How I got my product in front of celebrities
Clarissa Renee is the founder of I Dream of These, a lifestyle blog, online shop and concept aimed at stylish thirty-somethings. Recently Clarissa was given an incredible opportunity - to attend the TV Choice Awards and showcase her jewellery range in the gifting lounge, getting her designs worn by some of the UK's biggest television stars. Here she shares her experience with us.
I started my website for two main reasons. The first was that, though I loved the people I worked with in my corporate job, I felt totally unfulfilled in my role. I longed to do something that gave me a creative outlet. The second reason was the birth of my son in 2013. Becoming a mother gave me the courage to make my dreams a reality - it seemed like the only choice for me because I knew I couldn’t bear the thought of going back to my job, or leaving my baby son in nursery all day. I set about finding funding and writing a business plan for my lifestyle website on my maternity leave, but knew I had little to no experience in PR and marketing a business.
It’s fair to say I‘ve made (more than) a few costly mistakes and learned a lot in my first year of business, and as a single mum, some days were really tough. Luckily for me I had a great support network of friends and family who kept me focused and motivated. It also helped that, for the first time, I absolutely LOVED my job.
The turning point for the business - and myself - came when I was paired with my Virgin StartUp mentor, Damian King of PBI Consultancy. Under Damian’s straight-talking and hands on mentoring, I began to work smarter and harder, starting from scratch. Cue early mornings, late (late) nights, research, strategies, marketing and a whole new world of social media platforms. I learned to do a handful of things well, rather than offering many things at a mediocre level.
My business model has changed more than once, and so has the look and feel of my website and products I offer. I started writing, adding a lifestyle blog element to my website. I designed a new concept in jewellery, a signature bracelet. I finally had a brand identity, a niche, with a growing social media following and website subscribers. What I’d been trying to achieve for nearly a year came together in under three months.
Now I was ready to really interact with my target audience and industry peers, and be taken seriously. This is how I came to be introduced to Joy Montgomery of On – Screen, JM-London Ltd. After a conversation one afternoon, Joy offered me the chance to get my brand and signature Create Bracelet© in front of a celebrity audience, through her gifting lounge at the TV Choice Awards. It was a PR dream and the chance I had been waiting for.
In Gifting Lounge, I came face to face with the cast of hit soaps Eastenders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Coronation Street, and the casts of TOWIE and I’m a Celebrity. TV Choice winner David Tennant visited, as well as daytime chat show king Jeremy Kyle. The list was endless and read like a veritable who’s who, all of them walking away with a Create Bracelet gift from I Dream of These!
The night turned out to be much better than I could have hoped. Everyone from Hollyoaks' Nikki Sanderson to TOWIE’s Chloe Sims loved their Create Bracelet gift, and the feedback has been fantastic. The orders are already starting to roll in. I’ll be releasing more photos of the celebs who walked away with a goody bag from I Dream of These on my website and social media pages this week. It’s all about creating a buzz!
The hard work is just beginning. I'll be continuing to work with the lovely Joy Montgomery as she sets up her new Social Enterprise venture, MadeIN Network. The company aims to help unemployed mothers learn the skills of jewellery-making using recycled paper, through a series of workshops. The women will also learn marketing, PR and budget management, empowering them with the tools and the confidence to set up their own businesses, becoming entrepreneurs of the future. As 3% of profits from my business go to different charities every three months, I jumped at the chance to be part of this. Look out for my new range of Create Bracelets and jewellery in conjunction with MadeIN Network, coming soon.
The next year is set to involve a wonderful new opportunity to work with a fashion sales and PR firm, plus more of everything; vlogs, a YouTube channel, store collaborations, and a new range of Create bracelets and jewellery.
I’m so thankful to Virgin StartUp for giving me the opportunity to live my dream. And can’t say enough how utterly important their mentoring program has been for me. Without the help and guidance of my mentor, Damian King, my business may not have been here today.