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Ask Me Anything

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

This is a pivotal week for Rock My Ltd in that our book “Your Day Your Way” is officially launched on Thursday.

As the author and founder of the company (which turned 7 years old last September!) I thought it was about time I answered some more business related questions about growing the brand and anything else our community felt they wanted to know.

I invited questions via my personal instagram last week and I have endeavoured to answer them all to the best of my ability below. There are quite a few cross overs so I have numbered each one and referred to the number instead of repeating the text where relevant.

Sincerest apologies in advance to all of those that asked questions directly relating to motherhood or Rock My Family you will have to wait until tomorrow – it made sense to share them on the actual RMF platform, especially as other readers of that blog may want to join in the discussion.

Your Day Your Way is already at number 2 in “Fashion” on Amazon from pre-order sales alone and we’ve received confirmation that three of our favourite stores, Oliver Bonas, Anthropologie and ASOS will be stocking our book from publication date.

So please do grab a cup of tea (or wine, is it too early for Sauvignon?) and I’ll raise my glass (I might even go for full-on celebration champagne) to you, our amazing community. Thanks a million for joining us on this blogging journey.

1. mrsamyloumorris Hi @charlotte.oshea, I’d love to know how long you’d been up and running with the various RM entities (respectively) until you approached major brands for affiliate deals? I’m guessing you had lots of contacts anyway before RMW but I’m keen to understand whether certain brands look for a particular threshold relating to web and social traffic and engagements. Sorry for the boring business stuff. Any recommendations on indelible liquid liner that won’t smudge on oily lids (fit I know!) ideally in pen format for kitten flicks would be amazing too x

Hi Amy. We were actually approached by advertisers far earlier than we expected on Rock My Wedding, we filled such a gap in the UK market and print sales had just started to fall, those forward-thinking suppliers wanted to try something new – blogging at that time was very new. I didn’t have any contacts prior to RMW (unless you count my own wedding suppliers) but I did have over a decade of experience in Account Management which was paramount (and still is) in working with clients/brands.

Certain brands will definitely seek a particular threshold relating to web traffic and social media following before they even contemplate approaching a media partner however, engagement is also key. There’s no benefit in quoting huge unique user figures if your readers are essentially not going to trust your views or recommendations and are just there to pin your lovely pictures.

We only ever choose to work with brands that we feel compliment our aesthetic/ethos and the outcome is the client gains the results they expect (and more) as we make sure they are exactly the right fit for our community. We actually turn away more than 50% of advertisers that approach us (it used to be even higher but as we become more established the more appropriate brands contact us in the first instance).

For oily lids I would recommend Urban Decay’s Primer Potion and Kat Von D Tatoo liquid eyeliner pen. With that combination your peepers should remain smudge proof all day!

2. loganberry How did / do you find your team? They all have fab Instagram accounts and I wonder if that’s where you found each other.

I found Laura and our most recent team member, Amy, essentially via instagram – or at least that’s how I was made aware of them. They had to then have the appropriate experience, personality and drive to be offered the positions they now hold. I think in goes hand in hand that creatives who love our brand would have a similar aesthetic and an eye for styling and design.

The rest of the team have mostly found us – they have somehow made themselves indispensable via assisting on various projects/shoots to the point where we simply have no choice but to hire them. I half joke but it’s essentially true.

Fern actually sent in her CV and I didn’t get back to her, she turned up at the National Wedding Show where we were hosting seminars, came right over to me and said something to the effect of “Hi I’m Fern and I sent you my CV and I haven’t heard back from you, why is that? I really want to work for Rock My Wedding and I think I should join the team” I actually wanted to hide under the table. Fern is now unsurprisingly the Editor of Rock My Wedding.

I always look to hire people who are not only invested in the brand, but that are confident, creative, forward-thinking and have a desire to progress and evolve their role.

3. sarahross83 I’d love to hear advice on how you juggle it all. Im launching an online boutique this year, I’m mama to two littles and my hubby also owns his own business so we are busy. Obviously nobody nails it all the time but when you’re winning what are you doing to feel like that? Is it down to outsourcing stuff? (Cleaners, online shopping) taking regular time out with your beau/alone? I’d love to hear what works when is life is good?! Thanks so much x

Hi Sarah, my husband also has shares in a business that is a start up so we will be in a similar boat! Spending quality time together is really important, when I first launched Rock My Wedding that was undeniably difficult, I was working two jobs so I was at my laptop most evenings and weekends. I think when you start your own company you have to accept this will be the case however, there are also ways you can be more efficient and therefore make time for the people/things you love outside of work.

A cleaner is a must, it would take us hours to clean our house every week and we would rather spend that time together – time is precious and the associated cleaning “costs” are negligible in comparison. I also put down my laptop/phone when my husband/daughter return from nursery so anytime between 5.30pm and 6pm. Nothing is ever that urgent it can’t wait until the next morning – I might check my emails at some point during the evening but rarely respond to anything until the following day.

I tend to allocate “days” to certain things so I can be more organised/keep to some sort of schedule. I will endeavour to do most of the washing on a Sunday evening and also do the online supermarket shop so it arrives on Monday. This doesn’t always happen admittedly but at least I have a goal!

Good luck with your new venture x

4. sophieclamont Brilliant and brave idea! I’ve followed the Rock My brand since 2011, when planning my own wedding and I guess just as it was emerging as a brand in its own right. As a reader I’ve really seen how it’s changed and evolved over the years and the obvious hard work that’s gone into it. You must be so proud of what you’ve created. So my question is what has been the biggest challenge to move from “just” a blog to a brand in its own right and how did you overcome it?. Looking forward to reading the answers on 6th!

Hi Sophie! Great question, and thanks so much for following along for such a long time. The aim of “Rock My” was always to build a brand, even though our first blog was Rock My Wedding I had already bought umpteen URLS before we launched, with the forsight that if we were successful enough to build a community, they would ultimately be transitional. And that essentially they could potentially be interested in staying with us for their next journey, be it decorating their home or starting a family.

I was never interested in having “Charlotte’s” blog or focussing purely on weddings forever, I always wanted to start a company that could constantly grow and evolve.

Rock My Style was challenging in that we deliberately started as a kind of “Jack Of All Trades” with the mindset we would naturally discover what topics folks were most interested in and focus on those. We’ve found our mojo now but it took longer than expected to get here.

