At the start of 2015, I decided that this would be the year we started to ‘create’ in a language that independent designers and retailers, and design-lovers – our audience – REALLY understood.
Because up to that point, the message wasn’t effectively getting across. While we’d spent 2 and a half years creating a marketing platform for independent stores with a lot of tech smarts behind it – (in a nutshell, The Third Row makes it easy to shop from independent stores by extracting the latest product data from over 180 stores onto a single site) – the creatives and design lovers who we wanted to appeal to just weren’t loving us crazy like we hoped they would.
And so we set out this year to create services and content, that would elicit the love and respect from our audience that a beautifully styled interior photo, perfectly pinched ceramic bowl or stunningly composed abstract artwork did.
So (drumroll…), here’s what we’ve achieved – I’m so proud!
1. We launched a unique PR service for independent stores.
We created a service using the existing tech ‘smarts’ of our site, that enables independent stores to easily connect with top bloggers and Instagrammers and invite them to feature their products. In our very first year we’ve generated 100s of mentions across blogs, Instagram and print, thousands of new followers, and thousands of additional sales $ for time-poor stores needing an efficient way to reach out to the exploding number of influencers and publishers across digital media. Not long after launch, the service was profiled by Interiors Addict.
2. We organised our first styled shoot.
When I found out our new PR service was going to be featured by Interiors Addict, I decided it was time we shot some imagery to complement the story that would show the type of stores whose products we were passionate about promoting. I worked with stylist Kylie Jackes and photographer Cathy Schusler and the images were shared 100s of times across Facebook and Instagram.
3. We produced styled editorial shoots for top magazines.
After organising our first styled shoot, I SERIOUSLY got the bug and wondered how we could create more affordable opportunities for stores to feature in styled editorial. So I teamed up with some top stylists and photographers that I’d been stalking on Instagram for a long while, pitched some concepts to editors, and ended up producing shoots for Peppermint Magazine, Fete Magazine and Yen. Looking at the results still makes me want to pinch myself.
4. We launched a product photography service.
I’d long recognised the need for independent stores to easily access top shelf product photography to improve their chances of getting publicity. In August, after many, many months seeking the right photographer for the job, The Third Row teamed up with Cathy Schusler to offer monthly group product photo shoots with no minimum products and a low flat rate per product.
5. We created 100s of mentions for our stores via our blog and Instagram partners.
These were in various formats – sometimes a styled post, sometimes a regram of an image created by the store, and sometimes a curated post featuring multiple products created by a blogger.
Here are some highlight posts that generated lots of likes/sales/clicks – and that we think are particularly creative and beautiful.
Where to next?
Looking back at what we’ve achieved creatively this year, I feel incredibly proud – and exhausted (luckily I’m about to go on holiday, though with a 4 and 2 year old. relaxation time will be scant!). More importantly though, I really feel like The Third Row is positioning itself as a really creative and innovative marketer for independent designers and retailers. It’s taken SO much work and the path has been anything but straight, but we’re finally producing services and content which are making a real difference to stores.
In 2016 we’re aiming to consolidate the ‘firsts’ of last year – form more partnerships with bloggers, Instagrammers and magazines, pitch more shoot concepts, create more opportunities for stores to work with top stylists and photographers – in short, to create, create create.
Are you an independent designer or retailer (or a blogger, stylist or Instagrammer) who values creativity, design, and shopping small, and wants to spread the word? Let’s work together! I’d love to hear from you.