Blog Post #4 – Out of the Box

Prior to starting this program, I felt I was fairly in touch with social media and the things I can do with it. I am an active user of Facebook, Facebook business suite and Instagram. I have Twitter, and while I know a lot about TikTok, I still have yet to make the leap. So while I cannot say I have found any unexpected applications, I have noticed I use applications such as Twitter more, and I am looking at my trends a lot differently.

The other night my spouse and I were watching hockey on TV, he still has cable, and the stream was very choppy. He wondered if it was the stream itself or his cable box as he mentioned it was acting up lately. Without hesitation, I found myself on Twitter looking to see if I could find anything about a choppy stream. Instantly I came across tweets telling TSN to “get it together”- it wasn’t his cable box. It was in that moment, I realized how much more I have turned to Twitter for the little things over the past few months. While I still do not feel it is the right platform for my business personally, there is a lot of use for this platform in general and I can see why it is so popular.

Hootsuite is my favourite social media monitoring website that I have discovered. It is not in my budget to use at the time being, but I have dug into it and been able to play around with it as I do have a friend with a business that uses it. I knew websites like this existed, but I thought I could manage all my platforms individually so they were not something I had looked into. I eventually will be looking into the best free option for my business as I start to expand my social media presence further. A tool like this will be useful especially in the summer months when I am busy building stock items for events and running booths. It will be a time saver.

It is nice to hear from customers and followers that they love your posts on social media, or happy how much you post on social media, because sometimes you can feel like it’s too much. I have learned over the past several months that posting is necessary and when you hear the positive comments, you know you are doing the right thing. I think personally the most unexpected thing was the little tips and tricks about monitoring, listening, posing questions etc. and how THEY WORK!  My post engagements are up, I managed to hit over 1000 likes which I had been trying to do for so long.

Extremely excited to see where the world of social media takes us next!

Assignment 5: Event Participation- Power Up Monday’s

When I was featured in the Hamilton Spectator in July 2017, a world of opportunities opened up for me. My inbox had been blowing up with orders and invites to do booths at events. It was at that time I had been messaged by the organizer of “Power-up Mondays” at the Hamilton Public Library. This was an event for local businesses to Network and learn from other businesses. She invited me to attend the kickoff event to see what it was all about as well I was asked to be the speaker at one of the events on January 8, 2018. Without hesitation I agreed to both.

I attended the kickoff event Sept 18, 2017 ( where we listened to a panel of local businesses talk. This was my first time attending something like this for my own small business so I was eager to learn. I had heard of the business speaking on the panel before, but I knew nothing about them besides they were local. CoMotion was my favourite to hear about. I loved the idea of shared workspace. I still follow their pages and enjoy seeing what they are up to. I didn’t know back then whether an idea such as theirs would stay afloat, even though I loved it, the concept wasn’t something that would work for me. I am happy they have been successful and remain open even through the pandemic. Without attending this event, I may not have known something like this existed in my very own city.

There were not many familiar faces at the event, so I had to make small talk with whoever would talk to me. I ended up sitting with the owner of Crown Point Candles, who I had never heard of before that day. I have since watched her business struggle and thrive.  She has shut it down and started back up again. She had also been asked to speak at an upcoming event so we were able to connect over that and our thoughts on it.

Every panelist that night said something similar, basically- “Owning a business isn’t easy, prepare to make sacrifices” 5 years later I still remember this, and have to remind myself when I am upset I had to miss out on something because of orders, or running a booth. I chose to run a business, so I have chosen all that comes with it. I repeat it to friends, other small business owners, whoever needs to hear it.

I attended multiple of these events before it was my turn to host, as I wanted to meet local business owners and I wanted to get a feel for how others were presenting their stories. Each event after the kick-off was a 30 minute presenter and then 30 minutes of social time to meet other people and ask questions etc. My goal was to meet one new business owner each time I went and exchange business cards.

Speaking at my Power-Up Monday night January 8, 2018

The night I presented unfortunately was a snow storm, however we still had about 25 people come out. I was very nervous about getting up there but after a few sentences I was ready to go. I was so appreciative of those who asked questions after I presented, and to those who even came. Having to sit down with myself and write about my business 5 years ago was hard, and gets even harder as the years go on. There is just so much to talk about.

Unfortunately “Power-up Mondays” are no longer an event that takes place, however there is Werknight Hamilton which is a networking event that takes place for women owned local businesses. They have only done one of these nights so far, and it is a paid event but I am hoping to start attending these within the next few months. It is really important to connect with other business owners and learn how they do things. I like learning things from others perspectives, as they may think of things I have yet to try that may benefit my business. I am really looking forward to meeting these women and learning from them, and maybe teaching them what has worked for me.

