5 Questions with SPPR & Cait Pappas

We are so excited to welcome Cait Pappas of @nest.out.west to the blog today for #5QuestionswithSPPR!

Cait is the founder and lead decorator at Nest Out West, an interior decorating & e-styling firm based in Greater Denver, Colorado. She also serves clients nationwide virtually! She started her company with her husband Jason because they wanted to help others transform their home the way they had and now runs  a six-person small business operation!

Cait continues to work with clients who place trust in her and her team to provide them with new decorating concepts, step-by-step shopping and DIY plans to bring these concepts to fruition for spaces in their homes. We are OBSESSED with her work and so excited to have her here!

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image via anna hudson

1. What are your sources of creativity and design inspiration?

I feel like this sounds so cliché, but I love looking to nature when I’m searching for new ideas. The color and texture combinations that occur naturally get my imagination going, and they tend to inspire most of my DIY ideas. I also turn to Pinterest quite often if I’m feeling I need a creativity boost. One thing I aim to never do is flat-out copy a DIY or room styling situation that someone else has done. There are two reasons for that actually: 1) That idea belongs to that person—not me—and I almost feel that in a sense I’d be stealing someone else’s intellectual property; 2) It would be unoriginal for me to replicate something exactly as another person did it. Also, what kind of a creator am I if all I’m doing is mimicking something that someone else has already done? That’s fine for other people, but since people look to me for new, sometimes avant garde home decorating ideas, I would feel like a fraud if I were to copy off of someone else’s work. That said, I find loads of inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram. What I try to do when I spot ideas I love is to put my own twist on that idea. Maybe I can pull in a new material, or use this product they featured in an innovative way.

I am also obsessed with the design sets used in the Pottery Barn, CB2, and Wisteria catalogs. If you haven’t flipped through their pages to see, then you should pick up a copy or order one online! There is SO MUCH TEXTURE in all of those scenes. Sometimes, too, the way a product overlaps with another on the page will give me a new idea for, say, a wall feature I’d like to try.

2. How do you discover new home goods brands and what brands are you loving right now that you recommend our readers check out?

I discover nearly 100% of new home decor brands through Instagram and collaboration requests, actually! There are quite a few small- and mid-sized businesses that have reached out to me to inquire about sending a product for me to use in my home’s decor (and then post photos and tag those brands on Instagram), and most of them have a gorgeous‚ albeit sometimes limited, selection! Some of those include HomeplisticHaden HomeHazel Candle Co.Ansel and IvyCuddle and KindThe CitizenryBoll and Branch, and Parachute Home. I’m also currently working with Pottery Barn and Serena & Lily (not quite as small of brands haha), and I am simply enamored by all of their products. You can’t go wrong with those two! Oh and there’s a removable wallpaper brand I recently discovered that I’m dying to work with: Livette’s Wallpaper.

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image via chelsea iverson

3. You have been successfully navigating virtual work with design clients for years, what tips do you have for those struggling with working from home?

Thank you! And you’re right! Before I started doing e-styling and social media influencing, and before I moved to Colorado, I used to work in PR. The year my husband and I moved here (my husband was offered a career opportunity we would’ve been dumb to pass up), I was managing the PR efforts for a start-up tech firm in Chicago. It was 2015, and I was lucky enough to keep my job and work remotely. I was also in the process of earning my master’s degree remotely (although I did travel to the brick-and-mortar school for graduation because I graduated magna cum laude with a 3.95 GPA). I’ll be honest, there have been many times when I definitely did not feel my work from home efforts were successful.

I started this business while I was teaching seventh grade English full time up at Evergreen Middle School in Evergreen, Colorado. It was a struggle because I wanted to be the best teacher I could possibly be, but I also wanted to hone my passion for being creative and running my own business. I would stay up late grading papers on weeknights, and then I’d check up on my client projects and prepare my next post for Instagram after I had finished that. Most of my weekends were spent working, and I quickly started to feel like I was burning out. My husband and I were going through fertility treatments, and it was in April of 2018 when I learned I was pregnant with our baby boy. My doctor told me I needed to limit my stress and scale back on what I was doing if I wanted a successful pregnancy, so I made the call to not go back to teaching that year.

