April 01, 2010

Viva La Social Media!

Social media. Without it, we'd be lost. I, for one, rely on Facebook to find out what my family and friends are up to, whether it's just acknowledging their status update or posting huge virtual hugs and kisses to my loved-ones (who all live in different hemispheres). It really is an ideal way to share banal information with each other, as if you were literally sitting in the same room together having a chat over a cup of joe.

But what is really so social about social media? According to my Facebook profile, I have something like 311 friends, which does not in any way whatsoever reflect my real social life. But it certainly gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside when I see how many friends I've accumulated since joining Facebook. When it was the rage to 'unfriend', I didn't 'unfriend' anybody. Why should I? I like all my friends! On what basis would I 'unfriend' someone? That they invited me to join a ridiculous group or install a pointless application? I couldn't warrant that as an excuse, since I've been guilty of doing the same myself. No, all my friends are staying right where they are, regardless of how much they've spammed me in the past.

So social media has been blooming for years, and it's just now dawned on me, that it's not only the perfect way to reconnect and stay connected with friends and loved-ones (or perfect strangers, or old classmates I had crushes on), it's also the perfect way to spread the word about mialeentje! I'm also finding out that just about every entrepreneur who's anybody knew this already. (I am a bit defiant when it comes to online trends...) And it's all connected, thanks to the magic of internet feeds. Now I can write something on one site, share it onto another, follow it on a third and post it via a fourth. It's an automatic, instantaneous media offensive! I love it!

Lately, I've been following reactions on a Facebook discussion forum regarding blogs. I only just recently breathed life into my own little blog after having neglected it completely the past couple years (having another baby kind of got in the way...), and now that I've given it a new purpose and an extreme template make-over, I'm finding it to be a wonderful way to vent frustrations and share ideas and anecdotes in the hopes of inspiring like-minded souls. Literally minutes after posting, I got a few positive reactions and even some new followers! I've been 'liked'! And I like it.

I know now that if I want my webshop to succeed on the net, I need to dive into it and take full advantage of all it has to offer. The only problem is that, in my opinion, it has too much to offer. Let's take Twitter, for example. I have never, nor am I likely to ever, tweet anything. I blame my inferior mobile internet connection (with a connection speed that was considered fast in the 1980's), but in reality I am a little apprehensive about heaving yet another portion of social media on my already heaping plate. When I Googled 'mialeentje' recently, I found that I'd been tweeted about, which is even better. Someone found my little business interesting enough to tweet, and it wasn't even me! I see that as a compliment, as well as a relief that I didn't have to do it myself...

Social media is wonderfully time-consuming but it does pay off! Like everything else in entrepreneurship, it's all about investing time, and money. And since I don't have a cent, I turn to what I have plenty of: time... Well, when the kids are asleep, that is.

March 29, 2010

What To Do With Big Little Men...

My son Bram is not only a handful physically, he is an entire armful emotionally these days. That makes sense, since the big little man just turned two.

Suddenly a day in Bram's life has become busy and mentally challenging when it used to be a matter of simply waking up, eating food, napping, eating food, playing, eating food and going to bed. Now he's dealing with big emotions, growing pains, pre-school, other kids... it's a lot for any man to handle, especially a two-year-old one. He's neither familiar with nor capable of multi-tasking yet! He has officially graduated from babyhood into the era of toughness and now needs to dress accordingly.

As Bram deals with these developmental leaps into big-boyhood, I am experiencing parallels with the mialeentje boys' collection I lovingly named after him, bramboy. Apart from the 'everlasting pants - for kids who won't stop growing', I am finding it difficult to come up with new and exciting boyswear that I can put the same amount of passion into as I do the girlswear. A girls' garment has endless possibilities when it comes to ruffles, ribbons and gathering... A boys' garment just doesn't - and shouldn't - require the same approach, but what approach it does require has quite honestly got me stumped.

When I look at Bram, I see that he needs to be able to run, jump, climb, fall, trike, roll over and fall some more and he needs the proper attire to do all that in. When it comes to making clothes, I tend to lean towards cute, not tough. In fact, my inspiration for boyswear tends to fizzle out after size 74 (18mo), and after that, it's just no longer okay to be cute. A little boy who can slosh through a knee-deep puddle, get stuck haflway up a tree or carry a log half his own size simply can't be seen wearing powder blue or anything with a teddy bear motief on it. No, now it's got to be made of heavy denim, camoflauge and canvas. It's got to have cargo pockets everywhere, big enough to hold a frog, two worms and at least half a cup of sand.

My affinity for girlswear comes not only from the fact that I worked as a professional girlswear stylist for years, but also stems from the fact that I am, in fact, a girl. I recognize what a girl needs, what a girl wants, what a girl simply can't live without. The fact is that boys don't really care what they're wearing, as long as it doesn't get in their way while they're trying to ride a trike over a pile of branches. I seriously doubt Bram will develop the same desire to pick out his own outfit every morning as Mia did when she turned two. I get the distinct impression he has more important things to think about, namely how fast he can get his hands on his HotWheels.

So, what to do about big little men? I don't think I'm prepared to give up on bramboy completely - there are simply too many green-minded parents out there who are interested in my eco-friendly upcycled clothes for boys. But perhaps the line needs to be exclusively for the littlest of little men. The ones who can still get away with teddy bear motiefs and powder blue. The big little men who are still little enough to be cute.

And as for the bigger big little men - I'll keep my eyes on Bram and keep you posted...