Wednesday, April 27th, 2016
Since I’m a freelancer I go to even more networking events. So it happened that I met the lovely Elina from Phine one day and heard all about her jewellery startup. I wanted to know how she started, where she gets her inspiration from and what it looks like to have to manage your own brand. Please let me introduce you to Phine – fierce minimal Scandi chic jewellery paired with a London edge.
I have always been into jewellery – I find jewellery super exciting because the right accessories can totally make an outfit from simple to stunning.
When I quit my lawyer job from one day to the other because it hit me that I don’t want this to be the rest of my Life – I applied to study jewellery design at Central Saint Martins, and while currently on a break from my studies, I started with Phine because more and more people asked me where I got my jewellery from, so I figured I could turn my passion for jewellery into also selling my jewellery.
I get a lot of inspiration from every day surroundings like industrial things like screws or even toothpicks. I find every day things can look very interesting and usually I transform something I see immediately and imagine how it could look as jewellery in my head. After I have an initial idea – I try to come up with matching items, a whole collection – usually that works best when I sit at my workbench and just start creating the pieces.
I really like the freedom to do whatever I want with the business and the flexibility around it. I don’t have to justify ideas and plans to any bosses. I also like the freedom around it: I’m a total night owl – so I love working at night-time when everybody is asleep. Running your own business comes with tons of challenges I’ve never thought about before – but when you find the solution, you can be super proud of yourself.
Be passionate about your own business and never give up! There will be hard times, esp. in the beginning but if you are passionate about your own business eventually the people will follow.
Not one day is the same, to be honest. From Mondays to Wednesdays, I alway have a lot of office work, which can be anything from invoicing to dealing with press/magazines and our stockists and everything around that. But it might be that I’m a lot of the time in Hatton Garden for example to source gemstones and materials. Currently, I’m also planning the next Look Book shoot; thinking about which photographer, which model, when it should be done etc…
I also try to deal with customers and their orders directly because I love to see what they order and like to hear their feedback. Most of the times I don’t end up making the items anymore, but we do have a lovely Phine goldsmiths team who are making the jewellery pieces.
I usually only sit down at the workbench these days to make bespoke customer pieces like engagement rings which mostly is on Fridays or when I design the new collection. I usually end up being at my studio a lot during the weekends because I have a bit of quite time then to sit at the workbench and create new ideas.
Last week I was in Germany to launch my new upcoming collection to the German market, so this week was completely different again. But that’s the beauty of being independent and running your own business – not one day is the same.
If you want to meet Elina and get a feel for her jewellery she’ll be at The London Artisan on Sunday, 15th May. I’ll probably pop by as well.
I love Elina’s little studio where she makes her jewellery. Find below a few behind-the-scenes pictures of the Phine studio!
What do you think about Phine?
Monday, April 18th, 2016
For a long time I wasn’t sure if I should participate in #The100DayProject but I see announcements everywhere and there’s one blogger who kept talking about it, my good friend Natasha from Graphique Fantastique. She also wrote a blog post about it mentioning her project from last year where she focused on triangles #100daysoftriangles (sooooo loved it).
It was really hard to ignore this project and I finally gave in. I’m going to participate! Let me quickly explain what the project is about. Starting tomorrow, 19th April 2016, people create something every day for 100 days based on their own topic and share it on Instagram. Have a look at the hashtag #the100dayproject and see what others are planning to do. Natasha just decided to do #100daysofgraphique and I’m excited to follow her journey.
You probably think it’s really hard to do something every day for 100 days and it probably is, I won’t deny it. But it’s also a great opportunity to get creative. A lot of people are with you and there’s a community you can connect with. Just do it!
Do you remember my art journal? I’m going to draw into my art journal every day for 100 days. I might not share a picture on Instagram every day (I know it’s against the rules but I don’t want to spam my account for 100 days). I think the most important part here is to do something every day. And I want to prove I’m going to do that by sharing my progress on Snapchat every day. It might be that I just have 5 minutes time during the day but I’m definitely going to draw into my art journal every day for 100 days. I call the hashtag #100daysofdoing.
The project starts tomorrow. Are you participating?
Thursday, April 14th, 2016
I met the artist Yves Klein for the first time in Vienna when I was studying there; not the person but his artworks. The first thought I had was ‘How can someone be so successful with a painting that is just blue?’ But it was not just blue. I really got obsessed with the ‘International Klein Blue’. I don’t know if it has an effect in the digital sphere – I think you need to see it in the real world to truly understand – but I try my best to spark you with my memories and feelings.
I had a poster of the exhibition and hence the Yves Klein blue for years in my room in Vienna and I regret I don’t have it anymore (I’m going to Germany next week, maybe it does still exist in my parents’ house – I will update you). Not many people can say they have invented a colour, can they? That makes Yves Klein alone quite special. But there’s more…
Some interesting facts:
Similar to Yayoi Kusama, whom I adore, Yves Klein is one of the artists, I want to visit his exhibitions over and over again. Photos don’t do their art works justice I think. So if you ever read an Yves Klein exhibition is coming your town, you what to do.
Have you heard of the artist Yves Klein before?
xI just discovered the 'International Klein Blue' by artist Yves Klein. It's amazing! Click To Tweet
Monday, April 11th, 2016
Header image by Yeshen Venema Photography
I have decided that I will feature designers as well as artists on my blog. You’re probably already familiar with my artist section and I’m excited to add big and small designers to my blog now as well.
Last week, I had the opportunity to join a blogger event organised by In The Window™, a global social platform for design stories and collections. They invited us to explore behind-the-scenes of the Waffle Design Studios. We met designer and founder Ciara in her Sugarhouse Studio in Stratford and got a glimpse of what it’s like to come up with new ideas and make the products yourself.
Ciara Waffle uses the finest fabrics to make (bespoke) cushions, rugs and throws. Her creativity comes out with her unique embroidery designs. We were lucky enough to get a little glimpse on how she does it and were even showed how to do it ourselves. Scroll down to the bottom of this post and you’ll see the result of the little bag I embroidered. I have never done it before and I can tell you it’s so much fun. We were all saying that it’s quite therapeutic sitting down and concentrating on our embroideries. I snapchatted all the different designs of the bloggers but I forgot to take a proper picture of them. You can had over to the #LiveTheStory to see all the tweets of the participants though.
Can I tell you how much fun it is to create something?! Look out for workshops or ask your favourite designer if you can have a behind-the-scenes experience. I thought it was fantastic that Ciara Waffle opened the doors to her studio for us and that she was happy to invite us to the world of embroidery. I love that In the Window made it their mission to get designers’ stories out to everyone. It makes such a difference knowing who the genius behind a product is. I’m definitely a fan of Waffle Design now.
Thursday, April 7th, 2016
It doesn’t matter if you’re a blogger or a business owner or a freelancer or a human being who wants to meet like-minded people there are many ways to connect with others. Here’s an overview of my top 10 ways to connect with people. Read through the networking tips and let me know your thoughts.
I could summarise Twitter under the umbrella of social media but a few have no idea how to connect with people on each social channel so I want to be more specific for each one of them. Twitter is really one of my favourites. I’ve found so many interesting people and brands there and I love using Twitter for connecting with people. You can tweet them, message them privately (mostly) or just follow them. It’s important to share on Twitter what you stand for so people can find you quickly. Make sure your bio is a summary of what you do and your content has a clear message, too. Don’t be shy to contact people. The worst which can happen is that they say ‘no’ or don’t reply at all. That’s okay. Move on to the next.
