Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Shop till you drop !

Phew what a week it's been, the bags around my eyes feel more like luggage!  I'm not complaining though, it's all been really good, as my second production is being rolled out to the sponsors, the meetings begin to intensify, but between all that , life does go on and one of the other things I had to deal with is having my widdle puddy tat being spayed.  Those eyes totally slayed me, I felt like the worst type of human after I picked her up.  She's ticked off with me no doubt!, she's turned her back on me so far... hmmnn I have to try bribery with her fav wet food soon! (guilty complex much!)
Our cat Blay

I have often thought (believe me I have many many times) how do the other single mums do it? I count myself very lucky as I work from home but when I had to work on the radio station full time,   and  I had  to start my day at 4.30 am, shopping was the last thing I had on my mind at the end of my workday! But you did it anyway.   I think the biggest blessing so far is online shopping, believe you me it's a life saver, or more to the point a time saver.   Between working, picking and dropping of kids, keeping the house tidy and cooking,  getting the grocery shopping done is,  lets face it , tis a bit of a chore sometimes.   So when  the supermarkets went online, I was in like Flyn!  

A few of my friends have asked me, isn't it more expensive?  Heck no, the fact that you can buy exactly what's on your list from the comfort of your home/office/back of a car etc, makes it more efficient and because you're not meandering around the isles being bombarded by the "specials", you head to the check out relatively unscathed and trust me, the costs stay down. Of course I prefer to go to the market to get my fresh veg and seafood but nothing beats delivery of groceries to your own home, specially when you're crunching deadlines.

Taman Tun indoor market in KL
Groceries are not the only things that I find economical to buy online,  I've been an online shopper for ages, and I buy everything from groceries to reading glasses online, so much so that when I read that 11street was coming to Malaysia, I insisted we get the CEO in to the radio station to talk about their online shopping portal!  We've also had the online clothing store CEO of  ZALORA (coupon code ZBAPj5M)  on the show to give us a few pearls of wisdom.   C'mon you've done it, flicked through the pictures  on your phone or tablet while waiting, it does save time!
My children bought my christmas prezzie online too!

There are many established and dedicated sites, so far from my experience, locally I trust, 11st street, zalora and alibaba express is a great place too, to name a few.   I'm sure if I asked you, there 'd be even more sites I have not heard of!  I believe in the future we will have huge warehouses replacing retail shops or just fronts for the retailers for visual impact and most shopping will be done online.

The world's first virtual shopping center opened in Korea . All the products are just LCD screens that allows you to order the items by touching the screen. When you get to the counter, your items are already bagged and ready to go.

Which brings me to another point then before I have to go and check on the kitty, doesn't it make more sense to move with the digital era and have your products listed online on the many sites for retail?  Whenever we look for something, we use the search engines online, everything you want to buy is there from AMAZON to EBAY.  So when you decide you have a product you want to sell, start first with online retail , overheads are low and you can build up momentum on the quantity, just make sure you have at least 2 to 3  sites you're listed with for maximum impact until you can build your own store online.

Right I gotta jet, you have a fantastic rest of the week, keep the comments and e mails coming, and I'll catch you next week!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Socially yours

Fying Elephants curtesy of 

I had an interesting chat with a friend the other day (well at least for me it was!)  She said " I'm terrified of social media marketing".  I blinked, looked at her and asked the most intelligent question ever created by the English language, "Why?".  ( I do try, we all have our bimbo moments)

This is what she said :-

"I don’t hate social media, I just have a slight phobia when it comes to sharing things online; personal things mainly. I pick and choose what I say and share like a lot of other people do, I’m sure.  I’m not a social butterfly – I’m far from it. I’m more of a major wallflower. I don’t have many friends at all. It took me ages before I got onto Facebook, and that was only because someone else set it up for me and handed over my username and password, “here you go, welcome to the world of social media…finally,” she said.