Blog Post #3 – Professional Networking Now and in the Future

I am very excited for the next 6-12 months business wise. Since we are now getting back to pre-pandemic activities again such as festivals etc., this is where my networking gets to start again. As the sole person in my business, everything comes down to me and what I do. Professional networking is involved in every booth I do.

My first challenge to myself was to get my Facebook page over 1000 likes. This was successfully accomplished on April 4, 2022. In one day I managed to get over 30 new likes. A group I am part of was looking for prize donations, I donated a prize from my business and on giveaway day, part of the contest was that you had to go “like” my page. That same day, another group I am in asked what was your goal for this week- I stated to get my page to 1000 likes, and then they helped promote to help get me there. Two simple things helped achieve the goal, and within a short period of time. A goal I had been trying to reach for over 2 years now after hitting 800 likes on December 12, 2019. In turn, business started picking up really fast.

With all these new likes and followers, I plan to re-introduce myself on my social networks. This puts a face to the name behind the business, and provides an insight into who I am and why I do what I do. I do not own a store front, so my social media is how customers get to know me and contact me.  I am also in a few local small business groups that I am very active in and am always networking. By doing so, I am hoping to get my product into a storefront or two before the end of the year.

I luckily had many networking connections prior to the pandemic that really helped me survive through it all. They took on my product and sold it for me, which provided a lot of revenue from these other well established small businesses. Summer booths and events is where a large portion of my yearly revenue comes from so without them I knew my business was going to take a big hit. I am currently waiting on vendor applications for my 2 biggest events I do each year- Pride Hamilton and Festival of Friends. Both of these events are where I have met many other small businesses that I follow and promote. Meeting another businesses and making new connections is one of my favourite parts about doing large events. Businesses come from all over especially for an event such as Festival of Friends.

I am also the captain of a Relay for Life team. In previous years the team name was related to my company which I hold a full-time job with, however this year we decided as a team to change the name and use my business as the inspiration. We became Tutus for Heros. Each team member will be wearing a tutu as well as a custom shirt with our team name on it. Since we are able to relay in person this year, this will be an opportunity to network myself within this community. We are also holding a fundraiser event in May and I will be setting up myself as a vendor and donating 25% of all my sales that day. This event will also have a garage sale, bake sale and raffle where 100% of the proceeds will be donated. Events like these close to home, help me network within my direct community.

Pre-pandemic another local business and I had plans to run a Christmas bazaar type event, I am hoping we can also get in talks about this again as winter is a time where we need small events to meet other businesses and customers. Also, now that restrictions are being lifted, we are starting to see more in person networking events for small businesses. My goal is to start attending a few of things where my schedule permits to learn things from other businesses.

I really look forward to what the next 6-12 months brings, as the last 9 have been so successful in themselves. Bring on festival season! You have been missed!

COM0015- Assignment 1- Blog #2-Strong and Weak Organizations

I chose to highlight 3 local businesses for this blog. The 2 businesses that fit into impressive social media for myself are Cakeworthy ( and Enticing Icings Custom Cakery (

A few years ago if you had of asked me what Cakeworthy was, I likely would have told you they sold cakes. My best friend has been a fan of theirs for years and bought me my first Cakeworthy piece. I now personally own over 20 pieces. They are based out of Hamilton, Ontario, but their website is in American prices. They don’t have a store front, but once a year they have a warehouse sale (last summer we got in line at 530am). People come from all over for this sale. Disney fanatics from all over North America show up.

Every day I look forward to what they may post on their social media. What I love about their company in general is that they always have something new, and the pieces are limited. Sometimes they bring back the hot sellers, but a lot of times once it’s gone, it’s gone. They do such a phenomenal job of customer engagement in their stories and posts on social media. They are fun and creative. Any 80’s, or early 90’s kid, and Disney lover can relate to Cakeworthy items. That is their target audience.

They also use their hashtag #cakeworthy and share customer photos on their social media. I have been shared myself and what a feeling! Since November, I have placed 3 orders, and 4 other friends have gone in on the orders each time. I am unsure if it’s just because we’ve ordered so much, or am always on their social media waiting for the newest updates on what is coming next, but I hear the name Cakeworthy a lot more often than I did. They also have clearly done something right, as they will be opening a retail location in Hamilton this year.

