Hey! What’s new Limo?

I wanted to have more interviews this year but with running my own business, sprinting after a toddler, and being an active council member of a local NGO, I must admit that my plate has never been more full.

Nevertheless, I managed to meet up with the amazing Elisa to talk about her business. Elisa is the brains behind The Limo Hub 🐕. I am positive that you have seen her cute dachshund on Instagram by now. He is the star of his own ‘show’!

Elisa is such a passionate and creative person. We went off track a couple of times during the interview (it was more like a coffee meet-up), but that happens when the conversation is that good. So, without further ado, this is (partly) what we talked about:

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where you started.

E: I started studying Art & Design and always wanted to do my own thing. I have been working in Marketing for quite a while now and dipped in the corporate world. I then left my job to pursue a marketing career and decided to go freelance. It’s when I started The Limo Hub, back in October 2017.

How did The Limo Hub come about?

E: I wanted to create something unique, personal to me, and easy on the ears. I wanted something simple and that is how the idea of The Limo Hub was born. And I have my own model, Limo, who got used to seeing me with a camera by now. He enjoys it when he’s in the mood. I usually have lots of treats on the side. Everyone seems to think it’s just that one shot and I nailed it. You should see my camera roll! You’d think my phone is Limo’s 😅

Limo wearing Santa Paws bow tie

To put you in the picture, at The Limo Hub you can shop for custom-made bow ties, Dachshund merch, and other dog accessories like matching harnesses & leashes, collars, and shampoos.

E: It is important for me to have organic or partly organic products. For instance, some people use baby shampoo for their pets which is bad for their dog’s skin. A dog’s skin PH level differs from ours and it could result in irritation. That is why I make sure to bring over reliable, tried, and tested brands only.

What is your advice to someone thinking about starting on their own?

E: Ask yourself: What is your end game? What is it that you want to do and why? Do you want to make money? Do you want to feel good about what you are doing? Because these are different avenues to take.

I wasn’t surrounded by people who owned their business so I didn’t really know where to start. For instance, everyone mentions the business plan – you need to have a business plan – but when you’re just starting, the words are English but you don’t know what to make of them. If you’re starting a business doing something you love (and not just purely for money-making), make it your own. Don’t expect a big return until you get your foot in the door because it takes a while until you build yourself.

And network. Networking is key. It might be nerve-wracking but it works. Get out there and introduce yourself.

So, tell me. What’s on your bucket list?

E: I want to represent various brands and possibly in the future, I would love to design my own harnesses and pet accessories. I also want my own store, brick & mortar – it’s something that I really dream of having. One step at a time!

You in three words

E: Bubbly, open, plainspoken

Elisa and Gemma from @letspawtymalta have been working on something new and exciting. They have just launched the perfect handmade and homemade Christmas gift for your furry family member. I have already ordered one for Nina (obviously) and will be sharing stories once I have my hands on it.

What’s in the stocking?

🐾 homemade yummy biscuits
🐾 a themed mug for a nice hot cocoa
🐾 dog toy
🐾 an interactive activity for hooman and pup to enjoy together!

Next week, they will also be at the Nice Things Market at is-Suq tal-Belt, Valletta. I’ll be dropping by for some last-minute stocking fillers. Shall I see you there?

Saturday, 11 December + Sunday 12 December

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next, Elisa!

Show your support & go follow 🥰

Amanda x

Mobile Marketing: 3 Must-knows

I have a couple of questions for you. Let’s go!

  • Where is your phone right now?
  • Where do you put your phone while you sleep?
  • Do you use your phone to check the time?
  • Do you take your phone to the bathroom with you?
  • Has the time you use your phone increased?
  • Are you reading this on your phone right now?

Hey, relax. This post is NOT about smartphone addiction. I wanted to help you realise (if you haven’t on your own already) that smartphones have become a necessity. We can live without them, mind you. I spent 10 days in Cuba, back in 2018, without any internet connection and it was BLISS. But the fact that I’m even saying that it felt good to not look at my phone for a long time goes to show how much I am on my phone. Sometimes, without even realising it.

What is mobile marketing?

➯ A digital marketing strategy aimed at reaching a target audience on their smartphones, tablets, and/or other mobile devices, via websites, email, SMS and MMS, social media, and apps.

As a business owner, you have to think mobile. You want to hook your audience, engage with them and make a sale.

As a consumer, and an avid smartphone user, you want to browse through aesthetically pleasing shops without a hiccup.

COVID-19 was a setback. It turned our lives upside down. BUT one thing that came out of this, when businesses had to close their doors temporarily, was the realisation that being available online was the only viable option at the time.

Locally, I have seen a rise in e-shops and an improvement in making a customer’s online shopping experience a pleasant one. Still a long way to go but we’re getting there.

How is your mobile marketing doing?

