Quiz Night!

I occasionally take part in quiz nights, so when The Family Law Company asked me to help them promote a charity quiz night, it seemed a good idea to put together a team.

The quiz was being held as a fundraiser for Citizens Advice Exeter and having commissioned an event graphic, I sent out the press release and looked around for team members.

While I manage PR, Kirsten Clarke from KC Marketing is the outsourced marketing guru for The Family Law Company; Hannah Hocking of Six Degrees Marketing covered marketing during Kirsten’s maternity leave; and Alison Jobson of Straight Marketing has also provided an outsourced marketing service for the firm. The perfect team of communications experts – “On the Rocks”!

The event was held at Exeter Historic Guildhall, a wonderful venue exuding history and tradition. It was packed to the gunnels with teams of four, all intent on winning top spot. Questions came fast and furious, but at the end of Round One we were convinced we had done so badly we would be coming last. One extremely tough round was guessing which song a set of lyrics came from – when quizmaster Stephen Sowden revealed the songs, there were so many cries of “Of course!”.

When the results were announced we were relieved to be comfortably in the middle – in fact there were only 12 points between the lowest score and the winning team.

The whole point of the event, of course, was to raise money. With the entry fee and a raffle, the total came to over £650, a really impressive result.

Some lovely photos courtesy of Bruce Thomas and these have been sent out to the social pages for a little extra PR, as well as a piece in Exeter Daily and Grow.


Candles

Recycling takes a new twist

I’m thoroughly enjoying working with my newest client, The Recycled Candle Company.

When I first met Richard and Sargon I instantly loved what they were doing; making beautiful candles from recycled wax. I found out much more about the concept and their passion when I wrote a feature for Devon Life.

Richard, who grew up in Sidbury, has been perfecting his candle-making techniques since he first started making candles at the age of seven. He learnt how to recycle used wax by trial and error, and now has the process perfected. When Sargon came on board, they were able to turn their recycling ideals into a sound business proposition.

The company is currently keeping over 300kg of used candles out of landfill, and providing and opportunity not just for individuals but for hospitality businesses and churches to recycle their used candles.

Richard and Sargon worked initially out of a shop in Ottery St Mary, and moved into their new shop in Gandy Street in June 2019 – the perfect location for an indie shop like theirs. So my first PR task was to tell everyone about the move, and they were featured in Devon Life, Exeter Living and in an interview with Devon Live, amongst others.

I also organised a workshop for a number of freelance writers and photographer Rosie Parsons. We had a blast making pretty firelighters (which is the way that the lowest grade wax can be reused) and the event should be in Devon Life’s social diary very soon.

Business is growing apace; The Recycled Candle Company sells not only from the shop and wholesale, but online too. Wax supplies have been getting a little low, so the next task I’m helping with is to use PR to get hold of more! Cue an interview with David Fitzgerald on BBC Radio Devon, and a county-wide request for used candles. So far, there’s been lots of interest and promises of wax, especially on social media.

This has been a doubly useful exercise for me; Richard and Sargon are sometimes so busy making candles and running the shop that they don’t have time to keep on top of social media. So although I’m not managing their SM accounts, I’m happy to keep an eye on notifications and remind them when they need to respond!

It’s early days with The Recycled Candle Company but already I know that it is one of those accounts that will give me lots of enjoyment – it’s always nice when work is a pleasure! Check out their website or pop into the shop and find out what all the fuss is about.

Winners

Best Professional Service Award

Wow! I went along to the 373 Awards in the capacity of a finalist, and came home as an award winner!

It was a complete surprise to be named winner for Best Professional Service, and a real honour. Thank you to those who nominated me.

I was slightly concerned as two clients were finalists in the same category and I didn’t want to upset anyone… but I needn’t have worried. Chilcotts were awarded Highly Commended, which they were delighted about, and Rachel Buckley from The Family Law Company was named Top 373 Person. So everyone was happy.

Well done too, to Sarah Martin at Nourish, Highly Commended in the Start Up category and Rusty Pig, who although they didn’t win, were worthy finalists in the Rural category.

It was lovely to meet all the other finalists at the awards event held at Escot House. The 373 Awards celebrate lots of businesses that don’t always get recognition, so many of them I didn’t know of before.

I came home with a lovely hamper of goodies donated by local busineses, including a jar of award-winning raspberry jam from my client Otter Garden Centres! (I have to say the chocolate didn’t make it home, it was consumed immediately by Rachel, Donna Hart and me!).

