5 Things to Stock Up on Ahead of the Christmas Rush (and Stay Healthy)

There are now, officially, less than 80 days left until Christmas Day.

For our clients and many, many small business retailers, this is the busiest time of the year by far. Chances are there are long days ahead, lots of help needed, and (even) less sleep and down time than normal.

Between the three of us (that's Jenny, Holly and Millie), we've worked in and with small businesses for 15 years, and we know the stresses and strains it can have.

Here's our shopping list for getting through peak sales!

1. Hand soap and sanitiser

Colds are coming, if they haven't already hit. Get everyone in your team (and family!) their own hand sanitiser, and make sure you're stocked up with plenty of hand soap in bathrooms and the kitchen. Colds may come, but let's stop them from spreading!

2. Decent tea and coffee

What's your favourite cuppa? We know for a fact that starting off your day with something really delicious can make early mornings more bearable. Not to mention late nights!

Whether it's delicious Perkulatte coffee, or elegant PostTea or Teapigs, we know that Future You will be grateful for that perfect pick-me-up.

3. Healthy snacks

Fill the studio kitchen (not to mention your home, handbag and car!) with healthy, delicious snacks. Cereal bars, nuts, popcorn, dried fruit, whatever takes your fancy!

You might also try making lunches ahead of time, or using a service like Gousto to get you some healthy dinners. Research local options for team lunches or dinners when you're working late.

4. Dry shampoo!

Look, we're not judging. Dry shampoo is a staple around here, and even more so when it's busy. We love this organic option.

5. Great music

Line up some Spotify playlists, get your Christmas faves together, or challenge your team to DJ for a day each! What we know for sure is that music can add energy to a day that's dragging. 

Did we miss anything? What are your Christmas survival essentials?

5 Gilmore Girls Episodes for Creative Entrepreneurs

We love Gilmore Girls and not just for the ridiculously fast dialogue or the references to all kinds of music, books and films but we love it because it’s about two women trying to make their ambitions happen.

 

As a creative business owner, you’ll be familiar with feeling uninspired, overwhelmed, anxious, scared or in need of a break. That’s why we’ve put together our favourite 5 episodes for small business owners for when they need a boost.

Read More

Spotlight on: Little Homebird Jewellery

The lovely Jessica at Little Homebird Jewellery recently booked her jewellery collection for a fresh look with us. We'd just started planning her lifestyle shoot when she added a full day of modelled shots too, which meant we got to spend two full days with her lovely products!

Today, we're sharing the results in full of her two days, as well as Jessica's take on what it was like to work with us. You can see every shot she received in the gallery below!

LittleHomebird26July-114.jpg

Why did you decide to work with us?

Up until our big relaunch I had always taken my own photographs, it was relatively easy and I was all about quick snaps, and this saved a pretty penny too…but after three years in business I wanted to up my game. I started to think about applying for new marketplaces, places I knew would want a very specific and professional look to not just our photos, but the brand in general. 
After careful research (and some light insta-stalking!) I found a couple of photography companies that I felt could deliver on what I need for my brand. I remember Copper Boom being the very first company I heard back from… and after a little back and forth emailing to Holly, I knew this was the photography studio for me.

Tell us a bit about your brief and working with us to hone it.

I was looking for much more then just product photographs, I really needed help to translate my brand into beautiful imagery. When I initially contacted Copper Boom, I was pretty clueless on how to do this, so overwhelmed with the styling, the props and colour palettes, I could barely put into words the look and feel of the collection, and my brand. Holly was so helpful in breaking this process down, working together to find out the things I did and didn’t like about my current photos/branding and how we could improve this. It really felt like she understood my business and what I wanted, and that I could trust the team with such an important task for my business. 
Before I knew it we had a detailed shot list, amazing and inspirational mood board and a brief ready to send to the photographer!
Everything was just so easy, nothing was too much trouble and everything I said was taken on board - a true collaborative process. The team at Copper Boom were so accommodating with my products, and after being let down by a local photographer for a modelled shoot, they were quick to help me out and fit me in quickly for another shoot. 

Holly our business manager and briefer extraordinaire says:

Jessica's products are lovely and she'd already put lots of thought into the colours for her brand and the ideas for styling the shots. So that was great! I wanted to bring her products to life, so the main aim for the shoot was to improve the lighting and get the focus really sharp on the product, while providing hints of a soft, feminine style.

 

LittleHomebird26July-230.jpg

The best bit for Jessica?

But the greatest thing, the photographs themselves! Wow. I had no idea what I envisioned the collection to look like, but once I saw the shots, I knew that this was it! Everything was so cohesive and the styling was perfect for the pieces - the team really understood the brief and brought the pieces to life. The modelled shoot especially helped bring the jewellery to life, and in turn, has encouraged a lot more sales!

