Having your photos featured on a wedding blog or in a magazine can be amazing for your wedding photography (or wedding related) business. In addition to having your hard work validated and appreciated, you basically get free advertisement as brides-to-be pour over online and print materials looking for inspiration and potential vendors for their big day. If it's an online feature, you will benefit from the backlink to your website and you should see an increase in page visits as well as a boost in search engine rankings.
If you want to tap into the power of wedding blogs and magazines, it is going to take some extra work. However, look at it as an investment in marketing and the pay-off will be worth it.
As a regular contributor to a major wedding blog, I spend dozens of hours a week scouring the internet for the perfect photos to use in my articles. Whether it's a piece on elegant navy wedding ideas or essential details for a minimalist wedding, I look for photos that are: beautiful, high-quality, properly cited, fit the theme of the article, and I personally prefer pictures that haven't already been featured on competitor's blogs.
If you're interested as to how I actually go about choosing the photos, this is an insight into how it goes:
2016 was a big year for me, both personally and professionally. There were a lot of changes, from moving across the world, to starting a new business, but I have enjoyed the ride immensely and have adapted to my new environment.
I have learned a lot from my first 6 months of business, both from hands-on experience and the great support networks that I have tapped into, like the Starter Company and the Hamilton Fempreneurs. However, though I am proud of where I am and what I have achieved up to this point, the goal is for 2017 to be the pivotal year in which Figure of Speech Content Studio goes from being a tiny, little-heard of brand, to being the premier, go-to content creators for several small, but ambitious, businesses in the area.
Just like I know that this won't happen overnight, I know that there is a lot of work that goes into being a successful and well-liked business. As of right now, I am a one-woman band who has to juggle many tasks and responsibilities (picture that, a juggling one-woman band!), but with a plan, some good coffee, and lots of determination, I'm ready to welcome 2017 with a big, old, "bring it on!"
There's this one digital marketing tool that is super easy to use, has a great conversion rate and doesn't cost anything to use.
No it's not Facebook.
I'm not referring to Twitter.
And it's definitely not that saw hanging on the wall.
It's time to tap into the power of EMAIL!
Email might be seen as an outdated method of marketing- almost as old as handing out flyers or making cold calls. However, just as those two previous marketing tactics remain effective, so does email marketing.
What's the magic in it?
Facebook has become the ultimate marketing tool, for businesses big and small. However, though some seem to just "get it" right away, others make the same common mistakes, making their social presence look amateur, unprofessional, or just not "social" enough.
It's time to sit down, open your laptop, and take a nice, hard look to see if you're making one (or more) of these little mistakes on Facebook that can compromise your social identity.
Life in Dundas is a lot simpler and quieter than in Warsaw. However, there's a charm that I find in the everyday happenings of this small town. The regular gentleman at the bank, the familiar faces at the grocery store, the smell of barley rising from Shawn & Ed's Lagershed, but also the weekly bustle around the municipal parking lot on Thursdays when the Dundas Farmers' Market is set up.
I've visited nearly every week and even with the seasonal harvest changes, the one stand that inevitably catches my attention every week is La Primavera Farms' floral display. Beautiful, rustic, with just the right amount of polished charm, these fresh blooms just call to me every week from their mason jar and barrel display.
The Search for the Truth
Marketing isn’t really known to be an ethical or particularly honest profession. Like lawyers or PR professionals, marketers get paid to say that their client is the best, the biggest, the brightest, even if that means bending the truth to make it work. We get really good at saying something dishonest but not necessarily untrue in order to get the effect that we want- whether that means sales, client acquisition, or proving someone as innocent.
FOS: What is your proper title? Potter? Artist? Sculptor? Ceramist? Crafter?
JR: Ceramic Artist / Ceramicist
FOS: Where did the idea come from?
