Wonderwool – Who loves wool?

A visit to the Wonderwool Wales Festival in Builth Wells was a thrill for me as I have always loved sheep. I was brought up around sheep and I love the softness of their wool. They are gentle creatures and I love the way that they graze peacefully.

Waiting in the queue to “spin” into the event, I met up with some ladies who are passionate about wool. This was the 11th show but for me and others, it was a first. IMG_6318Carol, from Llanberis, was a member of the Gwynedd Spinners, Dyers and Weavers and had travelled with Cerys from Anglesey. Cerys said that she was going to be looking at fibres and some modern spinning wheels. She would also be connecting with guest speakers for the meetings that she organised.

Standing next to Carol and Cerys, with a sparkle in her eye about wool, was Lesley who had travelled from Walsall. She wanted to buy a bobbin for her wheel (a spinner then!) and a shuttle for her loom. So what else would they do? Have a good look around was the answer; they all agreed that the event had got bigger over the years but they stressed how important it was for them.

Another lady from Walsall, was Pat. She loved everything from knitting and spinning to beadwork and weaving. She also loved Dachshunds evident from the very stylish buttons she was wearing on her coat. Today she was going to look at broomstick crocheting.

Jayne had a passion for knitting, crochet and needle felt. She described this as “stabbing wool” but the image it conveyed to me was painful. I had no wish to kill off any wool marauders so I would not be learning about this craft any time soon. Her eyes lit up as she explained that needle felt was using fibres to make anything; almost soft sculpture. Jayne was hoping to buy something colourful but she was not sure.

Mel from Lyme Regis had travelled up the day before and was staying in a B&B in Erwood. This was her first time and she was happy to look around and would probably purchase some knitting wool. Her daily tasks were weaving in the day and knitting in the evening. Sounds like a good plan to me. Mel also had crochet-athons with her friends. She was keen on neutral shades – biscuit and fawn colours and would look for some Alpaca which was soft.

IMG_6324

Soon I was talking to Meriel Fuller, a writer. She combined her love of writing, which she tended to do in the mornings, with her passion for creating items from wool – working on these in the afternoons. Very good time management! She was looking forward to woolly surprises.

Later, whilst sipping a well earned coffee, I spoke to Marie, another visitor from Anglesey. This was her first visit to the wool show and she was very passionate about fibres and yarns especially knitting and tapestry. She had bought some pastel knitting wools and thought that she might go back and purchase a pansy pin cushion that she had her eye on! She said “I have been knitting since I was 7!” She added, “It is therapeutic!”

IMG_6354

The gentle grazing of the sheep in meadows and hillsides up and down the country had united all these women with their love of wool. It was a pleasure to have a “yarn” with them.

Building your Tribe

Recently I travelled to Kidwelly in the south of the beautiful county of Carmarthenshire. I had been booked onto a Digital Marketing Planning workshop with the inspirational Michelle, the founder of Ferrycake Marketing and PR. My fellow attendee was Jennifer Foster of Energy Dynamics who also runs her business in Carmarthenshire.

Michelle brewed us some freshly roasted coffee and I glanced around at my surroundings. I noticed that the newly decorated office had the personality of its owner about it. It was a long room with one wall painted that vibrant tangerine orange that is instantly recognisable as the marketing brand of Ferrycake. The office had brightly coloured chairs which added to the mood of the room.

image (2)

Once we had sipped our coffee, we were handed A4 sheets with numerous headings – Current situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Actions and Control, which we then stuck to the wall. Michelle did not wish us to sit down but encouraged us to get up and walk about and think about our current position in regards to our digital marketing. We had our Facebook and Twitter and, together with our websites, this was surely a start! We then added our “thoughts” and “objectives” to Post-it notes to adhere to the sheets on the wall.  I wondered if I should have prepared more. Michelle explained to us that we should build our “tribe” – the connections that were important to our business. No, we were not in the Arizona desert but in rural Carmarthenshire.

Michelle was enthusiastic about social media, how it should be lively and that it was important to engage with our connections. A teaser question was useful as it pushed our prospective clients to our website and social media. She also advised that it would be prudent to get hold of logos from any businesses that we had worked with to “link” onto our social media and website (with their assent, of course). She dissuaded us from giving advice through our social media but just feed information through to encourage visitors to connect with us. Creating online videos could also prove to be useful to us.

