Moving Our Market

READ  •  2021

Violette Jiang

What started as a passion project in the corner of our studio has flourished and grown beyond the confines of its humble beginnings.


Our shop, 26 Market was conceived with the idea of bringing brands we love to a niche market in Winnipeg. It started out as just a peg board wall, filled with goodies that made us smile. As we kept finding more and more beautiful products to bring into the 26 Market fold, it started to become clear that our shop was snowballing faster than our space could keep up with. When we were suddenly unable to showcase each product on the floor, we knew it was time to start looking for somewhere new.

Our search didn’t take us far – actually, it took us just one floor below our beloved studio to suite 670 at 70 Arthur St. Though we miss our studiomates and regular shoppers who always stop by, we’re thrilled to be able to share all of our favourite things with you – and introduce more brands we love to our market now that we have more space to accommodate.

The Market has gone through a lot of changes in its time. This year, we developed expanded branding – complete with a playful colour palette, beautiful hand-drawn brand assets, and a collection of collateral to package purchase however we please. What’s next for our market? We’ll see!


You can stop by to visit our market at 670-70 Arthur St on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays from 10:30 am - 4:30 pm.



Facebook Audiences and Targeting

READ •  2021

Violette Jiang

Simply put, there are over 1 billion active users on Facebook everyday. Not knowing who your audience is and how to target them is likely going to be a waste of your advertising dollars. When you’re in the beginning phases of advertising on Facebook, step one is determining who your audience is.

 

Photos by Pauline Boldt.


Knowing Your Audience, And Why It’s Important

Your target audience is the group of people you’re trying to reach with your marketing message, they are the ones most likely to take action as a result of seeing your ad. Being your most valuable customers, they’re often linked by common characteristics. These characteristics can be placed into three broad categories: demographics such as age, gender, income, education, and location; interests; or behaviours.

As a starting point, look at your current customer base. These people, along with those similar to them, will likely make up your primary target audience. It’s quite possible you might have secondary target audiences, especially if you sell multiple products or services or if your products and services appeal differently to different people. If that’s the case, fear not! You just have to adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.


Core Audiences

When you create an ad set in Ads Manager, the default audience is called the Core Audience. This audience usually looks something along the lines of men and women ages 18-65+ who live in either the city or country your business is located in. While sticking to this default audience often results in high visibility of your ads, it often does not lead to high conversions.

Mastering your targeting strategy will help you narrow down this broad audience and get you in front of a very specific (and very motivated) group of people.

To customize your own Core Audience to reflect the group of people you’re trying to reach, target specific people using location, demographics, behaviours, and interests. If you’re not sure where to start, check out your Audience Insights on your Facebook Page to explore the demographics, interests, and hobbies of the people connected to your page.


Lookalike Audiences

You can also start with lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences on Facebook take the information you have from custom audiences and reach new people who are similar. Another way to create lookalike audiences is building them with conversion pixels, you can find these from your paid search ads.  If you want to further define the reach of your lookalike audience you can adjust the size and targeting options to ensure you’re still reaching your target buyers.

Determining your target audience is essential for digital marketing success on Facebook. Once you grasp your target Facebook audience, the process of advertising on the platform becomes seamless. It’s easier to develop messaging and images to advertise your brand when you know who it is you’re speaking to, and for.



Creating Evergreen Content

READ  •  2021

Violette Jiang

In its simplest form, evergreen content is content that will stay relevant and valuable for a long period of time, no matter the season or what is currently in the news – like “how-to” guides, tutorials, and case studies.

 

Photos by Pauline Boldt.


Starting Evergreen Content

When deciding on a content strategy for your business, you want to ensure a portion of evergreen content is included. Having a plan of what evergreen content to create can save you valuable time and offer room to post more timely or seasonal content around it. However, your focus should be on having the best information based on the searcher’s intent when it comes to creating.

An excellent place to start is looking at the top webpage results for the same content you’d like to create – this helps structure your content around what will get the most web traffic. Then, look at the language and SEO keywords these pages focus on.


Things to Consider

Now that you have great written content and had an in-depth look at SEO, it’s time to consider how else your evergreen content can rise to the top of searches.

Internal linking is a great way to get viewers to interact with other content on your site. For example, if you write a how-to guide on searing salmon, an internal link could lead to another page on your site where you sell the cookware you used for the guide.