My story: As mentioned above I probably can tell you quite a few stories – like how I got discovered by The Guardian – but I want to share another story with you. When I moved to Singapore in 2013 I arrived there without knowing anyone or having a job. I turned to Twitter and looked for some people who work in advertising, social media and marketing and sent out a few tweets along the line “I just arrived in Singapore & don’t know anyone here. Fancy a coffee?”. I got quite a few responses and I ended up meeting a girl who works in marketing. Turns out we got along so well, after a few cocktails at a hidden bar, we became friends very quickly. The end of the story is that we not only became friends she also happened to know someone who was hiring an account manager in an ad agency. I started working in Singapore after 1 1/2 months upon arrival. You just never know what can happen if you reach out to people…
Some people who know me also know that I love going to events. That’s quite a broad term but it could be any event you’re interested in. Platforms like Meetup.com, Eventbrite or other event websites make it easier to find the right event for you. I, for example, love events around marketing and social media, mentoring, startups, technology and networking itself. I might be a bit crazy visiting 2-3 events per week (am I addicted?!) but you can attend as many and as little events as you like. What if you’re shy? I’m actually also not the most confident person when it comes to approaching people but most of the time the set up of the events makes it easier. Free drinks can make you feel a little more comfortable and that’s when you also start talking to people. Never forget: 99% of the people who attend the event want to meet other people and not only listen to the talk itself. Believe me you almost don’t have to do anything but go to the event, the rest will follow.
My story: When I moved to London someone took me to the London Bloggers Meetup (I was not a blogger back then). I’ve never heard of Meetup.com before but immediately fell in love with the idea. I loved how dedicated people are to meet others and to talk about specific topics and passions of theirs. Long story short I met a travel blogger, Dylan, who helped me creating a social media campaign to get a job in London. It was so much fun and it was a success story.
That one might be very obvious but some people forget that their friends could know someone who could help as well. It can be as easy as sending out an update to Facebook to see if someone might be interested.
My story: Maybe it’s less my story but my boyfriend’s story. He told his friends in London that he’s moving to Singapore and a couple of people came back and said something like ‘get in touch with my friend who lives there already’. We met fantastic people over in Singapore and became close friends just because a friend told us to meet up. We’re forever grateful!
I have the feeling Facebook groups become more and more popular. Normally Facebook is all about friends but with closed FB groups there’s a great opportunity to meet strangers online who have the same interests. Furthermore, a lot of the FB groups I’m in are really helpful. It’s probably the idea of a forum within Facebook. My faves are Being Boss, Instagram Marketing Mastermind, Avocado Social Media Hub and Blooming Founders – Inner Circle.
My story: Well, it’s not a particular story to be honest. I have the feeling I benefit from all of the groups by being a member. I regularly check what people have to say and give advice where I can. I know that when I need some support I can reach out to the group. It’s a great feeling!
Of course, LinkedIn is very much a professional network and helps you best finding the right connections for your career or your own business. I find it very easy to find and apply for jobs on LinkedIn but there’s more. People use LinkedIn to post news there as well. I discovered really interesting tech and social media news on that platform as well as invites to events. Did you know that when you interact with any posts your connections can see your interactions and get reminded of you? It’s a great way to stay in touch with your connections. It’s the same as Twitter, don’t hesitate to reach out to people you don’t know. You never know what can come out of it…
My story: Oh dear, there’s not only one story. I made so many great connections on LinkedIn, applied for cool jobs and met up with quite a few people through this platform.
I love Instagram! Despite being such a huge platform with over 400 million users you can look out for the people you share similar interests with. I love the conversations I have on my account. People AND brands check out what you’re commenting on. It’s quite personal.
My story: When I organised a bloggers picnic last year in August I randomly found Yull Shoes on Instagram. I really liked the vibe of the brand so I reached out to Sarah and asked her if she wanted to participate. She responded immediately, attended the event AND provided a pair of shoes for the winner of my competition. How cool was that?!
Similar to friends, colleagues have their group of friends and connections as well. If you’re looking for someone in particular reach out to someone or all of your colleagues via group email. It never hurts.
My story: I wanted to speak at an event and I needed a lot of likes supporting my proposal. I asked the agency I worked for at that time to send out an email to everyone within the company. They loved supporting their employees and I ended up being one of the top 5 people with the most likes. It can be such a powerful thing to reach out to your work mates.
This is very traditional I know but it’s still very useful. Everyone reads their emails and if you nail the content of your email it’s likely you get a response. Again, the worst which can happen is that you don’t get an answer or that someone says they’re not interested. You can’t please all but you can definitely try to get in touch with the right people. Here’s a very useful blog post on how to get anyone’s email by the way.
My story: I can’t think of anything particular probably I have sent cold emails quite a lot. I do try to make it personal every time I reach out to someone. I would hate to get a standard email so I really try to show that I’ve done my homework and that I present my true and honest self.
I know this quite a huge effort writing a blog but I have to say a lot of opportunities come from my blog. It’s such a huge passion of mine and everyone gets what I’m about when they check out my blog. The good part is if you’re doing it right you don’t even have to do anything (apart from taking care of your blog). A lot of people and brands will reach out to you. I had the greatest collaborations and met such cool people through my blog I don’t event know where to start. It’s a great way to meet new, like-minded people.
My story: One of my favourite and recent stories is that I wrote about the artist Fei Alexeli on my blog and a couple of weeks later she reached out to me via email. She invited me to come to The Other Art Fair and I’m going to meet her in person tonight. How exciting, right?!
Talking about networking, Howdy Hub is a new app which let’s you connect with people who attend certain events, i.e. when you’re going to an event you can check out who else is going and connect with them before, during or after the event. It just makes it way easier to find the people you want to get in touch with. You can download the free app here!
My story: The app is still fairly new but I make sure I connect with the people I’ve met at the events through the app. It’s great to build a network on the app; it’s better manageable and personal than LinkedIn. I met the founders of the app and their vision is big so stay tuned!
Did you find any useful tips in this blog post?
PS: Did you notice a little beer/coffee icon in the bottom right corner of my blog? I’m testing out a new feature so if you want to invite me to a coffee or drink you can do that now online. Pretty cool, huh?
Monday, April 4th, 2016
Round-ups are new to my blog. I thought it’s nice to share a few things I discovered either on the Internet or outside my doorstep. This week it’s all about cool events, an independent pop-up shop, as well as an update on my travels this year and two book recommendations. Enjoy!
Makers & Friends
A few creative bloggers & myself have been invited to a crafty evening at Makers & Friends last week. It’s a new pop-up shop in London, i.e. they’re moving every month to another place. At the moment you can find them on 126 Upper Street in Angel. We’ve learned to create our own names with wire and met a few of the designers and makers from the shop. It’s all handmade products and some of the makers just started their business. Exciting times! They’re going to organise more crafty events. Sign up for their newsletter here.
I’m very happy I’m going to be featured in the Creativity magazine by docrafts in May. Do you remember my art journal? The interview will be all about art journaling and I’m going to answer a few questions. Look out for the magazine & I’ll definitely announce this on my social channels as well. That’s why I love blogging. You never know what’s waiting for you around the corner. It has lots of opportunities if you do the work and be patient.
Drink & Draw
Natasha from Graphique Fantastique told me about a new event organised by Becky from The Little Terrarium. She came up with the brilliant idea to organise a Drink & Draw session. The first event took place at the Tate Britain where a couple of bloggers, illustrators and graphic designers met up to visit the exhibition and to sit down and sketch. We then moved on to a pub around the corner where we continued drawing over a pint of cider. Check it out on Twitter here & connect with everyone!
Berlin! Berlin! Wir fahren nach Berlin!
(Translation: Berlin! Berlin! We’re going to Berlin!) As far as I know this expression started during the World Cup in Germany in 2006. The reason why I mention this is because I’m going to Berlin in September. Yay! I’ve lived in Berlin when I was a child but it has changed so much & everyone seems to love it. I want to gather some cool tips from you & get to know the city from someone else’s perspective. Any tips?
I recently met up with an old school mate and we talked about the past & the future. Since I’m very into entrepreneurship & freelancing he recommended two books to me: The 4-hour work week by Timothy Ferriss & Launch by Jeff Walker. I’ve started the first one & I’m already so much into it. If you like non-fiction books & want to start your own thing these two books could be a game changer.
What have you been up to?