Photo of mine Cakeworthy shared

Enticing Icings Custom Cakery is a business I have watched almost from the start until now and watching not only their cakes become more stunning over time, but how they use their social media. The cake business has a lot of competition and Marietta stands out from the rest with her creative designs, passion for baking and drive in life. She has worked so hard to get to where she is and I invite you to scroll her Instagram and not want cake! (

She posts daily a new cake, there is always a new reel up and she just makes her social media fun. I look forward every day to what she might post. She is also very supportive of other small businesses and constantly promoting them. As a small business owner myself, this is something I look for in a business. She is also not afraid to approach topics in the news such as war. While many businesses tend to steer away from hot news topics, Marietta uses her platforms to discuss them. She is someone I look up to on how she uses her social media. She has managed to turn cakes into a full-time job.

How incredible does this cake look?

The business that could benefit from a better social media strategy is one of my favourite small businesses and my supplier for a lot of my material, Ann’s Fabric Shop (

This a family owned fabric shop and I have spent a better part of my life going there with my mom. Hamilton at one time had many fabric stores including Ottawa street which was the fabric district. Ann’s has always been on Hamilton Mountain. With many of those fabric store on Ottawa street on now closed, Ann’s is one of few non-chain fabric stores left in the city. If you are involved in making dance or figure skating costumes in Ontario, chances are you may have heard of them as they specialize in lycra, otherwise you would likely think to go to Fabricland.

Since they are a family run business, I understand it is hard to keep up with all things social media on top of running the store. I do think though, if their Facebook was active, they posted more to Instagram and had a website you could purchase more than just a few items from they would have increased online and in-person sales. They are always the first business I suggest, but word of mouth can only go so far.

Sewing and small businesses really picked up over the past 10 years, and I really feel they could be thriving if they had more of an online presence. From their social media you would never know they are a 3 floor store, wall to wall of material of all sorts. Beads, laces, sewing needles etc. Their prices are more than reasonable especially compared to a place like Fabricland.

They haven’t made a post on Instagram ( other than shared stories since January 1, 2022-I would start with them posting once a week to build more of an online presence and then see where they could go from there. Creating a social media schedule would help them feel less overwhelmed when it comes to creating and posting content.

ASSIGNMENT #1 Blog Post #1 – Tools and Sources

Two favorite social media trend listening/monitoring tools:

While I was not overly familiar with many listening and monitoring tools before the social media essentials program I would have to say Hootsuite and Nexalogy have easily become my favourite. Upon doing my research into both of these sites, they would both provide the type of information I am looking for with my business. They both cover all major social media platforms. Things like keywords are extremely important for me and my pictures to get views. This is something I currently track. By looking at each platform individually, I can see how many accounts were reached from hashtags. Monitoring tools would help me with this.

Both of these monitoring sites are very well known and come highly recommended not just online with reviews, but from other small business owners I know. They come recommended for being easy to use platforms and budget-friendly. This is something that appeals to a small business like myself. We want to be able to use all the tools we can, however, we cannot always afford to do so.

Two best sources of news and updates of interest to me:

When it comes to news and updates, related and not related to my business, I always turn to Reddit first. For what I need to know, it always seems to be up to date. I follow a lot of sub-reddits for world news, as well as raving which is how my business started. By following the rave sub-reddits I have an idea of what is trending costume wise. Tutus may no longer be the “in thing” for raving anymore, but ever changing costume world is always giving me ideas.

Instagram is typically the place I keep up to date with most of trends and news business wise. Running a tutu business it’s easy to search hashtags for tutus and tutu styles and see what is going on with other people around the world. This may lead to finding blogs, Pinterest pages, or new projects using tulle. I am always looking for new projects and designs using tulle.

Assignment 1- Blog 7

This course made me think a lot about the captions of my posts and how I am presenting them. My story while fairly simple, is also my way to show others, that even though you get older, we don’t need to stop having fun and letting our inner child out, because tutus aren’t just for little girls, or so we like to say around here.

Asking questions within your posts to engage customers is a method I have been using and have found it to be quite successful and as customers interact and I respond, the views etc of the post kept growing.

Owning a tutu business, I don’t post every piece I make, some get put away for festival season, but the pieces I am extremely proud of get posted. They show my passion and love behind the business. I also love sharing custom pieces I have made for customers. They included me in part of their story, and they should be included in mine. Each customer I make a custom piece for has something different and unique about it, that it deserves to have its story told.

I am more than just a tutu business. I try to use my business as a safe space for those with mental health, or bringing attention to causes such as clean water, local food banks, and as well as being an avid fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. When new people come to my social media pages, I want them to see and feel all of these things from the stories I tell in my posts.

