Today's interview is with Heather Jennings. She's the founder of Poppy Haus an idea blog for the modern homestead. She's sharing her process for getting things done and advice on standing out in the blog world.
1. Who are you and what are you passionate about?
I am most passionate about my favorite people, my dudes, my family. I am inspired by artists, makers, and writers, furniture design, architecture, and really good food.
2. Personal mantra or favorite quote.
Lately "Be the good" and "Comparison is the thief of joy"
3. You create so many beautiful projects. What’s your secret to getting things done?
I am easily interrupted and distracted while I'm working, because of this I've developed a strategy. I try to finish everything I start. Before I begin a project or a recipe, I map out a plan (sometimes in my head), make sure I have all the supplies I need to execute, and try to see each thing through before moving on to a new idea. If I design projects in this linear way I can easily pick up wherever I had to leave off. Part of this strategy also involves letting go of those things that are not working.
4. You self published a book via blurb. Would you share a bit about that experience?
I've actually published two books! The first book is a collection of blog posts from Poppy Haus, the second is a book featuring some of my favorite design projects that re-imagine simple materials like wood, paper, and bits of nature. I love having books to hold my work, because the things that I make are so permanent and physical, and I want to have a physical way to communicate what I do, and what my blog is about... I use them as portfolios. Blurb is the best platform for creatives to make their own books, because of the quality of their materials, and because Blurb's bookmaking software is so visual and intuitive.
5. What do you feel is the biggest mistake or failure you’ve had? What did you learn from it?
After receiving a few requests from readers, I opened an Etsy shop to sell my paper lanterns. This was a mistake on so many levels. I initially priced them too low (not charging for my labor). I didn't stock the materials so I was forced to rush around to make a short deadline. I way underestimated the shipping costs, and the amount of follow through to run a shop. Every time an order came in I would cringe. The headache involved in producing these to order took all the joy out of crafting. I've learned to turn things down. Not every idea is a good idea.
6. You’ve landed some great press coverage for Poppy Haus. What do you think makes a blog an attractive PR magnet?
I try to get my best stuff in front of the right people. Poppy Haus is not a big blog, but my projects are all over the internet, and a lot of that has to do with larger media outlets and blogs featuring my work. If I think I've made something really special, I'll send it over to Design*Sponge, or Apartment Therapy. I pin almost every post, and I put almost all of my design projects on Craftgawker, where they will be seen by a much wider audience, including editors. From there I've had work featured on Make, Curbly and Babble. I don't put up everything I do, because sometimes it's not press-worthy, but meaningful to me.
7. What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?
Go to art school! It's funny, now that I have kids, I want to help them figure out what they are good at/passionate about. I want to send them out into the world with a plan and a clear idea about what makes them happy, and inspired. I think that doing what you are meant to be doing can lead to the greatest success.
8. Now that blogs have become so popular. How can a new blogger stand out on the web?
I wrote a post about this last year. I think to stand out you have to be original and authentic, and you need to market yourself. For me, it's more important to have a dedicated readership than a huge readership. If you want your blog to be profitable, you may need to look beyond the traditional ways of bringing in ad revenue. Blogging is changing.
9. What keeps you inspired?
Getting out there and looking at stuff. I draw inspiration from so many places, but for the most part not from sitting in front of my computer all day.
10. What are your big dreams for Poppy Haus this year? Any special projects that you can share with us?
Poppy Haus is evolving. This is will be a year of big change. I can't share the plans just yet, but I will say that I'm growing the blog into a business.
Find Heather at...