It is nice to see photos and read updates once in a while – catching up on the on-goings, and I suppose it can be a great stress reliever and morale booster when you get great comments and loads of likes on your posts. But then again, I do also believe there is such a thing as oversharing…a fine line, and the amount of hate that goes around too, oh boy. Sometimes I find my pulse racing, my palms sweating and my facial expressions morphing and I catch myself holding my breath. Sometimes I feel like a nosy little neighbour for some odd reason…it makes me feel creepy. Strange, I know…it’s probably all just in my head! 

I suppose being the homebody that I am I do tend to like my privacy and my space – I absolutely adore my studio and every day I design and work on something creative and fun. I used to blog about my creative endeavors and have only recently realized that I have almost 200 000 hits. Having quit my day job as a university lecturer and working on my design business from home now, I do believe I will take on board the advice so many have given me about doing more with my endless creative streak, start blogging about my journey again and share my creative processes once again…I might just befriend social media after all."  ~  Oxoloco's fb page is FACEBOOK OXOLOCO

Liza is a designer and artist, her site is

Talking to Lisa one can understand being gun shy of starting your own social media marketing, it's natural to feel a little apprehensive.  Later on the same evening I was having another one of my regular chat sessions on Skype,  (doncha just love technology!), you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for long distance calls anymore and you can chat for as looonnggg as you like, why didn't they have this when I as a teen? (my mother is probably saying the same thing!!)   Anyway I brought up the the topic of social media marketing with my good friend Mariana. She had a more philosophical response, and went on to explain:

"To say that I was extremely reluctant to interact in any way online when I first started my business 8 years ago is a huge understatement. I couldn’t see myself trying to convince others that it was in any way a good thing to buy my art, or products – even a soft-sell was a horrifying idea.

I was fortunate enough, however, to discover a community of like-minded artists who were hugely embracing and encouraging, and who persuaded me to begin blogging, and eventually open up a facebook page. Tentatively, I began posting my work and was surprised at the wonderful response. Complete strangers stopped by to comment and leave compliments, so I went over to their blogs and pages and left messages of thanks, and read and commented on their posts in turn, learning how to interact online! A whole new world opened up before me.

The fear of expressing ideas and thoughts online is now gone, replaced by an appreciation for the inspiration and motivation that groups of friends on various social sites are sharing. Products and illustrations are marketed on a regular basis, art is being shared, ideas are discussed, and not only have new friends been made online, but I’ve reconnected with old ones I might never have met again if it weren’t for social media. The trick is to learn how private or public you’d rather be on it, and to adjust your settings accordingly.

Having discovered that personal posts attract a good response, I’ve learned to mix those along with art posts, and the response is still incredibly encouraging. Sales and confidence have increased – what’s not to like about that?"  ~  Mariana is an illustrator with her popular blogsite called FLOATING LEMONS  as well as  MARIANA BLACK ILLUSTRATION

Mariana is in the midst of doing some illustrations for a children's book,

So you see, we all go through some form of unease to start with, but like learning to ride a bike it gets easier all the time. (that's not what my scarred knees say but that's me!)   To simplify,  I'll just break it down for  you in girl talk.   A fast way of hitting  three platforms simultaneously is via instagram.  You'll be able to share with twitter and facebook at a click of button, 3 birds 1 stone so to speak,  that's as long as you have accounts on them, (opening new accounts are easy so don't hesitate) .  We always take a load of pics, so why not take pics of  you, your product, your product and a customer, your customer telling others about your product...,  get my drift, and make sure you hash tag words pertinent to your picture. (#socialmediarocks)    Once you are more comfortable posting and have worked out your timing,  then start to interact more with your posts and likes and online adverts (facebook and twitter offer this).  And remember, ASK QUESTIONS always, there is no need to be shy about technology, it's there to help you.

I know a lot of you will be wondering about the "follow me and get 20K followers" accounts that ask you for a fee and say they can get you hundreds and thousands of followers/subscribers.   You want my opinion about it? (well you're going to get it anyway!)  Those are just not worth it.