JR: I have always enjoyed making things, ever since I child, I would beg my mom on Saturdays to make crafts with me. My interest grew for creating and I explored various other mediums in high school. But it was my first pottery course with my best friend where I fell in love with clay. I loved how it could be moulded and shaped in any which way. I loved how I could turn a lump of clay into something tangible and something I could use! It was a great feeling having a finished product that I could use in my own kitchen. Secondly, I had a desire to be an entrepreneur. I grew up on a horticultural farm my parents and Uncle owned. I only knew self-employment and hard work. I had a desire to invest and grow my own business. The two fell hand and hand and the rest is history.
FOS: Tell us about the inspiration for your ceramics. Some of them are named after sea creatures? Anything other than crayfish around Iroquois?
JR: I am inspired by nature, plants and my surroundings. Different forms that I make are also inspired by things that I want in my own home. For example, I love plants, and I have a house full of plants, so I draw inspiration to create planters for house plants, succulents and air plants. I first start out sketching my ideas, or playing with the clay to get my ideas out. The piece evolves throughout the process and it is changed, tweaked and fine-tuned several times to become the final piece. Sometimes it is just going through the process and seeing how it evolves.
FOS: Where did you learn to make this?
JR: I took numerous classes from multiple ceramicists, worked as an apprentice and assistant. But I have no formal training in ceramics, I am self taught. I have spent and do still spend a lot of my time reading and watching videos. A year before I officially began my business, I was constantly reading, learning and sketching. I still spend time researching and learning every day and a lot of experimenting and trial and error.
FOS: Is your living environment conducive to creating art? What are the perks? The limitations?
JR: We live in a early 1800s farmhouse that is slowly getting filled with handmade goods and plants of course! I like to support other artists' work and fill my home with their artwork. I love collecting from ceramic artists as everyone has such a unique style and I appreciate all the time and efforts that have gone into every single pot. I want to create an environment that supports other creatives and gives me inspiration to work hard, keep going, and push myself more.
FOS: Is there a community of artists in Iroquois and the area?
JR: There aren’t many full-time artists in Iroquois, but there aren’t many people to begin with. Iroquois is a very small town of only 1200 people, and I live in the country about 7 minutes from town. However, looking around about a 20 minute radius from me, it is surprising the amount of hobbyist crafters there are in the area.
FOS: What does a common day look like for you?
JR: I start my day reviewing and responding to emails and checking my social media channels. I then get to the studio (which is just a few steps away!) and begin my work there. I start in the studio by checking on all my existing in process work. I uncover the items, move them around, sponge if necessary and either leave uncovered to dry or cover again. Some days I am making new work, either by hand building, throwing or slip casting. Other days I am glazing the work and gold painting, plus firing the kiln between that. My evenings are spent either back in the studio continuing the work there, or I find myself back behind my computer, answer emails, doing admin work, researching, updating my social media channels, packing items to be shipped and checking/updating my online shop. There is never enough time in a day to get everything done!
FOS: Would you consider your ceramics as tableware or as art?
JR:I would consider my ceramics to be tableware. I want my ceramics to be used, and I make them to be used. I love seeing photos of my ceramics in other people’s homes. I love being able to beautify their homes and tables them ceramics! However, there are some pieces in my collection that are beautiful on their own as a centerpiece for a table, which make a great statement.
FOS: What qualities do ceramists need?
JR: There are many, but here are two I feel are important:
FOS: How long does it take to create a piece? / Walk us through the process of how something gets made.
JR: Each piece takes a minimum of two weeks from start to finish. A piece starts by being thrown on the wheel, built by hand or slip cast (Different items in my collection require different methods). The piece is moulded and shaped to how I want it to be. It then dries for a day so that touch ups, sponging and trimming can be done. At this stage attachments are done, such as handles. The piece then dries slowly, so it does not warp or crack, for about a week. During this time, the piece gets checked on every day, moved around and covered and uncovered to unsure even drying. Once the piece is completely dry, it gets fired to approximately 1900F. This firing takes 24 hours. Next the piece is glazed. I then allow my glazed piece to sit and dry for at least 12 hours before I then clean up and fix any glaze imperfections. The kiln is then loaded with all glazed items and fired again to 2232F, which takes 24 hours. At this point in time, the marbled pieces in my collection are finished and ready to sell. However, the items in my collection that have 22k gold, require an additional step. The gold gets painted on by hand, dries for a few hours, then goes back in the kiln again. This firing goes to 1400F and takes about 15 hours.
