Newborn photographer in Fareham makes the world a More Colourful Place with Elmer
Today is Elmer Day (29th May 2021). I thought I would put together a blog post that celebrates the day that makes the world a better place through the wonderful brightness of colours. I am so lucky that I get to meet lots of special mummies when I am taking newborn photographs in my lovely photography studio at Cams Hall. Earlier this year, I took some beautiful photographs of the gorgeous Max. Max’s mummy has her own marketing company called Elmer Marketing (Elmer being Vicki’s maiden name). Elmer Marketing is a vibrant agency designed to offer valuable marketing and networking opportunities in the toys, games, nursery and gift industry. From the Elmer Day website, I downloaded the resource pack for 2021 and I can relate so many of the resources to my own business, and that of Elmer Marketing too.
Elmer & the Rainbow shows how the world is a ‘brighter place’ with a rainbow. For lots of mummies and daddies, their journey to becoming parents is never easy and many go through a storm before they have their rainbow. It’s always a special moment for me when I capture photographs of a rainbow baby. Back in March this year I wrote a blog post specifically about why rainbow babies are so incredibly special. https://newbornphotographybyjennifer.co.uk/rainbow-baby-photography-photography-fareham/
I love taking newborn photographs but without marketing, I wouldn’t have any newborn babies coming into the studio. For me, my marketing is about getting potential clients and of course existing clients, to know, like and trust me, and of course adore the beautiful photographs that I produce for them.
I asked Vicki how the Elmer brand had influenced the marketing company, and what were the core principles of her business.
“I have worked in the toy industry for 20 years so I love a good children’s character. My maiden name is Elmer so I’ve always had a particular soft spot for the famous patchwork elephant since the first book was published by Andersen Press in 1989 (when I was 10). When I launched my own toy specialist marketing agency in 2018, I decided to call it Elmer Marketing as that was the name everyone in the trade knew me by. Elmer the Elephant has become like a mascot for me so I often reference him in my social media, just for fun (there is no official partnership with the brand itself). When my son Max was born in March, I dressed him in an Elmer the Elephant outfit to announce his arrival in the toy trade press! As for my business, I am proud to support my clients with trade and consumer marketing and PR, I enjoy organising events (pre-COVID) and I have fun managing social media accounts and engaging with a wonderful network of parent influencers, many of whom also love Elmer.”
As part of the Elmer Day education pack, there are some activities focused around the Elmer and the Stranger book. Elmer and his friends meet a stranger, called Kangaroo, and he’s got a problem. He can bounce, but he can’t jump. He’s been practising secretly for the jumping competition, but he just keeps falling over. Lion is confused – is there a difference between a bounce and a jump? Elmer explains that Kangaroo thinks there is, and he thinks a jump is much more difficult and that’s why he can’t do it. But with a little encouragement from Elmer, Kangaroo wins the jumping competition and turns himself from a stranger into a friend. In the Elmer resource pack, it encourages children to explore how Kangaroo feels about “I’ll be laughed at”; in other words, how children feel when they cannot do something.
From my newborn photography business perspective, I can relate to how first impressions count. The kangaroo is a stranger who turns into a friend. It’s really important that my clients put their trust in me when I handle their little one for the first time. At the start of a newborn photography session, I’m pretty skilled at undressing and wrapping a baby – usually without waking them, and parents quickly discover that I’m good at settling and keeping their baby calm. Another message in the story is that the kangaroo gains confidence with the support of his friends. It’s certainly been a difficult time for new mums in lockdown. In particular, they haven’t been able to attend face to face baby groups but beyond a doubt, the strength of a new mum is incredible.
With Vicki having experienced my newborn photography session at first hand, I asked her why marketing is so important in providing a great first impression, and what her thoughts were of her own newborn photography experience.
“Like I often say to people, you only get one chance to make that good first impression so make it count. When I launched Elmer Marketing, I made sure I had a strong brand identity through logo design and headshot photography, a polished website and genuine testimonials. Those key ingredients, mixed in with my enthusiasm, passion and energy, enable potential clients to see they will be in safe hands with someone who is experienced, well connected and professional.
When I first encountered Newborn Photography by Jennifer via a promotion on social media, I could see the similarities to myself and my own business – a love for what we both do, classy and professional websites and a desire to make our clients happy. With my mum-to-be hat on, I knew that we were going to receive a truly wonderful service and our newborn photoshoot did not disappoint!
Becoming a new mum has been overwhelming, joyous and emotionally challenging. The time just goes incredibly fast and you want to bottle every little moment. Max is a dream and a complete time waster and we are just smitten.”
As many of you already know, I couldn’t unfortunately have my own children (see my blog post Being a Newborn Photographer Was My Calling). So, when I first started my training as a newborn photographer over five years ago, I felt a little anxious that parents wouldn’t see me as experienced at handling a newborn baby. However, after over a thousand newborn photography sessions, I think my visiting parents definitely see me as the Baby Whisperer now. There are also so many bumps in the road with running a business, but having the ability to bounce back, laugh and enjoy what you do, that’s the key ingredient to creating a delightful newborn experience for all of my lovely clients.
I asked Vicki how a great marketing plan can build confidence with potential clients and provide them with the service that they expect. For me, I plan a lot of my social media posts in advance, but like Vicki, it’s good to be spontaneous so that I am posting to be social, and not just a task. Having client engagement is so important.
“Having a good marketing plan means you are focused on delivering the best service and demonstrates your expertise, creativity, organisational skills and understanding of the market/project/brand/product. I also like to be spontaneous though, so not everything is planned in advance – I do believe in going with the flow sometimes and it’s important to show you can react and adapt.’
As part of Elmer Day, Making Friends is one of the activities that encourages children to link to their personal experiences of being new and making friends, and also to explore what makes a good friend. Being in lockdown was hard for me, as I felt quite isolated. Most of my friends are back in my home town in Wiltshire. I’ve joined a Pilates class not only to help with my back issues, but also to make new friends. It must have been incredibly hard for new mums if they didn’t already have mummy friends.
Like me, running your own business makes it difficult to make new friends, so I asked Vicki her thoughts on how running a business can be quite difficult to take time out for friends, and also juggling being a new mum too.
“Juggling my agency with a newborn hasn’t been quite as easy as I had hoped, but we’re now getting into more of a routine and I am finding a better work/life balance. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that working for myself gives me, so I make sure I have the time for family and friends. I’ve missed that escapism during the lockdowns though as last year I ended up working more and more because there was nothing else to do! Now I have Max I just feel like I need more hours in the day to cram everything in!’
For me, the Elmer book range is unique due to the wonderful bright colours that are linked to some great stories that help children both to develop and learn. When I think of my own business, I wonder what makes me unique, and for me, it’s providing an amazing experience and capturing once in a lifetime newborn portraits that my families can treasure forever. Also, it’s about me really caring about what I do.
I asked Vicki what makes Elmer Marketing unique.
“I think my two decades of experience within the toy industry and the network of contacts I have are a strong part of my agency offering. I now have my own little market researcher at home and can see things through a mum’s eye, so I am sure that will be a huge help to me when launching new toys for clients over the coming years!”
I’ve loved writing this blog post. It has shown me that even through the messages of the Elmer book range, that are designed to educate and expand children’s thinking, these are such key messages for any business and how they plan their marketing to appeal to their ideal clients.