiful. Finished product? Stunning. Our favourite is the ‘Sonny Set’ in ‘Oatmeal’. What’s yours?

There’s eco-friendly and there is Christy Dawn. Sourcing ‘dead-stock’ Christy Dawn aim to repurpose fabrics to avoid to need to reproduce where possible. They also stress huge importance on the community that they build with their suppliers, farmers and weavers to ensure fair trading and minimising impact on the ecosystem. An investment that comes with a peace of mind, knowing your loungewear was ethically sourced.

 

An announcement coming soon…

Kiki Loungewear are keeping their new release under wraps.. which makes it all the more exciting. However if you look at their Instagram, you can take a guess at what to expect! We’re anticipating neutrals, fine yet expensive-feeling knits, borg sets, cosy sweaters and matching co-ords!

Kiki Loungewear are what we imagine to fall onto our Pinterest feed, simple, elegant and a classy. Whilst we cannot advise on prices for the upcoming release, we suggest heading over to their site to sign up for first news.

 

 

As seen in Vogue.

Their renowned 100% Mulberry silk pillowcases and scrunchies have taken Social Media (and print by storm) and what would you expect with their anti-aging and anti-frizz claims? Who wouldn’t want to look ten years younger?

The Nap Co. produces simple yet elegant silk nightwear sets which you won’t want to take off, and now thanks to your home office, you won’t need to. An interview with Founder, Siobhan coming very soon.

 

Self-development.. and a comfortable set.

Of course we had to spotlight one gymwear brand, who doesn’t love a multi-use loungewear set? 2021 is the year for money saving and self-development. AYBL pride themselves on their amazing quality, squat-proof design offering fabulous comfort at attainable prices in size range 6-14.

A charitable magic.

Lounge is a fashion brand that has really grown, offering flattering full loungewear sets. What’s more, they offer a diverse range of styles which means that there is pretty much something to suit everyone!

Lounge have been working hard to raise awareness for important causes, such as Breast Cancer Awareness raising £128,513 for Coppafeel and Trekstock charities. It’s always easier to invest in a brand that has your best interests at heart!

The brand that just keeps giving…

Beaumont Organic is a beautiful brand. You can expect beautiful fabrics, ethically sourced and put together with stunning craftsmanship. All of their organic cotton is GOTS certified which specifies where and how it was grown, ensures no chemicals or pesticides and is rotated to reduce water consumption. As for wool, only EU wool is used to follow stringent laws, non-mulesing practices are used to ensure animal rights are at the forefront of the production and where possible Beaumont Organic reuse wool or make use of the often wasted ‘end of roll’ to reduce the need to produce more wool. 

You think it ends there? Of course not! Beaumont Organic increases lead times to avoid overworking their staff and ensure that prices mirror the high standard of work met by their staff to ensure fair wages and eradicate exploitation of workers. You also have the option upon checkout to donate to the Fiji Loloma Foundation to help provide infrastructure and support to communities in Fiji!

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Travelling the world with Lydia Collins

Big question, tell us about your journey into photography. How did it all begin?

Photography is something I have always been fascinated with and passionate about; from a young age I remember family holidays with disposable cameras. Even though at the end of the holiday you’d have to come home, I always remember that excitement of getting rolls of film developed and re-living the holiday all over again! In fact, each trip I go on now, I always make sure I have a disposable or polaroid camera – there is something so lovely about having a physical copy of an image that you can hold and keep forever.

It was around the age of 14 when I got into digital photography, my secondary school was starting up a new Photography course and I jumped at the opportunity (mainly because it sounded like fun). I absolutely loved the course, I found it was a way I could really express myself and experiment with different styles. I then continued to study Photography as an A Level where I learnt a lot about the technical side, spending many hours in the darkroom. Graduating with a degree in BA Photography at the University of the Arts London was where I really noticed the value of networking and understanding the industry. It was at University where I really saw it for an opportunity to become a career.

The year I graduated, I worked hard through the summer and winter months, generating a large portfolio that would showcase my work. Although it was and still is long hours and hard work, it never really feels like work when you’re doing something you love! I would encourage everyone to work hard in their passion because one day, it’s very likely it could become your career! No hard work goes unnoticed or unrewarded.

Explain your style to our readers.

I’d say my work is in-trend fashion focussed combined with a dreamy glow. I try to keep creativity at the forefront of any shoot as this is where you engage the audience through captivating and unique angles, edits and style. I feel like it’s only in the last year or so that I have found the style that I love, although I am also open and will always be keen to explore new avenues as this is how your style develops and changes with the times.

Photography is a world of beautiful subjects, styles + formats, how do you stay on top of the latest trends as well as remaining perfectly unique to your brand?