Award logo

Awards Finalist!

Over the past few years I’ve enjoyed lots of successes writing awards entries for my clients. From legal awards to business awards, I’m always delighted when my clients are named as finalists, often going on to win.

So to be named an awards finalist myself is a real honour. I was nominated in the Professional Services category in the 373 Annual Awards. And yesterday I learned I was in the finals.

I’m very pleased to be in this category with two of my lovely clients, The Family Law Company and Chilcotts Auctioneers. So I’d better not win as they might be miffed!

Also finalists are several other clients; Nourish (who recently won yet again at the Exeter Business Awards), Rusty Pig (a finalist last year in the Devon Life Food & Drink Awards), Otter Garden Centres, The Recycled Candle Company and Rachel Buckley (from the Family Law Company).

The awards event is at Escot House (another client!) on July 11th. Whatever the outcome for me personally, I know this will be a fun evening – hopefully the sun will shine and we can sip our prosecco on the terrace!

Awards finalist

I’ll miss my partner in crime, Sharon Goble from If Media who was a finalist in these very awards last year. Sharon will be overseas, but is bound to be glued to Twitter to find out the result!


medals

Under the Hammer

Managing PR for Chilcotts Auctioneers, an independent auction house based near me in Honiton, gives superb storytelling opportunities. I love the chance to really research auction lots and discover their back stories.

Recently, like the proverbial buses, three came along at once. The challenge was on to write engaging press releases for each and distribute them in the month up to the sale on June 1st.

The first story required lots of research, as it concerned RAF medals and log books, documents, uniforms and photographs from WW2 fighter pilot Group Captain Peter Casement, who flew with both Bomber Command and Coastal Command. His was a fascinating story; he was one of the few pilots to have seen service throughout WW2, and during the Battle of the Atlantic the bomber he piloted was the first to bring back photographic evidence of the sinking of a U-boat.

The combination of his medals and an extensive archive of materials including his flying jacket, gloves and boots, several sets of uniform, photographs and RAF training manuals were sold as one lot. The auction estimate was between £10,000 to £15,000. The story gained lots of interest, and the hammer price reached £21,000.

Bomber plane

The second story was a set of 19th century German Orders of Chivalry, thought to have been awarded to an aristocratic German family, with some very likely to have been given to them by Queen Victoria. The English owner of these rare medals had served in Germany in the aftermath of WW2, and we’ll never really know how he came to possess them – perhaps he was given them in return for food or shelter.

German orders of Chivalry

The third story was very different. It concerned a collection of vintage jewellery assembled over several decades by one Pamela Schneider who had lived in North Devon. Interestingly, Pamela was one of Chilcotts’ first vendors, back in 2004. 

There was a connection with the other two stories, as Pamela grew up during WW2. In spite of a disjointed education, she became a successful entrepreneur, running a café before discovering an interest in antiques. Pamela’s daughter told us that in the late 1960s she began to read numerous books about antiques, and never missed an episode of Going for a Song!

There was a good take up of the jewellery collection press release in the Devon press, and I attribute this to the stunning photograph Chilcotts supplied; butterflies, dragonflies and flowers scattered in the striking aubern hair of their daughter! I always say that images are so important, and here is another example of this truism.

Pamela Schneider Collection

Antiques Trade Gazette
Midweek Herald
Exeter Daily

2019 is Chilcotts Auctioneers 15th anniversary year, so here’s wishing happy celebrations to this wonderful family business. I’m looking forward to learning about more items going under the hammer!


Nourish Magdalen Road

Nourish opens in Magdalen Road

I started working with Nourish at the back end of 2018. What a whirlwind it’s been since then!

Apart from writing blogs, press releases and (winning) awards submissions, I’ve been in from the start with the announcement of the second shop, just opened in Magdalen Road on the site of wholefood shop The Bran Tub after the owners retired.

Nourish of Topsham has morphed into Nourish Zero Waste, to facilitate the business expansion. The Magdalen Road shop opened just a day late after a whirlwind refurbishment and branding exercise that saw owner Sarah Martin wielding a paintbrush (my supportive action was to buy her lunch and a cup of herbal tea!).

