Hello! I am Jennifer Priest, the creator of Hydrangea Hippo, my creative place online.
In the beginning, there was jewelry, beading, sewing, home decor, painting, basket weaving, pottery, and cross-stitch. Coming from a family of crafters, creators, and artists, there was no escaping creativity in some form. Marry that to an entrepreneurial spirit, and well, at 9 years old a girl might be selling her wares at craft fairs as far as her parents and grandparents would drive her. After a stint in the Army as an Arabic Linguist, this mom-to-be picked up a mail order scrapbooking kit to document my daughter's life. A friend took me to a Scrapbook Expo in 2003 where I was bit by the scrapbooking bug.
After traveling and teaching scrapbooking classes for 4 years, I started an etsy shop in 2007 to sell excess supplies, class kits, and samples. Everyone had advice to share, including starting a blog, joining Facebook, and creating an online brand for “what Jennifer does”. As someone who was slow to embrace email and jump on the “interwebs” phenomenon, it was quite a leap for me to start muddling around online! Now I can't imagine life without the internet. I learned the ropes and developed strategies for building community and ultimately, selling product. I literally light up when I talk about social media marketing and the craft industry.
While attending a scrapbooking event presented by Scrapbook Royalty (now Charity Wings), I carpooled with several other crafters to local hot spot, Pink Pineapple Scrapbooks. On the way to the shop, they joked about the then recent trend in quirky brand names… from Pink Pineapple to Pink Paislee to Label Tulip, it seemed everyone was smashing up random words and calling it a “brand.” As they tossed around silly, potential future business names, I blurted out “Hydrangea Hippo”. The deal was sealed when I moved to Honeysuckle Street in Hesperia, CA.
These days, the Hydrangea Hippo blog has evolved far beyond scrapbooking to include DIY projects, home improvement, sewing, jewelry, Southern California living, family life, and more. As a female entrepreneur and blogger, I am very open about my own challenges and successes in navigating work and life and still being a mom, wife, and good friend. It's hard when you work from home! I think that's one of the things that people like about my blog – I share the good, the bad, and the ugly, but all with a purpose. I want you to know that , “hey, someone else is out there like me!” and also that there are ways to solve the problems facing you. That might be when I share a new product, or when I blog about something that happened in my family, or when I share a craft project and break it down into easy to follow steps. Don't tell anyone, but you can see ALL of my mistakes in my videos too! Also, an occasional cat paw will be in a video…
My interests in paleo eating, craft business, and scrapbooking have blossomed into their own independent blogs. Rainmaker Media Works is the website for my social media consulting business, with a blog that focuses on all aspects of the craft industry from indie artisan to craft product manufacturers. Paleo Priests catalogs the adventures of the Priest family as they try to adapt to a paleo way of eating, as a family with a busy modern life. And Layout-A-Week is a weekly blog with scrapbook page tutorials, start to finish, created by myself and a team of designers.
Please note this logo list is not complete… for more details on past teams and work, please see my craft resume.
After tinkering online with social media marketing, internet marketing, and email marketing to sell my own classes, kits, and supplies, I learned online marketing strategies, techniques, and terminology. I find myself reading more tech and social media marketing blogs than craft blogs; attending “new media” conferences to challenge myself and stay abreast of the latest trends and tools; and reaching out to lend a helping hand to those struggling to make sense of social media marketing in their small businesses. Other designers, companies, and retailers seek my advice and help on all matters from using Facebook to creating a Design Team to help market their products. My background in writing (B.A. in English) coupled with strong analytic skills (B.A. in Mathematics) helps me to decipher the complex web of social media marketing and my crafty expertise helps me to tailor my advice and guidance to the arts & crafts industry. I like to joke and say that I don't use my education, but even my M.P.A. comes into play when managing the members of design teams, analyzing the legalese of social networks' terms of service agreements, and preparing monthly reports for my clients.
Today, I enjoy coaching craft-prenuers, licensed artists & designers, indie business owners, and craft product manufacturers, guiding them through the world of internet marketing to build their influence and brands online. I also enjoy working on my blog, pushing my own limits and looking for improvement every day. That feeling, when you look back on all the little steps you took to get somewhere incredible…it's pretty amazing. I live for that!
Short Bio – please feel free to use this bio if you are blogging about Jennifer or linking to this website – thank you!
It started with jewelry, beading, sewing, home decor, painting, basket weaving, pottery, and cross-stitch. Marry that to an entrepreneurial spirit & at 9 years old a girl is selling her wares at craft fairs as far as her parents and grandparents would drive her. These days, Jennifer shares conscientious creativity through tips, tutorials, and articles on her blog, HydrangeaHippo.com. Jennifer's advice on social media marketing, design teams, and working with bloggers is regularly sought by companies in the craft industry. Through her company Rainmaker Media Works, Jennifer has developed an influencer network and program which helps connect manufacturers with experienced bloggers.