Color Inspiration, Travel

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

February 6, 2016

I just returned from England and spent a beautiful day in the southwest along the coast for an exclusive tour, interview with Head of Creative, Charlotte Crosby, a special lunch at The Squash Court Cafe, and a tour of the Farrow & Ball headquarters along with a private showing of the Deans Court Home. What a great day it was because there was so much to see and just be inspired by, so first I’ll start with the tour and then wrap up with my very informal chat with Charlotte. Located in Wimborne, Dorset, their headquarters consists of several office spaces, the wallpaper and paint factory, and a showroom. When I arrived, my tour of the paint factory began so l’ll share that with you now…

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

Farrow & Ball was launched in 1946 by John Farrow and Richard Ball who shared a passion for creating paint in accordance with the original formulations, using only traditional methods in making paint (and later, wallpaper) by skilled craftsman and they wanted the ingredients to be only the best quality.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

While touring, I spoke to several of these “makers” from the guys in the lab who do quality assurance to ensure that all paint pots are 100% perfect before leaving the facility, to the guys who mix the colors, work on the lines and pack the paints. They were so polite and clearly dedicated to their trade; you could sense the pride and that alone was inspiring since I always pictured factory work as being either stressful or passionless (or both).

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

I want to buy and support their products even more now that I’ve seen them being made first hand, and meeting so many of the men who work hard to create the perfect tints and tones. While touring, I heard a little story about how some of the guys get excited when they blend a color that may not be correct for Farrow & Ball (more of a happy accident) and so they pull it but they show the staff anyway because they sometimes think it’s a great color and should be considered for the next collection. I thought that was very sweet, because they too enjoy being involved in the creative process and are inspired by the colors around them, tuned in to the work they are doing and feel a sense of pride for it.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

I was also struck that none of the paint or wallpapers are mass-produced in some factory overseas. Everything is made right there in Dorset.

After touring the paint factory, it was on to the wallpaper factory only a few buildings away. First, their wallpapers are not made using ink (most today are), which is already impressive. Another thing that impressed me is that each background color on the wallpaper is painted with a layer of eco-friendly water-based paint (they have over 70 background colors!). Not only do I love that each roll is painted first but that they are using non-toxic paints and vanishes. I knew this though the moment I walked in because I have allergies and normally get headaches when I’m around paint and wallpaper but the paint factory only smelled a bit like clay and the wallpaper factory, like a newly cracked-open book.I am impressed by their dedication to producing products that don’t make your home smell toxic for days after it is installed. In fact, when I painted my son’s nursery a few weeks before he was born, I was surprised by how it didn’t smell at all. It made me feel safer to put a baby in the room.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

It was actually refreshing to be in a factory that was so bright, clean and fume-free with cheerful workers. These points really stood out for me. So now, back to the process… After the papers are painted, they then move through a large machine where they are dried.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

You can see the paint being applied above inside of the red machine, see the large brush sweeping the color back and forth? Applying paint to the rolls first gives the paper that tactile texture that their customers love so much for that truly one-of-a-kind feel.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

Rolls are then stored until pattern is applied. From there, there are three different methods to applying pattern: roller block printing, flat bed block printing or trough method. I was able to experience all three and was so impressed by how much care is giving to a single roll of paper. It also impressed upon me why I love their wallpaper so much – it is so tactile and beautiful.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

I loved watching the flat bed block printing and the roller printing. The machines were working hard but none were left alone, each had a dedicated professional keeping their eagle-eye on every step ensuring the best quality. They had to even check to see that the prints were always being applied straight and that the new print that was rolled on was perfectly aligned with the one before it. The worker and the machine, were one. A strong team churning out incredible wallpaper.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

After touring the wallpaper factory, I met with Head of Creative, Charlotte Cosby (pictured below) who combs the globe for color inspiration both new and old, many of the colors are repurposed from historical properties. Their historically-derived paint colors and patterns is such an inspiration to so many who have purchased old homes and want to inject them with color that fits the style or era but others simply love to put their chalky-matte colors in their modern homes to make them even more beautiful.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

Charlotte studied Management Science at University and worked in finance only to realize that banking wasn’t for her. She moved to London to work for an ad agency but still wasn’t “feeling” her job, she yearned to be more creative so she took on work as a freelance interior designer and then, gallery owner. In only her early 20’s at the time, she got a job at Farrow & Ball and her career really set off. Now in her early 30’s, she heads a team of creatives that choose new paints and wallpaper patterns for upcoming collections. A dream job to so many!