Not Sarah…

PR for Nourish has been very successful, from the announcement of the second shop which was featured in Devon Live, Devon Life, Exeter Life, Food Magazine, Crumbs Magazine and Exeter Living, to interviews Sarah has undertaken for International Women’s Day and most recently a ‘first look’ at the shop by Devon Live in which Sarah said: “I had one chap come in for milk with his old Blue Sapphire gin bottle and that’s absolutely fine with me. It’s really important to me that this isn’t a crochet your own flip-flops shop, I want it to be a nice friendly store. There’s no judgement here.”

My favourite phrase of the year so far, ‘crochet your own flipflops’. See the whole interview on Devon Live here: We take a sneak peek at Exeter’s newest zero-waste shop.

There’s lots more to come with Nourish once Sarah has come up for air, and I have to say it’s a real pleasure to be involved. I do like my clients!

DASLS

Legal Awards Success

After the success of Nourish at the Exeter Living Awards, it was the turn of long-term legal clients The Family Law Company at the Devon and Somerset Legal Society Awards.

They were shortlisted in five categories and were kind enough to invite me along to join their table at the awards event held at Exeter Cathedral. What a beautiful venue, if a tad chilly!

After a lovely dinner created by Taste Catering (which included the challenge of carving a huge piece of lamb for the meat eaters and a whole stuffed butternut squash for us veggies), the awards began.

Our first thrill was when Kirsty Thyer from The Family Law Company’s Plymouth office was awarded Highly Commended as Leader of the Year.

Kirsty Thyer

Next, the whole firm was recognised as the winners of Law Firm of the Year (1-10 Partners). Our table got very loud, then very quiet as the whole team made their way to the stage to collect the award! But that wasn’t the end of it, and there were tears all round when Imran Khodabocus was named Solicitor of the Year.

Also up for awards were Carrie Laws, for Chartered Legal Exec, and Hannah Porter for Rising Star. Although they didn’t win, they were both proud to be finalists and will no doubt be put up for awards again soon (Carrie has already been entered for the CILEx Awards).

I was totally surprised a couple of days’ later when a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived on my doorstep, from Rachel and everyone at the firm, thanking me for my efforts helping to write their award submissions. Well, I always say that an award submission is only as good as the people it is written about. You can’t make an awards submission up, you have to write the truth. I knew when I interviewed Imran, for example, that he was a potential winner as his story was so compelling.

Well done to this amazing firm, they’ve had to get a bigger trophy cabinet. We’ve just released the news that they have appointed four new Directors (and amazingly for a law firm, 58% of the Board are now women!).

Sarah with her award

Nourish is the Winner!

It was a pleasure to attend this year’s Exeter Living Awards with two clients, The Family Law Company and Nourish of Topsham.

The event is held annually at The Great Hall at Exeter University, which was beautifully decorated, as usual.

I believe I proved my worth to Sarah of Nourish when I elbowed my way to the free bar to grab the last two glasses of pink prosecco on arrival.

What a lovely night it was, especiaWith Sarah at Exeter Living Awardslly when Nourish was announced as the winner of the Retail category. Which I almost missed as I was scrabbling around on the floor trying to find a bracelet that had slipped from my wrist.

I seem to remember Sarah swearing mildly when she went on stage to receive her award (this was nothing compared to the Mexican wave initiated by another winner, Good Game, who were, they freely admitted, slightly the worse for wear).

Commiserations to The Family Law Company who were pipped at the post in the Legal and Financial category, but coming up very soon is the DASLS Awards. I have everything crossed that they will collect at least one award at this event. Nourish is a finalist again at the Venus Awards next week, in the New Business Category, so watch this space!

I’m now working on submissions for the Exeter Business Awards for a number of clients, after which hopefully there will be a break before the next raft!

Although it seems to be awards season at the moment, there’s plenty more going on; Nourish is working towards opening its second store in Magdalen Road, and I’m delighted to have secured lots of great coverage for this including: Devon Live | Business Insider | Exeter Daily | Crumbs Magazine

Awards logos

Client Business Awards Update

What a great start to the year it’s been for two of my clients; The Family Law Company and Nourish, both shortlisted in legal and business awards.

In the latter part of 2018 I worked on five submissions with The Family Law Company for DASLS Awards 2019, visiting the offices in Exeter and Plymouth and meeting with four solicitors and legal execs. All had strong stories which made great submissions. I was delighted when they were all announced as awards finalists. The company was also shortlisted in Law Firm of the Year (1 – 10 Partners). All will be revealed on 4th April at Exeter Cathedral.