External or outbound linking is when a page on your site links to another page on a different domain (aka links from your site to someone else’s). You may be thinking, why would I want a user to leave my site and look at someone else’s, but the reality is that external linking helps add depth and timeliness to your content by providing the user with extra knowledge, especially when writing about a complex topic.

You also need to think about how you’ll promote your evergreen content. Email marketing is a great way to get your content directly to who you want to read it – and to people who have said that they want to hear from you. In an ideal world, you’d be able to hit publish and have your target audience interact with your content. In reality, you need a solid promotional plan, so the right people find your content, interact with it, and share it.


The Bottom Line

Evergreen content saves you money, time, and resources if done well. Since the content requires less frequent updates, you can focus your efforts on more timely matters of your content strategy. Evergreen content is a fantastic way to assist your businesses’ continued organic growth.



Diving Into Reels and TikTok

READ  •  2021

Violette Jiang

TikTok and Instagram Reels have taken the world by storm. Not only does video content offer entertainment value, but if used correctly, it’s also a way to connect to your audience and give personality to your brand.

 

Photos by Pauline Boldt.


The Power of Video

Although TikTok videos and Reels may be similar, they have features that differ. Before we get into the importance of these short and snappy videos, we should discuss the features of both:

TikTok Features:

  • A separate platform
  • Videos can be up to 3 mins long
  • Edits (including graphics, text, and video transitions) are all available on the platform
  • 855 million monthly active users

Reel Features:

  • Live on the Instagram platform
  • Videos can be up to 60 sec long
  • Reels can be directly posted to Instagram stories
  • Edits (including graphics, text, and video transitions) are all available on the platform

When deciding how to approach Reels or TikToks for your business, spending some time on both platforms is essential. Researching what competitors are doing and how they succeed is an excellent baseline for tailoring your video content.

A common misconception is that filming video content for TikTok and Reels will be easy and quick. Of course, as time passes and you film more, they will become faster. However to start with, make sure you have the video strategized and storyboarded, and a list of props you’ll need before you even pick up the camera or phone.

The best part about using TikTok and Reels is that both are relatively new, meaning there is more room to experiment. If you find your brand lacks a personal connection to the audience, consider doing a behind-the-scenes office tour or a meet and greet of employees. Video content is a way to put a face to your brand and allow for a more authentic connection.


TikTok

Deciding to make a TikTok account is also great for experimenting with your business. For example, you may find posting different content than what you post on established social accounts can attract new audiences or even have a higher engagement rate! Currently, the highest share of users is between the ages of 10 and 28, but users aged 30 to 39 are one of the fastest-growing groups. It’s essential to consider the audience you are already reaching and which audiences you’d like to reach for more brand awareness.

Engagement with video content is made easy with TikTok. Most people think when they reach out to a company, they will get an automated response or be talking to a computer. If a customer comments on a TikTok with a question, you can respond right in the comment feed with a video response.

Instagram Reels

With Instagram Reels, the engagement focus is more on finding new customers for your business. Follower count and engagement rate are bound to rise if you post Reel videos on current trends and topics. Instagram, as a platform, promotes Reel content of high quality, so if Reels are something you hope to do going forward, make sure you invest the time and effort into creating them.



On Turning and Transformation

USE  •  2021

Violette Jiang

The meditative motion of turning as a way to shape a medium is expressed in the potter’s wheel and in the woodworker’s lathe. Here, the result is captured in light and stillness.


Wood pieces – designed and created by Hare and Hare.
Ceramics – turned, sculpted and fired by Leanne Muir.

They form two integral parts of the collective called Root Cellar based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – dedicated to the cultivation of quality goods and the preservation of hand craft.



The Things We Love – Smart Eggs

CONSUME  •  2021

Violette Jiang

During a good week, the studio probably consumes 48 eggs. For the everyday, we prefer medium boiled paired with avocado. For the special occasion, always devilled. Why we love them so much? An egg is the perfect, curious design, they provide our brains with eggcellent energy, and help us hatch up great ideas. On Monday mornings we get cracking at 9 am to talk about the week to come. Last one in is a rotten egg. Sometimes we’ll have to deal with a dozen surprises at first, which has us scrambling, but as we always say, we welcome a little eggventure at the 26 Studio. Team work – that’s what it hardboils down to.