We continued with our “Actions” with the aim of moving our Digital Marketing further.

Too soon, the morning had nearly ended, and we summed up how we could control our social media. It was time to create a report and analyse our work.  Who were these followers and who actually followed them?  It was important to have the right balance of the “f” people! This then led to the beginning of our Digital Marketing Plan. We had got through it and, for me; it proved to be an ideal “digital media mix”.

Perhaps, like me, you are commencing the social media circuit! You may need training! If so, contact Michelle at Ferrycake Marketing and PR – she brews a lovely coffee and if you fancy a “ferrycake” just ask!

image

Contact: @ferrycake (Twitter) /ferrycakeconsultancy (Facebook) or email hello@ferrycake.co.uk.

 

The Fire Wheel of Confidence

The Fire Wheel of Confidence

It was with a spring in my step that I went along to the Carmarthenshire WiRE monthly meeting on Monday 18th April at Ore Knot in Bridge Street, Carmarthen. The venue (a first for WiRE) had been tastefully and beautifully decorated in popping citrus shades.

IMG_6270 (1)

Sarah MacDonald introduced the speaker, Belinda Ray, who encouraged us to gather around in a semi-circle. Firstly Belinda drew our attention to her colourful clothes, including bright socks, and she emphasised the importance of wearing something that was comfortable. Belinda showed us how our confidence can go up and down and how we can be wobbling on the inside, but displaying buoyancy on the outside. This was something that we could all relate to. She then enthused about her very creative “Fire Wheel of Confidence.”  She showed us how each flame represented something special to empower and enrich us.

IMG_6276

You will see in the picture that there were many flames but I will focus upon the following – authenticity, relationships and passion. It is so important to be authentic and honest, firstly to ourselves and to how we promote our business and by so doing, this fans a flame of reliability. Relationships – now this is a flame that we need to control as it could burn itself out. However, we need to nurture and create lasting friendships. As for that passion flame, we all need this for our business and keeping this well lit will ensure that we make great strides towards our goals; that confidence will fire within our souls!

Belinda demonstrated how to generate confidence which we can do in a number of ways. One example was “the power pose” (imagine it) and listening to “pump up music” which one or two of us did admit to doing. We do, however, all have our own ways. I was remembering a programme I had listened to on Radio 4 when a lady who had been a nurse during the Second World War explained that the nurses would apply bright red lipstick just as all the war casualties were coming in from the trenches. The sheer act of applying the lipstick invigorated their “get to it” mood.

We were then shown a cushion in a Mandala design with shades of blues and greens and were encouraged to throw it at each other, along with a positive statement like “I am strong!” Much laughter ensued as it was thrown with such passion and the statement that ignited us. This emphasised that having a good laugh can unlock that energy. The cushion tossing proved to be a lively exercise which helped with the cohesion of the group.

Belinda spread onto the floor inspiring and relevant quotations and she urged us to pick one that resonated with us and read it out powerfully. The one I read out was “When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.” (Joe Namath). Actually, reading out such a statement empowered us there and then. Here is one that I have since thought of “What does not destroy me, makes me strong.” (Friedrich Neitzche).

If anyone had commenced the evening feeling despondent, I am sure that by the end they would have been bouncing with those vibrant flames of confidence!

Angie Davies 

#CarmsMeansBiz – So-Occasion (a finalist with joy!)

Finalist artwork 300 dpi jpeg (1)Imagine my joy and surprise when I discovered recently that I had been nominated as a finalist in the #CarmsMeansBiz awards and that I was invited to attend a gitzy event at the Corran Resort and Spa in Laugharne on Friday 18 March. I was thrilled to have been nominated and I look forward to the event with glee!

No matter what the outcome on the night, I am pleased to be able to display on my website the information – see here http://carmarthenshiremeansbusiness.wales/  There is also an event on the 21 April at Delme Thomas Building at Parc Y Scarlets in Llanelli, where you can showcase your business and your skills and perhaps add to your customer base. In any event, it is all great experience. Why not take up the opportunity and reserve your stand to be part of an innovative and inspirational event?

I am sure to be at the event on the 21 April and I look forward to meeting you there. Remember if you need assistance in encouraging those visitors over the threshold of your business stand, then So-Occasion can certainly help.

 

Why #So?

