2 Free Facebook Features Every Blogger Should Be Using

It’s not always necessary to spend a lot of money promoting your brand or blog on social media. Investing in sponsored content to appear on your follower’s newsfeed should definitely be part of your social media growth strategy, but there are several major ways you can connect with your followers on Facebook without spending a dime!

Facebook Insights Screenshot Example

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Pattern Mixing with Gingham & Florals

Last month, when the 75% off end-of-season sale alert popped up in my inbox from Draper James, the one thing I prayed was included in that sale was the McKenzie Skirt in Laurel Teal. I hopped over to the site and ended up snagging it for $75 down from $235! Normally I wouldn’t spend that much on a skirt but it’s DRAPER JAMES. Please tell me that was justification enough?

You’re probably wondering how someone as color-phobia as I am is planning on wearing the McKenzie skirt. My philosophy with colors and patterns is to go towards one extreme or another. You’ll either see me in either an all black ensemble or a daring, kaleidoscopic mix. When I ordered the Mckenzie skirt my immediate idea was to go super preppy and Southern with the styling (I live in Nashville now after all!). I landed on pairing the skirt with a red and white gingham button down from Target (thank goodness I decided to add a monogram in navy blue, three years ago), a pair of sapphire blue, jeweled pumps from a little boutique I discovered while living in Germany, cobalt blue Alex earrings by Kendra Scott and a flat cobalt blue clutch by Clare V.
Pattern Mixing With Draper James

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DIY Goth Glam Studded Pumpkin Decor

I think because I move so often I don’t really like switching up the decor every 3 months for the changing seasons and Holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkins, bunnies, easter eggs, shamrocks and ornaments, but I like them in other people’s houses. However, with this newest house I have a real mantle, which is something I always dreamed of decorating, so I decided two little simple pumpkins wouldn’t hurt my decor psyche for a few weeks!

DIY Goth Glam Pumpkin_image

To make these punk rock glam goth pumpkins you’ll need the following:

  • 2 foam or plastic pumpkins (I found mine at Michael’s)
  • Assorted metal cone or pyramid studs
  • Rose gold spray paint
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Chalkboard pencil
  • old newspaper
  • tack hammer

DIY Goth Glam Pumpkin1

Arrange your supplies and lay some old newspaper for spray painting on later. I put mine outside to make sure I had plenty of ventilation.

DIY Goth Glam Pumpkin2

Use the natural lines on the pumpkin as a guide for your rows of studs. Punch the tabs into the pumpkin and tap down with a hammer. My studs were easy to punch into the foam pumpkin, but I had so many rows to do that my fingers got tired and I needed the hammer!

DIY Goth Glam Pumpkin3

I chose to create a sort of frame with my studs on the pumpkin that will be painted with the chalkboard paint.

DIY glam rock punk goth pumpkin decor

Spray paint your pumpkins according to instructions on can. I would suggest two coats of paint to get full coverage of that bright orange!

DIY Goth Glam Pumpkin4

I wrote a season appropriate message in the stud frame on my chalkboard pumpkin 😉 I like that I can use the pumpkins as Thanksgiving decor too and change the message to something like, ‘Give Thanks.’

DIY Goth Glam Pumpkin6

All done! Enjoy decorating your space with your new glam punk rock pumpkins!

DIY Goth Glam Pumpkin7

Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram if you make this tutorial 🙂

Use #MDLdiy and @mydiy.life so I can re-gram your snaps!

My 1st Pop Up Shop Showcase & How I Got Ready for It!

As readers of this blog I’m sure you’re all aware of my Etsy shop, Glitter & Bow. It’s my ‘baby’ and one of the many ways I show my creativity! I had planned my first live pop up showcase for next Summer, but as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I was very honored and excited to be invited by RAW Artists to participate in their October showcase in Nashville. I jumped at the opportunity to try something on a small scale so I could ‘dip my toes’ in the proverbial pop up pool!

 Above: video preview of the finished pop up shop — ready for shoppers!

 

Above: the G&B space right before show

The hardest part about getting ready for this pop up were the mere 6 weeks I had to prep and the fact that I could find NO tips or articles online about prepping for one. However, I welcome a challenge, especially if it helps me grow professionally and creatively.

Please don’t take this article as the ‘Bible’ for newbie pop up planning. I only hope that by sharing my discoveries I can point someone in the right direction for taking this big step and feeling reasonably prepared if this is something you are ready to do.

showcase3

Above: new designs not yet in my shop that showcase attendees got to shop first!

1. Choose your pop up location based on the type of client you want to attract. I was invited to showcase at RAW and chose them because this was an evening, 18+ event, calling for cocktail attire. My sparkly designs definitely attract the Southern, cocktail dress wearing sort (like myself!).