Those next nine months were the most successful months I’ve had, at least for growing my brand and figuring out how I wanted my processes to run. Once I had our son Joe, my attention took a very sudden 90-degree turn. I found I didn’t have the time I needed to get in my creative mode and make good headway on my client projects (or when I did have time, all I wanted to do was nap), so I scaled back the number of projects I worked on at one time. My Instagram account continued to grow, though, and new opportunities came in that I’d have hated myself for passing up, so I said yes to them. Some of those include guest speaking opportunities at Denver summer events and (twice!) guest speaking in conjunction with Domino Magazine and Refinery 29 at the CB2 store in Cherry Creek (Denver).

I was also offered once-in-a-lifetime client projects, such as one where the client’s mother was a film producer and American billionaire, so she handed me her credit card to decorate her brand new apartment and trusted me to pull it all together in time for her to move in. The day she moved in, it felt like an HGTV moment where I opened up the door to her apartment that she was seeing completely decorated for the first time, and she started crying, saying, “Oh my god, oh my god, I love it!!” It was a moment I’ll never forget! There was also the time I was commissioned to decorate local soccer star and 2019 USWNT World Cup Champion Mallory Pugh’s home top to bottom. I drove myself nuts trying to balance mommy time with work time, but in the end, it was a successful project, and Joe still loves me 😉

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image via chelsea iverson

Baby or not, it can certainly be tough to work from home all the time. Sometimes you want to stay in your jammies and keep up with the Kardashians or watch reruns of Fixer Upper. I learned early on that if I wanted to make the most of my day, I needed to start my day as I would if I were working from an office. First thing when I wake up, I freshen up, get dressed, and brush my teeth. I don’t watch TV when I’m working (which I think falls contrary to the popular belief that people who work from home get to watch TV all day). Rather, I turn on some music, open my laptop (or phone, whichever has the more pressing to-dos), and go after what my husband and I call the “low hanging fruit.”

This just means I tackle all of the quick and easy tasks first. It gives me a really great sense of accomplishment early on in the day knowing that I’ve already knocked 10-20 to-dos off my list. Once I get those little things out of the way, I can focus more closely on the bigger tasks that require coordination with other people, or perhaps that require me to solve a design puzzle a client has presented me with. Coffee helps, too!

Finally, I always try to make time to get outside and go for a walk or a jog to clear my mind so that I can reset and focus even better once I’m back.

4. We love following you on IG – not only for your beautiful designs, but you are also a pro at sharing your authentic self, being relatable and open with your audience. What’s your secret?

You’re too sweet! I’m so glad to hear that! You know, I’ve always been an open book. My mother used to tell me I shared too much and it made me vulnerable, which oftentimes, it did. We also have a joke in my family that when my sister and I go out (we’re 15 months apart), she wears an invisible sign that says, “Fuck off,” (can I say that in here?), whereas my invisible sign says, “Please, come talk to me! I’d love to hear your life story!”

I’ll admit, it was very hard for me to think of what to write in my captions when I first started my IG account. I have two younger sisters and two younger brothers, and when I wrote my captions, I used to only think about what they’d say to each other behind my back about whatever it was I was sharing. Another part that was tricky for me to navigate early on was that I worried that my friends, extended family, friends of family, and so on would think I was being arrogant… almost like, “Hey, everyone! Look at my beautiful home and how great I am. Look at how perfect my life is, and while you’re at it, read all of those super-nice comments people I’ve never met are leaving on my pictures…” It’s so not me to be like that. It felt weird sharing something I was proud of because I was always nervous about crossing that fine line of sounding braggy or boastful. For that reason, my go-to defense was to put something relatable, such as a drawback we faced or a real-life problem that might’ve interfered with the project, or even a mom-fail, into my caption. Sure, this was because I wanted people to know that my life isn’t perfect, but also (selfishly) it made me feel better about showing-off something I was proud of or excited about. This sort of became second nature to me over time, and then that combined with the growing sense of comfort that came naturally with sharing my personal life online and getting positive feedback from complete strangers.

