Tara from Tara Made It

Tara is a successful blogger I first met through Twitter. We got talking about everything and nothing, and she agreed to do a Q&A with me.

Tara Made It Screenshot

Can you first introduce yourself, where you come from, and what is your background?

Hi there, I’m Tara Rex from taradaramadeit.com.  Canada is my native country, I was recruited to work as an RN in a busy ER/Trauma Room in the states 10 years ago and am now an American.  I have always been artsy fartsy and have dabbled in many different artistic mediums, but always have come back to sewing and textiles.  I decided to open a sewing company and make a go of it in February 2010 and haven’t looked back.  With 2 young boys at home, this has allowed me to stay at home with them and be accessible to them, and to participate at their schools on a volunteer basis!  My sewing company, taradara, is currently being considered to be featured on the hit TV show Shark Tank on ABC.

What are some of the topics you write about on your blog?

I write about various topics.  I certainly do not have a niche {or maybe I do by not having one}.  I write about DIY, sewing, Etsy, owning a business, family activities, local events, conferences, sharing information, and whatever I think about that day.

How did you get started blogging? What made you want to start a blog?

I started blogging after I attended a creative conference a few years ago.  It was apparent to me that if I wanted to succeed with my online sewing company that I needed to have a blog.  It was the best thing I could have done for my business and for myself.

The story was basically that I saw what a lot of the other handmade businesses were doing and how they were becoming successful.  I listened to their advice and put it in to action.  I’m very active in social media and have taught myself a lot {with an abundant more to learn}, but it has a major driving force to my my success.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration never comes from one source.  It doesn’t come from a few sources.  It very well comes from whatever the universe or my boys put in front of me.  There are a lot of things I’d like to write about, however, finding time is a major factor that I struggle with daily.  I know I’m not alone with that!  What I’m saying is that there is inspiration on a daily basis and it could be from something as simple as pebbles in a shoe or yummy fabrics I’d love to get my hands on or that I’m actually working with.  I don’t look at magazines much, I poke around on Pinterest but I don’t find blogging inspiration on it, I look to more organic signs.  I’m probably not the best person to give advice on this topic because I really don’t stay on top of trends, I just really write what matters to me and that’s what comes across the most genuine and true.  That’s inspiring to me.

Do you have a specific piece you have written, which you are really proud of? Can you tell us how this came together, and the story behind it?

I wrote about the “Power of the Written Word“.

This post took me a long time to decide to actually write it and put it out there.  It is a very ‘baring’ post.  I wanted to write for such a long time that I finally just said that I was going to do it!  It means so much to me because it’s about something I wrote about over 25 years ago.  I had forgotten about it, and when I was 36, I actually competed in a bodybuilding competition, something that I had wanted to do for so many years.  I had just had a baby via c-section, had gained 60 pounds, and wanted a way to shed the pounds.  Well, I found a way!  I competed when my second baby boy was just 7 months old and I WON 3 trophies that day.  It was truly one of the proudest days of my life.  It was something I did for ME.  For moms, this is not something we do for ourselves, so this was really a memorable moment in my life.

I once wrote a quick blog post about the Wireless Switch on a Dell computer, which became my biggest traffic driver on my blog. I called this accidental blogging success. Do you have content which you didn’t spent a lot of time on writing, but turned out to be some of your most popular posts?

I wish I did … I REALLY wish I did.  But, I don’t.

Did you also have posts you spent a lot of time on, which in the end are not driving a lot of content?

Oh sure, of course, we all have those ones.  I have a few … ahem.

Are there any people, or other bloggers, you see as examples or to whom you aspire to?

Oh, there are many.  Jen from Tatertots and Jello.  Allison from House of Hepworths, Jo Packham from Where Women Create/Cook, and many more.

Have you been featured on large blogs, media or in TV programs? If so, how did they find you?

Yes…

  • 9News: I sent a press release with my Golden Globe swag bag information {TWICE}, and they contacted me.  Sent a crew out and shot a story
  • FOX31: They found me from a press release that was sent out from someone else announcing that I had won an ‘Inventor of the Year’ award in the Denver area. They did a story on how a MOM is making it happen.
  • FOX Small Business of the Day: Found me online
  • American Express Open Forum:  Their contributing writer found me on Etsy, I was on the front page when he was looking.  Right place right time.
  • Business Insider:  Same as the American Express
  • The Denver Post:  The Mile High Mamas blogger was doing an editorial in the post on ‘what mothers really want for Mother’s Day’.  She asked if I would like to be a part of it.  The Editor from the Post emailed me and asked if they could FEATURE me in their story!  They sent a photographer to my studio.
  • Mile High Mamas:  Same story as The Denver Post
  • 9News:  Mile High Mamas had a spot on the morning news featuring different Mother’s Day products and featured a few of mine.
  • Shark Tank:  I applied for the show and have made it past the application process.  Waiting to hear that I’ve made it through to the taping!  Wish me LUCK!
  • I’ve been on a few other blogs via link parties where they featured my blog post that they liked.
Can you tell us your experience and how this has made you more successful?

