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The Uncommon Life

Sky-High Romance & Rodeo No-Nos: Announcing Our #UncommonDate Contest Winners

February 17, 2016

Winners of the Uncommon Date Contest from UncommonGoods

In preparation for Valentine’s Day, we asked you to share your uncommon date stories. We expected to hear some tales of romance and a few funny anecdotes about dates gone wrong, but we had no idea we’d get so many great entries–making it pretty hard to pick just two winners.

In the end, after many “Aw, that’s SO sweet”s and plenty of chuckles, we decided on one date that we wished we could replicate and one we’d rather not.

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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

It’s Better to Give Because…

December 9, 2015

We’re proud to support our Better to Give partners and the positive impacts they’re making on the world all year long, but on December 1, 2015, we were able to step-up our giving game and donate more to help them do good.

The first day in December this year was Giving Tuesday, a “global day dedicated to giving back.” To celebrate, we asked our community to tell us why it’s better to give than to receive, and we received some pretty on-point answers.

Better to Give | UncommonGoodsFor every answer we received on  Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, we donated $1 to our Better to Give partners. We also chose one answer from each platform and donated $500 to a non-profit organization of the person who shared that answer’s choice.

  • Twitter winner @EtheRealGrrl said “It’s #BettertoGive than receive because nothing is more fulfilling than contributing to another person’s happiness.” She chose our Better to Give partner RAINN to receive our donation in her name.
  • Our Instagram winner @zlauzia picked  The Next Door–an organization that isn’t currently one of our partners, but is definitely a worthy cause. She said, “It is always #bettertogive. There is no better joy than that of giving – regardless of what it is – a smile, your time, a shoulder, your love, a hug, money; let’s make every day #givingtuesday.”
  • On Facebook, Clara Waldhari told us, “Giving — of yourself and/or through a material item — is the best way to know you are alive and in tune with this wondrous universe. Giving from the heart is healing for the giver and the receiver. #BettertoGive and #GivingTuesday” She selected the international children’s rights organization Save the Children to receive $500.

In addition to the extra donations made through our social media campaign, we also doubled the donation for every shopper who selected a Better to Give Partner at checkout when purchasing on our website. (Did you know that every time you shop at UncommonGoods you have the opportunity to select a non-profit partner from our line-up and we’ll donate $1 to that organization at no cost to you? Learn more here.)

Better to Give | UncommonGoods

It's Better to Give | Learn More

Thanks to our social media followers who participated in the campaign and the shoppers who selected non-profit partners to receive our special $2 donation, we donated a total of $5,799 on Giving Tuesday.

Of course, it truly is better to give than to receive all year round, so don’t forget to check out Better to Give next time you place an order with us and we’ll donate $1 to the non-profit partner of your choice.

 

The Uncommon Life

Instagram Challenge: BACK TO SCHOOL

September 1, 2015

Instagram Challenge | Back to School | UncommonGoods

The next Instagram Challenge theme is BACK TO SCHOOL. The end of summer vacation usually accompanies a deep sigh heard ’round the world for students. But instead of feeling like we’ve reached a dead end in the year, there’s something special about September that always signals fresh beginnings. Even if you’re decades past your high school graduation, there’s no denying that there’s a familiar shift of energy this time of year; a feeling that there are endless possibilities ahead.  Whether it’s your organized collection of school supplies (#ThingsOrganizedNeatly), your favorite new lunch-to-go, or your child’s creative academic crafts, we want to see how you’re kicking off the school year! While sharing your scholastic 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 school year, everyone!

 Instagram Challenge | Back to School | UncommonGoods

Anything is Possible | Instagram Challenge | Back to School | UncommonGoods

Congratulations to @gillianandmomo for winning our Found Objects Instagram Challenge with this uncommon photo of vintage buttons, lost and found. 

Instagram Challenge Winner | Found Objects | UncommonGoods

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

#BringBacktheBow: Spread Holiday Cheer for a Chance to Win!

December 15, 2014

Finding the right gift for someone special is quite an accomplishment, even if picking out that present isn’t difficult to do. Knowing just what to get  an important person takes skill, and that perfect present is more than some thing, it’s a token of love. Sure, it sounds a little cheesy, but what better time to break out the cheese ball than the holidays? That’s why we’re a little giddy about our new social media contest: #BringBacktheBow.

Enter to win our #BringBacktheBow contest!

Why do we want to bring back the bow? The thought of friends and family exchanging all those just-the-right-gifts with each other fills us with holiday joy! But, before each gift is unwrapped, it has to spend a little time bound in paper, stuffed in a stocking, or adorned with a big ol’ bow. That wrap job is more than just a clever disguise, it’s proof that you put a little extra TLC into your present presentation to make your giftee’s opening experience extra amazing.

Celebrate the whole gift experience with us by showing off your radiant wrapping, creative and crafty packaging, and best-decorated boxes and bags for the chance to win a $50 UncommonGoods gift certificate.  Share your photo on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #BringBacktheBow to enter. 

Spread even more cheer by tagging the recipient of the gift in your photo, and they’ll be entered to win a $50 gift card as well. (Just make sure that no part of the present is peeking out in your snapshot. We wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone!) 

 

 

 

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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