- Meet Emma Ross -
At Ethical Collection, we love women who have a passion for living ethically and beautifully. One of those women is creator of Mamalina, Emma Ross. Emma's accessible mixes her enthusiasm for her children and travel with a free spirit vibe and an eco-friendly ethos. Recently, our Director, Giovanna Eastwood sat down for an interview with the creator of Mamalina, Emma Ross.
Can you tell us about your background and why you started Mamalina?
I work for YouTube, so I was spending a lot of time on the platform and working on a lot of brands who work with running video campaigns on it. I learned how to use it and I just thought one day: “I’m pregnant about to go through a big life change. I want to document it. Other people might find it interesting’. I didn’t see lots of mums on YouTube at the time as this was 2 and a half years ago. So I set up Mamalina on YouTube and I just started making videos, during my pregnancy. I started exploring different themes like breast feeding, or travel. That started the vlog. YouTube was my day-job. I found that starting Mamalina was helping me with that, but also my day-job was helping me with my Mamalina YouTube channels. It all started to connect. Colleagues would say “oh would you come and speak at this?” or brands were getting in touch and that’s how it began and grew.
And what brands are you working with at the moment?
I do stuff with Mothercare, Planet Organic, and GNappy. I do bits of work with Bloom and Wild, and Not on the High Street. I’ve also started to work with travel companies now which is a big passion of mine.
What do you do with Planet Organic?
So during my pregnancy, I did a series about being pregnant and eating in a conscious way. So I worked with their nutrionist, who gave me loads of advice in doing lots of videos or blogposts about what supplements to take in pregnancy, how to tackle morning sickness or how to take kind of care of your body.
In the beginning were there some Instamums or mummy bloggers/vloggers who inspired you?
Eco-Mums from America and Australia. The stuff that they're doing is really beautiful and inspired me, and so I drew a lot of the inspiration I wanted from them. There’s also a lot of clothes brands out there that I really love, especially around the west coast [of the US]. One of my favourites is called Fox & the Travelling Gypsy. She’s a mum and she makes really awesome Fisherman Harem pants for kids. They're just so cute. I’m going to do a blog post on this because I do dress my kids in loads of brands that I’ve done bits about and I want to summarise them all.
And then closer to home, there are just so many different mums out there! Mums who just put out the really beautiful stuff, which is really nice to see.
How has your blog/vlog changed since you first started? How has it evolved since you’ve been going?
Well I think I’ve really learnt to just do the stuff I really love and not try to shoe horn anything in because it doesn’t work. A big turning point was when The Flower Appreciation Society invited me to come and do a floral headdress making class. Although it’s not related to motherhood, I thought I would really love to make that. I love that stuff. So I went and had a great time. I drank wine and made a flower headdress. I vlogged it and got a great response. That was the first time, I decided that I didn’t have to just talk about nappies, and so it got broader from there.
I also started vlogging when we went on our travels (backpacking, roadtripping, etc.). People started saying amazing things. I think that’s because not many people necessarily do that with their young kids. That was a big moment where I realised people might be interested in how to travel with a toddler. I just started broadening my content but sticking to stuff that was genuine and that I love.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced as a professional blogger? And what advice would you give to anyone else in this situation?
Time, consistency and structure. I am organised in some senses but I’m not a routine person. I’ve got a million email drafts where I write notes, and I have a rough schedule that I keep, but I’m not one of those people who says “Every Monday from 7-10, I’m going to be editing. On Tuesday…” I need to get better at that and that’s definitely the hardest thing. I’m just not a very routine person. My whole life: with the kids; with anything. I’ll probably think in my head about two weeks ahead for my blog and I do schedule, especially videos. It’s really tricky, and you’ve got to be ridiculous with it. That’s where I really want to improve this year. Finding the time is the hardest thing, then being consistent and structuring.
What do you think your followers like the most? What do you think they embrace the most? What gets the most engagement? The most likes?
