Professional Blogger?

I popped down to the big smoke the other day to attend an event about monetising your blog (don’t worry there is a glossary at the bottom). The event was hosted in the rather fabulous Soho Sanctum Hotel (yes the one owned by Mark Fuller) and enabled brands and bloggers to meet with the people behind the Affiliate Marketing channels at House of Fraser and the Affiliate networks like Commission Junction and Affiliate Window.

So after bumping into the cast of The Only Way Is Essex and leading them to the wrong press-day at the Soho Hotel (woops) and a trip to UNIQLO it was time to get down to business!

I was rather shocked to learn that some bloggers are earning £5,000-£6,000 p/week from their advertising and affiliate strategies! I can assure you I am not one of those, but wow, what an invested interest in ecommerce marketing. Who can call it niche when £48bil p/annum is generated for etailers from Affiliates?

Among other less statistical outcomes of the night was the general consensus that Affiliate Marketing is tricky and can also, as Ross Carter from House of Fraser put it, “be debilitating to your business” if not done right. If you’re an etailer that has fewer than 10,000 unique visitors p/month then you may not generate enough additional sales from an Affiliate programme to justify the Merchant fees charged by the Networks. it was advised that brands blog about their brand and generate and income by becoming an Affiliate Publisher. These blogs, together with Social Media output, will help get the brand name imprinted in cyberspace and then an Affiliate Programme may be worth it! Also, if you’re a blogger or website owner that is a registered Publisher it can be tempting to use Affiliates to dictate your content and this jepodises the readability of your work, no one wants every blog to sound like LOOK magazine.

However, in my role at my Intership I hope to be able to use Affiliate marketing to help generate an income for the business and then maybe I’ll be able to apply this elsewhere… Now, what was a Deep Link again?

Glossary of terms I think I learnt:

Merchant: A brand that has an Affiliate Programme with and Affiliate Network and offers tracked links to  Publishers who write about their products

Publishers: Bloggers and website owners who are signed to Affiliate Networks and have partnerships with brands who have Affiliate Programmes.

Product feed: A catalogue of the brand’s products which includes images and tracked image HTML codes to be included on blogs and websites.

Affiliate Network: An online platform that enables Merchants to meet their Publishers and for both to make money. Affiliate Networks are free for Publishers to join but charge monthly fees to Merchants.

Deep Link: A Web address (URL) that once clicked takes the reader directly to a specific page or product rather than a basic URL that takes the viewer to a homepage.

Embedded Link: A HTML link that is included in a website or blog, also called a Hyperlink.

Monetise: to make money for your website or blog.

PPC: Pay Per Click. Advertising with Google which will ensure your brand appears at the top of the search.

Conversion Rate: the percentage of unique visitors that visit our site and subsequently purchase.


Oliver Sweeney is in town

I got myself on the guest list at the Oliver Sweeney party last week in Manchester’s new shopping district The Avenue in Spinningfields. The party was a chance for Oliver Sweeney to let Manchester know it had arrived and so some of Manchester’s bestest gathered to welcome the men’s shoe brand and sample the bubbly.
Whilst circulating the store, which is rather impressive despite its size, I found this shoe porn and thought I’d share it with you.
 nom nom nom

3 Hardman Street, The Avenue, Spinningfields, Deansgate, Manchester


Maybe Father Christmas will buy me some for my feets.

Christmas List Vol 2

I am very much in need of a new camera since my last digital SLR died a hideous death on me and has since left me with my brother’s tiny little snap-shot thing.
Canon EOS 20D 8.2MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens 
R.I.P. Evangeline the SLR
I’m looking for something that will make me look like I know what I’m doing but is actually pretty easy to use, and light in weight!
Suggestions on a postcard!
 Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (Black) 
Quite like this one…


Best of Manchester Fashion Awards

I was lucky enough to grab an invite to the Best of Manchester Fashion Awards the other night and was treated to a glittering ceremony that commemorated the best that Manchester has contributed to the UK Fashion Industry. The event was co-hosted by Manchester Fashion Network and CityCo who were unveiling their new Manchester Heart of Fashion Shopping Guide which features everything the savvy shopper needs to know about Manchester’s various shopping districts.

The event was hosted in St. Ann’s Church (it would seem that Churches are the new host spot since the Harvey Nichols show last month) which is apparently the geographical heart of the city (remember that for Trivial Pursuit MCR Edition!)

I found a pew with a view, champagne in hand and two blondes to chat to, namely Olivia of MFN and Sara of SeraLuxe who was with her lovely boyfriend Ben. The awards were presented by CEO of CityCo Vaughan Allen, from the pulpit, and the categories were: Best New Designer, Best Independent Retailer/Designer and Life Time Achievement Award.

Kirsty Payne

The shortlist for the Best New Designer was derived from the graduate talent from the city’s two fashion institutes, the Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Salford. Salford’s Kirsty Payne won the award beating, MMU graduate and Graduate Fashion Week Gold Award winner, Rebecca Thomson to the £2,000 prize.

Olivia, MY TANGO’D SELF (yikes), Sara and Ben.  
Judges included Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council and fellow Mancunian, who said of Payne’s work: “There is a wealth of talent in Manchester that made judging incredibly difficult, however Kirsty’s pieces showed a level of sophistication that stood out. Recognition and financial support can make a real difference at the beginning of a career and that is what this award is all about.” She also said of her home city “Manchester is a leading style city, remember you have a reputation to uphold” which was quite well received by the crowd.
Daniel Clark and Charlotte Keyworth of Junk Shop

Best Indie was won by Junk Shop.The boutique, which stocks its own label clothing, is the best selling sustainable fashion brand on Oxfam’s online shopping portal and has collaborated with high street giants, TOPSHOP. Judge Rob Warner, the Design Director for Umbro, said of Junk Shop’s win: “Junk is offering so much to the industry and the city. It’s not just a style orientated concept but embraces so many things that are on the minds and in the hearts of progressive fashion thinkers today. This award is very well deserved.”

Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway

The Life Time Achievement award was presented to Gerardine Hemingway, who was behind the famous street style brand Red or Dead. The brand has its origins in Manchester and the famous independent emporium, Afflecks in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. After a successful progression from independent market stalls to being recognized as an international brand, stocked in Macy’s New York City, the business was sold in 1999. Gerardine and her husband, Wayne, now run HemingwayDesign. Gerardine was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Peter Saville, Manchester Creative Director and co-founder of Factory Records.

After the do we all went outside to mingle under the marquee and were treated to canapes.

Images Courtesy of CityCo, the image of me and my entourage was courtesy of Manchester Confidential


Munkispanner presents Xpose Yourself

I was invited to a rather unique get together the other night which was designed to act act as a platform to showcase independent fashion brands within the Manchester area. The night was hosted at The Ruby Lounge in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter and featured stilt-walkers, fire jugglers, burlesque performers, DJs, MCs and music.

The fashions were sustainable, bespoke, some were street/urban and others were bridal/vintage. Both menswear and womenswear was presented and I was surprised to find some new brands that I will be buying from in future.

T-shirt by Xpose Yourself brand ‘Not For Ponies’

I got given this T-Shirt from Caroline, the designer behind Munkispanner, and I love it. Munkispanner is a Manchester based online boutique for British subculture clothing speciailising in those that feel happy in any one of the following taxonomies: mod, ska, skinhead, scooterist, retro or northern soul. It also welcomes those that do not identify with these tribes but just like well made pieces, sourced ethically and made in Britain. Lovely.


Sunday Excursions.

Yesterday the boyf and I took a car ride into Cheshire and visited the wildlife at Tatton Park. I remember visiting the park with my Nanna and Grandad as a wee nipper and feeding the Deer at Christmas. The park has many happy memories for me and so Ad and I wanted to start making some more, in our Autumn/Winter looks naturally.

My new hiking boots found under a pile of coats in a vintage shop and a bargain at £10!

Adam gazing whimsically at a herd of Red Deer.
Sweater, gift
Jeans, Lee Cooper
Boots, Timberland

I was definitely better at climbing trees as a kid…

Shirt, Pop Boutique of Manchester
Waxed Gilet, Vintage
Jeans, (I like ’em tight)
Boots, Vintage


The Anti-Freshers’ Party

I can’t believe I didn’t blog this! I have been SO incredibly busy that I forgot to treat y’all to a little shindig report!

It was Freshers’ Week and we weren’t Freshers’ anymore so we decided, who needs Freshers’ Week when you can have an Anti-Freshers’ Week (which is pretty much the same thing but with more expensive drinks and a bit of Harvey Nichols thrown in)?

We hosted a bit of a do at ours and it was a giggle + 1/2.

In keeping with the Anti-Freshers’ theme we did away with ASDA’s own Party Snack Packs and RolaCola and instead opted for cocktails and a finer menu followed by debauchery and vodka shots. Classy.

Guests were greeted with Jordan & Adam’s Welcome Home punch complete with the biggest wedge of Pineapple in the world and an indoor sparkler – since we’re not Fresher Babies anymore we can be trusted with pyrotechnics.

Next we served freshly baked (if you don’t mind) Ciabatta bread with Extra Virgin (as if) Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar dipping oils.

After everyone scoffed those and we got to know the names, or there abouts, of the people we had never met, our came the mini jacket potatoes with cream fillings, (thousand island or mint yoghurt to you and I)

Shots were at this point an necessity, who needs shot glasses when you’re young, beautiful and stupid?

The last attempt we made to soba these children up was with Parma Ham and Honey Dew Melon sticks.

It was a right out knees-up and was a fabulous way to kick of A/W. After a fishbowl (i.e. the rest of the booze thrown into the punch bowl and sucked up by desperate people through straws) we meandered the Ashton Canal to fall into clubs and what not.


Henri Lloyd AW ’10 and then some…

Checks away! Me, Sara and her + one Rachel.

The obligatory logo pose.
I went to the launch of the Henri Lloyd AW collection in their Manchester flagship store the other night and was treated to food, drink, music and of course, fashion.
The night was set up to jointly aid the yachting brand’s AW launch and to benefit the Kirsty Club which is a charity set up by young Kirsty Howard to help benefit her and her friends at the Fancis House Hospice. So, there were plenty of Henri Lloyd’s best and most wealthy customers there to bid in the auction, buy raffle tickets and even the odd knit.
The food was one of the highlights for me because I hadn’t yet eaten and so I quickly made a close relationship with one of the lovely waitresses and her endless supply of thin water Crackers with lemon cheese whip and smoked salmon… or her sinfully greasy Bruchetta… oh and the Profiteroles that were so packed with cream it was almost indecent. All food was lovingly prepared by Stock Restaurant.
I was fortunate enough to bump into some fabulous ladies by the names of Sara Wilson of SeraLuxe and Anna Westerman of Viva Magazine who were documenting the event alongside me.
So, champagne in hand and two blondes on my side we began to browse the rails. These items caught my eye.

Pop T by Henri Lloyd Jeans Co. £30.00

Culford Roll Jumper by Henri Lloyd £150.00
The Alperton Jacket by Henri Lloyd £130.00
After some live music and the auction hosted by some Manc lass from Galaxy Radio we grabbed a goodie bag (and a very good goodie bag it was indeed) and teetered in the rain towards General Store for more drinks and mingling. Dead Legacy were launching their brand in the premium indie on Deansgate.