2. Ask the event manager how many people are expected to attend. This is so you can make sure you have enough product and not miss any potential sales! I also made sure I had custom order forms on hand as well in case I ran out of anything that ended up being unexpectedly popular.

3. Plan your booth/area/table layout beforehand. I drew actual pictures out on paper of how I wanted my area to look at the event so I could save time during set up and make sure everything looked perfect.

4. Label everything. Make sure all your products have their own label and create a price sheet to display prominently. Customers can save time asking how much every item is if this information is readily available. I personally dislike asking for prices while shopping at pop ups, showcases or craft shows because it seems like the seller doesn’t really want my business and isn’t prepared (or expecting) to make a sale.

5. Make them want you. When asking people to take a business card I want to give them something back. There are a couple things you can easily invest in as a small token of appreciation for your client’s attention. I chose to have custom hair ties made and put them in a jar on my table to offer along with a business card. By the end of the night half the attendees at the show were walking around with bright, neon pink wrist bands that said Glitter & Bow! Another crowd favorite freebie are stickers. Make sure your logo isn’t the main focus of the sticker. Create a cute quote, illustration or shape that’s appealing and put your logo/contact info somewhere on the edge of the sticker. Look at the ones ban.do gives away at their pop ups!

showcase

Above: free hair ties for attendees

7. Make a list, check it twice. Make lists of anything and everything you’ll need for your pop. From display pieces, to snacks and water bottles, extra pens, paperclips, cell phone charger… I mean everything. It’s better to stash a bunch of stuff in your car that you don’t need over panicking at the last second because you forgot an extra battery for your camera.

…which brings me to #8.

8. GET AN ASSISTANT. Find someone reliable who will still be your friend after the madness, and pay them handsomely! A darling friend was thankfully available to help me out all day for my pop up show and I did my best to make her feel appreciated! Some Chipotle & Sonic the day of show, a custom outfit to wear for the showcase, and a gift bag of goodies I knew she would love was a small price to pay for how much stress she took off me that day!

assistant selfie _ glitter & bow pop up shop

9. Leave a lasting impression. Plaster your info on everything. My pop up area was so sparkly and eye catching that people were constantly taking selfies and video of it all night. There’s no way the huge ‘Glitter & Bow’ banner could be cropped out of any of those photos! My contact info was on every tag, business card and clothing label. The one thing I wish I had thought of was putting a “Share your snaps on Instagram and use #glitterandbow” so we can see them!” sign of some sort on my table (next time!). I also had an e-mail sign up sheet on my table letting people know what I’m about as a business. The top of the sheet stated that no info would be shared or sold and I never send out e-mails unless there’s something new in the shop or something FREE (downloads, coupon codes, flash sales, giveaways, etc.). Clients appreciate this sort of truthful transparency. Just make sure you actually deliver on your promises.

10. Make a budget and stick to it. A lot of what I bought for my pop up (like the sequin table cloth, 2-tier clothing rack, acrylic display stands, bulk tissue paper and bags, etc.) are all going to last through many pop ups, so I let myself spend a little more than I would like to make a really strong first impression. I didn’t want it to be obvious this was my first time! However, be sure hosting a pop up will actually help, and not hurt, your bottom line. I definitely think making connections, winning over new clients, and getting exposure is hard to buy, so it’s difficult to quantify a black and white numbers budget. Just figure out how much product you would have to sell at the pop up to break even and decide what to spend on supplies from there. If you’re expecting a huge turnout, and the audience totally fits your aesthetic, you can probably bank on breaking even, and making a profit — which justifies a bigger decorating budget.

Above: pop up table close up

11. Push It. Push it real good! Market your showcase. This one’s tricky… you want to make sure your current clients, followers and fans know about the pop up without pushing it so much that they decide to un-follow you on social media. Make sure you set an announcement on your Etsy shop, Tweet, Facebook post and Instagram about the event leading up to the date. Create a Facebook event and generate a QR code (you have this option when you create a Facebook event) to invite your fans to attend. If the event requires tickets, make sure that link is easy to find. I also wrote a blog post a few weeks ago talking about the event. Generate incentive by offering a discount code to your ticket buyers to use on purchases at your pop up. If you have a newsletter, send out 1-2 e-mails (not too many!) announcing the event and include links to your Facebook event post and blog post. Another way I generated interest was releasing a new line of products at the showcase. Fans had to follow along to get updates and my showcase attendees got to shop first pick at the pop up.

Above: my assistant wearing one of my designs at the pop up

12. Dress for success. During set up and break down my assistant and I were in yoga pants and pony tails but during the showcase I had us both dressed in sweat shirts from my FW15 collection. I let Ali choose her design (“Coffee First” in gold sequins on a slate sweater) and I chose to wear a sneak peek of next season’s collection! (below: “Best Day Ever” in silver sequins on a black crop sweatshirt from my SS16 Bridal collection)

best day ever sequin sweater

Above: my complete outfit for the pop up

I chose a blush pink tulle skirt for Ali and a black tulle skirt for myself. We accessorized individually to our own tastes to show how similar sequined lettered sweatshirts could cater to two completely different aesthetics. I’m telling you about our outfits to say if there’s any way the items you’re selling can be worn or used during/at your pop up, DO IT. This gives shoppers a chance to see your items at work in real life and helps them see potential.

