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The Uncommon Life

Instagram Challenge: COMMUNITY

January 13, 2016

 

Instagram Challenge | Community | UncommonGoods

Photo courtesy of treasuresandtravelsblog.com

Our next Instagram Challenge theme is COMMUNITY. There’s no guidebook to show us what a community is supposed to look like. It’s a concept that holds a special meaning to everyone and, with modern technology, it can live virtually anywhere. Here at UncommonGoods, we know we wouldn’t be anywhere without our passionate and diverse community. When we think of our community, we picture our neighbors in Brooklyn, our inspiring artist family, our fellow B Corps partners, our team, and, most importantly, we think of you. Whether it’s breaking bread with your blood relatives, or watching Community with your closest companions, we want to see what this concept means to all of you! While sharing your photos, be sure to use the hashtag #UGInstaFun to be in the running for a $50 gift card. Visit here to see the creative entries we’ve received so far and scroll down to view inspiration from UncommonGoods’ community. (Check out #InsideUG to see more team photos!)

Instagram Challenge | Community | UncommonGoods

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The Uncommon Life

Buzz-Worthy: Attention-Getting Goods

January 7, 2016

It already seems like years ago that everyone was debating the colors of the infamous dress that broke the Internet back in the first weeks of 2015. (We were a #blueandblack office!) There’s no doubt that we witnessed some crazy trends this past year.

Through all the noise, it turns out that you didn’t need a pizza-loving rat to go viral in 2015. We took a look back at our biggest trending moments, from getting published in print, to appearing live in front of a studio audience, to becoming “Instagram famous.” We’re excited to share our top talked-about products of 2015!

Pistachio Pedestal 

Featured in the December issue of Food Network Magazine.

Pistachio Pedestal | Food Network Magazine | UncommonGoods

2016 Bubble Calendar

See it pop on the TODAY Show.

2016 Bubble Calendar | UncommonGoods

Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit 

Featured in Parade Magazine’s online holiday gift guide.

Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit | UncommonGoods

People Feeder

Featured in the December issues of Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine and Real Simple Magazine.

See it in Real Simple’s online gift guide for men!

People Feeder | UncommonGoods

DIY Smartphone Projector

See it on LIVE With Kelly and Michael’s online gift guide for teens.

DIY Smartphone Projector | UncommonGoods

Mary Jane’s Earrings

Featured in the August issue of Bust Magazine.

Mary Jane's Earrings | UncommonGoods

Wine Sack 

See it in action on the Wendy Williams Show and the TODAY Show.

Wine Sack | UncommonGoods

 

Foodie Booties

Featured in the December issue of Food Network Magazine and modeled by the adorable @FoodBabyNY on Instagram. 

 

Foodie Booties | UncommonGoods

Hot Dog Booties | UncommonGoods

 

The Mug with a Hoop

See it in action on New York’s PIX 11 and WGN Chicago

The Mug with a Hoop | UncommonGoods

 

Planet Lollipops

Recommended in Fashion Consultant Clinton Kelly’s online shopping guide and featured in US Weekly’s holiday gift guide.

See it in US Magazine’s online gift guide for foodies!

 

 

Planet Lollipops | UncommonGoods

The Uncommon Life

Instagram Challenge: THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS

November 24, 2015

Instagram Challenge | Thanksgiving Traditions | #UGInstFun

The next Instagram Challenge theme is THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS! There are few days that make us feel as nostalgic as the fourth Thursday of November. From the unmistakable aroma of our favorite holiday recipes, to the sight of familiar faces gathering to express gratitude, Thanksgiving day is full of special details that instantly trigger cozy memories.  We want to see which traditions you cherish most this week. While sharing your festive photos, be sure to use the hashtag #UGInstaFun to be in the running for a $50 gift card. Visit here to see the creative entries we’ve received so far.

 

Congratulations to @thegardengrazer for winning our Comfort Food Instagram Challenge with her rainy day minestrone soup! 

Instagram Challenge Winner | Comfort Food | #UGInstaFun

The Uncommon Life

Instagram Challenge: SO LONG, SUMMER!