It also doesn’t hurt that my siblings have celebrated seeing my images appear on their IG Explore and Pinterest feeds, and that they’ve shared my reposts from brands such as West Elm, PotteryBarn, AllModern, etc., in their stories. So I know they’re excited for me even if they can’t always say it to my face, and that helps me relax a little and not think of what they’ll say about the captions I write 😉

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image via chelsea iverson

5.What are you looking forward to?

Gosh. So many things. I’m looking forward to the day when my business runs like a well-oiled machine (it’s so close and yet still feels so far away). I’m looking forward to not having to work until I go to bed for the sake of keeping my brand’s image and reputation healthy. I’m looking forward to bringing my passive income ideas to life. I’m looking forward to the day when our new/current house (we’ve been in this 1999 fixer-upper house for one year and two months, so I’m not sure I can still call it our “new” house) doesn’t require any more weekend projects.

I’d also love to be able to work from coffee shops again while Joe is with his nanny a couple days a week. Speaking of Joe, I’m looking forward to being present while he grows up (running my own business out of my home gives me that unique and special privilege, and I don’t plan on ever taking this time for granted).

WOW! SO much amazing info here from Cait. If you’d like to keep up with her on social, check out her website and Instagram for more design & business inspo.

3 Free Bright + Fun Tech Backgrounds

While we might not be able to change our immediate surroundings, changing up our phone and computer backgrounds always puts a smile on our face! The days after Memorial Day Weekend are our fave – they serve as a reminder that summer isn’t far away and picnic season has officially arrived (we are vote that inside picnics are just as cool!).

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We hope you love these tech backgrounds and they bring a little joy to your day! To download, just click on the buttons below the image and save to your phone or desktop.desktop_flowers

click to download: desktop | mobiledesktop_picnicclick to download: desktop | mobiledesktop_sunclick to download: desktop | mobile

5 Data-Driven Reasons to Invest in Influencer Marketing Right Now

5 Data-Driven Reasons to Invest in Influencer Marketing Right Now

image via: @camillestyles

Marketing plans for 2020 were turned upside down, and as brands look ahead to make plans for 2021 there are still a lot of questions. Trade shows, festivals, events and even grocery shopping will never look the same, and brands and marketers are tasked with finding effective ways to reach their consumers. Now more than ever, the world is shopping online and looking to influencers – and brands will be smart to do the same.

1. Life, as it relates to gatherings and special events, is on hold right now, but research says people are daydreaming in planning for them anyways as a way to escape.
Recent Pinterest search trends reveal that consumers are restless and looking ahead, seeking optimism to avoid boredom and loneliness during lock down. Searches for recipes, tutorials, future apartments, and weddings are up, indicating people want to feel in control.

2. Screen time, social media activity, and internet surfing are at an all-time high, and consumers are looking to influencers for inspiration and guidance.
Consumers look to influencers for many things, and one is to find new brands. “#AD” is not a total turn off if the brand fit and content is authentic to the influencer’s brand and resonates with their audience.

    1. 72% of Instagram users bought a product they saw on Instagram
    2. 52% who use social media said they have clicked on an influencer’s post. 31% then buy the item.

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3. Consumers are dodging paid advertisements.
Consumers are savvy to influencer marketing and don’t mind being advertised to as long as they’ve opted into it, like following a specific influencer for specific content or tips.

    1. 63% of consumers trust influencer messages more than brand messages
    2. 47% of internet users now block ads, up from 25% only 4 years ago
    3. Influencer content is 87% more memorable than TV Ads

4. No one knows consumers better than a consumer.
Influencers are consumers who have cultivated a following of like-minded consumers that appreciate their perspective and taste. One in four millennials seek stories of products & services they are considering buying because they trust the influencers they follow.

