For those of you who don’t already follow fellow blogger and entrepreneur Lauren of Blonde Vision then you really need to. I first met Lauren off the back of a blogging event she organised and have kept in touch with her ever since.
For me Lauren encompasses everything this Women in Business series is about. She is smart, forward thinking and ambitious. For a lady in her 20s has achieved an awful lot but I will let her share that part with you in her interview below, after all this is her time to shine….
Very busy indeed! In the last month I have set up two businesses; a corporate events agency, Works Events alongside the already successful Works MC and Works Digital, as well as an online gifting boutique, Gifting Lounge.
What inspired you to set up the Gifting Lounge?
I’ve always been one of those people who spend ages searching for the perfect gift. I like to buy loads of small things, which reflect the recipients personality. I never have much time to do physical shopping so usually do 80% of my shopping online but when buying small gifts online you end up spending a fortune on postage buying small things from 5 different shops. So the Gifting Lounge was born with a variety of ever changing gifts at low prices!
For those readers unfamiliar with the Gifting Lounge what would you say are the core foundations of your brand?
The point of the Gifting Lounge is that you can find a variety of gifts in one place and not a single thing is over £10.00. It doesn’t mean we have to compromise on quality though, which is the best part. Orders come boxed and wrapped, filled with a few little surprises so they’re ready to give to the lucky recipient without much thought, making your life, and your shopping experience much easier.
It’s a friendly brand with our customers best interests at heart.
What have been your biggest struggles since launching Gifting Lounge?
Getting the name out there is the hardest part for me so any promotion (like this!) is greatly appreciated. I tried not to invest too much money initially just in case it didn’t take off so I don’t have a marketing budget to spend a fortune on advertising – unfortunately!
And on the flip side, what have been your most memorable achievements so far?
My first order was my most memorable moment. Someone from the blogger community who I knew, but had only met once. The fact she supported my business enough to make an order meant a lot.
Which product is your personal favourite from the Gifting Lounge range?
Eeek that’s a tough one… I’m not sure I can pick just one but it would be out of the Moroccan tea light holders, one of the triple chain necklaces and of course being a blogger myself, the Bloggers Do It Better Blogger Bags.
What are your goals for the Gifting Lounge over the next few years?
Grow, Grow Grow!! I’d love to massively extend the product range but that will only come when more money is built from the business. Patience is a virtue so I’m told…
Turning to your blogging life! What can readers expect from your blog?
The motto of Blonde Vision is to inform, innovate and inspire – one or more of these philosophies are carried through every blog post and are the core of my content. What started as a beauty blog has now turned lifestyle offering information and inspiration on beauty, fashion, food, fitness, travel and general lifestyle topics.
What do you enjoy most about being a blogger?
The best part without a doubt is the people I’ve met. I speak to them everyday and couldn’t imagine my life without them. It’s so great that organising so many events for the community means that I get to see them all on an even more regular basis too!
You are also responsible for the @LDNMeetUp Twitter group, for those readers unaware of the group could you just explain a little bit about it?
LDNmeetup was created at the start of the year when I took my love for the events industry and started organising events for bloggers. Our events are about friendship, originality and knowledge. Core concepts that are always present at our events. Whilst we do organise the odd casual event, 80% of our events are about learning whether that be related to your blog, or how to make the perfect truffle! – yes we did an amazing chocolate making class! Where possible, we try to innovate in terms of the content of the event and the brands involved. No one wants to go to the same event replicated by 100 different bloggers!
We have now branched out and are currently planning our fourth (!!!) blogger holiday. It sounds crazy but honestly, it’s amazing to go away with such incredible, like minded women.
You arranged the fantastic #bigbloggerconference recently, it must have been a huge amount of pressure to make that so successful?
Haha yes insane pressure – particularly as I had just taken over as Managing Director of an events company. We had some AV issues thanks to the hotel not supplying the right equipment so my stress levels were pretty high but it’s an industry I have been a part of for a long time so I’m used to it – as much as you can be!
What was your highlight of the day?
The best part of the day was taking a (very brief) second to look round and see what we had created; see the brands talking enthusiastically about their products, the bloggers intrigued in learning something new. I also love seeing friendships form at our events and there were definitely a few at the conference – it makes my heart swell!!
Will you be arranging another one?
HA ummm… If you’d have asked me on the day, I would have said no… but of course, as usual we’re in talks for the next one. I can’t give much away right now but it’s planned to be a weekend long retreat. I’m not sure how on earth we’re going to pull it off – but I have faith in myself and the other amazing ladies helping me with these events – which wouldn’t happen without them by the way!
What other events have you got coming up?
We have a London Haunted Pub Tour, a holiday to Belgium for the Christmas Markets, a Christmas party cruise, Winter Wonderland Secret Santa meet up, a Center Parcs Holiday and a holiday to Ibiza… and that’s just the ones that are booked!!
For those bloggers who are interested in the events you arrange but have been a little unsure about attending, what would you say?
Everyone is nervous!! We always have hashtags for the event so you can see other people attending and we now also have an App so you have see who’s coming and have a chat beforehand! It’s always easier walking into a busy room with a friendly face you have met up with beforehand – even if it was just outside the door. We’re all in this together, and we’re all the same… that’s what our events stand for and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you had one message you could personally pass on to Jessica KG readers what would it be?
My top tips for business success are:
– Never be afraid to talk about yourself and network. You never know who knows someone, who knows someone who could help you out with your dreams. That’s how I got to own my Events company.
– Success doesn’t happen overnight; but set realistic timelines. Investing thousands of pounds for years on a business that isn’t growing isn’t viable, but give yourself a realistic amount of time to start growing.
-Be strong. You’ll want to give up. People will screw you over. Things will go wrong. Build a thick skin, learn from things but don’t dwell on them.
– Innovate don’t imitate
– Keep your eye on a prize; the prize may change and that’s okay, but always make sure you’re working toward something. Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it.
Such fantastic advice from Lauren, particularly in the penultimate paragraph. I really could not add anything more other than my own personal thanks to Lauren for being featured and for inspiring me and supporting me on my own blogging journey. My only sadness is that I am not London based and therefore cannot attend every single one of her events and catch up with her more often!
I am however super excited to see what Lauren has to bring over the next 12 months (which I am sure will be nothing but on point and extremely well executed!).
Lauren has very kindly said that she is more than happy to answer any questions anyone may have so please do not hesitate to contact her and please don’t forget to check out her current baby – The Gifting Lounge.
I hope you are all feeling the blogger love right now?
Jessica KG x
Other posts in the Women in Business series include: