Elizabeth Carroll of The Crafty Charlestonian – An Interview
Tell me about your Blog?
My blog started primarily for craft tutorials, Do-it-Yourself projects, Sewing projects, Coupon match-ups and advice on living frugally, gardening tips, and posts for Moms by a Mom….basically my life experiences with my girls, Hensley and Daycie, Baby and Kid products I love, Parenting advice…you get the idea. Basically, in a nutshell, my blog is everything I’m into. Almost all of the tutorials and projects featured are things I came up with on my own, and things that I have actually done in my home. Recently, I’ve added Product Reviews and Giveaways to my laundry list of content at TCC. I’m so excited and thankful to have gotten into this aspect of blogging. I’m especially thankful to Seventh Generation products for being the first company to offer products for review. Thanks, y’all!
What was your first blog?
The Crafty Charlestonian is my first (and probably only) blog. If you’re referring to posts…after the whole “Welcome” and “Holy Cow This is Complicated” posts, my first posts were The Perfect Potty and DIY TuTu Vanity (a tutorial.) My favorite posts, however, are I Pink Puffy Heart, Babywearing: Do it, and don’t listen to the media, and The Key to Happiness. Those are the ones that have the most emotional meaning to ME, which is why they’re my favorites. Its hard to say that my post about DIY Cheapie Easter Buckets has more emotional meaning than one about my heart and soul, my Tiny Angel Princesses….Hensley and Daycie. ; ) You will probably find that you have a favorite post that’s different than the ones I suggested…you should go and peruse and see what you find!
What is the biggest tip you would give to product reviewers?
Be vigilant! I cannot tell you how many “Sorry, you don’t make the cut” emails I’ve gotten. Sure, its a little discouraging to read “because you’re under 1500 followers, we just can’t take the risk” or “You have less than 500 Twitter followers, so we’re not interested, but thanks” but I’m a go-getter, so I just delete it and move on. I’d say that out of every ten emails I send out, I get one back saying, “Sure! We’ll send you such-and-such to review!” and the bottom line is that one day, I WILL have 1500 followers and 500 Twitter followers, but that day isn’t today….and chances are, it won’t be tomorrow either. ; )
Are you contacted by companies or PR companies or do you contact them or both?
So far, I’ve done all the contacting. I’m really excited for companies to start contacting me, but I know its going to take some time for my site to get “up to par” with the rest of the PR/Giveaway Mavens out there. My program right now is to contact public relations for any and every product/service that I think my readers would be interested in. Because I cover SO much on my blog, I’ve got a lot to choose from.
What is your favorite product that you have reviewed?
I know I keep talking about Seventh Generation, but I really am excited about this one. I LOVE cleaning, but I hate chemical-smell….and of course I don’t want dangerous chemicals around my kids. In addition, I have three crazy dogs (Athena, Bailey, and Jackson) who love to dirty my house. I like to think that without them, I’d have nothing to clean, so I guess I should be thankful. LOL Jackson is our labrador and God love him, that dog is nuts. I could go on for days about his antics…but I’ll spare you. I’ll only share this: one of Jack-boy’s favorite pastimes is licking my windows and floors. Seriously. So, I really can’t use ammonia-based cleaners or products with bleach because that’s SOOOO not safe around Mr. I’m-Gonna-Help-You-Clean-These-Windows-With-My-Slobber. So thanks Seventh Gen, on behalf of Jackson and myself.
What do companies or PR companies do that you wish they wouldn’t/ do that you like?
So far, I’ve been blown away with all the friendly, kind words I’ve received from companies. Even though I get lots of rejection emails (or even worse…no response at all!) the companies that DO want to work with me are so enthusiastic, and that enthusiasm and excitement is contagious. It makes me excited about working with them, and checking out their product(s). I do wish more companies were willing to “take a risk” on an unknown blogger. Of course I understand why they don’t, but from my perspective its hard for me to meet their criteria without somebody “sticking their neck out there” for me and giving me a review so I can earn more Followers, Site Hits, and Twitter Followers. Thankfully, Meghan at Seventh Gen. did exactly that for me, which was all I needed to get the ball rolling. : )
What do bloggers do that you wish they wouldn’t/do that you like?
I absolutely LOVE that everyday, when I log in to my computer, I know that there are thousands of reviews out there. All of them on different sites, and that gives me such an awesome feeling…knowing that I just have to find the right people to contact to get reviews for my own site!
What company would you like to work with given a chance?
Oh my goodness, there are SO many! Right now, I’d really love to work with VTech, Infantino, KitchenAid, and Keurig. However, I’m thankful for any and every review/giveaway opportunity I’m presented with…and most of the time, I’m more than happy to help the marketing team and feature that product on my site.
Where do you see growth in the blogging field?
I see growth right where I’m growing…in the PR/Giveaway aspect. Which is wonderful. Moms promoting products to other Moms is a great thing, and its becoming one of the best forms of advertisement around! I also have run across LOTS of full-time working Moms turned SAHM-Bloggers since I’ve started blogging, so I think that blogging as a whole is really becoming an career for lots of people around this country and the world.
What is one thing about you that not many people know?
Not too many people know that its taken me until just a couple years ago to be satisfied with who I am and stop worrying about what people think of me. I’ve always been the loud, funny, outgoing, center-of-attention kind of girl. Growing up, my Mom called me “The Mouth of the South.” I acted in school plays, was on the cheerleading squad, had lots of friends, the whole nine. But for some reason, I was always incredibly concerned with what people thought of me and whether or not they liked me. Its normal for any adolescent and teenage girl to seek approval from her peers, but I was a little too worried with it. It carried over past middle and high school, and not until my husband and I got together did I finally realize that it doesn’t matter what other people think. Dorky, Cool, Fat, Thin, Athletic, or Bookworm, I’m still me. And I’m perfect just the way I am. : )
What’s your favorite book?
I love reading, so I have many, many books that have made their way onto that coveted “Favorites” list over the years. However, my most favorite book ever is The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. A short read that is written for school-age children…but still my favorite and I’m sure always will be. I can read it in an hour or two, which is probably why I’ve gone through several copies of it…from reading it so much! A close second is the Twilight series (I know I know…like everyone else) and a couple others that I read and re-read and re-read are The Chronicles of Narnia, The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson, the Shopaholic series, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, and most recently The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen.
What is on your iPod?
If I had an iPod, it would probably have a crazy hodge podge of stuff on it. Lots of country…Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and Gretchen Wilson. I’d also have some Lady GaGa, Britney Spears, Bob Marley, Jack Johnson, Dashboard Confessional, Further Seems Forever, Cake, Silverchair, Jump Little Children, All American Rejects, Green Day, Sublime, 311, and No Doubt. Like I said….crazy hodge podge. ; )
What are your contact details?
How do you prefer to communicate?
With my friends, gabbing on the phone, of course! With business contacts, via email. I’m much better with the written word than I am on the phone or in person.
Who would you recommend, and why?
I’m recommending all the blogging friends I know who have helped me out along the way, and I’ll apologize in advance for the lack of people here….remember, I’m pretty new to this! : ) First, I recommend my wonderful blog designer, IRL friend, and fellow Mommy-Blogger, Katie, who is the designer and operator of two fabulous blogs, Baby Bumble B and Pickles and Paisleys. Second, I recommend another IRL friend and Mommy-Blogger, Heather, over at I’d Rather Be Changing Diapers.
What is one thing people can do for you?
I would love to get more tips on how to get products to review and giveaway. I’d love less “rejection emails” and more, “Sure Elizabeth! We’d love to send you such-and-such!” I’m a member of several PR websites, but maybe I’m missing something. If anyone is interested in mentoring me a little, please email me. : )