Something eggstordinary happens when you put the spotlight on this humble ingredient. Please enjoy this collection of egg shots (and our signature devilled egg recipe), all taken on the sunny side of the studio.


26 DEVILLED EGG RECIPE

12 eggs, gently boiled for 7.5 minutes

Cut the eggs in half and spoon the yolk into a bowl.

Add the following:

3 heaping spoons of greek yogurt
2 heaping spoons of Smak Dab Mustard (any flavour in the fridge)
4 twists on the pink salt shaker
4 twist on the black pepper shaker Mix and mix until smooth.

Place the mixture in a medium zip lock with one corner snipped off.
Pipe the mixture into each half. Garnish with dill, chives and voilà!



Weekend Project: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

CONSUME  •  2021

Violette Jiang

Despite our wishful thinking, not every summer weekend in Winnipeg is full of sunshine and warm weather. On those gloomy days, or on days we simply need a pick-me-up, we turn to baking.

Here’s our go-to oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe – but be warned, the cookies won’t last long.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Beat together the butter and sugars until creamy, and then add in the vanilla and two eggs. Add the oatmeal and combine until incorporated. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and water. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Fold in the chocolate chips and chocolate chunks.

Prepare your baking sheet by greasing it. Then, using a tablespoon, place the cookie dough on the greased sheet, leaving approximately 2 ½ inches between each cookie. Gently press down on the top of each mound of dough to flatten it slightly.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 6 minutes, and then rotate the baking sheet 180º and bake for another 4 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 3-5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.



Simple is Best – P.A.S.T.A

CONSUME  •  2020

Violette Jiang

When you have the best quality egg a hen can lay, you simply must make pasta.

Our adventures in photographing and of course eating pasta are plenty thanks to a few of our food-forward clients. Pasta for breakfast is perfectly acceptable, and that doesn’t need to happen only on early morning shoot days. Three simple ingredients: flour, water and eggs come together into what we have discovered offers limitless depth and nuance, both to the eye and to the belly. If you’re experiencing a pasta drought in your life, or a case of the winter blues, we’ve assembled a visual pasta journey that will awake your malaise and keep your fork twirling.


Make this right now

26 Classic Carbonara — Adapted from the heaps of the classic Roman Carbonara recipes out there.


Ingredients

  • 6 nests of Nature’s Farm Garlic Herb Linguine
  • 3 Nature’s Farm eggs – yolks separated
  • 1/4 cup pecorino cheese
  • 1” slab of Pancetta from De Luca’s preferably, cut into generous cubes

Instructions

  1. Put the egg yolks into a bowl, finely grate in the pecorino, season with pepper, then mix well with a fork and put to one side.
  2. Cut any hard skin off the pancetta and set aside, then chop the meat.
  3. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente – about 7 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, rub the pancetta skin, if you have any, all over the base of a medium frying pan (this will add fantastic flavour, then place over a medium-high heat. Stir in the pancetta, then cook for 4 minutes, or until it starts to crisp up. Add the pasta to your pan of pancetta and turn off the heat.
  5. Add a splash of the cooking water and toss well, season with pepper, then pour in the egg mixture – the pan will help to cook the egg gently. Toss well, adding more cooking water until it’s creamy and glossy.
  6. Serve with a grating of Parmesan and an extra twist of pepper.



Playing with Food – A Glimpse into a Food Styling Workshop

MAKE  •  2020

Violette Jiang

This past fall, 2019 the studio was invited to participate in an intimate food styling workshop at the Fort Garry Library. In attendance, a group of passionate amateur food photographers, avid cooks and readers who were seeking guidance on photographing food for social media, namely Instagram – a powerful platform to showcase and curate personal and/or professional photography endeavours.


Exercise: Building a breakfast – a morning scene

It is important to use a visual reference for composition – an inspiration shot drawn from the internet, for example (not as replication, but as guidance). We built the following in situ with the participants, touching on still life scenarios, the addition of the human element, and general tips on composition:

  • Coffee, toast with cheese, and jam scene – still life – front angle
  • Granola and yogurt – with human element –front angle
  • Granola and yogurt with egg in cup scene – top down

Outlined here, is a simple guide for you to begin the process of food styling and photography for Social Media


Things to consider / ask yourself as you begin

  • What are you curious about?
  • What is your style?
  • How do you like to engage other people with the food you make?
  • How do you present the food to real-life guests?
  • How do you want to be creative and exploratative?
  • What mood would you like to convey?
  • (dark and dramatic or light and airy; naturally lit or controlled lighting).
  • What platform are you documenting for?
  • (e.g., Instagram, blog, cookbook (print) etc.)

