When your passion for illustration, photography and family come together beautifully to create a business you love, you know you're doing some thing right in life. That's the case with Fritha Strickland, the wonderfully talented mother of one behind the site Tigerlilly Quinn. Fritha documents her everyday adventures in Bristol England with her partner Tom, young son Wilf and her two cats. The site shares the cute products she finds, wears and makes (and some she sells) and her home is pretty adorable too. Small surprise then that she's attracted a loyal and passionate fan base to her site.
Tigerlilly Quinn is a Say Media UK content partner, and we caught up with Fritha via email to hear more about how she got started, how she runs a successful ecommerce business - and some of her favorite things right now.
Tigerlilly Quinn is a fun name. What's the backstory? Tigerlilly Quinn is actually part of my middle name. My full name is Fritha Moonbeatle Tigerlilly Quinn Strickland. As you can imagine my parents were the straightlaced conservative types. I always preferred the name Tigerlilly to Fritha as a child so it was my immediate choice when it came to naming my blog. Funny enough my partner's surname is Quinn also so often people think we are married (or that I am hinting!).
For those new to your site, what are your all-time most popular posts? And what do you think they say about your readers and what they crave? My most widely read series is my our weekend in pictures posts, these are my favourite to write also. I think it shows that my readers have the same desires and interests: having a nice time with our families! I'm a highly visual person and my blog reflects that, I really have to hold back with the amount of images I choose for each post but when it comes to photos of your loved ones it's hard sometimes. Some of my most read posts are my DIY tutorials. I put this down to just how influential Pinterest is. I am a Pinterest addict and I have a board full of thousands of craft pins just waiting for that 'one day' when I have time!
You've also got a shop - tell us about that… What's your philosophy for picking products? What makes the cut? My background is in design, I studied Graphic Design and Illustration at university and always thought that my career would follow suit. I actually struggled for some time working out what made me happy in terms of career and it happened by chance that a year working as a manager of a small boutique made me realise my love for retail. It wasn't until last year that I set up my online shop and I knew I wanted to include as many UK designers as possible. There are lot's of designers and makers I have been a fan of through working in the illustration world but I'm really thrilled to have such talent as And Smile, Bonbi Forest and I Am Acrylic.
How do you think about the connection between content and commerce? What do readers want? Surprisingly some of my most popular posts have been branded content. I think when done well they can actually be much more interesting than your everyday posts. Often when you are given a budget to work with a company you can afford to take more time, scout for a nice location or maybe invest in a better lens. Some of my popular posts are ones in which I feature the clothes I am wearing in what mama wore. These types of posts are also some of my favourite blog posts to read from other bloggers. I'm more than happy to click and buy from an affiliate link, as I'm thankful to the blogger for introducing me to the item in the first place.
What are some of your favorite things right now? What's catching your eye? I always do this bizarre thing where I wear dresses all winter and then decide it's time for trousers in the spring. I'm really into three quarter length fifties style trousers at the moment, paired with a brightly coloured shirt and cardigan, maybe even a collar clip too for good measure.
Was there one post or a series of posts that put Tigerlilly Quinn on the map? I think Tigerlilly Quinn has steadily grown organically since starting it in 2010. That being said becoming a mum (two years ago) suddenly meant I discovered the world of parent blogging and with it a lot of new readers! That was really the turning point for me in realising what I wanted to do with my blog and I think my experiences and lifestyle is something that a lot of mums can relate to.
How do you like to work with brands/advertisers? I love brands that are creative and respect that bloggers have spent many long hours building up a readership. I also love it when you can build up a relationship with a brand by doing work on an ongoing basis. I think it really helps with understanding what the brand wants and also how to do it with your own style and voice. Having spoken to other bloggers in the community, I think the general consensus is we actually like reading branded content as long as it's written well and is creative, rather than a 'I love this, you should buy it' type ad that isn't really interesting for anyone involved.
When it comes to believing in a product I will always tend to go to sites like lifestyle and parenting blogs to see what they think over an ad in a magazine or on TV. I think this is because I feel like I have a relationship with the blogger and trust what they say, more so if it's written in their genuine tone of voice or worked into a creative project!
What other illustrator moms and design bloggers do you admire? Any soulmates in style? I am a big fan of American blogs such as Love Taza and Hey Natalie Jean but there are so many UK blogs I love too. I love Junkaholique (I want to know how she finds time to make so many pretty items!).
How would you finish this sentence: I'm happiest when… With my family, preferably having spent the day doing lots of fun activities to tire the kiddo out and a bit of shopping, then eating some Italian food with a glass of wine in hand.
Tigerlilly Quinn is a Say Media UK content partner. Follow Fritha on Twitter @Tigerlillyquinn.
[Photos via Tigerlilly Quinn]