How did you get into blogging?
I first flirted with the idea of blogging around three years ago. I was working full time and had just upgraded to a DSLR camera. My partner Ben was at home with our oldest child Max and was cooking most of our meals - usually something ridiculously lavish - and one of our mutual best friends was exploring creative writing. Between us we got as far as coming up with the name for a blog that would be a collection of dinner party adventures, often featuring guests who would match the meal with wine and music. It didn't come to pass, however - I became pregnant with our second child, Ben went back to full-time work and Amy fled overseas to continue exploring.
Just over a year ago and shortly after the birth of my second son, Finn, I opened the doors of my virtual store, Little & Loved. It seemed a natural progression to also start a blog, so I took on the challenge, alone. I was doing most of the cooking at home, and with a new baby in the house I was loving my camera more than ever. I just had to overcome the writing side of things.
What role does blogging play in your business?
It gives me something to talk about, other than the products I stock. Plus, it gives me ridiculous amounts of personal satisfaction when I receive an email from a reader who has cooked and loved one of my recipes. So it works for both business and personal growth.
How are your blogging activities generating revenue for your small business?
I've been collaborating in one way or another with like-minded small businesses from the beginning. Some days my inbox is literally swamped with partnership requests - many of which I think would be a great fit for my audience. So I've turned that into an invitation to review, give away products and advertise on the blog, as well as options to be introduced to my social following on Facebook.
What strategies have worked well for growing your audience?
Social media has been incredible. I try to keep consistently busy on my Facebook and Instagram pages and often only promote my blog on these, as they can be really effective. I'm thankful that I've been able to do this on a very low budget and can reach out to my lovely following of mother's with recipes, reviews and daily banter - along with a giveaway here and there to say thanks. For personal growth, I often submit my recipes to Foodgawker, or similar food blogging sites, and I've managed to have many accepted, which keeps me motivated. It has also helped grow my international following, which is fantastic as I look to open my doors to Australia in the coming months.
What's your vision for your business and your blogging future?
The store and blog have just turned one, so I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I was recently named among the top 30 food and wellbeing bloggers in the Kidspot Voices of 2014 blogging programme, so more of that would be nice!
From what I read, blogging is on the rise in New Zealand. We're starting to 'get it' - like they do in the US and UK - and that is really exciting for someone like me. I plan on keeping consistent with regular posts, growing in both my writing and photography skills and making more amazing contacts.