If you can’t answer this, I believe it’s high time you pay a little more attention to mobile.

Everyone (or almost everyone) is on their phones – constantly. We chat, play, work, listen to music, shop, scroll endlessly through TikTok and tap from one story to the next on IG.

3 Must-Knows

To get the hang of mobile marketing, you need more than just three (3) tips, I know – BUT – we need to start from somewhere.

1. WHO ARE YOUR PEOPLE?

Understand your audience. Sure, you’ve heard this a million times. But do you truly know who and where your people are? How do they use their mobile devices?

The most simple thing to do is to ASK. Run a super short survey/poll and ask your already-existing customers short and simple questions. Example:

  • Are you on Instagram?
  • Do you prefer shopping on your phone or desktop?
  • Which devices do you use? (Phone, tablet etc.)

Know who your people are. Listen to online discussions and be present – start a conversation. It’s NOT ENOUGH to just be there. You have to be seen and heard.

2. WRITE FOR MOBILE

It’s not the first time I came across a Facebook post that simply NEVER ends. Your message needs to come across clearly. Being clear and concise is essential. I cannot stress this enough. Even your call to action needs to be clear so that users will be able to understand what to expect.

When it comes to writing for mobile (e.g. online – social media & offline – SMS) avoid writing chunks of paragraphs. This is not an essay. Write short, punchy headlines and straightforward messages, use visuals – make it count!

3. GREAT USER EXPERIENCE

Make it easy for users to navigate through your shop. Having a mobile-friendly website is a must and not an option. Mobile devices call for interaction and users expect a more personalised experience.

You don’t want them to end up frustrated because they’re having trouble with browsing or making a payment. So, make it seamless for users to purchase with a few clicks as possible.

Nowadays, having social media presence is essential for any business. So, BE SOCIAL. Grow your business around a customer experience focused culture.

Think of all the things that bother you as an online user as you browse through other social media accounts and pages, learn from them and avoid repeating their mistakes.

Where is your business at right now?

If you haven’t already, start working on how to build and maximise your mobile presence.

And hey, don’t be afraid of change. It’s good to spice things up. You know, there’s always room for improvement and I’m sure you’ll do great!

Amanda x

bBrave AntiBullying Campaign

bBrave is Malta’s first (and only) Anti-Bullying NGO. I’ve been part of the team since 2018 because it’s a cause close to heart. All of us at bBrave are volunteers; each and every one of us do this because we truly believe in what we do.

I set my mind on improving bBrave’s online presence whilst focusing on building a more cohesive brand image and the right voice.

ANTI-BULLYING WEEK CAMPAIGN | NOVEMBER 2020

Tagline: UNITED AGAINST BULLYING

Mission: Anti-bullying awareness & support

Platforms: Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn

Anti-Bullying Week is a yearly one-week event taking place in November.

Bullying doesn’t have an age, so our target audience here was (and still is) quite broad. We aim to reach kids, parents, teachers, employers and employees. The pandemic had me rethink our strategy and pushed mainly for online & mobile.

The objective: spread the anti-bullying message.

The idea: be bold yet simple to get the message across as loudly and as clearly as possible.

Content writing for social media was created in both Maltese and English to maximise our reach.

The Results: 460,000 Reach | 598,000 Impressions | 1K+ New followers

However, we broadened our reach further and made use of traditional media (TV appearances, radio, newspapers) and collaborations with local organisations to get the word out.

The work doesn’t end with this campaign. It’s ongoing and challenging.

Show your support & go follow!

Amanda x

A few of my favourite things.

One thing you will most definitely appreciate when you start out on your own is support. Ever since I started my own business I realised how a single dose of support can keep your engine running through thick and thin (that, and a lot of hard work).

The COVID-19 situation we found ourselves in had me thinking. I realised I needed to support small local businesses even more, whenever possible. As a solopreneur myself, I know of the hardships we had to endure this year due to COVID-19 related budget cuts and restrictions.

So, without further ado, I am listing my top favourite tried & tested products from local businesses worth following and buying from. These small businesses work hard and deserve our appreciation ♡

MADUMA

My current stationery stash is all MADUMA. I have been a fan since day one. I even interviewed Kimberly, the brain behind MADUMA, in another post | MADUMA INTERVIEW.

Ikħal is my go-to colour. You can find it here: Ikħal Stationery Set

Rebels with a Cause

Rebels with a Cause are all about sustainability. Their reusable makeup remover pads are my Rebels with a Cause ultimate favourite.

You can find them here: Reusable Makeup Remover Pads

Kartolerija

For my birthday this year, a good friend of mine sent me this beautiful diary for a hopefully more beautiful year than 2020 ever was.

Their diary is available here: Djarju Elfejn Wiehed u Ghoxrin

Concrete creations

Another good friend of mine got me these handmade tealight candle holders. Love them.