The biggest challenge is always keeping up with the constant changes to social media whilst retaining our unique voice/aesthetic and continuing to grow the business. It’s a constant learning curve, but no two days are ever the same which ultimately keeps it interesting.

5. cottonandcreamstudio Hi Charlotte. I would really love to know if you always felt that you would be successful? If not, how did you motivate yourself to keep going when you were still working for someone else and trying to build your brand? Thank you in advance. Huge respect and admiration for everything you’ve achieved! X

Hi there and thanks so much for your kind words. I always knew a UK focussed wedding blog with the right aesthetic/design/voice would be successful. I wasn’t presumptuous in that I was absolutely sure I personally would necessarily be the right person to make a success of the concept. My moto has always been “she believed she could so she did” and I try and stick to it as best I can, if you don’t believe in yourself the likelihood is no-one else will either.

I put a fair amount of ground work into starting my own business, as I mentioned in my answer to question 4, right from the off I wasn’t interested in a one man band blog where I was always at the helm, so learning about running a business in general was really important. I actually negotiated myself a role within the company Adam and I used to work for in order to learn the skills I felt would be beneficial, a kind of PA to the MD/HR assistant hybrid that I persuaded the Managing Director was missing as a role within the business. This enabled me to sit in on board meetings, work closely with the Finance Director and the Managing Director, organise events and be first hand to witness how they began and managed new projects and grew the business as a whole. The company was in the automotive sector and centered around e-commerce – much of their structure is not dissimilar to Rock My Ltd.

I had to take a pay cut (but managed to persuade them I should keep my company car and private healthcare ha!) but it did mean my hours were more 9 to 5 so not only was I essentially using my position as a learning experience to start my own company, I was also able to manage my time more effectively to do both.

It wasn’t easy, I dropped a few balls where I was supposed to be taking minutes during meetings but was blatantly listening intently to negotiations that were none of my ruddy business/concern (I also once addressed a letter that was meant for a client “Dear Meatloaf” – it’s a long story) but on a whole it was an unquestionably beneficial move.

I was doing both jobs for 2 years before I took the leap to concentrate solely on building Rock My Ltd.

6. jo_goodsell I second @sophieclamont’s question but I’d also like to know how & when you realised it was the right moment to make the move from blog to brand? Was it based on analytics or just a gut feeling? Or was it a combination of both? Followed the RM brand since I got engaged back in 2010 – RMW was so refreshing to someone completely overwhelmed by the entire engagement/wedding process. I even made my wedding invites based off a tutorial you guys posted! Looking forward to the article on the 6th

Hi Jo! So glad RMW helped you enjoy the wedding planning process! I still love those invites and it’s lovely to see them on pinterest, even now almost seven years later!

I answered Sophie’s question (4) above which I think will answer yours. We actually launched Rock My Style later than was in my original business plan, there was so much we had to build and perfect on RMW we didn’t want to run before we could walk – that’s a sure fire way to end up on your arse.

7. kate_louise_howard I am a big fan of the RM blogs. It would be great to know how you plan post ideas and how you delegate to team members. It would also be great to know how you balance the brand and yourself? Reason I ask is because I started following because I really enjoy all of your posts. I also enjoy all other posts as the blogs have evolved but I guess where the brand has grown your time is now split differently so I appreciate you may not be able to write as many posts so it would be great to know how you approach that. X

Hi Kate! Each blog has an Editor who is essentially responsible for the scheduling of each and every post. Although the team make constant suggestions and we are flexible to a point – we have to be in order to incorporate new collaborative projects or anything we feel is particularly ‘current” and therefore can’t wait until we have a space in the calendar.

We host an Editors meeting at the beginning of each month to discuss and plan the content for the following month. This month for example we have a meeting on the 8th February to confirm content for March. RMW is slightly different in that we often have content already in the diary six months in advance, it’s a well established and hugely popular blog so we have to ensure we are as organised as possible.

My time allocation has evolved as the company has, Rock My Ltd now consists of three blogs and two supplier directories which means multiple social media platforms and a team of 11 to manage. We run a tight ship with a team of dedicated folk who I rely on hugely to continue to grow the business.

I took some time out of writing frequently last year in order to make time to write “Your Day Your Way” but I’m “back” now and writing for Rock My Style and Rock My Family every week. I’ve missed being at the forefront of the action (!) so to speak and I truly believe you have to be immersed in a project fully in order to figure out exactly how to evolve it. I’ve already got some big plans for Rock My Family this year.

8. pripripria11 A more nosy question…What happened with Rebecca on the RMW blog one day it was the both of you and the next it was she is no longer around. I follow all 3 blogs and have enjoyed all of the posts!

pipsomalley What @pripripria11 said (but I was too much of a coward to ask first)

Hi Pria and Pips, Surprised by this one – as to why anyone would be interested in an event that occurred so many years ago. Pips – don’t feel a coward, it’s really not an event that is relevant in the grand scheme of our business.

For those of you that will have no idea what this about, not long after launching the Rock My Wedding blog someone joined the team. It didn’t work out. They left.

I deduce the interest in this particular team change stems from the fact there were several gossip mongers/purveyors of controversy and attempts to make a fairly straight forward business decision seem far more fascinating than it actually was on social media/their blog. We didn’t engage in the circus then and we won’t now, or ever – airing your dirty laundry in the public domain is the epitome of unprofessionalism.

All decisions we make, whether seemingly small or large are always made for the future prosperity and positive growth of the business.

9. sarahvine85 How do you become a contributor to the #rock my team?

Hi Sarah, We invite submissions from anyone that feels they have something to share that our community would enjoy, be it a tour of their home, their wedding day or some advice on parenting. Each blog has it’s own submission platform accessible from the home page for this purpose.

10. beaker2602 I love the RM brand and have been silently following (stalking) from the beginning. I’d love to know how you, personally, keep it real in a social media world full of filters, photo shop and outright fakery. I’m an intelligent, balanced and happy wife, mum (to two little ones) and career woman and even I find myself easily drawn into comparing myself to the abundance of lifestyle and wellness images on Instagram. They definitely give me lots of inspiration and motivation but if I’m not careful I can end up feeling inadequate at times (sorry darling we’ve run out of freekeh so it’s potato waffles and turkey twizzlers for dinner tonight ?) and I’d be interested to know how you manage the balance between your “social media life” and your “real life!” X

Hello! The social media landscape is very different now to when we first started out. There was no pinterest and no instagram for a start (can you imagine?!) so I guess the abundance of potentially comparative “lifestyle” imagery (filtered, photoshopped or otherwise) has evolved as the Rock My brand has. I personally take it all with a generous pinch of salt and realism, I know exactly what goes on behind the scenes of a photoshoot (because I am there doing a lot of unglamorous stuff to make that final image “happen”) I also know that when I (or most of the other people I choose to follow) publish a pretty picture of a corner of their kitchen the rest of it is probably a tip. With dirty plates and cake crumbs across every other worktop (I’m essentially looking at mine which is an absolute bomb site as I type).

