THE PRIVATE LIFE OF A GIRL


a creative lifestyle blog






Thursday, August 27, 2015

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Shockingly I have never visited the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter despite it being across the road from my own studio. We took a trip to the museum when an old friend came to visit as it seemed like the perfect opportunity and I'm so glad we went. It truly is one of a kind; the Smith and Pepper jewellery factory remains exactly as it did since the day all the workers downed their tools and left the building forever.

A guided tour explores the last 200 years right up until how the Jewellery Quarter stands today. Our guide was absolutely fantastic, such an engaging character, and I really felt the passion and enthusiasm she has for the history of Birmingham's jewellery trade.

After hearing the factory's history and exploring the dusty shelves, messy worktops, and seeing the (still working!) machinery, I felt absolutely honoured to be living and working in such a historical area of the city. I came away from the experience feeling very privileged to be a part of the jewellery trade and very fortunate to have a studio in the Jewellery Quarter surrounded by such history.



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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Products On Trial #1 | First Impressions

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Products On Trial: First Impressions

Although I have a well established skin care routine and my own personal cult beauty classics, I still enjoy testing new products. Products On Trial will be a new feature where I will share my first impressions and final reviews of products I have been testing out.



Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream
In order to get even the slightest wave in my hair, I have to use a bunch of hair care products after washing, sleep on it, and not brush my hair at all. On days where my hair is looking a little flat, I use the ghd Curve Classic Wave Wand which creates the most perfect wavy curls. But I wanted to try a product I could use to tame frizz, add volume, define curls, and give me a more natural wave and less of a "just got out of bed/obviously hasn't brushed her hair" vibe. So far, so good.


NIVEA Daily Essentials Sensitive 3in1 Micellar Cleansing Water
I like keeping a bottle of micellar water on the bathroom shelf for no-fuss make-up removal, it's also useful for spot cleaning brushes, and for wiping over products and cleaning make-up storage. I've noticed very little difference between brands when it comes to micellar waters although this product is definitely one of the better ones I have tried.


Erno Laszlo White Marble Radiance Emulsion*
This "emulsion" is formulated to block melanin at cellular level, even out skin tone, lighten dark spots, protect against the sun and free radicals, and boost the skin's cell renewal cycle. I find these kinds of treatments promise a lot and rarely deliver noticeable effects. However, having said that, I find serums pleasant to use; the Erno Laszlo White Marble Radiance Emulsion has been a joy to use and within two days, I noticed my skin was softer, more even, and my complexion was brighter. I'm looking forward to seeing the effects of long term use.


Erno Laszlo Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil*
This cleansing oil is meant to "prepare the skin for effective cleansing" by dissolving make-up, trapped oils, and impurities. The Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil is quite thick in texture and leaves residue on the skin after using it, so it's most definitely a pre-cleanse only product. I've been using the Superfacialist Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil as the second cleanse and paired together they have worked really well. As with all skin care products, I like to test them out for at least a couple of weeks to really see what effect they have on my complexion in the long term.


Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum*
Another serum and this one promises a lot; Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum contains hyaluronic complexes, peptides and biotechnological technologies, to prevent moisture loss, promote renewal, plump skin, provide immediate and long-term rehydration, and improve visible skin health and skin age. It can also improve fine lines, crow’s feet, puffiness and dark circles. I've only tried this a couple of times before I switched to using White Marble so I can't honestly give a decent opinion on it right now but I'm looking forward to testing it out further.



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Monday, August 24, 2015

7 Things That Helped Transform My Business

Monday, August 24, 2015
7 Things That Helped Transform My Business

This month, Oh My Clumsy Heart turns three years old, which feels all kinds of amazing on so many levels. Today I'm sharing a few of the things that helped transform what used to be a hobby shop into a fully grown business.



I Built a Mailing List
Building a mailing list means keeping in touch with those who care about Oh My Clumsy Heart the most, who want to support the business, and to hear about new collections as they launch so they can get their hands on them first. Email tends to outperform every alternative marketing channel and the conversion rate is high. Email marketing not only drives traffic but it drives the right type of traffic - a specific audience who love the brand and want to buy from the shop. Investing time in growing a mailing list has increased sales and ultimately built a stronger brand awareness online.


I Started Blogging
When I set up this blog, I had absolutely no intention of using it to promote the shop. I originally created a beauty blog as a bit of a joke with friends and it grew into something so much more. It’s obvious how “blogging for business” can be a powerful marketing tool but I didn’t realise how influential having a personal blog, sharing my life, and interacting with people could be. Despite being, on the whole, distinctly separate from my shop, this blog has had an incredible impact on my business.


I Created a Self-Hosted Ecommerce Site
This was something I did relatively early on with the business although I still wish I had done it sooner. Having a fully customisable ecommerce site allowed me to define the aesthetic of the shop into a distinct brand, which is incredibly difficult to do with a marketplace storefront. Creating a self-hosted shop gave me complete control over everything from shop policies to design and layout to the branding, it also made my business look and feel more professional and function more like an established business.


I Split my Accounts
I split my Twitter accounts into separate personal and business feeds a year or so ago and I recently made my Instagram feed a purely for business account. For a while it helped having combined social media accounts, it allowed people to see the real person behind the brand and engage on a personal level. However, as the business started to take off it became apparent I needed to make things a little more professional - no more silly tweets and irrelevant photographs. I’m still trying to get the balance right when it comes to curating content for Instagram and being careful not to turn these channels into boring, monotonous streams but I think I’m doing OK, we learn as we grow.


I Got Involved with the Community
From early on I attended zine fairs, craft markets, and other creative events. I actively sought out other creatives, connected with them online, and over time, made friends with fellow designer-makers, illustrators, and other creatives. Although I am an introvert, I find it easy to converse with people online; "networking" was something that came naturally and it absolutely helped transform my hobby shop into a business. It's really important to be an active member of the creative community, it helps to build friendships, which instills trust in a new business and builds a support network you can turn to for advice and encouragement.


I Learned to be Organised
I used to be so disorganised, I didn’t use a calendar, I wouldn’t note down important dates, and I would forget everything important. I realised you just can’t run a successful business with getting serious about organisation; I needed to change my ways, and I did. I now plan things out a year in advance (!) and I actually enjoy the process. It’s a huge relief to know I am (somewhat) prepared for the next season, I know what I’m supposed to be doing on a month by month basis, and everything runs a little more smoothly. This was a huge shift in the way I worked mentally but it’s one that undeniably transformed my business.


I Quit my Day Job
The decision to quit my job happened coincidentally, I only quit because I had to and the decision to go into full time self-employed was only made on a whim because if not now, then when? Within the first month, I doubled my income. For me, this was incredible and it made me realise that, in order to really tend to a business, we need the time to nurture and grow it. Having a day job meant my business had hit a glass ceiling and in order for it to grow, I needed to go all in.



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