Definitely the travel segments. I also really love making my own products, like baby t-shirts, vests, hand wash and dry shampoo, but it doesn't get a good uptake. I think that’s because mum’s think, “I don’t really have the time to make my own hand sanitiser.” I try and stress that it’s so easy. I stress that you make a big batch of it, and it saves money actually. That’s been a bit disappointing, and you make less of that content because it’s not received so well. The pregnancy and mother posts also do really well, because if you find a mum that you connect with, then you get very into them. I do, anyway. When I connect with mums I want to know what’s she done here? What’s she done there? You trust them and you follow their advice.
Which of the social media platforms that you use is your most popular?
It’s difficult to tell. YouTube or Instagram I guess. I don’t use Snapchat or anything. But I’m just exploring different things. Different things work on different platforms as well, so I’m just getting used to that.
How are you handling blogging/vlogging with the newborn plus the toddler? How are you balancing it all?
With the newborn it’s easiest. It’s when they’re older like the toddler, and its just evenings, or Jack is playing and Sonny is asleep, so it’s stolen moments that I blog/vlog. Then on the weekend, I try (I need to get much better at this) to say to my husband, “I need a three hour block this morning. Please look after the kids.”
Why should people read your blog or view your vlog or Instagram? What makes you different from everyone else out there at the moment?
First of all, I really love being a mum. I feel like its something that I am quite good at. I feel like I’m much better at being a mum than working at Google, for example. I was always okay at Google, but it wasn't a passion of mine. That’s not necessarily my calling. But being a mum, I’m actually alright at this and I love it. So I try and give a positive overall view of motherhood. I just think it’s a wonderful thing. I just want to put out something positive about it, and make others see the positives.
I also have a hands on approach. That’s part of the travelling part; that you can you can be you, be a mum, and still do things, such as travel into town. Life doesn’t stop. There’s a lot of anxiety and neurosis as a consequence from negativity about motherhood sometimes. If you don’t change your kid’s nappy every hour, they’re going to survive. It’s much more important that you get out, have a nice cup of coffee, and get some fresh air. That’s whats going to make you happy.
A third reason is that I like making things, doing things, being active, and being a bit creative around motherhood. I don’t like to throw money at motherhood. I prefer to make activities or go for walks.
What would be your advice for mothers that are interested in starting a blog/vlog etc?
Probably everyone would say it, but be yourself, and talk about things you love. It’s really difficult when you see something that’s received well, but you know its not what you would want to put out there. I like every post on Instagram to be informative, but then I see posts without any comment and they're really popular. But my gut tells me to to do what you want to do. So be yourself. Find a little bit of a niche, and be prepared to feel a bit drowned by the time constraint. Just be realistic that its an investment. You will reap the benefits, but it will be stressful. If you like it and care about it enough, it will happen.
Has your personal style changed since becoming a mother?
I really love showing my bump. Some people find it too much, but I never saw that. But then similarly, some people will show their whole boob while breastfeeding, and I’d never do that. I breastfeed anyway in public, but I just wouldn’t feel comfortable putting a picture up. So it does make you question your style. I definitely wear a lot more clothing saying mother, mum, mama. I’ve gotten really into that.
What products do you rely on, such as beauty products or products you put on your kids, that are your saviours?
I like trying lots of different products. I’m not necessarily loyal to one brand, but maybe thats part of the job as well, you get sent stuff, you try stuff, and you may you love it. That said, everything in Planet Organic I do trust and love. I have a couple of smaller, independent brands. One brand I use called Earth Mama Angel Baby, and I love their packaging and their amazing scents
We’ve touched on this, but do you have any ethical brands and children’s brands you rely on?
Kids-wise, I love that brand Fox and the Travelling Gypsy, Sophie Cohen Shop, Om Baby Clothing, and Mini Magpie Fashion. I’m really bad. I didn’t get into Maternity clothes per se. I don’t know why. You have clothes in your wardrobe that you can still wear when you're bigger. I do need to check out Reformation. People keep telling me I’ll love them. I like Anthropologie and Toast. Their stuff is beautiful.