If I see something I really admire or would like to have/do for myself I either move on because it’s impossible/unachievable for a multitude of reasons (I’m never going to be any good at crafting or style the perfect acacia bowl for example) or I have a bash at doing it myself. I’m only just starting to learn the basics of floristry and photography, I’ve got a long way to go but I’m enjoying the learning process.

I think it’s important to take a deep breath and have a word with yourself sometimes – no-one knows what really goes on behind closed doors except the folks that live behind them. Everyone has their own misfortune or negativity to deal with, no matter how filtered or #blessed their life appears in pretty little squares.

Also fish fingers. In the freezer. ALWAYS.

11. millertracey Would love to know when/how RMLtd became your full time work and what made you take that jump. Also would appreciate any advice/top tips on starting up your own business. Annnnnnd some basic make up tips. I am rubbish at make up! X

Hi Tracey! I left full time employment once we had investors on board and the business could afford to pay us a salary. I took a significant pay cut but that’s inevitable, you have to focus on the long term goal and we couldn’t have achieved what we have by approaching it on a part-time basis.

That’s not to say this is the case for others – but it definitely was for our business model. Rock My Wedding was growing exponentially and we wanted to make sure we were supplying the resource to support the growth.

My top tips for starting your own business would be to firstly believe in yourself. If you don’t believe you have the ability what’s the point?

Secondly make sure you are genuinely interested in the business idea you are considering, and that you can foresee your interest remaining throughout the inevitable bumps in the road.

Thirdly don’t be a doormat. Professionalism and good manners are paramount in building a successful business but so is standing up for what you believe in and not being taken advantage of. That doesn’t mean you can’t remain humble and extend gratitude and thanks where it’s due.

Basic make-up tips… Ok here goes: Good skin always means the rest of your make-up will look it’s best. I firmly believe simplicity is key – I avoid fragranced products and anything with a zillion ingredients that will potentially cause irritation. I also always double cleanse (before it was a “thing”) and use a warm flannel at night to gently exfoliate.

A highlighting concealer to cover redness/under eye circles (Estee Lauder BB Glow is the bomb), a no smudge mascara that makes your lashes more defined and fluttery (I’m currently enjoying Bobbi Brown “Everything” mascara) and a complimentary blush (Chanel is spendy but the longevity is excellent) and you’re good to go.

12. sparklyweirdo My question is whether you would look at doing posts across all the 3 blogs about disability? As this is something that does happen in life and it would be interesting to see how a parent overcome finding out about disability or a disabled person trying to break barriers in the workplace or life! They do get married too so that be nice to see. I am fully deaf myself and i read all your 3 blogs!

Yes Yes and Yes! We actually have/do cover and feature posts from people with all sorts of different experiences, stories to tell and abilities but we don’t necessarily highlight them in the way that we have seen other blogs do.

We’ve featured many weddings with brides/and or grooms who have faced adversity or physical disabilities but again we don’t label them – a beautiful love filled wedding is a beautiful love filled wedding.

We actively promote submissions from anyone who would like to share their experience with our community, I think the ideas you mention such as a piece on overcoming disabilities in the workplace would be a very welcome and interesting feature.

Thanks so much for following our blogs and contributing to our growth x

13. robertsonandrose Where did it all start and how did it all start……did you always know that you wanted it to grow to the level it has now? The team you have is amazing and I love all the posts….especially interiors! Very inspirational!

Hello! I came up with the concept of a UK wedding blog when I was planning my own wedding in 2009 – there were a few American wedding blogs that were great for inspiration but a lot of the decor ideas and supplier recommendations were not that relevant to what was available to me here in Britain. After my own wedding day I shared my wedding planning story on a popular wedding forum to see if my writing style would appeal, I gained a considerable following and my wedding was picked up by Cosmopolitan Bride (now sadly no longer in print) so I decided to take the plunge.

I hoped the brand would grow to the level it is at now (please see my answer to questions 4 and 6) but I also knew it would be a lot of hard-work and learning from our mistakes.

My team are indeed ace, I am very lucky to have them.

14. smashingtheglass Hello lovely Charlotte. I want to know what your best tips are for effectively expanding your team – and how do you manage them so efficiently that you were able to free up enough time to WRITE A BOOK! You’re amazing – such an inspiration – and I certainly can’t wait for the Feb 6th post. All these questions are fascinating. Thank you for inspiring me Mrs RM-Fabulous

Hi Karen! Re-investing in expanding our team has been key in order to grow the business. There is no black and white explanation as to how we all work so well together but we do, my Editors took on the extra workload in their stride when I had to take time out from writing blog posts to concentrate on the book. As a company we are very flexible and we endeavour to encompass everyones ideas and contributions so the everyone feels included in the evolution of the brand. Our team are very invested in Rock My Ltd and we in turn are very invested in them.

Fern started out as essentially doing part-time admin and is now The Editor of Rock My Wedding, I firmly believe you reward those that go above and beyond and that mutual respect is the foundation of any successful working relationship.

You are doing a stellar job and have carved yourself such a niche yet enviable brand, I’m very humbled that my journey may have even in some small way, inspired yours.

15. karalong91 Hi Charlotte, I’d love to know more about turning a blog into a business? I’m currently on maternity leave and have started writing again, but I want to know how to take the leap from writing for fun to writing for a living. I’ve got editorial and marketing experience but not quite sure how to make that next step? Would love to hear your thoughts

Hi Kara! Please see the answers to questions 4, 6, 7 and 13. The key is to write about/and or start a business in an industry you are genuinely interested in, be true to yourself and ultimately carve your niche.

The leap comes from your individual situation – when you feel confident enough to leave full time employment that may offer you financial security for example. I took a significant pay cut when I left my former employer – but I was ultimately looking at the longer term goal.