I’ve already had such an amazing reaction to the photographs already after two weeks of opening. I cannot put into words how much time and energy Copper Boom have saved me, its been the best investment for my business. I received the photos back so quickly, edited and ready to go they were on my site within minutes!

Need a boost to get going for Christmas? Here's a sneak peek of our inspiration guides

Next week, we'll be sending out our Christmas photography trends guide to all our newsletter subscribers, as well as launching our brand new Christmas mock-ups and stock photography.

Update: It's live! Subscribe via the button below and receive the download within 24 hours.

In the meantime, we thought you might like to see some sneak peeks of the Pinterest boards we've been creating to get in the flow of Christmas 2017!

Nomad Christmas Trend

A Nomadic Christmas

Pattern, natural materials, and travel-inspired textures

Winter Garden Trend 2017

Winter Garden Trend

Deep jewel tones, full of luxury

Indulgent Christmas Trend 2017

Indulgent inspiration

Bright, full images that catch the eye!

Night Sky Trend

Night Sky

Dark indigo and black, with a sprinkling of stars

Scandinavian Christmas Trend 2017

Scandinavian Ice

The new way to incorporate Scandi into your Christmas look

Don't forget to sign up to get the full trend report next week!

And if you need anything in the meantime, or you'd like to book a photoshoot, please get in touch. We're here to help!

What do you get with a full day, full package? Pomme D'Or Gifts spills this beans...

Want to know a secret? Here at Copper Boom HQ, we get to see the benefits of professional photography and copywriting every day. We see the results of careful planning, creative efforts and hard work each time we send back a series of photos. And we hear from our clients: the great feedback, the sales results, the delight.

But given that our signature package is a full day of photography, plus product descriptions and upload, what does £1200 give you?

Well, we asked Anne-Marie Fowler of Pomme D'Or Gifts if we could share her recent full day photoshoot and copywriting, and her thoughts on what it gave her business.

Chill Pill soaps? Yes please!

Chill Pill soaps? Yes please!

Here's why Anne-Marie came to us:

You were a recommendation by NOTHS. I'd like to think they could see the potential with my products but I needed to step up with a more professional image. 

Last year, I had 5 approaches from different top ranking magazines and I wasn't ready with an immediate turnaround of photos. I wanted to go down this route only when I have a better corporate image.

I'd had some photographs taken before by a local photographer.  Very nice chap but I was very much involved in setting up and was in great danger of being a one-trick pony with product arrangement.

I needed someone to interpret the 3 platefuls of spaghetti thoughts going on in my brain and turn them into something beautiful presentation-wise.

Crisp white cut-out images are essential for press coverage and printed catalogues

Crisp white cut-out images are essential for press coverage and printed catalogues

Whenever we book photography into our schedule, we go through a detailed briefing process. Holly usually creates a brief and shot list for the majority of clients, and she works on finding the right story, colour palette and styling approach for each client and product.

Holly says:

Working with Anne-Marie on the brief and shot list was really simple because she sent me through an example of what she liked but also what she really didn't like. The main purpose of the images was to make sure the products, which have the same design across soaps and bath bombs, were easily distinguishable for users on mobile. Understanding the overarching purpose of the images and why new ones were needed made this brief really easy to get right. 

We also worked with Anne-Marie on her product descriptions to make sure her products can be found in search and reach the right customers, as well as being totally irresistible when they get to the product page!

Anne-Marie said:

The reason I'd booked the whole package is that uploading images and changing product wording bores me to tears.  I'd much rather be in my studio creating and know where my talent lies.  Total respect to you guys as I understand how long it takes as well as thinking through the descriptive wording to use.

Well, that's music to our ears! Read Anne-Marie's product descriptions over on her notonthehighstreet.com storefront.

The results:

  • 45 fully styled lifestyle photographs
  • 4 modelled lifestyle shots
  • 23 cut out shots for press and print
  • 5 shots of packaging
  • 18 products uploaded to notonthehighstreet.com with descriptions and key terms
  • Additional social media content ideas and drafts

And we got to spend the day with Anne-Marie's lovely products!

Get back to creating, making and running your business, just like Anne-Marie

Whether you need photos, words, or both, we can do the detailed, time-consuming work of creating professional content so that you can get back to the stuff that only you can do.

A final word from Anne-Marie about working with us:

It's very easy to press the 'buy' button for a professional photography service and then feel daunted about what happens next.  The guidance/check list you gave me were the cues I needed - it got me thinking about my likes and dislikes before we got started.  Working your way through a checklist is so much easier than thinking where to start.

The turnaround time was impressive.  The bath bomb shot were well interpreted.  The white cut-out shots of all the products were excellent.  

We're here for makers and creatives. You can easily press the 'buy' button here (if you're ready!) or get in touch to talk through your requirements (or even just how you're feeling about your business).

In the meantime, enjoy Pomme D'Or Gift Ideas's new look!

3 reasons blogging can help your online shop

These days, it can feel like there are endless bloggers writing about all kinds of things! Bloggers making a living just from blogging and sharing. 

