Emma. J. Palin, interiors, design and creatives
Today on the Blog, I'm featuring Emma. J. Palin, double Amara award winner of 2017. If you like colour then this feed and blog is for you. Emma regularly features interiors but also design and culture, upcoming talent and her experiences. You can read her blog through the link below.
As someone who followed a no payment policy for a while, her content oozes authenticity, you only see things she likes, that are aligned to her and she mixes up the new talent with more established designers, exhibitions and high street. Read all about her journey below.
I’m a London-based creative lifestyle blogger with an avid love for design, interiors, and travel. You’ll probably find me at a local art fair along with my pooch George who loves all of the extra attention he gets from all the creatives.
I’m a Graphic Design & Illustration graduate living in South West London and working at a rather lovely design communications agency, which specialises in everything from traditional PR for architecture practices, independent designers and kitchen designers to digital marketing for the likes of major British brand Anglepoise. Although I am still a doodler at heart I’m also taken with writing about other artists and seeking creative stories from wonderful people.
I see my blog as my space to showcase fresh talent as well as providing insight into an exhibition or two. I like to spot trends and discover new talent so please do get in touch if you have an upcoming show that fits the bill. Illustration, Graphic Design, Interiors – it’s all welcome on my blog, as long as it features a great narrative, a whole lotta colour or a just a teeny bit of pattern. You’ll also find that I have a penchant for walls and they tend to feature pretty regularly – all part of the creative lifestyle!
I’ll only ever post anything that I adore so don’t expect to see bad reviews – I want to share designers that deserve a few compliments and I hope you give them just that via all of their social media channels.
1. You've had an amazing year and your blog won not one but two Amara award, so I'm interested in what got you started with Blogging and on Social Media? what drives you to write a blog?
I started my blog purely out of passion. It was actually after seeing the Amara awards shortlist in 2015! I had just started working at a boutique PR agency and I saw the list which completely opened me up to the wide world of blogging. Having studied Graphic hDesign and Illustration at university, I knew that I wanted to be in the creative world but not via a design studio - I’m not that great at being bossed around creatively. Starting a blog was the perfect way to keep a creative outlet and having enjoyed the dissertation and essay modules to my course, I knew I loved writing.
2. Do you mix your blogging and social with other jobs, what time is spent on each?
Yes! I don’t bang on about it too much but I do have a job with a creative PR and digital marketing agency four days a week. It was created by bloggers so it’s quite flexible and I get to do a lot of work with lovely independent businesses. The other three days of the week are purely dedicated to blogging and another project I’m working on launching in the next few months. There’s still not enough time in the day though. I have a huge number of ideas that don’t come to light, but that’s always the way, isn’t it?
3. How do you juggle it all?
I think because I remain so passionate about blogging, it’s never a chore. I look forward to writing and going to events. I’m actually my most productive on public transport - my blog posts just flow when I’m on a tube or a bus. It can sometimes be overwhelming but if I’m not feeling it, I just give myself the night off. I never want to feel like I’m being forced into doing the thing I enjoy.
It’s certainly not easy working 7am-11pm every day of the week, but I do enjoy what I do and I hope that it shows in all my work!
4. Do you have any advice on growing a blog readership or Instagram following, what specifically should people look to do?
I always tell people to put themselves out there in the community. We’re a loving bunch and we always welcome new bloggers, especially within interiors. Being social and telling people about your blog will certainly help it to grow. That’s the beauty of social media. Engagement is the way to go.
For me personally, the key is to ALWAYS promote content you are happy with. I think considered and quality content always shines through. Being truly yourself and showcasing what makes you tick will always attract the right audience and again, if you truly enjoy it, numbers won’t matter that much. It will just be organic and authentic growth, doing something for the love of it. When you can forget about the numbers, everything actually become a little easier.
5.. What Brands have you worked with? Did you seek to monetise your blog or has it been serendipitous? or are you just not interested in that side of things and why?