Many people have asked me why I named my business So-Occasion? When digging deep into my mind as to what I could call my new venture – this was a few years ago – I needed to have something that conveyed what it was that my business entailed. I liked the word occasion as this celebrates different ideas and thoughts, and my business was all about – giving a good service, being the best I could be, and incorporating excellent customer service. An occasion is an opportunity or a reason to do something. If I could do something outstanding and bespoke for the client I would be working for, then this would certainly be an occasion. Also, as I would be working towards an event or promotion of that event, then this word occasion really suited. So now I had the word occasion – I just needed something to back it up. Give it more oomph! Thinking about this probably took me another evening of deep thought, and so the word so came into my head as it seemed to convey that extra energy that I needed! The word so expresses intensification of the word that follows – it sorts of emphasises.

#So, that is the meaning behind my business name So-Occasion and you either love it or hate it. Thankfully, I love it especially as I travel on in my business venture. I have, as well, adopted the hashtag for #So, too! I also like that my business name gets people talking and wondering and that can only be a good thing.

As this post goes to press, I have just found out that So-Occasion has been nominated one of the finalists in the first Carmarthenshire Means Business Awards which will be announced later this month. Here is a link to the Facebook page. Carmarthenshire Means Business / Sir Gâr yn Meddwl Busnes

#Loveyourbusiness

IMG_5756With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, why not take the time to think about how much you love your business? Are you a business in the UK? If so, read on. Every business owner should have a passion for their business to give it the best possible chance of survival.

February is a good time to think about how attractive your customer service is and how you relate to prospective buyers. Your customers are at the heart of your product and So-Occasion believes that their needs are important. By being happy and wearing a smile on your face, customers will love your enthusiasm.  It is important to be open with your advice and get your customers on your side. Because you care, they will too.

Be prepared to give your business some loving attention. Think about the notices that you are displaying. Check regularly for out of date posters and renew them regularly. Nothing puts off a prospective buyer more than scruffy signs or expired posters. Do the same with your website. Keep pages fresh and fun!

If you are in a front facing position, always attend to a customer immediately with a friendly welcome and that all-important smile. As a business, it is vitally important to welcome your customers with a vibrant greeting. So exude that confidence and be really happy that they want to do business with your company.

Your telephone manner and tone is extremely important. Smile whilst answering the telephone as this is easily picked up by the caller and is reassuring. If your business relies on an answering service, make sure that it is answered efficiently and with up to date information.

So, have you forgotten something? Try to go the extra mile to ensure that your visitor receives the best possible customer service. This Valentine’s Day, think about your business, nurture it and give it room to blossom. Even if you are a small business, make sure that you have the biggest heart.

 

Still #sparkling and headed towards the end of #January

I am sure that, like me, you are working through your goals and aspirations for #January. Try sorting your work into approximately 6 main business chunks – Essential, Important, Not so important, Something you can delegate (may not be easy if you are a sole trader), Not really necessary (perhaps you can ditch this) and the final one – interesting. This could be something you may want to do when time allows.

One sign of a well planned business is well planned business activity. So, you are working through your list. Take those tiny steps daily to the main goal – but only you will know what that goal is. Remember Rome, or any other city for that matter, was not built in a day.

Try to stick to your #sparkly list and keep referring to it. You may wish to get your hands on one of these – see photo – and dip into either daily or weekly. Each little snippet gives you encouragement and something to IMG_5755aim for, whether it is for that day or for that week!

Email me if you would like a little box of encouraging phrases.

What a “#sparkly new time” – January

I have been looking at ideas to spark motivation in myself, and in my business. Here are some bullet points to get you started if you would wish to do so. I hope that this inspires you to get motivated.IMG_5731

  • Main aim for the month
  • Greatest challenge
  • What is my specific “dream” for the month?
  • What steps will I take to get to my main aim?
  • Which businesses will I network with?
  • What is my inspirational quote for the month?
  • Looking back – best moment of the month
  • Steps to avoid next month

Welcome to the So-Occasion Web site

So-Occasion is a first class promotions company with experience in promoting businesses. They have that unique quality in that they work solely ‘one to one’ with no distractions. This actually means that whilst working for your company, So-Occasion are thinking about your business only and leaving thoughts of other businesses ‘at the door.’

Promotions with #zing, words with #panache / Hyrwyddo â #steil, geiriau â #swyn