Assignment 1- Blog 6

Why did I start my business?

I didn’t mean to start a business, it just kind of happened. I asked my mom for help when it came to making a tutu. I had big plans to hit a New Years Eve rave and wanted to stand out. We went to the fabric store and I picked out my colours (pink, white and black) and I made the tutu and wore it. I received so many compliments that night. I wore it again to another event a few months later and each time I posted pictures my friends went nuts.

I then started going to the fabric store with my mom and getting tulle and randomly making tutus for something to do in my spare time. Then friends started to ask for tutus. Football games, their kids, Halloween ideas. After the requests, started coming in, a few friends and family members mentioned starting a small business. I wanted to give others the opportunity to feel the same happiness I felt when putting on a tutu and the only way to do this was to start a small business.

 I never thought I would be a small business owner, just didn’t seem like something I would do. Here we are 10 years later with Tutus by Amber and over 10 different, unique products and specializing in custom tutus. It’s hard work, but when you hear the excitement in your customer’s voices, I know I made a good choice starting this.

Assignment 1- Blog 5- Personal Brand

My personal business brand is Tutus by Amber and my friends call me the “Tutu Queen”

I am obviously not the only local tutu business but I am passionate about what I do and that is portrayed within my business. I am ambitious, creative, adventurous and confident in my work. These distinct qualities set me apart from others, as you can see it in every piece I make. Also, my ability to adapt to all sorts of requests. I want to make your vision happen. I love customers who send me pictures and say “Can you do this?”, “I have never tried before, but let’s give it a shot!” If it is something I really cannot do, I will always refer them to someone I know who can.

Collaborations with others businesses always keep me standing out. One of my closest friends is a photographer and we are constantly doing photoshoots of my pieces. I share these photos to promote my product and her business. We always have really good feedback after doing these shoots. Not many small businesses have an opportunity like that and I am so grateful I do.

My best trait without any question is my heart. Any one of my friends or colleagues will tell you the same. I have always tried to use my small business and my platforms to raise awareness and do well within the community. Last year through my business I was able to raise money through sales to donate to charities such as Water First Education by selling orange headbands and the Good Shepherd by selling scarfs from scrap material. I always look for a way to help others.

Assignment 1- Blog post #4

When it comes to B2C and customer engagement there are so many big businesses we could talk about. I like talking about the small businesses and those who have a great online presence. One that always comes up in conversations when discussing social media is MelaBath (,,

Melanie the owner, has turned this into a full-time gig. Not only because she has a great bath product, but her B2C and B2B are every strong and you can see this with her social media.

Melanie posts multiple times a day and responds back to every comment. Her content is also a wide variety from making product, orders going out the door, products from other businesses she has brought in that are now available, content from other businesses she has products with already promoting the items, deliveries for that day etc. There is always something going on with her social media. She spends a few hours a day dedicated to just social media posts on top of making product.

Based on following her social media and watching her business grow over the past few years, I believe her approach on social media is working for her combined with having a great product. It is apparent within her posts that customers love her products and businesses love working with her. I can speak first hand that she is an absolute gem to work with.

Take a look for yourself, what do you think of her social media?

Assignment #1, Blog #3: Target Audiences 

As the owner of a tutu business, my general audience is women especially ones with young girls, and ones with a first birthday coming up. Tutus are a common theme for first birthdays. First birthday tutus also lead to tutus for other birthdays down the road. “Every year my daughter needs a tutu by Amber” a customer once said to me, and we are now on year 6. Once they get to my social media pages, they see the other products I sell, and they aren’t just for little girls. From my own personal tracking of stats on Facebook alone, 84% of my audience is women. Among that 84%, 58.1% are women between the ages of 25-44, and 92% of those are Canadian. This age range allows me to put efforts into items for such things as weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, mud runs, stag and does. All popular things in that 25-44 age range from personal experiences.

Recently we did a photoshoot of adult and children in headbands that I also make. This was a tool used for many reasons. It was an opportunity to promote the headband line further in a time where business is slow, and it gave myself, the photographer and the businesses that sell my product content to post. We did mother/daughter sets, little ones in tutus, dressed up the headbands, did photos outside in the winter ones. The winter photos help appeal to the Canadian audience. Especially right now being in the dead of winter. A wide variety of photos to appeal to the audience. Since the photos have started to be posted, sales and general inquiries have increased by 10% which is a good start and hope to see this continue to grow as more content is posted.

One of the photos taken to promote winter headbands