September 16, 2015

Instagram Challenge | So long, Summer | UncommonGoods | #UGInstaFun

The next Instagram Challenge theme is SO LONG, SUMMER! Fall officially starts September 23, which means we have about one week to soak up the last bits of the most carefree season. Though we were ready to trade in the sticky heat by the time Labor Day rolled around, we know that we’ll be longing for ripe tomatoes and sun-kissed skin by the first snowfall. Join us in giving summer a proper goodbye by sharing your favorite moments of the season! While sharing your sunny shots, be sure to use the hashtag #UGInstaFun to be in the running for a $50 gift card. Visit here to see the entries we’ve received so far.

Have a great rest of the summer!

 

Congratulations to @alexpaulettedesign for winning our Back to School Instagram Challenge with this beautiful portrait of her art supplies for grad school. 

Instagram Challenge Winner | Back to School | #UGInstaFun

Maker Resources

How to Tell Your Story Through Social Media

August 27, 2015

Earlier this summer, I caught an episode of NPR’s TED Radio Hour titled “Amateur Hour.” The host Guy Raz interviewed past TED speakers around one common theme: how they plunged into the “I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing” experiences and emerged as experts. The last story of the hour was told by a woman named Nancy Frates, and how she became the voice and face of a little phenomenon you might remember as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Ice Bucket Challenge | Social Storytelling

Photo via marketingland.com

Before listening to this story, I knew that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was one of the biggest and fastest fundraising campaigns in history last summer. But what I didn’t know was that the challenge wasn’t even started with the intention of raising money for ALS. Rather, it was started as a campaign to raise money for any charity. Nancy had no prior social media experience before this challenge took over our Facebook feeds. In fact, she didn’t even have a Facebook account until last year! However, like many of our makers, she did have a business and merchandising background. When her family recognized the opportunity to raise money for the treatment of her son’s disease, she decided to go after it. 

Professionals in the social media world ultimately hope to discover their own “Ice Bucket Challenge.” That is, a strategic and engaging way to build a community online. Though I can’t give you a step-by-step guide on how to build an online legacy like Nancy achieved, what I can say is that, like Nancy, you don’t need to be an expert in order to tell your story through social media. It’s okay to feel like a social media amateur. What’s most important is dedication and the ability to recognize opportunities to visualize your brand. 

blue and black collection

UncommonGoods having fun on Instagram during “The Dress” controversy.

As online storytelling becomes increasingly visual, the words you write are just as important as the images you share. So instead of merely writing suggestions about social media, we thought it would be better to illustrate examples from UncommonGoods’ community. We turned to some of our socially-savvy makers for insight on their favorite storytelling networks. Whether you’re always the first person to notice something go viral, or you’re not even sure what a #hashtag means, scroll down for tips on how to elevate your story on social media.

Instagram Tip: Experiment with videos and other content that keeps the user in mind

Richard Upchurch, @brandnewnoise

“I think Instagram is great since you really have to see [our product] in order to get what it is. Since our gadgets are so interactive, a 15-second video can hopefully give our audience a creative idea, or at least a lift in their day.”

Play Date #op1 @teenageengineering #loopylou #brandnewnoise #letyourvoicebeheard

A video posted by Brandnewnoise (@brandnewnoise) on

 

Instruction manual #Brandnewnoise #letyourvoicebeheard #brooklynmade #madeinusa #letyourvoicebeheard

A video posted by Brandnewnoise (@brandnewnoise) on

 

“I think rather than just trying to sell a product, we are working to show the joy and fun we have. The Instagram should reflect who we are and what we love; music, traveling, laughing, sharing meals. At the end of the day, brandnewnoise gadgets are an extension of who we are as a community.”

 

BrandNewNoise_Instagram_screenshot3

 

Instagram Tip: If you’re mentioned, share the love

Alexandra Ferguson, @alexandrafergusonllc

“I’m really proud about a lot of the things my company is doing, and I use social media to share that excitement. That often includes images from our factory in Brooklyn, retailers around the country with creative displays, celebrities and media plugs, and customers having fun.  I especially love when people use pillows in their photos almost like captions – the pillow just kind of says it all.”