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

This is primarily where Charlotte and her team plan and invent new colors and ideas for the brand.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

Charlotte is here showing the 9 new colors for their collection, I wrote and shared the colors a few days ago here.

I’m so glad that I was able to visit Farrow & Ball and spend time around their busy makers and creatives for the day. I learned so much about how much work is truly involved in making their products which gave me even greater respect for the brand overall. I hope you have enjoyed this tour and my photographs… I’ll be back next week with some inspiration from London and Paris for you, so stay tuned.

A big thanks to F&B for having me!

This post was brought to you by Farrow & Ball. All photography and words are my own.

(Photography + Text: Holly Becker)

 

 






Color Inspiration

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

February 4, 2016

Hello everyone! I have so much to tell you about… I’ve just returned from 5 days in Paris, then I was home for 3 days to be with my little boy, then I spent 8 nights in London. What a whirlwind adventure. It was all for work, though I had plenty of fun, so you can only imagine the overwhelming amount of inspiration that I picked up along the way. I want to share a special visit to Farrow & Ball that I had last week when I toured their factory and headquarters in southwest England, but first, I simply must share their 9 new colors for 2016 while I’m working on the factory tour post. I saw the new colors actually being made and they are gorgeous. Meeting with Creative Director, Charlie Crosby, discussing the process of color naming and development was just fascinating, too. It was great to be in the factory experiencing the process from beginning to end for both wallpaper and paint, and to chat with the color lab guys to learn how extremely dedicated they are to each and every can of paint being made so that it is just perfect. Want to see the new colors? I’m sure you’ll love them. I’ll tell you my favorites below…

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

Left: Shadow White, “Shadow White is the lighter version of Shaded White so the two are linked and work perfectly together. Both names are taken from the soft tone created when whites are covered in a deep shade.” It has a shaded feeling when used in south facing rooms. // Right: Drop Cloth, “We’ve named this colour Drop Cloth in honour of all the painters and decorators who have worked with Farrow & Ball paints for so long, as it’s the traditional name for a dust sheet. The colour has a subtle touch of mystery about it.” Great choice for east facing rooms because it appears strong in the morning and more muted as the day progresses.

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

Left: Worsted, “Taking its name from city suiting often made from flat woven fabric, and the sleepy Norfolk village where the yarn was originally created.”  Looks strong and gritty in north facing rooms which can be super moody and fantastic. // Right: Cromarty, “The Shipping Forecast is very much part of the fabric of British life – warning all sailors about impending gales and wind. Cromarty’s name is taken from the Cromarty Firth estuary and conjures up visions of swirling mists.” Color changes from blue to neutrals in west facing rooms, a nice choice there.

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

Left: Peignoir, “Chemise, Blazer and Babouche are all names of colours in our paint palette that have been inspired by pieces of clothing. So with that in mind, Peignoir is named after the sheer floaty garment traditionally worn by ladies while brushing their hair in the mid-20th century, perfectly summing up the romance of this hazy grey-pink.” Suggested to pair with all white in south facing rooms for a contemporary and clean look. // Right: Yeabridge Green, “This colour was found at Yeabridge House, an 18th century Georgian Hamstone farmhouse, when the original gun cupboard was removed. This vibrant verdant green had laid untouched for many years but was amazingly still reminiscent of the lush Somerset grass that surrounds the house.” Looks great in rooms with northern lighting.

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

Left: Vardo “A Vardo is a traditional horse drawn gypsy or Romany wagon. A similar colour was used in the intricate patterning of these showmen’s vehicles (usually over red) which is seen as an important cultural high point in decoration during the mid-19th century.” Suggested for pairing with white and for using in west-facing rooms. // Right: Inchyra Blue, “This is inspired by a bespoke colour made for Lord & Lady Inchyra at beautiful classic Georgian Inchyra House in Scotland. Inchyra Blue is used on the exterior doors of their very impressive byre (or barn) which was restored in 2013. It nestles at the bottom of a rather grey and imposing brae (or hill) so needed to have a depth to it but also be sympathetic to its dramatic backdrop and work with the moody Scottish skies.” Looks best in west facing rooms.