But what about makers and product-based businesses? What's the value of a blog when you're not necessarily a lifestyle brand or writer?

1. Blogging adds a huge amount of SEO value to your website

Let's start with the most commercial hard-hitting fact: having a blog allows you to create content that targets search terms your customers are likely to be searching for in a wider context than just buying products.

It also means you have fresh content, which is a feature Google and other search engines will look for when they're scanning your page. Fresh content means you're likely to appear higher up search results (even if the result doesn't direct the customer to the new post or page). A great way to keep up to date without constantly adding new products!

2. A blog can add background, story and personality

What you write about is up to you. It doesn't have to be hugely personal or include photos of your children. But adding behind-the-scenes posts and sharing tips can really help to give customers more context about you as a brand.

More and more, consumers are looking for connection: they want to know who they're buying from. Writing blog posts gives you the opportunity to write with more personality, even if the post itself is just an update or list of tips!

3. Provide great content through a blog

Yes, tell your story and throw in some behind-the-scenes stories about your products and how you make them. That's blogging gold all by itself!

But you can also upgrade your blog to include content that customers will find useful, whether it's tips on how to look after your jewellery or free downloadables in your area of expertise. This kind of (free) content can bring in a broader spectrum of customers and increase traffic to your page. If it's easy to share, even better!

Sell your products

Blog posts about upcoming discounts, product features, and product launches can all be featured in blog posts, which can add great content and SEO value to your website and your brand. Weaving this in to other content can really pay off as well.

Over to you!

Starting a blog can be a commitment, but if it feels like something you'd enjoy sharing, it can add so much value to your shop and product-based business. 

And if you need help, check out our workshops. We'll make tailored suggestions on what to write about, and we'll help you to get the blog posts written!

5 tips to get you through the Father's Day rush

It's not long now until Father's Day is over, so we thought we'd share five of our favourite tips to get you through, whether you're extraordinarily busy or would like to get more sales in before Sunday.


1. Delegate. And put the kettle on.
If you're really busy, you need to make sure you're only focusing on the most important things, and that you're taking care of yourself.

What can you delegate at work? Packing orders, answering enquiries, social media, or even getting someone to just help tidy up a bit. Whether it's big or small, if you're under pressure and delegating will help you get through and make more sales, it's worth exploring.

You can also delegate at home. Get someone else to sort out the groceries and dinner, if you can, or make sure you have a food delivery booked or take-away option on speed dial. Make sure you have enough tea, coffee and good, healthy snacks. If you need to send someone out for supplies, do it now.


2. Make sure you're 100% clear on your last order dates and times.
If you haven't already figured this out, do so now! And make some lovely graphics for your website, social media, newsletter and marketplace platforms (such as your Etsy shop image or update).


3. Keep posting your products with links, and share behind the scenes photos.
If you're looking to get more sales in before Sunday, make sure you keep posting your products on social media, with links to the page or a reference name or number where appropriate. Busy people need it to be really easy to scroll, discover and then buy!

Behind the scenes posts can also help to engage shoppers by demonstrating that you really are able to keep taking orders, and that your products are popular.


4. Create a free printable or other immediate download
Offering your customers a free and quick printable colouring page for little kids, or a DIY card for bigger children can be a great way to add some extra value.

Plus, you can totally save the day by having a Grandad design for Sunday morning, in case anyone forgot him!


5. Make an 'After Father's Day' list
While you're prioritising all the important things, there are going to be some things that need to go on a list for after Father's Day. Get that list going now!

You might have to put off any Christmas prep, photoshoots, or adding things to a summer sale. Make a list so you know you won't forget about them.

 

Need a hand?

We're here if you'd like to send us stuff to do, or just need some moral support!

Spotlight on: Periwinkle & Clay launch a new range with our stock photography

Last week, we offered all our newsletter subscribers a selection of free mock up and stock photos to play around with and use. Well, it was a treat to see new designs pop up and lots of creatives make these images their own!

It was especially rewarding to see Claire from Periwinkle and Clay launch cards for the first time using our styled card images. Take a look at what she came up with.

Claire took this design from her clay tiles and turned it into a card:

Here's what Claire had to say:

I've been meaning to investigate greeting cards and prints for a while using some of the designs I've recently been working on. Some of the recent worded tile designs I've designed for the clay tile frames for Father's Day could be adapted to greeting cards/prints.
So it was perfectly timed to allow me to mock up a design and use it as a test piece on the Periwinkle and Clay Facebook page to test the waters. I always love testing the water with product ideas so see what my followers think, as the result has been overwhelmingly positive I'll look into some small print runs and see if they sell well.
So thank you Copper Boom for your lovely freebies and enabling a small business test an idea for new products so easily.

You're totally welcome, Claire! We wish you the best of luck with your Father's Day cards. There will be some loved Dads around this June, we can tell!