Alexandra Ferguson | How to Tell Your Story Through Social Media

“… So I try to inspire people to think a little differently about the brand by showing all the creative things people are doing with our products.  I mean, our products have been photographed with Snoop Dogg, Mindy Kaling, and Miley Cyrus. Sara Blakely, the influential founder of Spanx, has one.  Talk about range!  I love it.”

Snoop Dogg | How To Tell Your Story Through Social Media

 

Miley Cyrus | How To Tell Your Story Through Social Media

 

Instagram Tip: You don’t need a fancy camera to create Instagram-worthy photos

Emilie Shapiro, @emilieshapirojewelry

“I use my iPhone 5s for all images I share on social media. Natural sunlight is the best way to capture well-lit images. In fact, I have one spot in my studio that the lighting is perfect and I use for little photo shoots. Make a human tripod by resting your elbow on a table or something to steady your camera. Use the “grid” option on your camera to center your work and create good frames. Use an app like VSCO Cam which has easy editing options to color correct, bump up contrast and saturation.”

Emilie Shapiro | How To Tell Your Story Through Social Media

“I have a strong following on social media of people who admire my work, customers who purchase it, wholesale accounts and press. I get a lot of wholesale accounts from buyers who find me on Instagram. I often get press requests and have even picked up a few celebrity clients from people browsing my feed. In today’s marketplace, things move fast and consumers are flooded with images. I find customers (retail and wholesale) like to browse my work on my Instagram feed because it’s quick, easy and tells my story.”

Emilie Shapiro | How To Tell Your Story Through Social Media

 

Twitter Tip: Share lifestyle content that not only interests you, but is also relevant to your community 

Tori and Chris Tissell, @storiarts

“At Storiarts, not only do we make literary-themed apparel, but we’re true fans of books and the written word in general. So it’s natural and fun to share what we’re interested in with our customers. Of course, this has the added benefit of making new fans for us on social media who want to be part of the conversation and who are likely to be interested in Storiarts products.”

Storiarts | How to tell your story through social meida

Storiarts | How to tell your story through social meida

“…Since we became intentional about using social media, it has become the number one driver to our website. It’s also been the place where bloggers have found us and asked to feature our products. It is also the only place where stuff like this can happen.”

Storiarts | How to tell your story through social meida

 

Twitter Tip: Offer a glimpse into your process and your daily life

MG Stout, @mgstout 

“Folks that commission work are very excited to be able to see their paintings come to life. It’s also really cool to get immediate feedback. Their comments make the process collaborative in nature & ensures they will be happy with the finished product.”

MG Stout | How to tell your story through social meida

Social media has been key in introducing myself and my work to an international audience.  I’ve got followers all over the world and have connected with so many artists and collectors I would never have met otherwise. It is also a great way to keep everyone abreast of what I’m up to. I can share where my paintings are going to be on exhibit and invite them to visit my art studio.”

MG Stout | How to tell your story through social meida

 

Facebook Tip: Tell your story through different perspectives

Leigh Ann Stratakos, manager of the Facebook accounts for MudWorks Pottery and Elwood the Rainbow Unicorn

“I can’t remember when I started [Elwood’s] Facebook page, but it just seemed like a natural thing to do since he was taking on a life of his own. And people were really connecting with him in a major way. I wanted to have a place for him to connect with his fans that was not focused on selling more units.”

Elwood | Social Storytelling

“I think this social connection is important, because we are social creatures! We are more than just consumers and I think people respond to being treated as such. It’s working on the business, but from a different angle. Everything I do on social media is helping to make MudWorks a brand people respond to positively, but I enjoy not having to actually push the product 24/7. That sort of happens on its own naturally.”

 

Elwood_Facebook_ViralScreenshot

Elwood the Unicorn Cereal Bowl broke the record for most viral post on UncommonGoods’ Facebook!

 

Tumblr Tip: Do your research, set realistic goals, and engage with other communities

Kendyll Hillegas, kendyllhillegas.tumblr.com

“I started posting to Tumblr in late 2012 with the idea that I would try to post something every day. 365 projects were quite popular at that time, but I was thinking about it more at more of a day-by-day level. I had no grand plan. I just wanted to motivate myself to be more consistent with the practice of making, and to include the act of sharing what I made with others in that process.”