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

Both: Salon Drab, “Room names have always proven to be popular choice for us and the use of the word Salon not only refers to the small outer room of a drawing room but also conjures up a cultural, intellectual conversational hub. A two-part name, combining Salon, the small outer room off a drawing room, with Drab, a term favoured by true colourists, which simply describes a colour as lacking in brightness.” It is suggested to use this color for darker north facing rooms to make them feel more cozy.

My favorite is Vardo. Their collection really need a teal and it’s such a great color for those who love the strength of Arsenic but want less green and more blue. Vardo is gorgeous. I also love Salon Drab because it’s the perfect brown. Brown can be SO WRONG but this brown is SO RIGHT. It’s exactly the brown I saw a lot in Paris and it looks great with tons of artwork displayed against it. Worsted is the perfect gray. It’s not too light and not too dark, it’s perfectly in the middle. Cromarty is another color I like because it’s so fresh and summery. It reminds me of my childhood days at the beach.

What about you, any color favorites from what I’ve shown above?

I can’t wait to share the Farrow & Ball factory tour with you tomorrow. Stay tuned!

(Photography: Farrow & Ball)

 






Recipes

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

January 14, 2016

Hi all! Would you like to make a unique sponge cake using lemon and thyme? It’s Emma here all the way from Sydney. I am both thrilled and honored (in equal measures) that Holly has invited me to share with you some delicious recipes every month along with her other food writers – you can expect a food story each week on Wednesdays starting in February. My hope is that these recipes inspire you end up in the kitchen making and baking for your family and friends. Christmas just passed and I’m sure with all the entertaining that goes on around this time of year I bet you have eaten way too much! With lots of turkey, potatoes, stuffing a plenty, christmas pudding and sweets galore having been devoured, I have come up with a fresh and light sponge cake for your next gathering or family dessert.

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

Doesn’t this look delicious?This Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake is light, zesty and full of flavor and fresh – a lovely refreshing change after big heavy Christmas meals- you’ll love it! The thyme is so fragrant and works beautifully with the freshness of the lemon. I love serving this cake with an extra drizzle of syrup and greek yogurt, but thick cream or crème fraîche will be delicious too. Here’s the shopping lists and how to…

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

CAKE:
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind (1 lemon approx)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup greek low fat yogurt
1 1/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups self raising flour
2 tablespoons thyme leaves

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

LEMON SYRUP:
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind (2 lemons approx)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

THYME SUGAR (optional)
2 table spoons thyme leaves
1/4 cup caster sugar
Extra sprigs of thyme to decorate with

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

MAKE:
Preheat oven to 180C. Plaice eggs, oil, lemon rind, lemon juice, vanilla essence, yogurt, sugar and thyme leaves in a bowl and whisk to combine.
Sift in flour and fold in until batter is smooth. Pour into a 20cm greased cake tin and bake for 50 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Once baked place on a wire rack for ten mins before removing from the cake tin.

Whilst the cake is cooking, to make the syrup, combine sugar, lemon juice and two tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 3 minutes or until syrup has thickened and then stir in zest then remove from heat. Prick the sponge cake with a skewer all over the top and then pour half of the syrup over the cake so that it soaks into the sponge.

Whilst the cake is cooling, place the thyme and sugar in a pestle and mortar and pound until the thyme leaves have combined and released their oils. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the cake and decorate with some extra sprigs of thyme.

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

See you again soon with another recipe to make your tummy smile! – Emma. xo

(images/text: Emma Duckworth)






Ramblings

Fresh + New For 2016!

January 13, 2016

Hello dear friends and readers, I have a lot of good news to share for my 2016 plans for decor8, some of which I’ll share now! I can’t wait to tell you. First, I have a new literary agent, Maria, from Stonesong in New York City. I’m thrilled to be represented by them for my 5th book and hopefully, beyond as I would love to write more books and even branch into novel writing and I believe that Stonesong can get me there. Plus, it’s a well-respected and growing firm that represents a lot of top talent on the web so they really get it – they understand the way new media works and how influencers and our businesses work, and that is vital for any author who goes from web to print. Working with agents who don’t really understand the blogger world is seriously a waste of time, so I’m with Stonesong because they know the biz and at the end of the day, that’s all you really want right?!

Fresh + New For 2016!

