Monday, January 28, 2013

The dawning of a branding blogger, or why I am no longer a part of the Mood Sewing Network

Things tend to happen when you expect them least, readers. Private issues and family emergency made me refrain from blogging and sewing for the entire month. Yet, luckily, everything seems to be returning to normal and I am able and happy to return to my home, blog and sewing routine.

One thing at a time now - Happy New Year and I really hope you had a great start into 2013 and are keeping up with your resolutions. I haven't made any, to be honest. Instead, I decided to do it step-by-step and focus as much as possible.

Let me first update you on one of the most noticeable changes here: you may have noticed that yours truly is not a member of the Mood Sewing Network any longer. Yes, I did start doing custom work and make couture garments for clients, but this is not the only reason I left. One day in November I looked back at the time I spent making the projects for the Network and realized that I am not spending it wisely.

I know there are bloggers who can sew several projects a month and I am truly fascinated by their productivity. As for me, I can make one or two couture garments a month, depending on their complexity. This alone made me crave for more flexibility in my choice of projects, which of course depend on fabrics. Mood has a wide selection of fabrics for competitive prices, but I was equally attracted to my favorite Paron Fabrics, B&J, or Gorgeous Fabrics as an online alternative. Naturally, as Mood Network blogger I had to do one project a month with Mood Fabric. The fabric allowance I was getting was a nice incentive, but I already have a significant fabric stash and after the first few projects I knew I don't want to purchase new fabrics just to tick the box, especially when I occasionally spotted a better choice elsewhere.

Being honest, exposure was another reason I joined the network. Let's admit, exposure may be the more significant incentive for a present or aspiring Mood blogger, especially since the times when the number of sewing bloggers was in double digits are long gone and there are many hundreds, or even thousands, of sewing and DIY blogs out there. Yet, despite this exposure and mostly positive experience, I came to conclusion that the deal with Mood didn't work for me, and that by the nature of what I personally do I was compromising my creative (and to certain extent, editorial) freedom by engaging myself in a long-term and exclusive relationship with a brand.

As the number of blogs grows so does the nature of self-promotion, advertising and consequent cooperation with brands... Looking beyond this particular relationship, I think it is time for sewing bloggers to understand the value of what we do and to re-assess (or to establish) our promotion and marketing strategies, because the recognition of blogs as an advertising and marketing channel is growing, and there will be a rewarding deal for every creative and hard-working blogger, beyond a free book or a class in exchange for a review.

I have learned a whole lot from being a part of the Mood Sewing Network, and, with its highs and lows, I think it was a very valuable experience. That's why I would like to thank Mood, and, especially, Eric Sauma for recognizing the potential of and embracing the blogging community, as well as setting an example of brand cooperation for many fashion industry vendors. Finally, of course, I wish all the best to my fellow bloggers who are still part of the Mood Sewing Network.
As always, I would be happy to hear what you think! Especially with regard to the present and the future of blogger cooperation with brands...


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