Kendyll Hillegas | How To Tell Your Story Through Social Media

 

“… People often refer to social media platforms as communities, but Tumblr is the only one that has actually felt like a community to me. Everyone I’ve connected with whether staff members or other users has been kind, approachable and supportive. They even invited me to come visit Tumblr HQ last summer! I’ve had almost no negative or mean-spirited interactions or comments. On a basic level, I also just find it easy to use, and I love the multiple post formats.”

Kendyll Hillegas | How To Tell Your Story Through Social Media

“Broadly, I would say to post regularly – it can be daily, weekly, bi-weekly (just be sure it’s consistent). Use hashtags – do some research to find the main curated tags for your area (i.e. #crafts, #artistsontumblr, #illustration). Submit to some of the big curated Tumblrs in your field, and, of course, be nice. Engage with other people, say hi, answer questions, be thankful (you know, decent human stuff). If you photograph your work, taking good pictures is also important.”

 

Kendyll Hillegas | How To Tell Your Story Through Social Media

 

Do you have any social media tips for makers? Share your storytelling advice in the comments below!

 

The Uncommon Life

Contest Winner: #UGKidQuotes

June 2, 2015

#UGKidQuotes Winner | UncommonGoods

Over the past two weeks, we received nearly 80 hilarious entries on Facebook, Instagram and the blog for our #UGKidQuotes Contest. Picking a winning kid quote certainly wasn’t easy! Our team had a great time giggling over the witty, sassy, creative, adorable, and surprisingly insightful words that kids can conjure up. We couldn’t stand the thought of not sharing the joy from this contest, so before we get to the winner of the free Kid Quotes Custom Wall Art, we’ve rounded up our favorite honorable mentions for you to enjoy!

There were funny revelations about food…

“You look as pretty as a bell pepper in sunshine.” – Noah, age 9

(When asked if he would like some broccoli) “No thank you, I don’t eat chlorophyll…” – Zach, age 9

“Pickles are pickles. People are people. Chocolate is chocolate. Yourself is yourself!” – Logan, age 5

 “Were there angels in the oven because this tastes like heaven?” (Sweet talking Mom) – Alison, age 8 

“Do you know why I love pigs? Because they poop bacon.” – Beckett, age 5

…and interesting observations about the world outside.

 “Mama, did somebody cut the moon?” – Ellie, age 4

“Oh what a shame mummy, you can’t throw boomerangs if you live in this street.” (Looking at a no-right-turn sign) – Eleanor, age 7

“Mommy, you are as pretty as Christmas lights.” – Luke, age 5

“Can we go outside and drop some sunlight in our faces?” – Rori, age 3

There were plenty of valid questions…

“What’s your favorite sport?” asked Mom. “Being naked,” replied Henry, age 3

“Why do we call her great grandma? She isn’t that great.” – Trinity, age 5

“Mom, what’s a question?” (Standing next to Mom’s bed, lifting one of her eyelids at 6 am) – Zosia, age 3

…and logical conclusions.

Mom: “People are human beings.”
“No! They’re puppets!”- Vivian, age 3

“Stop pestervating me!” – Allyson, age 7

 “I love everyone in the whole world as long as they don’t have buttons, although I do like belly buttons.” – Oliver, age 4

The WINNER of the free Kid Quotes Custom Wall Art from Betsy Grimm is… Kathleen Sheppard Curry!

#UGKidQuotes | Contest Winner | UncommonGoods

Maker Resources

How To Make It: Instagram and Your Creative Business Videos

April 9, 2014

On March 25 we invited Ronen Glimer of Artists & Fleas, Ronda J Smith of In the Seam, and local members of our design community to a panel discussion about using Instagram to market your designs and build a following. The event was hosted at Union Hall in Park Slope and guests stuck around afterwards to swap business cards, meet our marketing and buying teams, and make connections.

If you’re ever in the hood you should check out one of our events, but watching the highlights are always a great back-up plan.

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