The next big news is that I’ve hired a team of writers (woo hoo!) to work with me so I can travel frequently and also vary the topics more with a team of 8 globetrotting reporters, all talented professionals working in the food and interiors industry. I also have a new Relationship Manager consulting on our team, Toni (Morten), who will help me with contracts and international clients – he speaks 5 languages and is excellent with people – it’s such an honor to have him even if only for a short period. He is incredibly talented and everyone loves him – he fills a room with light when he walks in. You really want someone like that representing your business.

Last year in October, I hired another consultant who is still with us, Amelie, who is my Sponsored Content + Marketing Manager. She is just great, in fact I’m going to Paris for a week all thanks to her great work in France for me. She is pregnant at the moment, due in May, but I imagine she’ll be consulting with me again later after the baby arrives too.

And the third chunk of good news is that editorial content on decor8 will now be managed by my assistant, Jessy, with the help Amelie and I. I decided last November that it was time to continue growing and reaching higher and I couldn’t do it with a team of 2 writers and a part-time ad sales person. Especially since I’m no longer in the business of selling ads on the blog. Now I have staff and it feels good. And Jessy has been with me for several years already, so she’ll be working with my team to organize their columns, editing, etc.

All of this means that we will have content that runs on specific days as outlined below. I’m so excited about this! It will begin slowly in February but be a regular feature from March onward. We will look at the model again in December to see what we can tweak and change for 2017, but for now, this is our plan.

HOME (Monday)
Each Monday, you can expect something produced for you from one of our columnists centered on the home. One week, a home tour. Another week, a DIY project. I’ve hired a wonderful lady to give us floral inspiration once a month and Anke will stay on for the year to share more fantastic tabletop ideas. So creating a cozy home with heart will become our Monday topic. What a nice way to begin the week.

OPEN (Tuesday)
On Tuesday, I will post something centered on my travels, a fair I’ve been to, a decorating project at home I’ve worked on, special products I’ve found, etc. Tuesday will always be authored by me, no matter which topic I’ve chosen. And it will always be centered on decorating and design or travel.

EAT (Wednesday)
Our food column will run on Wednesday so you have a few days to plan your weekend menu with maybe one of our delicious cakes, meals or other sweet and savory recipes. The first food writer I’ve hired is Emma Duckworth. She is a prop stylist, interior decorator and mother of two (with another on the way!) living in Sydney. She covers all areas of styling including product, still life, lifestyle, food and interiors. Emma’s work is wide and varied including the styling for music sensation Passenger’s music video, styling ex-Masterchef contestant Courtney Roulston’s latest cookbook and her work has also been seen on Houzz and Yahoo. If you look at her work, you’ll quickly see that she is talented and knows her stuff. Today Emma joins us for the first time with her recipe creation (Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake, yum!) that you will love so stay tuned for that. I’ll tell you about the other ladies I’ve hired soon too in the weeks ahead.

FROM THE HEART (Thursday)
I will lead a weekly column on Thursdays which will be a heart topic. Sometimes I’ll interview another woman. Maybe I’ll surprise you with a podcast or video. I’ll talk about things that are on my mind about parenting as a working mom, or maybe blogging, or perhaps sex (!), struggles in business, or anything that I’m thinking about that you may be thinking about too. You can expect that each week on Thursdays, from my heart to yours.

EDITOR’S LETTER (Friday)
On Friday, I will post a weekly letter from me to you covering what I’ve seen and loved, links to special places online, books I’m in love with, etc. It will also be my sign off and wrap up for the week. I miss posting on Fridays when I used to wish everyone a happy weekend so I’ve decided to get back to that, but with more value to you so I can leave you with interesting things to see and think about.

WEEKEND (Saturday and/or Sunday)
Some weekends may include posts where I pop in and share something, but weekend content will be sporadic and not always happening each and every weekend. But you can expect it from time-to-time. The weekly content will stick to the format outlined above, however.

So! Those are just some of the great things for decor8 that I’ve put into play in the past 13 DAYS since the new year began. I’ve been busy! But very energized to get into the new schedule and make decor8 even more valuable and interesting because my first love and passion will always be this blog. I’ve just celebrated my 10th year anniversary as a blogger and when I read this post (the first post I wrote here a decade ago) I cannot believe how far I’ve come and I have each and every one of you to thank from the bottom of my heart. Here’s to another 10 years! Cheers my dears!

xo, Holly

(Photography: Holly Becker)






Travel

Paris Travel Tips Wanted

January 6, 2016

Hello lovely friends. I will go to Paris later this month for a week to work. First, for my new client Merci, and then to visit the Maison + Objet along with a bunch of other fun studios to visit crammed along the way. I’m very excited and you can follow my Paris adventures on my @decor8 Instagram beginning January 18!  SO I’m looking for some suggestions from YOU. I love pretty cafes, dessert, jazz clubs, shows, boat rides, I’ll take any tips honestly. Just need fresh and inspiring places to see and photograph.