Influencers are most successful when they have a strong understanding of their audience and they know what their audience will like or dislike about a product. This is evident in the strength of influencer content performance, 57% of marketers report influencer content outperformed brand-created content.

5. Social media is the most effective and scalable way to engage and connect.
Online marketplace IZEA conducted a study on how COVID-19 will change users’ social media habits, and founder and CEO Ted Murphy explains, “The surge in social media usage combined with uncertainty in the global markets will have impacts on the influencer marketing ecosystem. We see significant opportunity for brands to connect with an audience that is hungry for content, education, and online experiences.”

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SPPR has always believed in the effectiveness of influencer marketing (when done correctly!), and we executed a campaign during COVID-19 lock down with results to prove it.

If your company is considering investing in influencer marketing or if you have questions about it, please reach out to us as we would be happy to help you navigate these unprecedented times.

 

 

Why You Should Be Thinking Beyond Sales When It Comes to Influencer Marketing

Why You Should Be Thinking Beyond Sales When It Comes to Influencer Marketing

As most of us straddle between being worried and restless, the last thing we want to be served up on our favorite influencer’s feed is an #ad that is trying to sell us something that seems out of touch. Influencers are a critical part of the marketing mix now more than ever as they have the unique ability to speak to, and be a resource for your target audience.

Now is not the time to push sales through your influencer partners, but to provide value to your shared audience, which will build brand awareness and equity in a meaningful way. We propose you ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are there simple assets you can create and offer that will help families entertain or educate their kids while at home?
  • Do you have anyone on your team who can be an expert resource to collaborate with your influencer partners on helpful advice for their followers?
  • Can you put together product shipments and send them just because, to spark joy among your influencer community?
  • Can you offer giveaways and giveback opportunities to continue to spread positivity?

When we recently employed this tactic we received an overwhelmingly positive response from influencers who appreciated the thoughtful gesture and found value in what we were sending. As a result, we were able to secure organic social content and create new relationships on behalf of our client.

What brands have you been seeing do a great job at providing value during this time? Let us know in the comments below!

Why It’s Important for Brands to Trust Influencers Now More Than Ever

Why It’s Important for Brands to Trust Influencers Now More Than Ever

What type of content should I post? How should I engage? What do I need to be sensitive to? With endless questions circling around how to show up on social, it probably seems easier to share nothing at all. Before you go off the deep end, know that audiences are resonating with influencers and brands who are meeting them in their anxious, vulnerable moments and helping to serve as a reminder that we’re all in this together.

Rather than relying on the same key messaging and sales parameters, ditch the prescriptive influencer campaign brief and tap into the authenticity and humanity of trusted content creators to reach your target audience in a meaningful way.

  • For Influencers: Be bold. Brands need to hear your perspective on how they can best provide value to your audience. If a concept doesn’t feel right, help guide the brand to make sure the content will resonate with your fans. You may have to push back or work in a new way, but if you bring a solution that your audience is craving, it will be a win-win.
  • For Brands: Now more than ever, influencers are in touch with how their audiences are feeling and brands can benefit by listening and trusting them. A great creator will be honest about what will resonate with their audience and it’s your job as the brand to trust them with what you’re hiring them to do. Try heading to partners with the goal you are trying to achieve and have them pitch you an idea to spark a conversation. This is the best way to be collaborative! Remember, the strongest content ideas are at the intersection of your brand values and the authenticity of your influencer partner.

Have thoughts or questions? Say hi over on IG at @sodapoppr or shoot us a note sayhi@sodapop-pr.com.

Case Study: Making an Influencer Campaign Relevant During COVID-19

Case Study: Making an Influencer Campaign Relevant During COVID-19

Case Study: Making an Influencer Campaign Relevant During COVID-19: Alden’s Organic Dairy Free Launch

The Campaign and COVID-19:

To build buzz and celebrate the launch of Alden’s Organic Dairy Free Frozen Desserts, we partnered with a diverse mix of influencers to create Instagram and Facebook content showcasing how Alden’s Organic Dairy Free fit seamlessly into their lives, providing a dairy-free option everyone could love.