FOS: What are some other passions/hobbies that you have?
JR: I love many things that involve working with my hands. I love to cook! I love to knit and crochet. I love to grow plants, propagate plants, and garden. I also love skiing.
FOS: As a young artist entrepreneur, how do you get the news of yourself out? What are your best tools?
JR: Social media. It is difficult getting your name out there, and getting known. And of course I am just starting, I officially started my business in November of 2014 by way of an short entrepreneurial course. But I did not start working in my studio until mid February of 2015. Social media has been a huge help in spreading the word and getting others to discover my work. Also networking among other artists and customers is important. Attending craft shows and getting to know more people in the community has really helped.
FOS: How can someone get their hands on an original Jenny Rijke?
JR: Currently, my work is only available online in my online shop. I do attend crafts shows throughout the year (which are listed on my website) www.jennyrijke.com . I also plan on getting some of my products in retail outlets soon. You can keep your eyes peeled for that!
FOS: And lastly, something that we ask all of our interviewees….
FOS: Favorite person, place, and thing:
JR: It is hard to pick just one favourite…
Person: My parents. My dad is able to do anything, fix everything, and come up with a better way for everything! My mom is the single most hard working person I know, hands down. I don’t know how she does it! I look up to them both tremendously.
Place: I love our farm that my Grandparents started 60 years ago, I am a homebody. But one of the best places on earth is Whistler, B.C on a powder day!
Thing: Plants and kitties.
DISCLAIMER:This interview was conducted for THE CAROLINIAN MAGAZINE, a future project showcasing community shaping enterprises. Images are property of Jenny Rijke
A self-professed fashion event addict, Warsaw definitely caters to my weaknesses, with markets, fairs, events, and shows going on every week. These are full of local Polish designers, crafters, creators, and makers. I love witnessing the ingenuity and creativity of the young generation of Poles and supporting it whenever possible.
There are a few designers with which I have developed a relationship from seeing each other so frequently and a common appreciation for their products or services. One of these exhibitors is Brazi Druse Jewelry- a brand that makes statement jewelry and accessories.
Druse, if you care to look it up, (no need because I already did for you!) is the natural mineral crystalline deposits that form inside of rocks. If you were nerdy enough, you might have had a few specimens in your rock collection as a child- or adult.
Brazi takes these unique natural occurring deposits and crafts one-of-a-kind rings, necklaces, earrings and more! The thing that I like most about these pieces are that there is literally no way that anyone will ever have the same druse jewelry as me. Every piece has a different shape, colour, striations, etc, and when you find something you like, it's a bit like finding a piece of yourself- simply meant to be.
I personally, have 2 Brazi creations (so far). I have a stunning oversized statement agate ring and a citrine pendant with a gold leaf finish. I get many compliments on both pieces and I love being able to wear them as the item of interest in a simple everyday outfit and as the finishing touch to a more elaborate ensemble.
What makes it even dearer to me is seeing how the girls at Brazi are developing their brand. Even when they know that I am not buying, they give me their full attention and treat me like a dear friend. When I do need their help with choosing something for myself or for some other lucky duck, they are super patient with me and will give me advice, recommendations, bear with my indecision, and finish off with a smile. The team is expanding and there are rumours that they are looking for a well situated storefront which would give interested shoppers a greater chance to see, touch, and try on their entire breathtaking assortment.
I hope that all their dreams come true and they keep providing women with a chance to find a unique, one-of-a-kind rock that lends an elegance without being too polished.
"Wow, this is so not me" laughed Dave as he reluctantly agreed to be photographed. "Beard, plaid shirt, and holding a bunch of kale," he jokingly complained. So if this is not Dave Kurcic, who is he?