I’ve worked with a number of brands over the past few years but this has mainly been experience-led. I prefer for my blog to take me places, and in turn my readers too! Think design-led hotels such as 25hours and workshops with the likes of Iittala etc. I’ve also worked with brands like West Elm, Normann Copenhagen and Amara on a gifting basis in return for styling. It’s been great to experiment in my new home with such wonderful interior brands!
In terms of ‘sponsored’ posts, I’ve been super weary. I turn down a lot as if something doesn’t make me excited, I just know it will never translate. In fact, I’ve only ever taken two payments in the last two years and that’s because I would have said yes to them with no payment! I think your integrity is something that gives you longevity in the blogging world and unfortunately it can sometimes be obvious when this isn’t the case. While I think that everyone should be paid their worth, I also think that it’s respective to the size of the brand and what they’re asking. I tend to work a lot more with independents and that equates to me doing it because I really want to write about it. However, it would be lovely if bigger brands learnt to respect that a blogger’s audience doesn’t just come from thin air and in this day and age, blogging is a new form of marketing - budgets should be respective of that.
I don’t really view my blog as the “money-making” career I’ll go into, but instead as a platform for other opportunities working on behalf of a brand or writing for publications. That’s really personal choice and I have full respect for others who want to make it a full-time career.
6. If someone was looking to make money this way, without giving away all your trade secrets, do you have any advice for them?
I think you should never go into blogging thinking you’re going to make lots of money - it’s hard work! Most of my blogging peers that are now managing to do it on a full-time basis have been doing it for well over 7 years now. You have to be committed. Yes, there is opportunity there but personally I don’t think it’s the right attitude to think it’s easy money. You need to fully love what you do and be invested in it. Fingers crossed, the money will just come as an unexpected bonus!
That being said, stick to your guns and if you feel someone might have budget, always ask. Don’t ask, don’t get!
7. what do you find the hardest and the most rewarding?
I find juggling all of my ‘hustles’ a massive struggle. It’s really hard to keep going when sometimes, all you want to do is absolutely bugger all. I’ve slowly started relieving myself of feeling the pressure to post. While it’s important to stay consistent, nobody is going to go anywhere if they’re really invested in you and they certainly won’t judge you for taking a break - there’s nothing to apologise for!
The most rewarding thing is the number of emails and messages I receive saying I’ve inspired them. My readership isn’t massively high, but I think the ones who do read my content, are really into it. I recently had a message that said they found my blog "passionate" and that they could see my intentions were fully for good. For me, that just summed up exactly what I’m trying to do and it had me on a massive high for about a week.
8. Have you done anything different or new in the last year to increase your social/blog following?
Not particularly. I definitely make sure I engage with the community a lot and I’m always seeking out new and interesting people to follow. I think I’ve nailed pitching myself in for things and that means I manage to get a fair amount of press coverage which is always handy. Obviously being nominated and then winning the Amara Interior Blog awards has massively boosted my profile and opened me up to a wider audience. I definitely used to cringe at promoting myself, but I’ve learnt that it’s much more beneficial to put yourself out there - in a humble way of course.
9. How do you grow your blog readership and most importantly keep people coming back?
As I said before, my blog readership isn’t amazing and this is definitely something I’d like to improve in 2018. I definitely have loyal readers but I’m trying to improve the amount of organic traffic I get on a daily basis. I’m exploring Pinterest a lot more as I know this can create mad traffic. Hopefully when they get to the blog, they’ll find enough interesting content to stick around!
10. What has been your biggest or favourite milestone?
I mean, it’s got to be the awards right? I was absolutely amazed at winning the ‘Best Colour Inspiration’ blog and then to hear my name for the second time for the ‘Best Designed’ blog was out of this world. To have had judges such as Kate Watson Smyth, Sophie Robinson, Daniel Hopwood and Kimberly Duran looking at my blog and deciding it was worthy meant the absolute world. I truly don’t remember much of the evening as I was in such a daze but I know that my heart was absolutely full and I felt so proud of myself for all the hard work. Awards aren’t the be all and end all but just having something physical to remind me that I’m worthy each day is truly an honour and I’m grateful for every single opportunity that it’s brought my way since.
The Girl with The Green Sofa