Paris Travel Tips Wanted
I scoured my favorite blogs for tips but so many of them have posts that were written a year or more ago and we all know that cities like Paris change so frequently that I’m more interested in what is hot NOW. Also, flower shops and lunch spots. I don’t care about museums or monuments or tourist spots because I’ve been to Paris many times and hit those already.

I would love a tip for Korean food, a good Japanese place with excellent Udon soup and definitely a Lebanese place with amazing tabbouleh, falafel, hummus, etc. Also, any good Spanish places with tapas? And maybe something very Italian and delicious? A very hip and cool restaurant would be great too. I’m really open when it comes to dining out, so don’t hold back. Please leave website links in your comments so I can easily find these places if you don’t mind. I’m so grateful, in advance, so thank you!

Do you also have some great ideas for photogenic spots in Paris other than the usual suspects (Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower)? I’m very much a fan of hills and architecture and pale white buildings and streets with a lot of ambiance that aren’t totally commercial and littered with phone card and cell phone shops. I remember my last time in Paris, there were less of these streets (though I was close to the river and Notre Dame but still) so I’d love to be in districts where I can find privately owned bakeries and foodie spots – in other words, pretty spots to photograph so I can create content for this blog that I’m proud of upon my return!

I will be in these neighborhoods from what I know so far: Haut-Marais, Saint-German-de-Pres and Bastille. I’ve never been to Montmartre, is that worthy of a see?

P.S. Doesn’t the Broken Arm look nice and the I think Miss Banh Mi looks like fun along with Street Bangkok. I love casual and unusual places and Asian food but also great places for breakfast. My dear friend Susanne from Milas Deli just went to Paris and has a lot of bakeries on her blog, so I’m going to look over there now…

Thank you all so much, since getting pregnant in 2013 and then having my son nearly two years ago, I’ve only been to Berlin for a day and Amsterdam for 3 days, so this is mama’s adventure so I want to soak in as much as I possibly can to make up for all of those lost trips. Though I must say, being with my little boy has been worth it but I am ready for some stimulation and fun so please give me some of your lovely ideas… I’d appreciate it so much.

xo

Holly






Blogging, From The Heart

From The Heart: Will Blogs Survive 2016?

January 5, 2016

Hello dear readers and a very Happy New Year to you! I want to talk about blogging and where I see it for 2016 but first… I’m preparing for a trip to Paris in a few weeks so you’ll be seeing lots of French inspiration on the blog very soon as I play roving reporter in one of my favorite cities. I’m also on the cusp of this blog turning TEN years old, I can’t believe it and how so much has changed in my life since I launched decor8. I’m trying to think of something special to do for the big birthday so I think I’ll just celebrate it in Paris, that seems like a great spot to celebrate anything, right?

From The Heart: Will Blogs Survive 2016?

When I thought about my blog turning 10 years old, I felt a bit emotional about it at first, then excitement, and currently a bit mixed. What is next for me? I’m still trying to hammer everything out but for now, I’ve decided: Write more regularly on decor8 from the heart, with personal experiences, feelings, observations. Hire more writers for decor8 so there is one new story here daily. I’ve hired two great food bloggers who begin this month; I’m now looking for a super special DIY/craft blogger who takes gorgeous photos and makes great stuff. Email me if you have experience and are interested. This is a paid position. Expand my topics on decor8 and Rent a large open space locally so I can teach workshops, host pop-up events and creative meet-ups. Actively explore opportunities to expand into radio, video, television, products, something that feels and fits right. I need to test and explore to see what I genuinely like and what I’m good at. I don’t want to do something because everyone else is doing it or because I feel like I have to do them in order to stay on top of my game.

I also wish to Travel regularly and blog about my adventures with my own photography and insights. Expand Blogging Your Way with videos that are inspiring and fun and products for the shop. Diversify coursework and cover even more topics that reach outside of blogging and social media. Maybe move to a new city or country. This is a big thing to put out there publicly, but we’ve been considering it. Find more joy in what I do each day and focus on what I have built, not what I need to build.

