Nelson Mandela Bay

ECMeetUp: why blogging is good for the Eastern Cape

If you called me an influencer or a blogger a couple of years ago, I probably would’ve laughed at you hysterically. I mean, “blogging” wasn’t something that I saw myself doing long term – or any term actually. Why would I want to put myself out there for all the world to see? And anyways, only desperate attention seeking people would go the extra mile to document their lives on social media. Right?

**Insert crickets chirping**

Anyways, after giving up my 12 year “single mom” stint, getting married at the fabulous age of 30ish and welcoming my baby girl into the world, I found myself really needing to say #allthestuff about this new life that I had chosen. And I had nowhere to put all the words.

And then my friend Ella re-introduced me to the world of blogging. She showed me that it was more than just about whose abdominal muscles are the tightest and that you don’t need to know how to “beat yo’ face” (apparently that’s what the cool people call putting on make up) if you want to make an impact and say your say. I mean there’s nothing wrong with toned abs and perfect make up, but I just couldn’t relate (and, let’s be honest, I had nothing to offer in terms of abs or make up.)

And then I learnt about the wonderful world of mommy blogging and it was like a light had been switched on. I found solace and familiarity in the stories that other mommy bloggers shared (many “me too” moments was had) and I realized that blogging was more than just a way to become “famous” as someone pointed out (I’ll never get old of throwing this one out there, hello snide comments my old friend).

And friends, once I dipped my toes into the never ending pool of social sharing, I didn’t want to stop. I found freedom in the expressing of words – whether it was well received or not. Blogging was a new sort of “dear diary” moment for me and I loved every second of it.

I also learnt that blogging or influencing can be more than just a hobby. I mean, you can actually turn your website into a business. I found myself partnering with really amazing brands and businesses and my little corner of the internet became a lot more than just a way for me to show my ex how amazing I’m doing right now. (Hahahah imagine that were true)

After hosting our first ECMeetUp (it’s the annual Eastern Cape based blogger event that I co-organise with Ella) we were more aware of the financial and social impact that having a healthy blogger/influencer community would have on the Eastern Cape.

I mean, other parts of the country were doing really well… businesses were investing (think: brand launches where they spend money to throw lavish blogger/media parties) into other parts of South Africa and our part of the country saw zero action.

It made my face pain. (This is the term I use on my kids when they make me frown at them). My face was paining, you guys. Alot. #facepain (We should make this a thing.)

We then decided to take it on ourselves to have more blogger and influencer events in the Eastern Cape, allowing us to invite brands and businesses to partner with us. To date we’ve had about 7 ECMeetUps and a few business specific events and we’re proud to say that ECMeetUp (as a brand) is growing!

Our last ECMeetUp event (which took place on Saturday, 1 June) was a huge success. We had more than 50 influencers attend and had more than 40 brands that partnered with us for the event.

It kinda thrills us when a huge business finds value in working with an online entrepreneur from the Eastern Cape. The creatives, based in the EC, have a lot to offer and we get like, maternal excited (that’s like normal excited with a dash of mama pride) when we see one of ours flourishing. It means we’re growing as a community and we’re growing, digitally, as a city.

A successful social media influencer/blogging/digital marketing scene would be GREAT for our city’s economy. Besides for brand launches and events, there is also opportunity for digital entrepreneurs to finally beable to quit that 9 to 5 and work from home. Being on the forefront of digital trends kinda isn’t the type of dream your grandma had for you, but that’s the direction the world is moving in. Why should we stay behind?

And anyways, if we aren’t punting the Eastern Cape and Nelson Mandela Bay online, who else is going to do it?

Needless to say, both Ella and I are super passionate about our city (#sharethebay) and we know that the people of the Bay have a lot more to offer than some people think. (‘Sup Gareth Cliff)

Anyways, before I break out into Celine Dions “My Heart Will Go On”, allow me to introduce to you some of the very fabulous, very generous 2019 ECMeetUp partners.

Our bloggers found the following products in their goodie bags:
Blistex who gave them each a Blistex lip medex pot
Christian Art Media who so graciously gifted each blogger with a special gift
Faithful to Nature also gifted each delegate with a bamboo straw
It’s Cookie Time created special sugar biscuits for the event
Iwori gifted the bloggers with their amazing face masks and creams
Johnson’s Baby gave all the mommy bloggers something from their new range
KOO really spoilt each blogger with a hamper of the latest KOO products
Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism made special beanies for the event, we love them!
Oh So Heavenly really spoilt the ladies with shampoo and conditioner and creams
Silistraw gave each blogger one of their nifty reusable straws
Swiitch Beauty gifted each blogger with a lip primer kit and an eye liner
Tinkies gave us some of their delish product
Vaseline sent us each a few jars of their wonder working product
Woolworths Beauty came on board and gave each blogger a reusable shopper bag, to hold all of their booty in

Special mentions:
We also really need to send a huge shout out to Mastertons, Soga Organics, Oh Snap Instant Camera Hire and Hello for making our morning so delicious and entertaining. Our venue, The Boma, as always came through with the setting and the most AMAZING food you guys. We were so spoilt!

Check out Eleanors post on some of the fantastic Locally Yours Market PE based brands that really came through with their amazing hand made crafts. And a huge shout out to our very own Milky Tea (Hughan Millborrow) for the gorgeous photos. We have some serious talent in the Bay!

The following brands also gave away really fabulous prizes!
Annique Beauty
Apiarista Farm Shoppe
Bonamia
Daily Dish
Fushin
Gumtree
Hasbro
HeraldLIVE
Kids Emporium
Kuzuko Lodge
Mastertons
Meridean
Netflorist
Pure Beginnings
Serenity Hair
Sunstar Gum
Vision Works

Sjoe that was a mouthful! But I guess what I’ve come here to say is that blogging/ influencing/ whateveryouwannacallit, in the Eastern Cape, will probably morph and grow into something pretty spectacularΒ  (I mean, unless a huge Tsunami tidal wave hits and takes us off the map, but let’s not be morbid, Sheila). And we’re really excited to be involved!

By the way, if you’re keen to see who actually attended the event, check out the ECMeetUp website for more on the guest list.

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