Writing whilst you are on maternity leave is definitely a step towards doing something for yourself so absolutely keep focussed, you will undoubtedly find out what your favourite topics are as you go.

16. louloub78 Hi Charlotte, there’s level of cross over with my question with others already posed…but I’d love to know how you juggled a full time job with your early days of RMW blogging, before you became confident enough to take the leap to it being your main source of income. Did you ever feel that it wouldn’t be the huge success that it is today? To roll the brand across three sites is so inspiring and impressive in what is now such a competitive area. Did it feel competitive when you first started? Thank you. I’m really looking forward to reading your book!

Hi Lou Lou! Please see the answers to questions 4, 6, 7 and 13 for the cross over part of your question.

I didn’t ever feel we wouldn’t be a success no, I knew there was a definitive gap for a UK wedding blog and that if it was done correctly then it could potentially be successful. I promise I’m really not up my own arse (!) but I also want to answer these questions as openly and as honestly as I can.

There wasn’t any competition (in terms of UK focussed wedding blogs) when we launched RMW so it didn’t feel competitive. That didn’t/doesn’t mean we are complacent though, as soon as we’re half way through a project we’re already working on the next one. We are always taking on board feedback from our community/readers and making sure we’re keeping on top of improvements in technology and evolving our platforms accordingly.

Launching RMS and RMF has been a different experience in that the blogging landscape is considerably more extensive to how it was even a few years ago – there are also multiple social media platforms to manage. It just means we have to work even harder and constantly develop our content, design and focus when appropriate.

I really hope you enjoy the book and very much appreciate your kind words x

17. yearoftheyes Love this and can’t wait to hear the answers to all of the questions already (particularly the ones on how you get into the RM ltd team ) – I’d like to know more about how you decide the next steps for RM Ltd. so as you’ve grown and developed new blogs / platforms, what’s driven those moves? And I have followed for so long that I think I remember initially when you made the move to full time you got some business backing, is that still something you have in the background or was that just a boost to get you stated? And finally (greedy) any sneak peeks on what might be next for RM Ltd?! Happy weekend, can’t wait for the feature xx

Hello There! We had a business plan of sorts pretty much from day one, and certainly a more formal plan by the time we were approached by investors. The investors are still on board and still have a share holding in Rock My Ltd.

We actually have a few major developments in the pipeline – one in particular that we are 80% sure will be our next release but it’s under wraps for now πŸ™‚

What I can tell you is that we are having quite the cosmetic overhaul of all three blogs in order to make the user experience the best it’s ever been and to really bring each blog in line with each other from a technology and aesthetic perspective.

18. angiecbaggley I’ve followed from RMW days when you were a breath of fresh air when planning a wedding, I remember going to the Birmingham NEC wedding show circa 2012 and seeing you and Adam give a talk, I was so in awe. I’m now a proud mamma back at work on flex time trying to build her own business and I love all 3 of the blogs. I guess I’d want to know how you build a brand from a blog? What advise would you give to anyone trying to build a business? Did you find financial backing or did it find you? What tips do you have for building a community on the likes of Instagram? Is that the way to go? How do you find contacts to work with to promote yourself, is it as hard as it seems to put yourself out there like that? And how do you do the perfect winged eyeliner? I’m 31 and I still can’t do it. Love to all at RM Ltd xx

Hi there! Bless you, I remember Adam and I’s talks, we actually properly bricked it the first few shows we did, all those lovely brides with such high expectations – I was worried we would come across as really nervous and boring!

A lot of the answers to your questions can be found in 4, 6, 7, 13 and 17 (above). Building your social media following is key to the success of almost all brands these days. It’s crucial that you stay true to your aesthetic/ethos, update on a regular basis and monitor what is popular and essentially, what isn’t. We’ve been doing this for years and we don’t always get in right – our audience and their desires are constantly evolving. But it certainly keeps us on our toes and motivated to try new concepts.

We have always been very lucky in that at least for the most part, all of our major contacts/collaborations have approached us. For us it’s always been about making sure we pick the right brands to work with – those that we truly believe will appeal to our readers and thus will achieve positive results from a partnership/sponsorship.

19. claireyfairystyling Hi Charlotte! Love this!! well thanks to your feature of our wedding day on RMW (Claire & Tom @ Preston court) I decided that I LOVED the styling side of weddings, I opened up an Etsy shop and started to sell a few bespoke decorations which is a fun little side line! However I have a great idea for a wedding styling business, with 3 packages, strictly about inspiration support, decorating on the day and something fun for little ones…..possibly strarting an inventory of items to hire as well as continuing to hand make items specifically…….BUT it’s hard to know where to start so would love some tips and some suggestions on where to look for pricing so that I can benchmark my services appropriately! I have a 7 month old baby and nothing would make me happier than one day being able to work around him xx

Hi Claire! What a beautiful wedding! This sounds like an excellent business concept. My advice would be to really consider your branding and website before you launch and to really hone your packages before perhaps starting the hire inventory, it’s beneficial to concentrate on a few key areas rather than potentially stretch yourself to a point where it becomes stressful and unenjoyable.

Pricing wise research, ask and research some more. From my experience pricing in the wedding industry varies massively and regardless of what someone else is charging – you have to be comfortable that you are charging what you believe you are worth. It needs to be worthwhile financially as well as working around you baby boy.

Huge love and luck for your new adventure x

20. estilostring4 Hi Charlotte! Your blogs and your posts are fabulous and inspirational! Our question is: What music did you walk down the aisle too? And when would you like us to help curate and record a Rock My Wedding album, for couples to hear and choose their ultimate wedding music? Now That’s What I Call RMW?!

Ha ha Hello! I walked down the aisle to Damian Rice “The Blowers Daughter” – music was a key (if not THE key) focus of our wedding and we spent a huge chunk of our budget on a string quartet, a pianist and a live band.

Any time you want to make an album just let me know (although I won’t offer to sing on it, I’m certain that would have a negative effect on sales).

21. oh_hey_kitty This will be such an interesting post to read next week, hope it doesn’t take too long to answer all the questions! I wanted to ask you, when you were writing the book did you keep going back to what you’d already written, re-reading it and finding that you didn’t like it and wanted to re-write? This happens to me a lot with most things I write and it’s a real confidence killer so I wondered if you experience similar and if you do, how do you get over it? Thanks lovely! xxxx

Hi Kitty! The most difficult aspect of writing the book was starting each chapter, it took me quite a while to find my voice sometimes. I found writing bullet points of aspects I definitely wanted to include really helped as did envisaging what the associated imagery would look like – to give me a little extra inspiration.