With all of these experiences, they have ALL been great!  I have found that they have spiked traffic to my blog and my Etsy shop and then it drops back to normal.  Sales go way up and then they level out.  But with every time, I have more and more local Colorado people come up to me and say, “Hey, I’ve seen you so many times in the media lately!”.  Or they’ll email me.  I have had some increase in traffic on a steady basis, but not to the level I would like to be, that’s for sure.  It would be great to have consistency and even higher spikes.  In any case, it’s been wonderful, a true blessing.

What would you do differently this time?

I would certainly figure out how to keep you coming back!

Where can we find you online?

taradaramadeit.com

Crafty Blogger Jen from Tatertots & Jello

Jen and I met first at the EVO conference in July 2011 where I did a SEO workshop for bloggers. In 2012, we met again at the SNAP conference, where Jen was part of the crew. I asked if she would like to be featured as one fo the first bloggers by answering a couple of questions.

Tatertos & Jello Screenshot

Can you first introduce yourself, where you come from, and what is your background?

Hi! I’m Jen Hadfield and I blog at Tatertots & Jello and Refashion Files. I grew up in Michigan and New York and now I live in Salt Lake City. I am a fine art major and I have a love of anything creative. I love decorating my house and creating beautiful things on a budget.

What are some of the topics you write about on your blog?

I blog about anything creative — Home DIY, Holiday Crafts and anything in between.

How did you get started blogging? What made you want to start a blog?

I started my blog as a personal blog. My sister had discovered blogs and she thought I should start one. I didn’t think I had anything to say. But one day I was having a bad day and I decided to start one. I was hooked from the start. I loved meeting new people I otherwise would not have discovered in real life. I have made so many wonderful relationships through my blog. It has opened up an amazing new world for me.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration for so many different places. Nature, fashion, colors, everywhere I go I am looking for inspiration for new project ideas.

Do you have a specific piece you have written, which you are really proud of? Can you tell us how this came together, and the story behind it?

It seems like my newest projects are my favorites. But anything I have done in my home makes me happy. I just redid my daughter’s room and it was a fun, fast process. My favorite part is the happiness she gets out of the room.Nautical Teen Room with Rustic Beach-Inspired Weathered Wall! A couple other projects I’ve done lately that I love are –Family Picture Gallery Wall — Reveal!! and Aqua and White Kitchen Reveal!!.

I once wrote a quick blog post about the Wireless Switch on a Dell computer, which became my biggest traffic driver on my blog. I called this accidental blogging success. Do you have content which you didn’t spent a lot of time on writing, but turned out to be some of your most popular posts?

Yes!! It is kind of frustrating to spend weeks on a project and get minimal traffic and then spend 10 minutes and get tons of traffic. But I love all of my projects, it’s not just about traffic. Here is one example of a post that I did one day when I needed something to talk about and people really liked it. 10-minute polka dot project

Did you also have posts you spent a lot of time on, which in the end are not driving a lot of content?

Yes, for sure. I have spent tons of time on a project that doesn’t get as much attention as I think it deserves haha – but I have to think of it in a few different ways. First of all, if it’s a project that I love and I enjoyed the process it shouldn’t matter as much how much traffic it got. Another thing is maybe I haven’t promoted it enough. And the third thing I have to remember is that it might not be getting traffic right now, but it could become popular down the road if I submit it to different sites.

Are there any people, or other bloggers, you see as examples or to whom you aspire to?

So many people!! I try not to compare myself to other people, I have found that doing that kills my creativity. But there are dozens of people that I have met blogging and I feel like the creative niche really is very supportive. I love that aspect of blogging. And actually sharing other people’s projects and promoting other people brings me just as much satisfaction as blogging about my own ideas. That is why I started my Weekend Wrap Up Party, where people can link up there favorite creative projects each week. I spend the weekend going through their ideas and I do two wrap up feature posts on the weekends featuring other people.

Have you been featured on large blogs, media or in TV programs? If so, how did they find you?

I have done a local morning show a dozen or so times. They found me through me getting featured on some big blogs early in my blogging career. I have had three magazine features and they found me through the blogs too. I have also been featured through some big websites like Apartment Therapy, OhDeeDoh, Huffington Post, HGTV, Parents.com — I think a lot of these sites found me through Pinterest.

Can you tell us your experience and how this has made you more successful?

Every blogger loves getting featured (I think..) First of all, it’s a great feeling to know that someone else thinks a project you have done is awesome. Then there is the traffic, every blogger loves that too. And you can also put things like that on your sidebar or media page and that makes you more legit.

What would you do differently this time?

I need to be more proactive about putting myself out there to magazines and media. It just seems like I never have enough time to get everything done that I want.

Where can we find you online?

My main site is Tatertots & Jello, I’m also on Facebook,Pinterest, Twitter, Google +. My other site is Refashion Files and I write for Babble’s Home Ec Blog too.