These are some of the things I’m thinking about currently for my business. There are more but this is a good start! My blog will always be the heartbeat of my business, I never want to stop blogging, it’s everything to me personally. For anyone who has authored a blog for 10+ years, I’m sure that the big TEN was a major milestone for you too. I don’t know a lot of bloggers who have been blogging this long as a professional choice, but I feel strongly that blogs still have power, are still important tools for effective communication and still matter A LOT.

Maybe we all read fewer blogs and are on Instagram or Facebook more frequently, but I honestly cannot find the quality of writing or the storytelling on Facebook as I can on a blog. Facebook is one big rant for the most part. And on Instagram, it’s only photos that pop up and though they are lovely, I crave to know what people are thinking, not just what they see or want us to think their life looks like.

Blogging is something we shouldn’t allow to become muddy through ads, tons of sponsored content and too much self-promotion because then we are pushing readers away and over to Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels – no one wants to read one post after another that a blogger was paid to write and in so many cases these days, not even sincerely write (sad to say). I personally know bloggers who have confessed to me that they disliked the products they’d written about and dumped them in th trash the next day after the post appeared – they were paid to say they liked it. But they didn’t.

I don’t want blogging to become THAT. You know?

I hope that anyone reading this, as I am also striving to do, will aim to strike a balance. Maybe 10% of content is sponsored and the rest isn’t. Or maybe you write 5 posts in a week, and one is sponsored. Come up with some math that works for you and your finances. But be cautious because the very thing you are trying to do (become more popular and earn a good living) may be the very thing you contribute to killing (blogs in general) because you are pushing too much sponsored stuff in people’s faces.

Readers honestly don’t believe the typical “What I’m writing is from heart and my own experience, regardless of that I was paid to say this stuff” blurb that you toss at the end of sponsored content. We all know that it’s a nice attempt at sincerity but in the end, the fact that you were paid still clouds judgement just a wee bit and that is often what scares readers away. When money is involved, readers suddenly question YOU.

Turn your blog into one big ad about your products, books, and clients… Well that simply can’t last and currently, with more and more people complaining about how they’re not reading blogs as much due to all THAT – beware. You could be phasing out your blog without even realizing it.

I am not just saying this stuff either. Remember, I teach e-courses (for nearly 7 years now) to bloggers and bloggers-to-be and I hear what they are saying in our private forums and even when I outright ask them, I hear ALL of these complaints above. Lots of our homework centers around what they love about blogs and what they dislike. Students even list the blogs they once read that they cannot tolerate nowadays because the content is so fabricated and soulless. I am often surprised by the blogs they’ve stopped reading because to me, their content still felt strong and balanced.

Yet everyone still loves Garance Dore and Emily Henderson. At least right now (blog readers are a picky bunch) and so why is that? These ladies strike a good balance between sponsored and authentic content from the heart. Their voices have remained on the blog and their heartfelt joy for what they do is still there and felt very strongly. I feel like I’m getting something when I read Garance or Emily. I’m learning something or simply having a good time – they can both be entertaining at times. But there are only a handful of these blogs that still exist that my students are still in love with and tune into regularly. A few years ago, students would list maybe 20 blogs. Now they are naming 3 or 4. That’s a massive decline and shows that poorly chosen content is driving people away from blog reading and guess what? We can’t blame Instagram. We can only blame ourselves because content is slipping or becoming entirely about our products or our clients.

BALANCE.

Find balance, or rather CREATE balance, and you’ll notice more readers again and you’ll notice more engagement and even more interest in blogging. I believe that people are bored for the most part with what’s being offered currently online.I don’t see Pinterest nearly as popular as it was. Who is even using Twitter as they once did?  Maybe you won’t notice the same number of readers you had during the big blog explosion of 2008/2009, but you will see people coming back to your blog.

Bring your voice back to blogging, and you’ll bring the right kind of readers back to blogs.

So this is my new year’s message about blogging. Let us all remember WHY we started blogging, and consider what you can bring, but also consider that people love YOU and what YOU are doing and saying. And they want more of that. More of YOU. What you REALLY love, what you are doing, what makes you tick. Sure, some of that can be sponsored but try to balance what you are paid to write and what you are writing from the heart. Be an Emily. Be a Garance. Bring your heart, your expertise, bring value.

That’s my blog goal for 2016. What are some of yours?

(image: holly becker styling, susanne irmer photography)






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