The Family Law Company was also shortlisted in the national Modern Law Awards, Boutique Law Firm of the Year. Winners will be announced on 31st January.

In a hat trick, I also entered the company for the Exeter Living Awards, in the Legal & Financial Category. The Family Law Company won this category two years’ ago, so it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off again! This awards event is on March 7th.

I have recently started working with a wonderful new client, Nourish of Topsham. Nourish is a zero waste provisions store in Topsham, just outside Exeter. Created with style and panache by the talented and dedicated Sarah Martin, it’s a fantastic proposition. We entered Nourish into two categories at the Exeter Living Awards: New Business and Retail. Nourish has been shortlisted in both. She’s also a finalist in the Venus Awards for New Business, not my doing and thank you to whoever nominated her!

I’m very excited that The Family Law has invited me to the DASLS Awards and Nourish is taking me to the Exeter Living Awards. Although it’s never about me but all about my clients, I do enjoy the chance to be there on the night and cheer them on.

Good luck!

Sue on sofa

Happy New Year

I can’t believe that another year has passed, and we’re into 2019. Old news I think – as it’s now January 7th (get over it, Sue). 2018 was quite a year for In The Right Order, with several new clients coming on board alongside my longer-term clients.

PR & Copywriting

I was delighted to secure some superb PR for clients. The highpoint was seeing Chilcotts featured on ITV Westcountry and in a number of local papers with a heartfelt story that fitted perfectly with the Armistice 100 celebrations. I undertook a quickie (!) for Acorn Ecology’s 15 year anniversary that resulted in some lovely coverage, and helped Exe Mortgages to up its profile in the local area. For Devondale Electrical Wholesalers, I enjoyed putting together case studies and PR for their successes and was proud to secure the first trade by-line for the MD. It was really good to work with Helen Bottrill of The Creative Business Network to make Escot’s first Artisan Market such a success. One of my favourite moments was receiving a copy of the Diespeker Magazine, which I worked on with agency Terra Ferma Media. Can’t beat print!

Awards

It takes a lot of work to get an awards submission right – I’m becoming a dab hand. Highlights included Norman Hartnell of The Family Law Company being named ‘Legal Hero’ Award in the Devon & Somerset Law Society Awards. Rusty Pig made the top three in the Best Restaurant Award at the Devon Life Food & Drink Awards (they didn’t win but we were definitely the loudest table). In London, Diespeker & Co won the Tomorrow’s Tile & Stone Awards and were finalists in the Southwark Business Awards. I was nominated (for the third time) myself in the 373 Group Awards. My belief is that being a finalist is almost as good as winning…

Social Media

It was an interesting year on social with Twitter flattening out and Facebook receiving a backlash due to Cambridge Analytica, amongst other shenannigans. As a result, ‘likes’ on pages slowed down. However, Facebook advertising is still proving a winner for many businesses, however and has certainly influenced bookings for one of my newest clients, Treaslake Farm Cottages. LinkedIn has increased in strength; sometimes I’m not sure it knows what it is but it’s a great place for referrals. Instagram continues its upward trend as illustrated by my teenage daughter glued to her iPhone last night. I’ve recently started boomeranging. Look it up.

Features

My visit to Simon Hulstone’s Michelen starred restaurant The Elephant (go, it’s brilliant) must be one of my favourite ever commissions from Devon Life (although not necessarily the 6am start with a visit to Brixham Fish Market). I spent a day in the restaurant kitchens learning about fish from Simon, and a fantastic lunch to boot. Other features over the year included Colyton Tannery, Segways at Escot House and my most challenging feature ever, for which I had to write about trends in sinks for Devon Home Magazine. My friends at Taste Buds Magazine sent me to review Occombe Farm Cafe, Duke’s Restaurant and the Lamb at Longdown. It’s a hard life.

Coming up

I’m looking forward to finding out what this year has in store. For starters, I’m thrilled to be working with my newest client, Nourish of Topsham, a zero waste provisions store flying the flag for a plastic free shopping experience – good things happening there. I’m hoping to write my next feature for Devon Life about a fabulous lady chef (hail to the chef). I have several awards nominations out and I’m chomping at the bit to find out if the clients have made the shortlist. And this year – maybe I’ll crack the Western Morning News Awards….

Happy New Year, here’s to 2019.