Bringing loved ones together is at the core of Alden’s brand values and the campaign creative was built around our influencers doing life with their “fam” including group celebrations and images of everyone together enjoying the product.

By mid to late March, campaign content production was underway, and then entered COVID-19. The pandemic continued to progress, and the originally scheduled content was now going to go live at the height of consumers sheltering-in-place and no longer able to meet with groups of loved ones. Come April, audiences were looking for brands to provide them with content that was relevant and empathetic to their evolving new normal.

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image via: @thekitchenista

How We Pivoted:

We understood that our influencers and their audiences were in a different state of mind than at the beginning of the campaign and it was most important to stay attune to the current conversation, meet our influencers & consumers where they were and provide the most value through our content.

We aimed to lean on moments of meaning and provide joy through the campaign, bringing a semblance of normalcy to an otherwise tumultuous time. To do so we:

  • Swiftly audited the existing creative, removing any potentially problematic imagery or messages and straying away from large group gatherings
  • Split the campaign into two waves to avoid reshoots of content already created
    • Wave One (content live on Friday, April 10): we worked closely with the influencers that had not yet created their content to create new concepts relevant to enjoying Alden’s at home including fun activities with the kids, birthday celebrations at home, digital ice cream socials with friends, living room forts and more.
    • Wave Two: rescheduled influencers who had already created content to go live in July during our upcoming summer campaign while modifying messaging to make sure it’s appropriate for the current state of the pandemic.
  • Integrated a giveaway for each influencer to spread joy to their audience, sending a shipment of Alden’s Organic Dairy Free.
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image via: @joshuasnyder

Impactful Results:

In Wave One, seven influencers went live on Friday, April 10 during peak social media engagement times, achieving the following results:

The first wave of this campaign reached a wide audience of consumers actively looking for aspirational content during the pandemic, increased Alden’s social following by 14%, and garnered an engagement rate 1.3% above average. Influencers received numerous direct messages from their followers expressing gratitude and appreciation for the feel-good content and understanding of what they were collectively going through.

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image via @vannie.beauty

Our Wave One Influencer Partners:

Such a fun campaign! How have you had to make huge pivots in your Influencer Marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments below.

How to Celebrate Any Major Milestone At Home

In our previous post, we shared a few last minute Mother’s Day gifts and realized there are so many other celebrations being experienced at home from birthdays & births to graduation & wedding postponements. Ashley & Camy from Team SPPR put together this amazing guide on how to create fun, celebratory experiences at home for any major life moment – you’re going to want to read these!

For celebrating birthdays while staying at home…

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Camy here! I recently had my birthday and I’m not going to lie, it was weird – at first. Social distancing and staying at home is the new norm so it was hard for me to imagine what celebrating would really be like, but when the day came I was truly humbled.  My family, friends and team were so creative and thoughtful in the ways they organized festivities and coordinated surprises. If you have a loved one celebrating a birthday soon, here are some ideas and tips that made me feel so special and truly celebrated all day.

  • Send a treat. Support their favorite local spot and pick up their favorite thing to go or have it delivered!
  • Shake up Zoom Calls by creating a dress code and a game around the birthday person! Ramp up festiveness by setting a custom background or re-purpose a newlywed/icebreaker game for that special someone.
  • Do a Socially-Distanced drop by and decorate their driveway with chalk or have local friends  do a car caravan parade!
  • Get dressed up for dinner anyways – even if it’s just for your kitchen table! Order in for minimal prep and clean-up to make more time for celebrating and enjoying.
  • If you’re the one celebrating a birthday
    • Show yourself grace – if you’re not 100% okay with celebrating your birthday while social distancing, THAT’S OKAY!
    • Be open – don’t be too focused on the ways your birthday isn’t like last year’s. Create a new tradition, one you’ll be excited to keep when life goes back to “normal.”
    • Be present – let go of any expectations, if you can – for yourself and for others. Do your best to be a thoughtful participant in each moment of your day. Take time to read each birthday message or card, and spend an extra moment of gratitude on each encounter with a loved one or moment of peace.
    • Remind yourself – you’ll never have a birthday like this one again.