If you go over and over the same text it almost becomes unreadable (well it does for me) so having a fresh pair of eyes is really beneficial. I was lucky enough to have a really excellent editor, we didn’t always agree necessarily but we discussed certain areas and always came to a compromise.

Try not to let it effect your confidence though, sometimes it’s good just to take a break and read something else (a magazine, a book, a blog!) and go back to it when you feel less square eyed as it were.

22. ammstagram.cg Similar theme to @pripripria11…what happened with Miranda on RMS? I loved her posts on travel, healthy eating/exercise and skin care products. And a follow up question from that (which others have asked more or less) – how do you choose your team members? Lastly, who is the intended audience base for each of your blogs?

Hi Amma, I loved Miranda’s posts too. We never said an official “goodbye forever” to Miranda as such, we hope in the future she might write for us again. At the time RMS was having a bit of an identity crisis in that we couldn’t find our niche, we were spread too thinly in the wide range of subjects we covered and our growth was smaller than anticipated/hoped for. We cut back the team to reflect this and our focus changed to what our readers wanted – which was interiors. And a bit of beauty/fashion. But mainly interiors. This was/is Lauren and Lolly’s forte.

Miranda had freelance opportunities with a huge successful brand which she continued to/worked more for once she had stopped writing for RMS.

Our core demographic is women between the age of 25 and 39 who are interested in style – be that weddings, interiors or general fashion. However we invite anyone and everyone who likes what we do.

The vast majority of our team we have met via working with them on various projects or they have been recommended by current members of the team. The last two recruits Laura and Amy, I initially found via instagram (well actually Laura recommended Amy but I already *knew* her from following her feed for years). We then interviewed them for the intended role.

23. simplythenest I’ve been following since the CAOS days and am a big fan. I’d like to ask what you know now that you wish you’d known when you posted the first ever blog on Rock My Wedding. I’d also be interested to hear your predictions on how we’ll be using and engaging with social media in five years’ time x

Hello! Thanks for following along for such a long time, it’s so lovely to hear that we are still a part of folks lives years after they were first planning their wedding.

What do I wish I’d known – what an interesting question (and one that I’ve been considering since you left it on my instagram last week actually). This is where I could mention a whole host of small things (like for example, when I think about our first stab at branding I want to die of embarrassment!) but actually I don’t have any regrets as such. We learn from our mistakes (also see C*ck ups) and are at a point where we move on quickly from something that doesn’t work to another idea/concept that we hope will.

Goodness five years time, honestly? Who knows. The behaviour/use of social media is so different to how it was even two years ago. Half of me thinks that surely we can’t physically manage to engage with even more social media platforms than we already have now, can we? but I do already see a definitive decline in the use of Facebook.

I do think film/video will continue to increase in terms of popularity, there are certain industries such as beauty for example, where I don’t see anything other than youtube tutorials or mini instagram videos being what makeup-junkies (*waves*) want to see/engage with for the foreseeable future.

I would be so interested to know what our readers think on this question!

24. happytumsuk How do you decide on the subject of future blog posts? How far in advance are they planned? Thank you.

Hi There! I’ve had a similar question that I’ve answered above (Question 7). In terms of subjects on RMS and RMF it’s largely to do with the teams experiences or what we’re currently doing (tiling our kitchen for example!) or it might be a new product we’re really interested in/need/love/want to share. We also receive submissions and ideas often stem from our readers in the comments section.

RMW is more established and we have a schedule that includes real weddings, inspiration and planning posts and collaborative projects with our sponsors and brand partners.

25. designerdiva9 I love your blog…but…do you recommend cruelty free makeup? I’m a recent convert to vegan life and the horrors of animal testing on cosmetics make me genuinely feel quite ill! I know you love make up – are you conscious of cruelty free brands?

Hi There, I am conscious of cruelty free brands yes and do use products that are not tested on animals. However, I would be fibbing if I said we wouldn’t ever recommend a product that wasn’t cruelty free either.

I do know that a lot of major cosmetics brands (such as MAC) are moving towards being completely cruelty free and I genuinely hope all brands will follow suit.

26. happyhippieblonde43 Hello lovely! I love your blogs and fashion/make up advice so much. I think it’s been such an inspiring journey to watch. So thank you!!! Can you possibly answer or give some advice on feeling confident in building your brand/sales via yourself, being the face of it all and being self conscious with all the selfies/self promotion one needs to get the followers and therefore the business. It can feel like sometimes people will be sniggering behind your back about your sheer front at being so open. (Not you personally but people in this social media world) And people not always being so happy for you – although so many are!. Ps, I love Glambition Radio podcasts by Ali Brown. She’s so inspiring for women starting out or making it on their own.

Hello There! I love talking about make-up and clothes so I’m glad to be of assistance πŸ™‚

With regards the selfie/self promotion thing it really depends on what type of business you are trying to build. For my brand it’s not particularly relevant, you won’t see my face on any of the blog social media accounts unless it’s perhaps relating to a particular feature. My personal instagram account is different in that I share anything from my new sofa to what my latest lipstick looks like, if someone doesn’t like it then they can simply stop looking/unfollow.

If you are looking to be the face of your brand then confidence is key, as is ignoring the moronic comments that inevitably stems from jealousy or unhappiness. There are plenty of very successful bloggers/instagrammers out there, particularly in beauty and fashion, who are the face/body of their brand and they obviously make it work for them.

27. mamacan.hypnobirthing As many have already posted I too have followed the brand since my own wedding in 2014, moving house several times and finding out I was pregnant when you launched RMF! I have also just launched my Hypnobirthing business while on maternity leave and would love to know how you manage screen (phone) time when around friends, family and Mabel. There is of course an element of “it’s my work” but it’s also addictive!! and I would love to know if you put in “rules”/ “boundaries” with being on your phone/ present?! Such a balance that I struggle with! Thank you and keep doing what you’re doing!

What a great question. And so relevant to me right now. I actually have a new rule in that I don’t pick up my phone from when Mabel comes home from nursery to when she goes to bed (unless it rings with an emergency obviously). There is no need to, and I want to be as present as possible. She is growing up so fast I already feel I have missed out on so much.