Great question! For me, it’s the bravery to step outside your comfort zone and not to be afraid to try new things! For example, on shoots I often ask my model to try a pose that I haven’t shot before – this is the only way for you to know if it’s a pose you’d like to keep using or if you need to change your angle and way of shooting in order to make that pose work. Another thing is to remember your brain is like a big filter sponge, it will only take in visuals if you consistently supply it with them! I feed my brain with visuals everyday with the use of search engines like Pinterest – it’s full of creative people showcasing amazing visuals and work. You’ll find the more you expose your brain to creative visuals – the more you’ll use these throughout your work.

Wow, you have come so far. What was the initial inspiration to start your own business?

I always knew that I wanted to follow my passion and for this passion to become my work, even if it wasn’t my sole income. I’m a firm believer that you should focus on the things that make you happy; if you put enough work and hours into these things, they will one day pay off – even if it’s not the route you initially thought! Creative people I met in the industry was another big push, I exposed myself to as many successful people in my industry as I could and wasn’t afraid to ask questions (that’s the only way you can learn quickly, right!). Networking was the fundamental reason I was able to become freelance and one of the ways I meet new clients nowadays!

We love your shots! Where can we purchase your prints? Do you have a favourite, and why?

I have a few of my travel photography work available on my website – www.lydiacollins.com under the shop section. Initially, I started selling these to raise money for the devastating bushfires in Australia at the start of 2020 – to my absolute surprise, I raised just over $6000. When I ended the fundraiser and took the photos off my website, I had several messages asking to purchase some for presents and for peoples new homes, I felt so grateful. So I decided to set up a permanent digital print shop on my website where I update each time I go on a trip.

What was your first piece of kit, and what would you recommend to beginners looking to expand their hobbies?

My first piece of photography kit was actually borrowed from my dad and it was his Nikon – I think it was a D40 paired with a 16-35mm 2.8 lens. I used this as a hobby camera when I was going through school and college. When I had saved up enough money, I bought myself the Canon 70D – I used this camera for a long time before investing in the camera I use now which is the Canon 5D MKIV.

For a beginner camera, It totally depends what you want to be using it for and if you want to have the option of interchangeable lenses as some cameras, like compact cameras, often have fixed lenses. There’s a lot of great and affordable cameras on the market this day and age so definitely explore your options. YouTube is an amazing place to source reviews for cameras and lenses – definitely do some research but don’t be too nervous as most companies offer a 7 day return if you’re not totally happy!

You must miss travelling so much! With the world sadly on stand-still, how have you adapted to continue being creative?

I miss travelling SO much, I had planned to be in Australia the beginning 3 months of 2021. It’s so important to remember that this situation is temporary and things will get back to a new normal, even if it’s not totally the same as what we knew… who knows it could be better!

I have split my time being creative behind my camera but also down other avenues such as painting, glass cutting, reading – anything that gives me that same creative buzz! It’s amazing how much joy you can actually get from trying something new!

When we can, where will you be travelling to next?

Hopefully Australia as it truly is my home away from home and I have a lot of friends there that I am desperate to see! But honestly, I would love to go to Europe and explore some beautiful destinations that I have not visited yet! This time, as I imagine for many, has made me realise how accessible and easy travel was – I want to definitely make the most of being able to travel to Europe so easily from the UK.

Tricky, but where is your favourite place you have visited?

Work-wise – I’d have to say Tulum in Mexico, it completely blew my mind and I was able to shoot with some incredible women for a beauty brand and ended the trip shooting a 4 page spread with a magazine!

Travel-wise – The Philippines is a destination that totally shocked me with it’s endless beauty. Every island is so different and offers breathtaking beauty such as waterfalls, turquoise waters that are rife with tropical life, huge rope swings off palm trees – I could go on but if you are lucky enough to travel there, you are going to absolutely fall in love with the place and people!

Are you an early riser or a night owl, and do you have ritual which you stick by to maintain productivity?

I am absolutely an early riser. I love the simple pleasures in the morning of making a coffee before anyone in the house is up and having a moment to myself. I find my productivity in the morning is so much better. A little routine which I have been doing for the past 9 months is to laptop work or shoot in the morning until 2/3pm, workout or go for a walk, come back and read my book before making dinner and winding down for the evening. I also said to myself in the first UK lockdown in March 2020 that I wasn’t going to work on weekends unless absolutely essential. I have pretty much stuck with this up until now, with the exception of a few occasions if some of my clients can only shoot on weekends. Having a big break every week really helps me maintain productivity and focus when I am working.

Who are your biggest inspirations?