As for Social Media Marketeers, you have the ones who are really good and some that are totally .. let's be mild here... useless.   Here's an example, on one of my media platforms, one of these social marketeers was promoting a client's product and quoted from a book Ayn Rand wrote called "Atlas Shrugged".   If you have read the book the most famous quote is "Who is John Galt?", so I posted the quote on his feed, he then responded back by saying he didn't KNOW who John Galt was.!! (contextually he was probably wondering WTF),  I explained it was a quote from the book, and get this, he hadn't read the book and didn't know the quote.  His only interest was pushing out the product en masse.   If I was using a social marketing person, I'd make sure whatever they quoted was relevant  to my product and it was a personalised.   So if you are going to use a social marketing person/company make sure you research them and their work ethics properly, get recommendations and make sure you look at their work, after all you're paying for their services.

There are so many more platforms,but I chose to talk about the ones that we're all familiar with and ones I work with.  Cheers all, have a lovely week ahead, I look forward to your comments and mails, so keep it coming!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Enter the... Monkey!

KUNG HEI FAT CHOY! Happy Chinese New Year of the Fire Monkey!  Wow we've been waiting for this year for a while, it'll bring about many many changes I'm sure.  I'm born in the year of the Dragon, so is my mother as well as my son... can you hear the thunder!?! Heh Heh however the Dragon is great friends with the mischievous monkey so I shall be looking forward to this year.

Well I thought I'd keep this blog short and sweet, as we're all on holiday mode here, again, so after mindlessly watching movie after movie,   of which 'Creed' was included ( and if you ask me, that was a total waste of time I'll never get back, yuck, I could go on but this is not a movie critique blog.) where was I..?? ah yes So whilst everyone has gone away some us continued on with our work, that's the beauty of working from home, you choose your own hours.

The great thing about network marketing is that it doesn't matter what day it is as long as everyone invited can turn up and benefit for the gathering.  What I found most interesting is the cross pollination or cross marketing you can do when you go to your networking get together.  For example when we called on some ladies to come to our  world ventures get together, they brought along their products .  I'd say they range from jewellery to food!

Apart from home made beauty products, which included hand made containers for the jars used, there is also Gelato! My girlfriend Joanna has her own Gelato business, and though she couldn't make our networking meeting, she was prepared to send her products to try, now that's what I call great marketing, about a product that she says and I quote " Best Artisanal Gelato in M'sia guaranteed!"

If you'd like to know more about Jersey Jack here's her link : JERSEY JACK GELATO

Another product shown to me was home made jewellery by Lisa, her brand name is Oxoloco. These beautiful pieces  of jewellery were designed and hand crafted individually and most of them snapped up without any marketing on social platforms at all.  This talented lady also makes beautiful cards , paints fab pictures and stay tuned for an exhibition of her up cycled lamps!

If you'd like to know more about Oxoloc go to OXOLOCO

Which brings me to these glorious hand woven bags, they're absolutely beautiful with eye catching colours, which is why another friend decided to look into importing them after she saw them at a South American event here.

they are called Wayuu bags 

The women of the Wayuu tribe have been hand weaving these bags for generations. Every single bag is different and unique, with intricate tribal designs and colours

How clever of these ladies to have thought of these products.

It's getting clearer still that more people are gravitating towards artisan products, people are becoming more aware of what and where their products come from and how it impacts on the local economy, environment and it's a great way in moving forward by supporting cottage industries. It helps keep the micro economics alive.

Lets pay it forward folks, now is the time to support each other, and grow our business organically.                                                                    Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

New Projects!

I woke up in the morning to my cat head butting my nose, I guess it's a lot better than her breathing in my face!  Two seconds later my daughter is knocking on my door, "waaattttt !!!"  I wail, (can a person not even sleep in ?)  "Wake up muuummmmm"   my daughter calls out.   "What is the b!@@dy time for gods sake!"  I yell at her , "it's 6.45" she yells back cheerily, oh groannnn.. the school run, oh the joys of parenthood. 