I also endeavour not to look at my phone before I sit down at my desk (any time between 8.15am and 9am) so that mornings are as calm and as organised as possible – emails can be so distracting.

Huge congratulations on the launch of your own business! I wish you lots of love and success for the future.

28. mrsvkp What’s the best dupe for that amazing Chanel eyeliner in white gold… Was limited edition couple of years ago and I’ve nearly finished it

Mrs VKP I am here to make your Monday marvellous – seriously. What you need is the Marc Jacobs Highliner gel crayon in “In The Buff”

You’re Welcome.

29. mrslfunnell Hey Charlotte, love the blogs and following you and the team on IG, you all inspire me to be just that little bit more creative in everything I do. I’d love to know more about how you manage your time/ life!! You seem to have the time for it all…an amazing business you’ve built yourself, a gorgeous new home that you are working on, lovely clothes and make up, holidays, your beautiful daughter and a handsome husband!! How on earth do you balance it all and what has to give? I’m a mum of a nearly 3yr old too, with a home to run and a part time job but just seem to spend so little time on anything but clearing up, cooking and negotiating with said toddler! When I do get 5 mins to maybe check up on IG I always feel so guilty at not spending the time with my son/ husband/family/friends let alone doing anything nice like shopping for myself or researching our next diy plans. How on earth do you fit it all in?!! Thanks x

Mrs Funnell don’t believe all that you perceive from what you see online. I have admittedly become an expert juggler – I’ve had to. But I don’t see my friends anywhere near as much as I’d like to. There are aspects of running a business that are not in the least bit fun or glamorous (VAT returns, chasing debts, returning late from meetings in London so I don’t get to see Mabel at all) but I’m ok with it – I appreciate this is the balance. It’s what needs to happen in order to benefit and enjoy the fun stuff and what inevitably comes with the territory of being your own boss.

My home has quite fairly aesthetically pleasing corners here and there but I also have a leaking pipe in the spare bedroom that is coming through the ceiling in the playroom, threadbare carpets and a toddler that needs more attention that I can perhaps always offer. The latter breaks my heart.

Lottie and I were hosting a shoot in my temporary studio (also read: home office/other spare bedroom) a few weeks ago, we had all the props, a photographer and a florist but I’d done a thoroughly shit job of playing hostess and the cupboards were bare.

My decorator (we are having the entire house painted top to bottom) came upstairs to find me and announced (read in a full-on Birmingham accent for the full effect) “It’s all kippers and curtains in this place! All the pretty pictures and no bloody PG Tips!”

We all pissed ourselves laughing whilst at the same time nodding at each other knowingly….That’s about the truth of it Mrs F.

Thanks so much for your kind words – they really are massively appreciated.

………………………………

Thanks so so much for taking the time to leave your questions, I hope you’ve found my answers useful/insightful.

Please do feel free to ask anything you feel I have missed out/you would like me to expand on in the comments section below.

{Contributors}
Author
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea

63 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything

  1. Loved reading this!

    Time certainly flies, you’ve come such a long way and have a lot to be proud of.

    Looking forward to getting my mitts on the book when it drops xx

  2. Good honest answers Charlotte which is what makes the difference for me.

    I’m a long time follower (less so on RMW these days but I do still occasionally hop over for a nosey) and the reason I’ve hung around for so long / bothered to engage in the discussion is that pretty much everything you guys share is authentic. Sure I might not agree with ALL of it (because let’s face it, there is only 1 best ever mascara – Max Factor False Lash effect ?) but I appreciate that different people have different views. It keeps sh*t real. The RMLtd team keep sh*t real.

    (Side note – AM in automotive? I was a PM in automotive back in the day. Still a PM but more fancy-pants brands than petrol heads these days!)

    1. Hi Lynsey! I’m so glad you think we keep shit real, we absolutely try to share our experiences and genuinely only promote products and services we love.

      Yep automotive, I actually loved the last company I worked for and learnt so much about business in general. I worked for Fiat once – now THAT was a experience. We had 3 MDs in 5 months. x

  3. Dearest Charlotte your honesty, integrity and undeniable talent have brought you this far. I am so happy to have shared in some small way in seeing your amazing journey . Please don’t worry about the pj tips ! Love Karenxx

    1. Bless you Karen, thanks so much for your kind words, I now have 57 different varieties of Tea, just in case! x

  4. Hi Charlotte – I got recommended RMW back when I’d just started my cake business so 2009/10 – one of those many girls in the community who wasn’t even engaged. But it helped us massively create a beautiful wedding when that time did rock round & you guys featured it too which was joyful. I’ve really enjoyed following the Rock My journey it is inspirational. I think the community you have created across the platforms doesn’t really exist anywhere else. Yourself, Adam, lolly, Becky & team are always friendly, approachable & chatty online and face to face. Congrats on what you’ve achieved so far and I’m sure in a few years your publisher will be back for a book on running a business. On a side note for all those in the community starting or running their own business – I’m currently reading business for punks by James watt from brew dog. He has strong chapters and messages on the confidence and beliefs required to get your business going & an excellent chapter on finance and risk. Helping me take some new calculated risks with my current company Pencil Me In.
    For rock my style I would love to see everyone once in a while the power of the community be used to promote and shout out independent business – like with the recent Christmas card post.
    Xxx

    1. Hi Sarah! Thanks for supporting us for so long. And I agree on your comments about the community – it’s one of my proudest achievements.

      Excellent book recommendation – I’ll definitely take a look x

    2. Ooooo thanks for the book tip – ordering this now!
      (just need to make sure the hubby doesn’t steal it off me before I’ve read it – he’s a big Brewdog fan!) xx

  5. Thank you for answering my question Charlotte, and I have loved reading every one of your answers to all of the questions. So honest and incredibly inspiring.

    I fan girl about it all the time, but I really admire what you and the team have done and achieved. I read RMW and RMS every day and think you have built a community that is kind, supportive, fun and inspiring.

    I truly can’t wait to see what is next… there’s many things that I am hoping for but I know whatever it is will be awesome and probably my next blog addiction! xx

    1. Hi Emma! Another amazing long-termer πŸ™‚

      Absolutely on the community, we get so many ideas from you lovely lot and the team discuss responses we receive from readers frequently.

