November: Eyes Wide Open

November out and about

November was a real eye opener for us. Since we launched Life In Orpington it’s very much been a case of ‘see how it goes’ from one month to the next.

Until we’ve completed our first year of publishing magazines in March, it’s hard to know how each month will pan out.

But it turns out that November was a record month – both in terms of attracting new advertisers and increasing our pagination.

After securing 13 new advertisers for November we had no choice but to increase the size of the magazine from 40 pages to 48. This meant more ad design and more copywriting – but we can’t complain as these are the things we love doing!

A big welcome

So it’s a huge welcome – and a thank you to the following companies for joining our November issue – Residential Design Consultancy, Avalon Laser and Beauty Clinic, Belvoir Bromley, Foleys, The Zen Mum Revolution, Foxbridge Care Home, Harriet Buckingham photography, Ebdon Tours, Shore Travel, Spoil My Dog, Reindeer Makes, Southeast Legacies and K2K Stars Performing Arts School.

As we write this, we’ve already sent our December magazine to print, which means we’re now working on our January issue. We anticipate that both the January and February issues might prove a bit challenging being the start of the year (and people trying to save following big spends in December), but we’ll take each day as it comes as we always do.

Distribution

We’ve been lucky enough to secure new distribution venues this month including places like Morrisons and the Royal British Legion in Petts Wood plus the canteen and Costa at Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) to name just a few.

Giving people more opportunity to pick up Life In Orpington at local businesses has worked really well for us – it has allowed new people to discover the magazine (we always seem to get comments from residents writing in), and it also means we keep our finger on the pulse when it comes to liaising with local businesses and local issues.

Out and about

This month we went along to the usual PIB meeting, which is always great as it offers a relaxed atmosphere, a great bunch of friendly local people and is great for bouncing ideas around.

The wonderful Michelle Harvey, who is fantastic at promoting PIB members on social media, runs it. Not only does she organise and promote the monthly meetings, but she also runs a full time business and manages to make time for her friends and family too.

Michelle is very much a modern day Wonder Woman – we’re a bit in awe of how much she gets achieved and feel inspired by her energy.

Another inspirational company we’ve come across this month is Southeast Legacies, a family run business based in Petts Wood. Brothers Anthony and Pete have some great ideas and introduced us to the ‘Miracle Morning’ routine – something that has opened our eyes to the possibilities of what can be achieved before 8am every morning. If you haven’t read the book – it’s right here.

In November we also went along to meet Lord Harris and his team at Tapi Carpets at the Nugent. We were organising a photo shoot for an upcoming magazine and wanted to get some ideas for an alternative picture.

While we were in Tapi Carpets we noticed a wonderful smell that seemed to fill the air – it was fresh and welcoming and we commented to the team and Lord Harris on how nice it was. It turns out that Tapi Carpets has bottled the unique scent and are offering reed diffusers for people to purchase for just £19.99.

November - eyes wide open
‘Breeze’ reed diffusers are available at Tapi Carpets – trust us, they smell amazing!

A huge thanks to Lord Harris who kindly purchased a diffuser for each of us – they have both been opened and we’re delighted by the lovely scent that fills our hallways. If you’re looking for a unique gift for someone who is a fan of fragrances, you can’t go wrong with this – plus it’s great to support a local business too.

Finally this month, we popped along to Dunelm’s Spring/Summer 2020 press preview in London. It’s a little early to be talking about home trends for next spring and summer right now, but suffice to say that Dunelm has got a corker up its sleeve for next year – and one which we wholeheartedly applaud.

Details of the trends for next summer/spring will be revealed in our February 2020 issue, as that’s when we’ll start seeing some of the products creeping into the stores.

Other news

In other news, thank you to all those who have asked after Lauretta and her cancer treatment. Lauretta finished chemotherapy this month – a huge relief as it now means she gains three days back each week. While she was on chemo, one day was taken up having the treatment and two days were taken up recovering.

The next step for Lauretta is daily radiotherapy, which she’ll start in early December and this will run on until the New Year. It will be another big dent in her daily working life (in terms of losing precious work time), but it will be better than losing three days a week!

This month we also made a new video for our YouTube channel! It was based on when we went to a press preview of Aladdin at the Churchill Theatre Bromley. We were lucky enough to secure interviews with some of the big stars and asked them all about the pantomime, plus what they’re up to for Christmas. Just click ‘play’ on the video below – and you can sign up to our YouTube channel here so you never miss an upload!

Finally, we met up with another magazine publisher from London recently to exchange ideas. She encouraged us to learn more about an annual conference that is aimed at local publishers to exchange ideas and get inspired.

Since taking her advice, we’ve now secured a presentation spot at their next conference in March, which we’re thrilled about. We’ll be showcasing how we’ve launched and built a business in the face of adversity. We’ll also be looking at some of the tools and systems that we’ve adopted as a small business that have helped streamline our daily tasks and made planning (from social media and marketing, to interviewing and editorial) that little bit easier.

As any small business knows, we constantly have to juggle multiple job roles, so if we can get extra help with just a few of those to allow us to free up time to work on the bigger picture and grow our business, then we can’t see many people objecting to that.