Take a look at their creations here: Concreate Creations

The Learning Curve

I’m always on the lookout for educational toys, preferably not plastic ones. Bethany’s favourite is the natural Acvitivty Loop.

You can find it here: Activity Loop

The mama manual

I remember attending Nakita’s book launch and was super excited for her. If you’d like (or need) to get organised, this one’s for you!

You can order it here: How busy mums get organised

J-okini

I have a mild obsession with Japan. I even started learning the language but had to put a pause on that due to my whirlwind of a life. Sumie has the most amazing things and the perfect matcha. She even goes the extra mile and sends you matcha recipes and info.

If you love matcha tea, I suggest it you get it from here: Matcha Green Tea Powder

Pots by Veronica

These pots are actually painted by hand. The perfect seasonal gift!

You can find them here: Christmas Pots

Vanilla Mummy

I’m always trying to be creative with fruit smoothies and veggie snacks. These are a life saver. I’m being serious. Plus, they are reusable.

Check out the starter pack: Nom Nom Kids Starter Pack

Merlin

If you haven’t made my acquaintance yet, well, let me tell you. I adore books. Not love, adore. And by the looks of it, Bethany’s love for books is blossoming.

This is Beth’s favourite of the month: Kuluri u Forom

Well, that’s the end of the list (for now)!

Take care & stay safe

Amanda x

What’s NEW? MADUMA products & a mini-interview.

I have been following @madumamalta right from its birth. I even (and unashamedly) entered a giveaway and actually won. I was stunned; the last time I had won anything was in primary school (back then, I won a plant against a 25c fee. It died a while later).

If you follow MADUMA on Instagram, you know they’ve been hinting at launching new products TODAY. Well, guess what? I’m sharing the news IN THIS POST 😍 Here’s a sneak peak.

But first, let me introduce you to the person behind this much-loved local brand who is super nice and, let me tell you, down to earth. Kimberly takes the time to check in and see whether everything is OK whenever I publish a story featuring the MADUMA products. The last time she did, I asked her for an interview and she said YES 🙌

Photo by Naomi Gradel

We decided to keep it virtual for the sake of everyone’s safety.

I would love to know more about MADUMA. How did it all start?

The idea of MADUMA began when I was studying for my Bachelor’s degree at MCAST. I decided to focus my thesis on the demise of local trades, especially the historically rich floor tiles that you used to find all over Malta. I wanted to create awareness about this beautiful trade and do
my part to preserve Maltese culture. This sparked the idea of combining my two biggest passions, design and fashion, that led to me creating my own fashion label, focusing on the beauty of the Maltese floor tile.

So, tell me, Kimberly. What inspires you?

Whenever I walk into an old house or shop with traditional Maltese floor tiles. But not just that. My inspiration for new colours and ideas derives from exploring new places; especially when I’m on holiday and more relaxed.

I know for a fact that there are many creative people out there with great ideas who are afraid to take the leap. What advice would you give them?

Listen to your gut and just do it, even if people around you don’t believe in you or your idea. Do not let people discourage you from following your dreams, even if these people are the closest to you. If you believe in your idea, that’s all you need.

I have to ask this. What is your favourite MADUMA product (and why)?

It’s hard to pick, I love them all! I think it’s like asking a mother, who is your favourite child? This might be an unfair question, but I think if I really had to pick, it would be the organic cotton t-shirts because they were the first products that started my brand.

You, in three words.

Ambitious, brave, detail-oriented

Something on your bucket list:

To see MADUMA products being sold in brick-mortar shops around our beautiful island.

I’m sure it won’t be too long before you tick that one off your bucket list!

Now, for the good news! MADUMA launches these Maltese-tile inspired and potential stocking fillers today!

☆ Pocket mirrors ☆
★ Magnets ★
☆ Pack of 4 Magnets ☆ (so you can get all patterns if undecided)

Maybe we’ll be seeing other products in these new colours as well? 🤔💙

I’m always looking forward to see what Kimberly comes up with!

Show your support & go follow!

Amanda x

#inthespotlight @Malcolm Gauci

Fashion is not my cup of tea. Those who know me best, know this only too well. Still, that doesn’t mean that I don’t follow at all. I do have a couple of friends who are stylists; one of whom has been trying to take me on a shopping spree for months now (you know who you are).

I got in touch with someone whose social media accounts are consistently active and who does not shy away from the camera.

My second guest interview this year is with the greatly talented @Malcolm Gauci.

  • Award-winning fashion stylist
  • Style Influencer

 

While scrolling through his Instagram feed I couldn’t help but wonder how he manages to do what he does. I have known Malcolm for a while now; so we met over a coffee to talk about his world (pre-COVID-19).

Care to tell me more about what you do and how it all started?