The drizzly day outside seemed to do little to deter clients from visiting Mixed Media, an art shop owned by Dave Kurcic and his wife Suzanne, located on Hamilton's James Street North - the city's vibrant de facto art district who's very existence can be attributed to the vision and success of Mixed Media and a handful of art galleries. Mixed Media's beautiful hand-picked products, ranging from art supplies to fountain pens, maps, prints, and greeting cards, were not the only draw for the visitors. Dave wasn't just there to give a "thank you" and a warm smile when ringing in your purchases. It was clear that he and his business were more than just a storefront, they were a community cornerstone. And if the urban gardener coming in with a box of fresh produce and selling spinach and kale didn't prove the point, nothing would.
"We were looking for a change, something radically different, something that we could create and put together and something that would help this neighborhood." Ten years ago, Dave, a graphic designer, and his wife Suzanne, with a background in bookkeeping and accounting, left their jobs and set up shop on James Street North, a then rundown and forgotten part of the city home to a small community of local artists. The local art supply store had closed down and they didn't want to have to resort to shopping at large chain stores. Kurcic knew that just art supplies wouldn't keep the business afloat so he diversified and brought in other products, inspired by stationary stores in Montreal. They brought an experience to Hamilton that was not present at the time and that people had to drive to other cities for.
Why James St N? Simply put they liked the setting of the street. "We thought that this was a street that people should be walking on, congregating on, it was the central spine of the city, where the seat of government was, the armouries were," explained Dave. A Hamiltonian born and raised, he describes always being interested in the city's history and wanting to live in that glorious Hamilton of the 40's and 50's, when it was bustling with people and with energy. Dave said there was no downtown in Ontario that more undervalued than that of Hamilton and that all the positive change is coming from within. "A lot of folks at a certain age leave a city like Hamilton, whether it is to go away to school, or whether it's just to escape. Those folks are now beginning to come back as we start talking about the "New Hamilton" but for myself and my wife, who is the other half of this business, we've always been here and I think that's the interesting thing about what's going on in Hamilton. The regeneration is happening from within, people who are from here or born and raised here care about their city."
When asked who should be responsible for revitalization Dave has a ready response. He thinks that if the City had tried to brand the street as an art district years ago, it would not have been successful or at least not in the same way. "You know those paths through a park that are unpaved? The ones that people make by walking through them over and over again? I think they are called desire lines. Anyway, we just paved a path that was made by the people, not made by the City." Dave does see a place for the involvement of the City, by means of grants, development fees, and good planning, but not as the primary agent. People wanted places to go to like Mixed Media and the neighboring businesses on James St. South. People are deciding to come here to make their purchases and that's what keeps these places going. It's become a drawing force, with people that associated downtown Hamilton with blight and closed storefronts making the trip to have soup at the Burnt Tongue, a newly opened restaurant, or shop at one of the unique boutiques that line the street on both sides.
It's no wonder it has taken Hamiltonians a while to come down here. Ten years ago, much of the streetscape was in poor shape with empty storefronts, absentee landlords, and nothing worth visiting for. Yet, this situation allowed those that wanted to invest into unique businesses to grow their businesses slowly while paying little for rent and eventually being able to purchase their own location. The Kurcics bought their century old building and put a lot of work into it to make it functional for their store. David had the good business sense of purchasing his building so as to secure himself from the rising rent prices that gentrifying communities bring. They also rent out artist studios above their store and the storefronts on either side of them. David describes himself as a sympathetic landlord and swears that "good communication" can fix most problems.
If you really want to get the feel of who Dave is, just seeing what's in Mixed Media should give you an idea. "What you see in the store is a real reflection of us, reflection of our history, and reflection of what we enjoy and like to surround ourselves with." Better yet, visit Hamilton's James Street North on a second Friday of the month where, without fail, more than 20 to 30 creative spaces open their doors that night to all willing and interested parties. It is completely free and self-directed, and according to Dave, outrivals any art event in Toronto. It was also the inspiration for Supercrawl, an annual festival in Hamilton. "It's nice to be part of something special, something bigger than just a storefront."
DISCLAIMER: This article was written for THE CAROLINIAN MAGAZINE, a future project showcasing community shaping enterprises.
Would you like to be the next business featured on the Figure of Speech blog? Get in touch with us and we would love to get to know you and your story better!