Well now that the drama of the dengue fever is over , I can go back to focusing on my work. I have finally finished the presentation deck for a new show, which I usually send out to my producer and best friend who is in Australia,

My bestie and Producer Peggy, on another mad night out.
because a.) I value her opinion and b.) she has no hesitation in giving me her undiluted opinion , even if I don't like it.  I try not to argue back too much but she knows me too well !! Then I also have another bestie in a part of Europe who critiques my writing and editing skills ( my grammar and editing is a bit orf at times!)  and a couple who help me with my 'cough cough "sums", my layout and graphics.  So you see having your tribe supporting you is really important , I couldn't do it without them.

You are wondering where I get my creative concepts from ?, I guess it has to do with what is happening in my life at the moment , after all that's how I got the concept for the 'Art of Living Show', it was basically about friends and family looking for housing, this new show is also quite personal , and it came to me about a year and a half ago when I was visiting my mum in England. 

I've begun to start  looking for sponsors , and said as much on one of my social networking platforms.  I'm really pleased to know that people are reading this blog and reaching out to offer their help to me. It's absolutely wonderful to know that people are willing to pool their resources together and muck in,  we all benefit in the end right?.
Shooting the Art f Living Show on location in Port Dickson
For the first season of my first show,  I was incredibly lucky and managed to land a fantastic sponsor for the entire show, but it's never that easy especially if you're not working in the "system".  I am not affiliated to any cable or FTA networks or assigned productions, so being the little rebel that I am, I source my own sponsorship.   Having had to do this for a few years , I can say that there are also bodies out there to help you (err not those kind of bodies gals.. sorry eeppp!) 

Of course the first that comes to mind is FINAS.  I have been there, I have pitched my show for  my second season,  they usually have a panel of  8- 12 professionals from the film & media world who will review your work, so make sure you have alot of hard copies and CD's of your show ready! Don't worry,  if you are presenting to them, they will give you a list of what is required.

However the main centre to hand out information would be KPKK ,  I found the folk there to be very friendly and informative, they will also be the ones to send out circulars on Industry Grants  from the following agencies
  • MDEC  that is our Multimedia Corporation and they offer great grants , especially tech driven content, their VP Michael Warren is a really decent chap if you can get ahold of him!
  • CRADLE their mission is to help with start ups and and seeding content driven projects, make sure you're books are up to date!
  • MTDC which is the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation, they have the most substantial grants to offer.  You can also look into SKMM because when they tender grants they are fairly substantial too.
Just be prepared to have all your documents in order, and what I mean is,  deep breath, 
your company documents (yes you have to have a company already set up) , your annual reports or audited reports, P&L reports, and company profile and a write up on your project. Yes it's a lot, but if you take it a step at a time, you'll get all the docs  and be able to send it off to them.  My suggestion, be patient, be persistent and try to make friends with them, no one ever lost out by being friendly and nice.

The  creative investment arm of our government is called MYCREATIVE .  The CEO is a chap called Johan Ishak, he's really switched on and is a tremendous help, as are the other team members.  I have nothing but good things to say about this body, however, they go through everything with a FINE tooth comb to be able to grant you any sort of loan, so make sure you are really prepared. 
I managed to rope Johan in for an interview on the radio station.

There are many grants and loans available from the government and non government sectors, the main objective  if you want one,  is to grit your teeth, and get on with it.  If this is what you want to do, then roll your sleeves up and just go for it! 

I've always said being a producer is very much like being an actress, you're bogged down with one show for several months then you have months free till the next one! Which is why I started doing  World Ventures , writing and some PR work In between otherwise I'd go potty!! But you see I love what I do, I love that my film directors can interpret what's in my head and breathe life into it, can't wait to get stuck in, elbow deep, knee high in celluloid!      ( hello I didn't say cellulite k stop giving me beauty spa recommendations!!)

Now to get back to my most favourite part.... not!, getting the budget cut down even further! Have a lovely week folks, catch you on the flip side.