Me & Orla blogger Sara Tasker on being a Mollie Makes Handmade Awards judge and how to grow your social media following…
Sara Tasker admits she became a blogger almost by accident. After moving to a little village in rural Yorkshire with her husband and baby daughter Orla, she started simply by doing an Instagram challenge in 2013, then built her blog Me & Orla as an online journal of her life away from the rat race.
Now four years later Sara’s dreamy, nature-filled Instagram feed and inspiring blog has seen her become an expert at sharing ways to not only grow your social media presence, but more importantly, to make connections online, which lead to real life friendships.
As one of our judges at this year’s Mollie Makes Handmade Awards, we caught up with Sara to find out what she’s looking for in a winning entry, her tips for being a blogger and to find out the secret of the perfect Insta-post…
Hi Sara! How is it to be a judge at this year’s Mollie Makes Handmade Awards?
I can’t wait! I love getting to know people through what they create, and seeing people’s dreams unfold at their own fingertips. It’s all too easy for makers and creatives to just work quietly in our own homes, so I’m excited for this chance to get a peek at what everyone is up to!
What would be your top tip for makers presenting to the judges?
Be yourself! I often think the true secret to success is authenticity. When something is from the heart and a true reflection of who we are, it resonates so deeply with those around us. It can be tempting to imitate others or try to emulate success, but it’s only by following our own paths that we can make magic for ourselves.
Describe your workspace and why it works for you?
Despite having a dedicated desk, I actually work best from the kitchen table! It’s warm and bright and near to the kettle – and the biscuit tin! I like to have lots of room to spread out and, despite my whole business being essentially digital, I’ve always got a stack of good notebooks and pens to plan things out with.
What does your average working day look like?
Like a lot of women I’m juggling a small child with my work, so my day starts after 9am once I’ve dropped my daughter at nursery. On the drive back I listen to a business or creative podcast to get myself in the zone, then spend a little while on emails and social media. I have to collect my daughter at 1:30pm, so I try to only give myself three tasks a day. Anything that isn’t finished when she comes home gets pushed to after bedtime.
What made you start a blog?
I was going through a lot of change in my life and kept feeling like I needed to write it all down. At first I didn’t even share it, and never did I think it would be widely read!
What inspires you?
Nature, the weather, my daughter and great photography. I get a lot of my best ideas while listening to music or reading books. Whenever I feel like I’ve run out of inspiration, I know it’s a sign that I need to work less and do those more of both of those things.
Who are your favourite makers and Instagrammers?
I’m head over heels in love with Potter Jono Smart’s creations, and his beautiful Instagram to match. Also father-and-daughter jeweller duo in Bavaria, WSAKE, and the incredible woven creations of ana_morais.
What’s the secret to taking the perfect Instagram photo?
Natural light, straight angles and an eye for a story. The best photos on Instagram aren’t of things, but of moments.
What’s your favourite thing to make and why?
I make an awful lot of wreaths out of twigs, flowers, and foraged bits of hedgerow. They’re so simple and easy. There’s no need to be perfect or too careful with them, so it’s a really soothing activity.
What has been you proudest project?
Probably my podcast – it felt so frightening and unknown, but the response has been wonderful. It’s great to connect with a wider circle of creatives and hear how we’re all struggling with the same issues. It’s really made me feel part of a bigger community online.
What are your top three tips for running a blog?
- Set a schedule and stick to it. If you want to grow an audience, updating regularly is key.
- Make a long list of post ideas or titles, and use this whenever you don’t know what to write.
- Buy a professional template. It’s amazing the difference that £30 can make in grabbing your readers and being taken seriously as a blogger or maker.
If you weren’t a blogger what would you be?
A writer in some other capacity – words are in my blood! Before I did all this I worked for the NHS in speech therapy though, so perhaps that, but still a frustrated writer in the evenings!
Name three things you can’t live without?
My iPhone, my friends, and sourdough toast.
What does making mean to you?
I’m certain that making is a sort of therapy. It brings the inside out and gives us a way to express ourselves. Whether that’s the napkin swan you make messing around at the pub to entertain your toddler, or a hand-crocheted blanket that takes hours of work, it’s what we are built for and I couldn’t live without it.
Running a craft business? Promoting and supporting handmade through an online boutique or building a community of makers through a hashtag? Enter the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards 2017.
Read Pinterest’s Communities Manager, Kate Allchin top tips for creating a winning entry.