I actually get a lot of my inspiration from other creatives, not just photographers. I find most of my inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram – there are so many talented people out there and I love finding new accounts and styles! Some Photographers that I love are; Jessica Kobessi (her YouTube is filled with creative ideas and she offers some really great tips!), Bonnie Cee is an Australian photographer that shoots the most beautiful swimwear campaigns, Clint, an LA Photographer, blows me away with his creative shots and edits – he also creates some beautiful imagery on film.

I also listen to a lot of podcasts which keep me motivated; The BossBabe Podcast, The Health Code, The Creativepreneur Podcast are a few of my fave! Also The Winging It Podcast by my friend Lucy Hitchcock and It Starts With A Click by my photographer friend Olivia Bossert are amazing! I honestly could go on with the amount of people that inspire me on the daily, I think we are so lucky to live in a generation where this sort of motivation and career advice is so accessible!

What advice would you give to your 20 year old self?

To really put myself out there when it comes to networking and to not be afraid of rejection. Rejection is a common fear in most people but it isn’t always a negative thing, it can actually shape you towards the career that you’re destined to be at. I only really started networking and contacting people that inspired me at the age of 22/23 but I would recommend from such a young age to just talk with people about your passion and ambition as you can learn so much from others.

Finally, what piece of advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs at the moment?

Again, network as much as you possibly can – even if it’s online or sending someone an email! The more you put yourself out there, the more chance you’re giving yourself for doors to be opened. At the early stages, say yes to a lot of things, even if you’re unsure it’s the route you want to go down. I learnt and shaped a lot of my career by saying yes to shoots that didn’t interest me to begin with but allowed me to meet with people that were a big asset to my career moving forward.

Also, graft and work hard but always reward yourselves with days off with friends – don’t burn yourself to the ground as you may begin resenting the very thing that actually gives you so much joy. ENJOY THE PROCESS – it’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of career building but remember to take a step back and be proud of yourself for the little achievements you’ve made.

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Trends Volume II: Keeping it Personal

Vol. II brings you a new trend, keeping it personal; an insight into how you can share your brand’s personality – a marketing technique that is often overlooked + one that is often the easiest to achieve.

1: Get rid of robotics.

Firstly, try to avoid or limit usage of automated message generators when potential customers direct message you. These often produce impersonal, robotic responses to questions, sometimes not even providing a relevant response to your consumer. Although Facebook algorithms may love it, as you’re seen to be spending time on the platform, this can be frustrating for those needing help or support – or may be enough to turn once loyal customers away if they cannot speak to a ‘human’ member of your team.

Really, you have two options here: invest time into replying to individuals yourself OR hire someone to do this for you. Whilst we know that this may be something you are not looking to spend too much time on, the return on investment could be huge.

We’ve all seen those brands who are known for not responding to their consumers. This can build a bad reputation. On the other hand, so many consumers will ‘fangirl’ over the fact that you’ve personally taken the time to get to know them – in our eyes, it’s a no brainer!

2: Let them know that you are human too.

Show your followers behind the scenes, the faces of those that are running the brand! This is one that is often overlooked in today’s mass productive society. Showing the human side to your brand will only build rapport with your audience, making them feel part of what you do, a VIP insight.. allowing them to feel like part of the team too.

I recommend showing behind the scenes footage of what it is like to work within your business, think ‘a day in the life of’. Social media has rapidly changed to allow us to create so many different types of media – feed posts, Stories, Reels/TikToks, Boomerangs etc. Using these to your advantage, you can highlight the passion that your team has, achievements you have reached, new team members, occasions + commemorative posts. All of these different will help your audience engage with your team and your brand more seamlessly because of your online content being relatable, honest and authentic.

3: Make it special

It’s simple, people feel special when time has been spent to make things personalised. The positive of being a small brand is that you can often find the time to do this, even if it is for one hour a week.

Social Media Queen Lorna Luxe uses polls to get to know her audience + personalised competitions as well as taking several hours a week to interact with her followers and respond to private messages. With 1.1 million followers, it’s clear that being authentic achieves results.

Knowing your customers is a win-win, you can build your brand around your target audience and you build a loyal customer base at the same time. What more could you want?

We would love to see how you get on + email us your results! Stuck? Send us an email or book a FREE Discovery Call for a 1-1 with a You & Me expert today.

As always, if you are looking to take the step into getting more marketing assistance, we have a range of different resources + packages that can be tailored to help you and your business.

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Trends Volume I: Reels

We are eager to keep our wonderful friends up to date with all things social media. With algorithms ever-changing, we wanted to provide a platform for you to check regularly and learn all about the new trends and how to incorporate these into your business or entrepreneurial concepts, assisting your social success.

The latest trend to sky-rocket on our social platforms is user-generated short-clip videos, known as Reels. Originally created by TikTok, this style of video has quickly become the goto for businesses and influencers alike to deliver quirky, fun and informative content to their followers.

The possibilities of Reels are endless; from the Ocean Spray boarder, to InTheFrow fashion advice and easy recipes.. lending it to be a hugely beneficial marketing method. Benefits include:

• Little to no-budget needed
• Can be done with minimal effort and no Marketing Team (although, why would you want to do it alone? We’re here to be your Marketing besties after all!)
• Easy to personalise and target your desired demographics
• Quick and very easy for your audience to view. With 30 second clips, the task of grabbing a user’s attention is minimal.

On this, due to the short and shareable nature of these videos it is extremely easy for videos to go viral. The perfect example is our Ocean Spray lover, skating into 26 million views in a matter of days on TikTok. This means that they are able to reach a vast audience for little to no cost. Through another method, reaching such a large audience could only be possible with large Paid Advertising campaigns or Influencer Management tactics.

As a creative team, we love the idea of using Reels to showcase your brand, services and your personality. A fantastic example is Personal Shoppers utilising their platform to
showcase styling videos, first-hand providing an insight to their brand and a call to action resulting in future custom.

We all have to start somewhere – give your first Reel a try – top tip: review the performance. What works well? What is the outcome of the content? Always deliver with a purpose. We would love to know how you get on.

See you soon, Y&M x

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Content is King: Our 5 Best Kept Secrets

With social media taking the world by storm, I thought it was only fair that we share a few of our top tips when it comes to creating content on your favourite social platforms; ideal for those of you who are just starting out within the ever changing world of social media.

Secret One: Arguably one of the most important concepts is to keep your content at the basis of every post.

What do we mean by this? Think image resolution, feed aesthetics, use of colour and most importantly – does it fit the brand?

Secret Two: It isn’t essential for you to know everything when it comes to creative design and the confusing software which presumptively comes hand in hand.

Navigating programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and the likes, takes a LOT of practice, can be tiresome and this method doesn’t work for everybody.

I recommend taking a look into what the AppStore can offer, in today’s day and age we have access to so many incredible creative programs – a lot of which are free (WIN!).

My top picks that we swear by at You and Me Collective have to include:

  • “Canva” – Create branded flyers, logos, images, invoices, you name it!
  • “Retouch” – Removes unwanted areas of images
  • “Unfold” or “Story Creator” – Perfect to use to create branded stories

Each of these apps have proven to be revolutionary on my journey within the social media marketing world and the fact that they are all able to be used on my iPhone makes working on the move SO much easier.

Secret Three: Numbers are not the be all and end all!

In today’s society we are led to believe that it is ALL about the amount of ‘likes’ on a post. Whilst this can indicate success, there are far more important statistics to keep an eye on to really measure your growth rate of brand awareness – i.e. reach and impressions.

  • “Reach” – Number of users that have seen your posts.
  • “Impressions” – Number of times your post has been seen

If your impressions are a higher number than your reach, this indicates that successful performance. I recommend taking note of your stats monthly to enable you to create a fair comparison each month.

Secret Four: Stories make a bigger impact than you may think!

I recommend alternating between feed posts and Instagram stories, this will help ensure that you avoid overloading your followers with post after post of hard-hitting content. Whilst you do want to get your message across to your market, too many feed posts can create the undesired effect on your audience and turn them away.

By posting stories, you continue to build your brand awareness whilst not clogging up the Instagram homepage. Equally, Instagram stories allow businesses or influencers to show their fun side – something that we celebrate at You and Me! I am seeing more and more people wanting to interact with brands that they can relate to and what better way than this (and it is free – YAY!).

Some interesting ways to use Instagram Stories to engage your audience:

  • Wish Lists
  • How To’s/Step By Step Videos
  • Reviews
  • Menus
  • Price Lists

*Our top tip is to create logos for your Instagram Highlights – you can do this easily on Canva! This will help you streamline your Instagram page, ensuring it looks sleek and is easy to navigate for potential clients or consumers.*

Secret Five: Take advantage of websites and software which allow you to batch post.

Using websites that are specifically designed to help you pre-plan your Instagram feed and schedule your posts provide significant benefits, especially if you are working alone.

  • Saves HUGE amounts of time.
  • Allows your to view your feed before it is posted live, which allows you to ensure you are staying on-brand.
  • Able to drag and drop posts to alternative dates, should other content be more urgent to post at short notice.
  • Clients can log in and check that they are happy with scheduled content from any device, anywhere in the world (with WIFI of course!).

And there you go, our five best kept secrets to help you on your way to becoming a social media sensation. Let us know which secret you have found most insightful. Better yet, comment below with an original secret top tip of your own, we would love to hear!