      Watch this space xxx

  6. Hiya, I found your answers really interesting! I didn’t ask a question before as I didn’t realise I had one, but now I do…
    You said that there aren’t any posts by Miranda anymore as the blog went in a slightly different direction with more interiors. I actually really liked the variety from the blog’s earlier days. How did you decide to focus down on interiors? Might you run a survey again to see what people want? I’m a survey statistician, so was intrigued by the last survey. Will the blog continue to be so interiors heavy, or might there be a bit more variety again? X

    1. I used to love the fitness posts from back in the day, I really miss that content. I appreciate I might be in the minority but second that I loved the variety. Though completely understand the need to focus so this isn’t a moan!! πŸ™‚

    2. Hi Mel, the change in focus was due to the survey and the traffic stats, interiors stood out by miles. I honestly couldn’t say whether the content will change focus again or not, but certainly interiors is really working for us at the moment. We have had a 44% growth in readership this January compared to last January. x

      1. Thanks for taking the time to reply (and including statistics to make me super happy – how much of a geek am I?!). I love your interiors stuff, but maybe I just have a short attention span as I’d really just like more variety. Your make up and shopping posts are always wonderful btw!

        1. I am secretly a stats geek too – I’m actually terrible at mathematics (I had an out-of-school tutor all through my GCSEs) but I REALLY wish I was quicker with numbers . Lauren is excellent so I will often ask her to help me understand what it is I’m actually looking at. We are always looking at ways to improve/evolve so your feedback is really useful xx

  7. Thank you Charlotte for answering my questions, it’s so helpful to get such an insight from a successful business woman and I can’t wait to get the book next week.
    I think the most interesting part was how you had such a plan for a brand so early on and you’ve got to be looking one step ahead right from the start, it’s inspiring and has definitely spurred me on to make more of a business plan for my event planning business and there will be no resting on laurels. Thank you x

    1. Hi Claire, so glad you’ve found it useful and good luck with the business plan – it can be an interesting/rewarding process in itself.

  8. “Coward” because I thought it would be considered an inappropriate/cheeky question, but you did say ask anything! Creating the RM community inevitably involves a lot of the team’s personalities (be that personal wedding style, their interiors or how they have addressed various parenting challenges). A part of the appeal is that it’s not just a faceless management team behind the brand, but the flip side to that is that you have to expect readers to notice when team members come and go and be curious, particularly when the team seems from the outside to be working well.

    1. Hi Pips, yep ask anything – that’s why I included every question and answered them to the best of my ability. Absolutely that we are not just a faceless management team, I’m conscious that there are other blogs out there that grow to a point where you have no idea who is actually writing the post, for me it often takes away why I was reading the blog in the first place. Thanks for taking the time to leave a question and a response x

    1. Hi Sophie! Pleasure, thanks for contributing – I’ve found answering the questions a really useful experience x

  9. Thanks Charlotte – really enjoyed this post today. I totes refer to RMS with various interior problems/inspiration. The paint posts saved us endless hours of research and I have upped my make up game too – soap and glory supercat eyeliner pen, who knew???!!!
    xx

    1. Milly that eyeliner pen is amazing! And really quite the bargain – especially when they have 3 for 2 at Boots!

      The interiors posts have really helped me too (although admittedly I’ll text Lauren late at night to seek her approval with a sofa and/or tiles – perk of the job) x

      1. It’s SERIOUSLY good. I have been faffing with a brush and mac pot for years and this has really sped up my mornings!!
        I am jealous of you having Lauren on speed-dial/text – Lauren, feel free to come and work your low-budget-kitchen-overhaul-magic with my peach, yes peach, kitchen. X

  10. Hi Charl – I’ve been following RMS for the last 18months, and it really is such a treat to read. Just love trying your recommendations. I have to say each item I have parted money with, has been a successful purchase!
    Thank you to you and your fab team xx

  11. Thanks for this post today Charlotte, it has been a really interesting and positive read! Good tips on the writing front, I just really need to get out of my own head and pull my finger out I think.

    I’ve said it before, but don’t mind repeating myself – you and all of the team are a real inspiration in so many areas. Thank you keeping RM such a positive welcoming place to engage in a world that is increasingly full of negativity. You all literally ROCK.

    Kx

    1. Hi Kitty! Glad you enjoyed it, and writers block is normal. I suffer from it frequently – usually when I REALLY need to complete a post that’s due to be published ASAP.

      Keeping it a positive and welcoming place is what we strive for, it also makes it a pleasurable environment to work in, thanks so much for being such a super real bride xx

  12. I’ve also been a long term reader and have pre-ordered the book for my sister who is planning her wedding.

    I also enjoyed the health posts, but you are right in that they didn’t quite sit very well within rock my style… maybe there is potential for a 4th platform… Rock My Health… with fitness and food the focus!

    1. Hi Chloe! Now that would be an interesting concept πŸ™‚

      I do agree with you – it’s almost as if health/fitness/food needs to be its own entity and as it stands, none of the team are particularly focussed in those areas. Never say never though – I would be interested to follow a blog like that myself (!)

      I really hope your sister enjoys the book, I wish her the most wonderful day x

  13. Hi Charlotte – thank you for answering my question. Loved reading all the questions and your responses. I really admire what you have achieved over the years and it’s always interesting to hear what happened behind the scenes along the way. I agree with the other comments about how the team’s personalities all shine through the content – it definitely makes a difference and is what keeps me reading!

    I have to say that whilst I’m not really that into the interiors posts in terms of the content (no house to decorate at this stage!) I do love looking at the photos and seeing the before and after shots. Always amazes me what can be done and gives me ideas for the future!

    Love all the make up posts though – I got the Max Factor clump defy mascara on your recommendation and haven’t looked back since! Also currently working my way back all the make up posts for lipstick recommendations – it’s my new obsession although being pale with reddish hair, it’s a bit of trial and error!

    1. Hi Jo! I am back with all sorts of make-up and skincare posts from next week (can’t say testing all of these lovely things has been too much of a hardship). Max Factor Clump Defy is excellent – it really doesn’t clump, I prefer a “feathery” look to lashes and this is the best for that.