For celebrating Mother’s or Father’s Day while staying at home…

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image via camille styles

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image via this mess is ours

Gatherings might be on pause, but celebrating is not! If you’re not able to celebrate with Mom this year, or perhaps the whole family is trying to do something special for Grandma while social distancing, here are a few ways to be connected while apart: 

  • Mother’s Day Brunch via Zoom: If the family can’t physically be together, but being together is what your celebration is centered around
    • Pick a delicious recipe or have your family help vote on one. Once they pick a recipe, have everyone pick up ingredients ahead of time so they can cook together. A few I think my Mom would love include:
    • Decide on a video conference platform and confirm all invited parties know how to use it!
      • Using smart phones will be easiest, however Zoom is also very user-friendly and can be operated through computers or smart phones. Just a heads up, you’ll need Zoom Pro to have more than 3 parties in the call for more than 45-minutes, but you can just dial back-in.
      • Pro Tip for Grandparents: do a practice run! Use FaceTime when giving them instructions to see what they’re seeing on their computer screen.
    • Align on a time to start!
      • Families can “cook brunch together” or opt to set a specific time to sit down and all eat at the same time over video chat!
      • Fun tip: Families can put their own spin on the recipe and share how they made it their own!
  • Make your Mom something: If you can’t be together, or if words aren’t how you express yourself best
  • Re-create Your Mom’s Favorite Brunch: If you’re lucky enough to be celebrating with Mom this year, but opting to stay home for brunch
    • Support Mom’s favorite local brunch spot and order up all her favorites
      • Decorate and set the table (bring her some coffee in bed to buy yourself more time if needed). A few tips:
        • Use fresh table linens
        • Take the food out of the boxes and plate for presentation
        • Set out water/coffee/mimosa glasses and utensils
        • Put her favorite flowers in a vase
      • Create the environment
        • Tidy up wherever you’ll be eating (Pro tip: in a pinch, focus on counter tops and open spaces)
        • Turn off the TV and turn on brunch tunes – Spotify playlists = gold!  
        • Open the windows, let natural light in and some fresh air

For celebrating your friend whose wedding got postponed…

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image via apricot la

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Ashley here! 2020 was the year of weddings in my friend group with most taking place in the first part of this year. While many weddings have had to be postponed to later this year or looking ahead to next, there are still ways to make your friend’s originally planned day special:

  • Send a dinner care package
    • Drop off or send a care package themed with the location of their wedding for your friend and their fiancé to create a romantic dinner at home. For example, if it was a destination wedding in Tuscany, put together a fun box filled with pasta, sauce, wine, candles and chocolates.
  • Create a video of well wishes
    • Reach out to the bride and groom’s closest friends and family to send a short video of well wishes and encouragement that even though their big day is postponed, they are still being celebrated.

For celebrating and shaking up date night at home…

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image via carrie bradshaw lied

After nearly two months of sheltering in place with your SO, you probably want to shake things up when it comes to date night. Here are a couple fun options to consider:

  •  Themed dinner and a movie
    • Pick a movie you’ve been wanting to watch together or a favorite on your list and dress accordingly along with a themed dinner or drinks and snacks. For example, love 007? (Shoutout to my guy Daniel Craig), dress to the nines, shake up some classic martinis and put together a cheeseboard.
  • Make art
    • Channel your inner Picasso and let your creative side out by creating art pieces together. You can order canvases and supplies from Blick or other related art stores, put on some music and see what you both come up with. It’s a fun way to challenge the monotony of life in quarantine and gives you a memento to remember the time spent together during this time.

Even as we return back to a world without COVID-19, these are all still fantastic ideas for year-round experiences if you’re celebrating someone who isn’t local. Have any other ideas on how to celebrate at home? Drop them below in the comments!