One of my favorite Birmingham-based businesses is Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. I’m a fan of this company not just because the popcorn is delicious and not just because the company has been supportive of See Jane Write, signing on as a sponsor for our Scandal watch party and for our upcoming 5th anniversary party. I also admire Tanesha Sims-Summers and Tiffany Turner, the women behind Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn, because they’ve done such a great job developing their brand.
If you’re not familiar with Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn, don’t worry. You will have plenty of chances to get to know them (and taste that delicious kettle corn). This weekend on Saturday, March 12, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, they will debut a new flavor at Shamfest at the Red Shamrock Pub in Mt. Laurel. What will the new flavor be? You’ll have to be there to find out!
Also you’ll find Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. at Oak Mountain State Park on March 26 for its 9th Annual Easter Egg Hunt and they’ll be back at the Pepper Place Farmers Market starting April 9.
And if you attend the See Jane Write 5th Anniversary Party on Saturday, March 19 at aloft Hotel’s wxyz bar, you’ll have a chance to win a Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. variety snack pack (which will include the new flavor).
But before you go to figure out what you’re going to wear to the party, here are four tips I think we bloggers and writers can take from Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. as we’re building our personal brands.
Years ago I read an article that advised bloggers to treat their website as if it were a business they were hoping to one day sell, even if they had no such aspirations. Similarly, I believe that anyone looking to turn her blog into a business should be able to answer the same kinds of questions that an investor would ask any aspiring entrepreneur.
Last night the ladies of See Jane Write gathered for our first ever watch party to celebrate the return of ABC’s Scandal. We called this event See Jane Handle It and, of course, I picked out a special outfit for the occasion.
Because Olivia Pope loves her wine and her popcorn, I knew the Wine Loft in downtown Birmingham would be the perfect place for this event and I knew the party wouldn’t be complete without delicious gourmet popcorn from Naughty But Nice, a kettle corn company based in Birmingham and owned by two awesome local women — Tanesha Sims-Summers and Tiffany Turner.
Before the show began the Janes had time to mix and mingle and learn more about Naughty But Nice. Tanesha and Tiffany were bitten by the entrepreneurship bug 20 years ago when they were just girls. Growing up in College Hills gave them direct access to Legion Field and the gridlock traffic that football games often brought. So they decided to start selling popsicles curbside, one window at a time. For their next business venture they wanted to sell a food that was as all-American as football and as nostalgic as hearing the ice cream truck. Kettle corn it was! “We hand stir and hand pop every kernel,” Tanesha said.
Last night I also led a 10-minute master class titled “How to Be the Olivia Pope of Blogging.” Here’s how to do just that:
Always wear the white hat. On ABC’s Scandal wearing the white hat means being the good guy or doing the right thing. Be ethical in your blogging. Don’t steal content or post images you don’t have permission to use. Be kind to your readers and to fellow bloggers. And strive to inspire or encourage others with every post.
But let’s also recognize that Kerry Washington looks fabulous in that white hat and in everything else she wears. So I want to encourage you to dress like a fashion blogger even if you’re not one. In the world of blogging you are your brand and you want to make sure you represent that brand well by always looking your best. This applies to your blog too. Make sure your website is updated, easy to read and navigate, and is aesthetically pleasing. (Pro tip: When possible, be sure that your images are as wide as your posts column.)
Let your readers know it’s handled. Like Olivia Pope, be a fixer. With every post seek to solve a problem for your readers. Even if you’re a fashion blogger posting an outfit of the day, your posts are still inspiring your readers to better their wardrobes so they can have more confidence to go out and handle their days.
Gather your gladiators. We all love Olivia Pope but she couldn’t do much of what she does without crazy Quinn and Huck. Likewise, every blogger needs a tribe. You need a blogging buddy to hold you accountable to posting consistently. You need someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to help you celebrate your successes, and someone to grab some red wine with you when things go wrong.
Last night these women were my gladiators showing up early to help me set up gift bags for guests.