      Have you tried Charlotte Tilbury “Liv It UP”? it’s a neutral suits-all pink. The pigment is quite heavy so if you’re looking for something a little more subtle I would recommend Chanel Coco Shine in “Boy”. I once bought it for all of the Editors as a thank you for trecking all the way to Somerset for a meeting and it suited EVERYONE. xx

      1. Amazing – looking forward to next week already!

        And thank you so much for the lipstick recommendations! I love a bright lipstick so will check out the Charlotte Tilbury. I’ve been using high street brands to test out colours etc but ready to make a bit more of an investment now πŸ™‚

  14. I enjoyed reading through all those questions and replies… Mr Meatloaf – I giggled out loud!

    Good luck with the book launch – you’ll smash it πŸ™‚

    Looking forward to seeing how the Rock My empire develops…

  15. Thank you so much for this post and answering my questions! The only other thing I would love to know is when you were holding down the 9-5 job how did you find the energy to give your best to building your brand? I’m still at the research stage but I get so drained sometimes from my uninspiring day job that I get headaches if I work late on my idea. Any tips would be very much appreciated! X

    1. Hi Marcy, I actually quite enjoyed my day job – it was busy though so I didn’t get much time during the 9-5 to work on building the blog. I won’t dress it up for you, those years juggling both were tough, I sacrificed a lot of time with my husband, friends and family to work on my business out of office hours. When I look back there are definitely efficiencies I could have made. I didn’t look after myself health wise at all – I was always skipping meals as I just couldn’t justify the time to make a bowl of soup (!) How ridiculous. This meant I was always tired so it was a vicious circle.

      Look after yourself, eat well, and take time out when you need to – even if it’s a 10 minute walk in the fresh air.

      Also always make a list of priorities, I tried to do everything all of the time, which means you can never excel at anything – those things at the bottom of the pile can stay there if it means you get the opportunity to do something more worthwhile instead. xx

  16. Thanks so much for answering my question Charlotte! I’m going to take your advice and carry on writing while I’m on maternity leave – I need to make sure I start using nap times wisely! I’m loving the writing that I’ve been doing these past couple of months, mostly focusing on being a new mummy, isn’t it funny how inspiring our little bundles can be?

    I’m hoping in time my little blog can turn into something a lot more, much like the Rock My family! Xx

    1. Pleasure Kara! Becoming a Mum for me was very inspiring in terms of all of a sudden having all of these new experiences to write about. Good luck with your writing xx

  17. Ah congrats to you all, I didn’t have any questions but was fun reading all the answers! I really loved being a real bride too and meeting most of you (particularly the shoot at lolly’s parents….orangerie dreams live on). Obviously love the make up posts goes without saying, don’t know what I would slap on my face without them! Good luck for all the new tricks up your sleeve I’m sure they’ll be amazeballs! Xx

    1. Thanks Alex, you are my number one Make-up buyer πŸ™‚

      Your plastic must quake in it’s wallet every time I post a make-up feature! Thanks for being such an ace real bride x

  18. Fab post and thanks for answering my question. I always ask people in interviews what they wish they’d known at the start of their careers ☺ Fascinating insight behind the scenes of Rock My Ltd, especially the degree of business planning right from the start and the canny purchasing of domain names! Am I the only person hoping the new 80% there project is the revival of Rock My Pet ?

  19. I had every intention of an early night last night. The one downside of checking in on the RockMy domains before bedtime!!
    This was a mammoth of a post Charlotte. Good on you for answering all questions so honestly and in depth. The integrity and transparency of what you do is the main reason I’m such a longtime loyal reader πŸ™‚

    1. Glowy it was mammoth, I was writing until 1am. I didn’t mind actually – it brought me back to the early days when blogging until 1am was finishing early πŸ™‚

      It’s so lovely that so many of your real brides are still here x

  20. Ooh I really enjoyed having a quick read of this over breakfast and will go through it again later. I am really enjoy the home style features, plus fashion, make up. I would love to see more on food, particularly healthy eating, and I also loved the travel features from before – I hadn’t noticed you had stopped doing them haha! Love when you get readers’ advice, like the perfect proposal holiday destination for that man!

  21. Finally got round to reading this post!
    Such an interesting read.
    I have been a long time admirer of all you (& the team) have achieved with RMLtd, and have loved reading these open and honest answers.

    As another reader embarking on setting up their own business it is really helpful to hear how RMLtd has evolved and how you have faced the various hurdles in creating the RMLtd brand.

    HUGE congratulations on the launch of the book, what an absolutely incredible achievement. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    Lastly, I just wanted to thank you guys for letting me enter your world of pretty all those years ago (can’t believe it was 5 years ago that class of ’13 started writing for RMW!). Being a real bride gave me a confidence I had lost and helped me to believe that I still have that creativity within me.
    xxx

    1. It’s a pleasure Rebecca, I remember the class of ’13 very well. Amazing that it gave you back your confidence, lots of luck and love for your new venture x

  22. Only just getting a chance to catch up on this now but thank you so much for taking clearly considerable time to answer so fully and honestly. It is very much appreciated and interesting. Have loved the Rock My brand for years (so much so that embarrassingly my friend and I joke that we need bracelets saying “what would Charlotte do”!!) ?

    1. Nicky I actually laughed out loud at the bracelet comment!

      The answer is usually……have a biscuit πŸ™‚ x

  23. Just catching up on my RMS’ing after a mammoth comment-fest on RMF today…!
    I wanted to put my two pennies in about what I love about RMS. As per my comments on RMF today, just because I personally might like some things over other things does NOT mean that those other things have no value (obviously) – just that we are all different human beings with different tastes!

    I really like the recipe posts – so much inspiration to jazz up my (often very boring) dinnertime rota. Fajitas again anyone?!

    I also love the beauty posts. Although they aren’t the most interesting reads, they are so useful and have dirtily enabled me on more than one occasion. I also tend to go back to them in the archives if I’m looking for a new product.

    I would love to see more of the lifestyle stuff – work/life balance, owning your own business, etc. It’s so inspirational what you’ve achieved with this brand, and I remember ages ago you had some guest posts about other bloggers and careers. Q&A with successful women about their careers / style would be really great to read.

    I have to say, fashion posts are bottom of my list – purely because the content is so light. (Also I live in Sydney so while you’re blogging about the best Christmas jumpers, I’m sweating my way through my commute). But if they were combined with something else – careers or lifestyle pieces – I think I would enjoy them a lot more.

    Interiors for me are a mixed bag. I love the pretty and clearly so do a lot of readers. But sometimes these posts can be very content light – it’s much more interesting when it’s coupled with a story of some kind, rather than just a post about nice home accessories.

    Overall, though, I am a daily reader so you guys are doing something right! And I love the brand and your aesthetic overall. I just wanted to chip in to help you to keep delivering the content we love!

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