I notice a pattern that occurs every time I meet a new business owner in Ottawa, or when I visit their store. It’s sad to say: but their Instagram accounts are usually weak, underdeveloped and more of an embarrassment than something they can be proud of. It’s lacking followers, lacking professional or high-quality images, there is usually not enough content, there is no sign of engagement and worse, they are not using a single strategic hashtag to save their life. The reality is that very few businesses in Ottawa do Instagram well, which is why Ottawa Influencers have carved themselves a nice digital home in this city.
Chantsy’s Gift Guide: Have yourself a Uashmama Christmas
Ugh, I have a soft spot for these little paper bags, and I can’t shake it off! When I was unemployed over 3 years ago, I started a marketing and virtual assistant business, and Uashmama was one of my favourite clients to work with. See, the Canadian distributor is located right here in Ottawa! Although I didn’t have the chance to do some groundbreaking work, I did help the humble team with a few proposals and odd marketing jobs. I have to say, I do miss those days, but I am so grateful for my stability today. It’s sort of has come full circle, now that I get to work with them on the blog!
For those who don’t know, Uashmama (pronounced Wash+Mama), is a line of lifestyle goods made of leather-like paper. The paper fibre is treated like leather and offers a durability and similar look to leather and it’s all the way from Italy.
UASHMAMA IS NOW OFFERING FREE SHIPPING ON ALL HOLIDAY ORDERS!
Uashmama makes different products for the household like their famous paper bag meant to be used as a gift bag, container or basket. They are both practical and beautiful! The toughest part is making a decision because you will want them all. There are so many great colours and sizes to choose from. I have some all over the house. In the bathroom, I use them to hold my hairbrushes, my hair products, makeup brushes and small towels. In the kitchen, I use them as a bread basket or a plant holder.
PRO TIP: I use a Uashmama bag to ripen my avocados! See? They are so very versatile!
And last but not least, they also have a gorgeous selection of handbags, wallets, purses, clutches, lunch bags, hampers, and.. backpacks! I have had my eye set on this chrome backpack since last year and finally it’s all mine! It will be travelling with us this January on our trip to Hawaii! (More on that later!)
These Uashmama bags are the perfect and original addition to your holiday gift giving this year. Two years ago, I used them as the container to my Christmas gifts, and for a joke, I put one as the star on top of my Christmas tree! That’s how much I love these little guys.
The main message here is that Uashmama is offering FREE SHIPPING for all your purchases until the end of the year. So if you hate paying for shipping, like me, this offer is for you!
A big thank you to Uashmama for supporting this post.
The photography on this post is brought to you by Debra Cowie, Ottawa’s famous product and food stylist! She has been a great photography and flatlay coach and is lovely to work with. Stay tuned for more of her great work on the blog!
I dug up some old photos from my Instagram, from two years ago… back when I used to get a whopping 7 likes! Bahahahaha
Pink and Pretty among the Cherry Blossom trees
My Ottawa photographer friend Debra Cowie is working on building stock photography to sell on her website, and was looking for a model.
The current theme she is working on is “PINK” and if you’re in Ottawa in May, there is no shortage of pink in the city! We got together at the Lincoln fields OC Transpo bus terminal on Carling and snapped these whimsical photos! We even managed to squeeze one of Victor and I. It’s so sweet.
The cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, but won’t hold up for long. You may only have a few days left before the petals come down. But, can you image how a bed of petals would photograph? We will have to go back!
In these photos, I am wearing a simple white v-neck and my famous pink tutu from Simons.
My lipstick is “Talking Points” lip liner from MAC
My eye liner is Stila Stay-All-Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner Black 0.5ml
Bloggers & Businesses: Instagram and Photography Workshop
If you follow me, you know that I am obsessed with my Instagram account. It’s truly the ideal medium for the person who loves photography and social media. I have been on it for a while now, almost 4 years, but it’s only since I started this blog that I realized the power of Instagram and the benefit it had for my blog, my business.
Many of the fancy events that I have attended are because PR companies have found me on Instagram. The modelling gig I got for Smithery’s Spring look book was all thanks to Instagram stalking. They found me, so I must be doing something right!
When I started out, I had about 300 followers, most of which were my Facebook friends. It’s only when I started using it more strategically, using better images, adding hashtags and engaging with people that I noticed the numbers climbing up, way up. At this very moment I am at 3670… but that can change over the course of minutes! It’s a numbers game, after all.
As an entrepreneur, I get inspired all the time and try to figure out ways that I can help small business in my city, thrive and grow. I knew I would have to educate small business owners first, on what they don’t know and what they are missing out on.
In my post Bloggers & Businesses: Ways we can work together I helped define the advantage of working with bloggers and the many different ways bloggers can collaborate with small businesses. In my subsequent post Why we love brands who engage I introduced the concept of engagement, the bread and butter of social media.
And today, I am excited to finally launch my first Instagram workshop in Ottawa, with my colleague and professional photographer, Debra Cowie. This workshop is targeted to small business owners, creatives and makers who want to learn how to use Instagram and learn how to maximize opportunities online.
Introducing 9 Ways to tell your brand story: Photography and Digital Strategies for Instagram (May 14 2016, Ottawa)
We know that the secret to Instagram success is of combination of beautiful images and strategically planned content that will help to generate positive engagement and build a loyal following… and we want to show you how it’s done!
Whether on the fly, or perfectly planned, this intensive workshop will help you get the most out of your smartphone and teach you how to create beautiful images intend for Instagram. You will:
- Learn how to use natural light and shadow
- Learn to use composition and colour to create a compelling image
- Learn secrets from a professional stylist on how to use props and creat backdrops to optimally display products
- Learn how to edit your photos, create a signature style and make the most out of editing tools like the VSCOCam app
Once you have mastered your photography skills, you will learn how to tell your brand story using your new photos on Instagram. This social media planning component will help you:
- Optimize your account
- Plan your content
- Build your following
- Leverage hashtags
- Engage with your followers
- Grow your business
In the practical component of the workshop, you will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with your coaches: photographer, Debra Cowie and digital strategist, Chantal Sarkisian.You’ll have plenty of time to put all that you’ve learned into practice, so bring some of your own products to photograph. We will play with backdrops and props to help you create that perfect image paired with the right content for optimal Instagram sharing.
We are offering this first full-day intensive workshop at an introductory rate of only $168. That’a a crazy cheap investment considering you will learn about photography and digital marketing for your business. It will be worth every penny, I promise!
You can join our Facebook event page if you’re on the fence, or if I have managed to convince you, you can register on eventbrite.
I am really looking forward to sharing my knowledge and genuinely hope to help small businesses recognize that if they want to harness the power of social media and make it work for their business, there are a few tricks of the trade that will help them get there!