Hello and welcome to All things card and paper at Evelyn Mae. A place where I get to wax lyrical about all things to do with card making. From stitching to glitter, to history to whims of fashion ...

Thank you for visiting

Shelly X

Friday, 31 August 2012

Sorry about the photos ...

Just a quick note to apologise for having no photos on any of my blog posts except the last one ... Somehow I have managed to delete all 98 posts worth of pictures, and I can't seem to recover them ... so it is going to take me a while to go through and re-edit each post.

Sorry people!!  I thought my computer skills were improving!!

Thank you for being patient 

Shelly X

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

...on losing and liking ...

Losing and liking .... well, facebook likes.  It seems to be a hot topic on the interweb at the moment, and it came into sharp focus for me this week.  Let me explain ....

Facebook is having a surge it seems in 'ladders and silent tagging' .  If you are not sure what this is .... it is in essence, you 'liking' a  business page, and them 'liking' your business page in return.  The reason being that you will gain more 'likes'.  

For some people running their business, increasing their likes is important.  They see it as validating their business, promoting customer confidence in their goods.  Which for some customers, it really will help.  With this ladder method, there is a general unwritten rule that you returns the likes.  Which generally I do.  However, I came a little unstuck this week.  A minor mistake on my part that has really got me thinking.

I had liked a fair few pages; I had asked for links because I wanted to support some new businesses and do some networking.  (A very clinical term for a lovely thing to do!)  The extra likes for my page are also a great bonus.  After I had done this I thought no more of it, and didn't have time to look at the pages in much detail, a job I would get back to at some point when I didn't have orders to fill.  I quite like this job, just meandering through pictures of lovely handmade goodies!

Until !! ... A customer of mine pointed out that I had liked a particular page that did not sit well with the products that I make, and it made them question my work.   I don't mean they contradicted my style of work, but they produce items that go against the ethics of some of my work.  I was surprised, but once pointed out, oh so obvious!!  So went through the pages I had liked, and just check them out more carefully than I had done, and 'un-liked' two of them.  

Apologies for sounding vague- I am not criticising or passing comment on anyone else's pages, far from it.  I am reflecting on my own actions rather than the other pages- I realised that I needed to be more aware of what MY clients needs and interests are.  I don't intend to sound judgemental nor am I making comment on those two pages at all,  I had been shown that I had gotten careless. I had worried more about my 'likes' than my customer base.  D'oh.  The fault is with me.

Within an hour of sorting it out, I happened to read a great post on a forum of someone questioning why they had lost a fair few likes over night.  (Not mine, but those gained from a night of using ladders)  And it really got me thinking about how best to use the likes, and for everyone's benefit.

Sat in my workshop, mostly alone, I LOVE to reach out to fellow crafters on FB.  I love a particular group called IRASB forum, which allows NO advertising, which means it is a great community to talk with others about all the things that I am going through, business ideas, finding out where to watermark photos, or just saying you have had a bad day.  THIS for me, is the best of FB.  

What I try to do (what I failed to do this week!)  is use ladders occasionally in the same way.  I go through the pages I like, interact with the owners.  Like pictures that are great - showing the owner what products I think are fab.  I try to strike conversations when I can, or give positive feedback on items they are selling.  And I love it when people do the same.  For example,  this week someone passed comment that text colour I used on my website was too light for them to read ... so I changed it.  Something I would never have thought about without that helpful objective eye. Which I gained through thoughtful networking.

The likes I get are a great bonus, but 'likes' don't buy products.  [Note to self!] People do, and its the people I want to interact with.  Not just for sales, but I mean to get to know people. So I try not to over promote, and I do take an interest in the pages I  like.

Its only that I had been careless.  And had supported a page, then had to remove the support. Something that I did not like to do.   But I think that for me it was a huge learning curve.  

Using 'likes' to network must be done with care, and thoughtfully and respectfully.  And sometimes we can get carried away and forget that our actions represent our business to our clients.  I think manners apply on FB too... don't like a page so you get one in return only to take yours away once you get what you want ... it doesn't help either party.  Always be polite and give positive feedback, and constructive criticism is great, if asked for. Only give it freely if you have a rapport with someone else. 

Behind every computer, every business, is a person, just like me - trying their best, and I think we all need to remember that when we interact online.

Has anyone else found that they have had people treat them disrespectfully? Have you found it only helpful on FB networking sites?  I would love to hear your thoughts and stories too ....  Anyone else had a steep learning curve this week?!

'Likes' lost in the time it took me to write this post ...



See you all soon  X

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


FACEBOOK - That old chestnut.

I have written a few posts about the merits of facebook before, and there are certainly a whole host of blogs that have written interesting thoughts on the uses of facebook (FB) in relation to running a small business. 

Sometimes I have felt like FB has taken up far too much of my working day.  Sometimes I have found it frustrating that the reach it gives me to new potential customers is limited, in relation to the amount of hours I put into updating the business page.

Yesterday however was NOT one of those days.   It was a good day !  So I thought I'd share the things I learnt with you.

The biggest difference with yesterday was that I chose to spend the day networking on FB, and didn't just somehow 'end up' spending hours upon hours procrastinating.  CHOOSING to use FB as a tool, rather than dipping in everyday put me definitely in the mindset of 'work'.  Mindset when working at a small business is essential to keeping a high level of motivation, and also getting productivity levels up.

I decided to 'like' some other businesses, and leave comments.  I realise that none of these businesses will buy from me, and the 'likes' are no reflection on how successful I will be, but what it DID do was put my business name out on 15 other businesses, of which some of their customers could see me.  From this simple effort, I gained a few likes from people who are not business holders, which is great.  

This I feel though should be an occasional tool- what you find is that your business feed gets filled up and might bother your existing base of followers.  I know it certainly bothers me on businesses I have liked.  Perhaps scheduling this type of networking for once a month would be of more benefit?

Another little gem from yesterday was engaging in the business groups that I have joined on FB.  Looking at posts properly, seeing what I liked about some, and not about others, and applying this to my own style of posting.  I have decided that I don't like the posts that always push sales, but I like the ones that start discussions, or ask questions.  Being objective about others puts my business head on so I do the same about my own business.  I don't propose that my way is better than the others, there will not be one RIGHT way, but by regularly assessing oneself against how you see other similar businesses, it makes for Evelyn Mae being its best.

A great little find happened yesterday too - a new to FB business called That business advice chick was offering a free business consultation. I jumped at the chance for someone to look over Evelyn Mae with fresh eyes.  Natasha looked at my website, my blog, my FB page and my Folksy shop- and gave me an extremely in-depth breakdown of my business.  She was great at being able to look objectively at my work and my media structure.  We all have great supportive friends, but they cannot be totally objective because they know us and have our emotional interests at heart, as well as our business successes.  But she had no need to pander to my emotional connections to my business, and just looked objectively and professionally at what I do.  And it was brilliant!

I have found the report so helpful, it has spurred me on to keep making changes and little adjustments to my business plan.  It is all too easy to get caught up in pretty papers and new stamp sets, and forget that I am running a working business that I want to make a success out of.

I would totally recommend Natasha's business consultation. You can visit her website here, and her FB page here.

Facebook can really be a great tool for cultivating a small business, and I think that if I use FB in a smart fashion, and not procrastinate on there, I will really help build my business.

Please leave your comments below, I would be really interested in what you think about FB, and also really intersted in how you use media to build your business.

After a great day at work, I am taking the afternoon off, and going to watch some of the games with a nice cup of tea.

Have a good rest of the week :)