massage

Hitting targets and reaping the rewards

Which Downton Abbey character are you? And other important conversations

When you start your own business, it’s important to step back from time to time and see how far you’ve come. It’s equally important to set targets in order to ensure that you actually put enough distance between yourself and the starting blocks – otherwise it’s not much of a view when you do take that step back.

When Liz and I first sat down together to write our business plan, we made sure to include targets we wanted to reach – and rewards we would claim when we got there.

We reached our first target ahead of schedule, and didn’t waste time in enjoying our reward: a 30 minute back, neck and shoulder massage. Ok, originally it was a foot massage, but, being on crutches (still – I know), my ankle wouldn’t have appreciated that very much. So, being accommodating and adaptable, we graciously opted for a back, neck and shoulder massage.

The problem was – we both badly needed haircuts too. I know. Dilemma. So we spent a blissful Wednesday afternoon attending to our tresses and stresses.

The nice thing about these kinds of days is that they give you the opportunity to have really important conversations. Case in point: If you were born in the Downton Abbey time period (early 20th century), would you have been upstairs (upper class) or downstairs (a servant)?

We quickly decided that Liz would have been downstairs and I would have been upstairs. It became important to decide which character we would be in the series, and, interestingly, we came to the answer within seconds, and agreed completely. Liz would be Mrs Patmore, the mouthy, bossy cook, and I would be Mary, the aristocratic ice queen.

Am I right??

We then proceeded to cast everyone we knew in the series, which kept us entertained for quite some time.

That evening, we went to our monthly girls’ dinner, which was hosted by the lovely Vanessa. We were telling her about our day and showing her our new haircuts – to which she said: “Oh, did you cut each other’s?”

Yes, well. You can’t win them all.

Facebook thumbsup

Three brands getting Facebook right

Slowly but surely, brands are shifting their approach on social media from shouting about themselves to as many people as possible, to having a deeper relationship with their unique community. Here are three brands on Facebook who we really like having around – not because they have massive followings, but because they really connect with followers and paint a great picture of who they are and what they do.

First up, the boys at Chandler House.

Chandler House

If you can’t make it over to their wonderland down a little side road in Cape Town’s CBD, you can definitely get of a sense it on their Facebook page.

Chandler House

Michael and Jeremy use the page to show off new products and promote upcoming events such as First Thursdays, where all the galleries in the CBD are open until 9pm. They also share the life of the shop – their experiments, who’s popped in lately – and Michael’s keen photographic eye makes the page richly visual.

Next up, a UK fruit juice brand.

innocent

My affection for Innocent Drinks started when I lived in London but I keep them around on Facebook because, well, they’re pleasant. Though they are international, this brand is a great example of a voice on social media – their presence has a clearly defined personality which reflects the fruity product.

The page keeps things light and really enjoyable, it’s rarely inane but rather quirky, gentle and positive. My favourite feature is #Dadjoke.

innocent joke

Dear Rae Jewellery manages to evoke a really beautiful, soft aesthetic consistently through their brand’s Facebook page.

Dear Rae

While running great competitions, announcing new ranges and interacting with customers, they accurately evoke their style and personality as well as goings on at the store. All in all – it makes you want to go visit.

Often, they’ll show pieces especially designed for people – engagement rings on the big day, etc. This builds a real sense of community and shows how they’re passionate about the fact that their work makes people happy.

dear rae jewellery

Step. Away. From. The. Computer.

When your work revolves around the bright and shiny space that is “the internet”, and digital platforms that are constantly evolving and popping up all over the place like mushrooms after a soaking rain, it’s hard not to get sucked into your screen and forget that there is actually a real, live world out there. I’ve found that, when working from home where there are no office happenings to distract you, it’s important to remind yourself to take a moment to step. away. from. the. computer. From time to time.

During September, we were pretty busy with client projects and kept pushing some internal Pomegranite work aside. I’ve also found myself becoming increasingly jealous of all the runners taking advantage of the beautiful weather in Cape Town. I glare at them malevolently out of my car window, crutches firmly on the seat next to me. Most of the time, all I really want to do is climb a freaking mountain.

So, when I woke up on Wednesday and the sun was shining, cabin fever was in full swing, and there was a gap in our diaries allowing us to give Pomegranite some love, it was pretty clear what needed to be done.

I got hold of Liz. “Pack a picnic and the sun cream. We’re working from Silvermine today.”

(She forgot the sun cream – sorry shoulders.)

It was so lovely to be in such a beautiful place, surrounded by peace and quiet (except for the frogs – and you can’t get annoyed with frogs when you’re blissed out next to a lake in the sunshine).

The result of dedicating a day to getting away from our desks and out into the (natural) world – apart from working on our tans – was that we were in exactly the right mindset to focus on the work we needed to do on Pomegranite. And we were ridiculously productive, if I do say so myself.

It was such a great day that we decided to make it a regular outing. Once a month, we’ll go somewhere beautiful in Cape Town and spend the day working under a big sky, taking stock of Pomegranite and life in general.

Yip – being your own boss is tough. It comes highly recommended. As does Silvermine.

Silvermine 2 Silvermine 3 Silvermine 4 Silvermine 5 Silvermine 6

Pomegranite first quarter

Coaching, crack and foot massages: A look back at Pomegranite’s first quarter

Pomegranite started as an idea keeping me awake one night when I felt particularly lost and unsure of how to make my way in the world. It quickly became a business plan in an old notebook by lamplight with the working title, Pomegranate, because it’s my mum’s favourite fruit and I needed something that would give this fragile idea a sense of life and vibrancy.

Very soon, I had a conversation with Sarah about this crazy idea I had thought up and invited her to join me. She worked her seemingly-never-ending notice period and we’ve been working together ever since. Here are my top five memories of our first quarter together as Pomegranite.

5. Accidentally deleting our first website 48hrs before showing it to the client

This is number five because, while I’ll NEVER forget the feeling, it wasn’t particularly pleasant! Sarah did well to keep a firm grip on tranquility. Very firm. We did some amazing crisis management, delivered on time and the client loved it. Whew.

4. Business coaching and seeing how far we can go

We went to see fantastic business coach and the experience deserves a whole blog post in itself – that’ll be coming up soon – but what struck me was how far I felt we had come in one day. The workshop took how we thought about the business to a whole new level and we’re still feeding off the motivation.

3. Laughing and laughing together

One of my favourite comments from Sarah came last Friday talking about a troublesome CMS: “It makes me want to shoot crack into my veins or whatever you do with crack!” That Sarah, she’s such a badass.

2. Getting our Pomegranite business cards

It was a gloriously sunny Friday. They had been delivered to Sarah’s house and we were meeting a client together. They were so clean, so bright! But most importantly, they were ours.

1. Reaching our first financial milestone

Seeing the businesses grow makes us pleased as punch but reaching our first financial milestone earlier than expected – that’s a really special feeling. Its confirmation you’re on the right road, that the work is good and that clients are happy. To celebrate, we’re off for our first incentive – a fabulous foot massage!