Props

  • Surfaces
  • Backdrops – dark, light, textured
  • Linens
  • Utensils
  • Florals
  • Small vessels for condiments, spices, herbs, etc.
  • Plates – small, salad, dinner
  • Bowls – large, shallow, small, very petite

Note: Look through your grandparents’ or parents’ antique collections. Collect, collect, collect. Look to local makers and artisans.


Prop Quality

  • Nuanced, with patina – especially with cutlery
  • Neutral tones – to let the food shine
  • Wooden boards (e.g., cutting, serving, etc) in various sizes, but avoid orange tones. Go for grey or darker brown wood tones
  • Natural materials (e.g., ceramics (real clay), wood)
  • Smaller-sized glassware and stemware
  • Linen – use real linen (real linen photographs better than blends and synthetic materials, and falls or manipulates nicely on flat surfaces).

Sourcing Props

  • Leanne Muir – small bowls, mugs
  • Karen + Jason Hare – The Root Cellar
  • Old House Revival
  • AAA Consignment
  • Value Village and The Salvation Army


Types of Shots

  • Top down – primarily 1 element or repeated elements.
  • Front angle – offering a sense of the human perspective Front angle – framing vertical space (flowers, bottles, etc.), or photographing with a dynamic background (e.g., in front of a window). Or, horizontal space (landscape), straight-on. Or, capturing depth of field.
  • Human element – adding a human action, such as drizzling a sauce or dressing, dishing out the meal, sprinkling a dry ingredient like maldon salt, nuts or seeds, and shaving parmesan, etc.

Principles of Composition

  1. Compose elements in threes or odd numbers.
  2. Integrate raw ingredients that are part of a dish or are used to garnish or flavour a dish (e.g., citrus, herbs, spices, etc.).
  3. Consider the placement and angles of the utensils (either in interaction with the food, or alongside)
  4. Plate individual portions alongside the vessel in which it was made or is served.
  5. Authenticity – ask how you would eat this and at what stage (i.e., just plated or half-eaten).



Good Mornings ft. Natures’ Farm Granola

MAKE  •  2020

Violette Jiang

Please enjoy this brief entry into the world of food styling. The item in focus: sweet bunches of Nature’s Farm granola.
You would be surprised what manifests in our little kitchen and eastern studio nook where most of our styled food photography takes place. With a star ingredient like granola, there’s no need to whip out our tiny portable oven and cookware. Only a little dairy (or dairy alternative), an assortment of berries, some soft morning light, and we have all the elements to make magic.


Setting the Scene

First, we establish the various contexts in which the item could be featured or consumed – in this case, granola – and from there, build scenes that we can ultimately connect with and identify with. Here, we were inspired by the experience of packing lunch in a rush, a mother’s day worthy breakfast, a snack for the road, a morning picnic, a market haul, grandma and grandpa’s kitchen counter, and snacks at work.


Mood + Styling

Each scene may or may not convey the same mood. The mood is informed by the light, the backdrop, the surface and the props selected.

Clear glass vessels were used to feature the textural quality of the granola and showcase the variation of ingredients unique to each flavour.

Brown paper bags add a sense of informality and material movement.
The layering of neutral ceramic plates and bowls add interest to a simple scene with a clear focal element.
Vessels and linens with simple patterns and colour bring lightness and vibrancy.

Utensils used as props are slightly tarnished to avoid any reflected light and to convey a sense of use.

Featured Product From Nature's Farm

Handcrafted, wholegrain granola that combine the wonderful flavours of whole rolled oats, raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Only honey or maple syrup is used, resulting in caramelized crunchy sweetness. A little goes a long way! Hearty enough for trail mix, perfect when combined with yogurt or milk, and delicious as a healthy topping for ice cream. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

• Honey Almond
• Maple Pecan
• Cinnamon Harvest
• Chocolate Chunk
• Help Seed Muesli
• Lemon Lavender


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