I started out as a freelance photo model. There, I learned more about styling and met up with people from the fashion industry. I’ve always been passionate about styling; I guess you can say it comes naturally to me. Still, it’s not something that happened overnight. It takes a lot of hard work. Plus, a lot of people believed in me – and that gives you quite the boost.

At first, I wanted to have a space where I could interact with people and show my work. It’s how I started out on Instagram. Over time, I wanted to show more than just my styling work; I wanted to show them who I am, what I personally wear and connect with my followers even more.

Favourite social media platform?

Instagram. It connects you to a whole world of other people. You can easily find your niche there and can interact very easily.

I personally think that being online all the time can be a bit exhausting. Do you ever feel the need for a digital detox?

Having a full-time job that is completely different from styling and the social media world – that alone is detox enough.  Truth be told, I am sucked into the digital world. Apart from sharing relevant content with my followers, I also love documenting random things.

What does the future of influencer marketing look like in your eyes?

I think that over time, brands will reach out to the less- famous. This is already a thing; they’re called micro-influencers. And, I think having the everyday person as an “ambassador” will be the way forward.

Quick advice you would give someone just starting out? 

Stay true to yourself. If you’re not comfortable doing something that you do not believe in, then don’t do it.

Ok, super quick questions that have nothing to do with anything above. Just for the fun of it. 

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee

Favourite film?

I would have a favourite if I actually made it through the whole film

Would you rather read minds or the future?

The future

One thing you would like to cross off your bucket list?

Be part of Gucci’s creative team

Who or what inspires you?

There isn’t just one thing. I get inspired by random things I come across along the way

Go follow!

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#inthespotlight @Gary Bugeja

Getting back on track with my mini-interviews is one of my top goals for 2020. First guest this year: my super talented brother, Gary. Biased, you say? Well, take a look at his work first. But yes, I have to admit, I am a little 😋

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Why did you decide to be a fashion photographer?

 I don’t think there was ever a decision – it just happened organically. I have always gravitated towards photographing people and fashion has always been a major source of inspiration in all of my projects. So I think I found myself evolving and focusing more on fashion photography without thinking too much about it.

Tell us more about your photography

My photography is always narrating a story.

A: Short and sweet, I must say

Proudest moment?

Being chosen by Tommy Hilfiger International to shoot the official Tommy Jeans digital campaign. They came all the way from Amsterdam to direct the shoot and it was both nerve-wracking and surreal at the same time.

What is your favourite photograph so far? Why?

This is one of my favourite photographs because everything came together perfectly. Cassandra is an extremely talented local actor who wanted to be portrayed in a different light. Together with Malcolm (styling), Neville (hair) & Hannah (makeup), we did a great job. This was taken for the Sunday Circle.

Gary Bugeja

What would be a dream collaboration for you?

An absolute dream collaboration would be with the genius Alessandro Michele and photograph the Gucci Campaign. I also would literally DIE if I had to work with artists that I listen to on repeat.

Not that I don’t know the answers to these already. BUT, super-quick questions to share with the rest:

Tea or coffee?

Coffee

Favourite film?

Requiem for a dream

Would you rather read minds or the future?

Minds

One thing you would like to cross off your bucket list?

Work on an editorial abroad.

What inspires you?

I get my inspiration from personal experiences, music and literature and the smell of freshly brewed coffee.

Go follow!

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Christmas: Staying vs. Leaving

Celebrating Christmas means different things to different people. For most, it’s the right opportunity to spend time with their loved ones. Where I come from, Christmas is the pure definition of family time. The first time I suggested travelling during the holidays, the air went still at home. 

If you come from a family who never missed one single family Christmas gathering, I believe you can easily relate.

The option of travelling against staying at home during the holidays is a constant internal battle. It’s something we start debating once we realise that summer is almost over and we still need to plan out our remaining leave days […]

New article @timesofmalta

Get the e-paper to read more: Click here

[Christmas Supplement, 2 December 2018]

Finding Inspiration: Interview with Caroline Ciantar-Barbara

It is safe to say that one of the hottest topics hogging the headlines is property. We have been debating the inflated prices, questioning the existence of a property bubble and shaking our heads in resignation at every block of apartments we see in construction.

But, in this article, published today on the @Times of Malta, I deliberately chose not to go there. Instead, I reached out to the talented interior designer, Caroline Ciantar-Barbara, to learn more about what comes after investing in a new home.

Get today’s e-paper to read the interview: Click here

[Property & Construction Supplement]

Check out Caroline’s work:  🌐 https://www.ccb.com.mt/

Go follow!

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Adopting a puppy

amandalia

“I remember how timid she was at first, sleeping all day long. She’s now seven months and all over the place; a highly energetic explorer. And, our bundle of joy!”

Check out my latest article featured on @dogsofmalta.