Above: Ali’s sequined ‘Coffee First’ sweater and pink tulle skirt

For example, if you sell tassel garlands in your Etsy shop, use them to decorate your space. If you ask your Etsy customers to share snapshots using your items on social media, screen shot those pics and create a look book to display on a table at your pop up so potential clients can see how other real people use your product. I created a virtual look book with my sweatshirts styled around other clothing articles and posted it in the Facebook event photo album before the pop up. (slideshow look book below).

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Okay, I think I covered everything! Below I will link to the items I used to decorate my pop up space so you can get some inspiration. Let me know if you have any questions or comments! Please feel free to leave your thoughts 🙂

happy shoppers

Decor details: Acrylic clip boards HERE, sequin table cloth HERE, acrylic chairs (similar) HERE, tassel banner (handmade – similar) HERE, clothing rack (custom) similar HERE, acrylic display pieces HERE, HERE and HERE, tags (handmade with Minc foil applicator), glitter logo banner (handmade with Silhouette), business cards (handmade with Minc foil applicator), folding wood frame organza room divider (borrowed from my sister-in-law, similar) HERE

Custom elastic hair ties by Riled Violets HERE (contact directly for pricing)

Outfit details: Tulle skirts (custom) similar HERE, Loren Hope Abba earrings in ice blue c/o Rocksbox HERE, black patent So Kate Louboutin pumps HERE

Styling a Statement Blazer with Shabby Apple

A few months ago Shabby Apple asked if they could send me a piece from their Summer collection to review. Of course I was thrilled and chose the Jackson Jacket. The Jackson Jacket is a little more bold, pattern-wise, than I usually go for, but I wanted the little challenge of styling it in a completely different way than was portrayed on the model. This jacket instantly evokes visions of 1960s housewives in bouffant hair and an apron (which I love!), but versatility is the life of any well-trimmed wardrobe, and I wanted to see where this jacket would fit in my own style.

Below is the Jackson jacket on the Shabby Apple model:

Jackson Jacket Shabby Apple

You get what I mean about the retro housewife vibe, right? Very Betty Draper!

My vision for styling the Jackson jacket was 1.) Modern & 2.) Casual. This is what I came up with:

Shabby Apple Jackson Jacket

When styling a statement piece with a distinct vibe make sure the color palette lends to the style you want to create. I wanted to move away from 1960s, towards 2015 so I chose crisp white and deep blue, which compliment the jacket’s pattern.

Shabby Apple Jackson Jacket

Since this jacket has a lot going on (like the polka dots and the shoulder bow) I couldn’t introduce any new patterns into the mix. Let the polka dot madness shine!

Shabby Apple Jackson Jacket

When choosing accessories I stuck with one accent metal (rose gold) and implemented that from the simple and modern cross body, all the way down to the hardware on my wedge shoes.

Shabby Apple Jackson Jacket

I opted for two, very simple, classic pieces of jewelry by Loren Hope (c/o Rocksbox), who is also known for her clean, modern take on traditionalism. An arm cuff and a pair of studs in the same clear crystal stone added a little sparkle. I chose not to wear a necklace as the shoulder bow on the Jackson jacket is neck ornamentation enough. Anything more would be overwhelming to the outfit. Depending on the specifics of the statement jacket you are styling you may choose to wear a necklace, but opt out of a bracelet, because your jacket is sporting gorgeous ruffles around the wrist. See what I mean? It’s all about working with the jacket to show off it’s best assets.

Shabby Apple Jackson Jacket

There were definitely many elements about this jacket I loved, including the high quality fabric and stunning tailored cut. I also liked the comfortable arm length, which hit just above the elbow, making it acceptable for Spring or Summer wear despite the humid Nashville weather I’ve been experiencing!

I’m normally not a fan of mirror selfies in my outfit blog posts but I had no one around to help me with these so here you go! At least you get the idea of the whole look styled in person.

Shabby Apple Jackson jacket

http://www.shabbyapple.com/

Shop the Jackson jacket (on sale now!) and get an additional 20% off with code AUGUST.

So what did you think? Were these helpful tips for styling a statement jacket or blazer? Let me know your favorite ways to wear statement pieces and check out more of my favorite Shabby Apple pieces on Pinterest!

Follow Rachel @ MyDIY.life’s board Shabby Apple | Shades of Blue on Pinterest.

Jackson jacket c/o Shabby Apple. All opinions are my own.