ITWBN & Love Joules
A lot has happened since I attended my first Into the West Blogger Network Event back in February. There is that tiny matter of having started Love Joules!
I have always been blogging in some shape or form. Since I went full time as a photographer at Wonderfulife Productions in 2012, I would blog my photos whenever I could. The posts featured my work and my clients (some bloggers), with the odd bit of something personal thrown in.
When my lovely friend Saibh Egan invited me to photograph their #itwbnBloggerEvent in February, I happily said yes, but I wasn’t really thinking of myself as a blogger. Saibh gave me that gentle nudge and showed me that not only was I a blogger already, but that I can be brave enough to redefine what I write and shoot!
Soon after that I had put up my first outfit post and I got such an overwhelming response on social media, I really wanted to keep going! I had a back catalogue of recipes, places, products and thoughts to share but was holding back on them. I realised it was because I hadn’t had the right platform or the empowerment to put them out there before. It suddenly became clear that it was the right time to set up Love Joules.
Into the West Blogger Network was created to support and connect the growing pool of blogging talent in the West of Ireland, the rest of the country and beyond. Bloggers of all different inclinations get to network, chat, learn from each other and forge connections with both big brands and local Irish brands.
The group was set up a year ago by Sinéad Carroll of Yummy Mummy who was soon joined with her partner in crime Saibh. Sinéad with her background in finance and Saibh, a fashion photographer with mad graphic designer skills make the perfect creative duo!
They celebrated their birthday on Sunday May 10 at the five star g Hotel with their 5th and biggest event! The g Hotel is where it all started a year ago, with a coffee afternoon for 25 bloggers. This last event was a sellout show, with 125 bloggers in attendance, 5 inspiring guest speakers and an array of amazing companies from all over the country. ITWBN is only going to grow bigger!
Saibh and Sinéad, with their energy and attitude, have managed to create a place where there’s no sense of jealousy or competition. People not only feel like they are able to ask questions but everybody’s willing to share information also. It’s a community and a family, with the same passions and struggles. You’re never a newbie for too long as everybody welcomes you straight away – there’s selfies and then there’s hugs!
The Birthday Event Setup
The room didn’t just have attention to detail, it had a LOVE for detail! Between Sinéad, Saibh and Suzanne from The g Hotel a lot of excitement and joy clearly went into putting all the décor, printed goodies and tasty treats together! All with accents of pink and glamour of course.
After the registration, we were greeted by a cocktail and lovely stalls with cosmetics and trinkets. At the table awaited a lush goodie bag, name-tag and a box with a signature g cupcake and choccie.
There were 3 screens set up in the room with live tweets from the audience and prizes to be won for the best #itwbnselfie. It’s great to be in a room where taking photos, selfies, tweeting and instagramming is not only ok, but is encouraged, because everybody just gets it. Yet people don’t forget to interact, listen and be present! The round table set up lends itself perfectly to getting to know new faces. There is a break halfway through the afternoon for chats, photo opps and tasty nibbles!
A room full of bloggers!
Cake by the lovely Sweet Treats by Fiona
The Goodie Bags
The goodie bag brings out my inner child – a few days later and I still haven’t unpacked it to keep the excitement going! I can’t wait to sample all the products below, I’ll keep you posted about how I’m getting on with them.
Goodies included: Boots Ireland, No 7 Ireland, Pixy Natural Skincare, Tiger Stores, Blank Canvas Cosmetics, Amber Galway, Isadora Ireland, So Fragrance, Revive Active, Memeoirs, Atir Shapewear, The Handmade Soap Company, Karora Cosmetics, InSight Hair Care, The Body Shop Ireland
Sinéad Burke of Minnie Mélange
Sinéad describes herself is PhD candidate, a primary school teacher, a broadcaster, the Alternative Miss Ireland emeritus, a blogger and a public speaker. She spoke to us about all the interesting people she encountered while blogging, about making fashion work for her, as well as saying no to the wrong collaborations and generally staying true to yourself.
One thing that stood out to me from her speech was how she considers her full time job in teaching a huge advantage. It allows her to do only what she really loves when it comes to her blog because she isn’t relying on the income. This woman has so much energy, is honest and very well worded – what a gem!
Deirdre Dunne from Castle Print Galway
I was so excited for Dee to join us and share her knowledge! Castle Print have been our print stop for both our ventures so far – Wonderfulife Productions and Little Cinema Galway. Ever since I’ve discovered them I never looked back. They’re a fantastic Galway company that’s committed to quality and efficiency – they always give us the best looking products on such tight time frames! Dee spoke about branding yourself correctly from the get go and the importance of investing in good design.
Personally, I don’t know what I would do without my business cards, it’s a must for me when it comes to networking and meeting brands and clients. I’ve read somewhere that design is the first indication of trust. It’s how your present yourself to the world and if you went through the effort of doing that correctly, you’re more likely to be reliable in other areas also. I think that in this digital age it’s very easy to overlook the power of print. If you come up with fresh ways to promote your brand with a bit of printed materials it can really work wonders for you. And no one does it better than ITWBN, that’s why Castle Print are their official sponsor!
Motivational speaker Wayne Denner
Wayne is a motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur and educator that came down to speak to us about protecting our reputation online. The reality is that everything you post on social media can be traced back to you, even in years to come, and possibly come back to bite you. The first thing that a potential employer or customer does now is look you up online and while you might have forgotten that embarrassing photo or opinion from years ago, the internet sure hasn’t.
I found out from Wayne that you can actually look up your personal name or your blog name on Google Alerts and monitor any posts being put up about you. The key then to combat any undesired content according to Wayne, is to push out a lot of positive content in it’s place!
He also made some great comments about how the web is so vast there is so much noise on it, that we all have a responsibility to filter clean it up and repost any spam, offensive or malicious comments and make it a safer, more enjoyable space for everyone.
Karen Brown co-founder of Karora Cosmetics
Karora is an award winning brand of custom colour skinwear, that not only gives you that summery glow but benefits the skin as well. Karen inspired the room by sharing her story about how she started the company from scratch as a young mother. From discovering a unique product in Poland, to becoming its only distributor in Irealnd and bringing it over to the UK, US and now Australia. She’s a living proof that if you have the determination and knock on doors, they will open.
For this event, I was asked again to take photos and my boyfriend Kenny along with our friend Colm were also there shooting video, which I can’t wait for all of you to see! By golly there was a lot to capture!
Mez’s Costumes Galway joined the birthday celebrations and brought along some very fun props to play around with and we created a photobooth together!
‘Girls compete. Women empower.’
If it wasn’t for ITWBN I wouldn’t know about the existence of most of these fab creative people with common interests! Thank you for bringing us together and helping our mojo grow!