Sally does Sassy – My Instagram Journey
Has anyone else got that New Year feeling even though it’s only September? I always feel it a little bit when the kids go back to school but it seems more heightened this year for obvious reasons.
I had a good lockdown (I’m lucky I know), I thoroughly enjoyed having my family here all day every day (true story) and, for the most part, I didn’t resent cooking what felt like a gazillion meals each day and being a full-time housekeeper. Now they are back to school and about to head off to Uni I feel as though I can hang up my cooking and cleaning equipment and start making plans for myself again.
I’m full of ideas and energy and even though I have been VERY productive since March (I decorated the Utility Room, wallpapered the Hall, did a complete Bedroom makeover, painted the Kitchen units and wallpapered the Kitchen) it’s now time to concentrate on my Sally does Sassy Instagram and Website.
So, I thought I’d start by introducing myself properly and tell you a bit about me and my Instagram journey –it’s quite a long story so it may have to be in a few parts.
I’m Sally (you’ve probably worked that out) and unwittingly my love of interiors and social media has turned our home into a business. So, let me give you a bit of background. I’m Mum to four boys, which has kept me happily occupied over the last 24 years. Throw into the mix a husband with a demanding job; a big house move only a few months after a serious operation and then, just when we thought things were settling down, the rug was pulled from under our feet again when I underwent breast cancer treatment – twice!
So, you will possibly understand why my home is so very important to me and the need I have to make it as cosy as possible and ALSO why I really don’t give two hoots as to what people think of my bold style.
People say I’m brave and fearless (I wasn’t but possibly am now). Some people feel the need to jump off mountains and out of aeroplanes after cancer – I just decorated my home in what has become my signature style.
So, imagine my surprise that 30k plus people chose to follow me on Instagram and that I’ve built the foundations of a business from using a free app on my phone. The day I registered as a self-employed sole trader was quite surreal.
When I first created an Instagram account in 2017 I had literally no idea what I was doing. My then 12 year old son did it all for me. I called myself @paddybaba (my son’s idea - it was the nickname of a previous family pet). Proof that I really had no intention of taking this seriously! I didn’t put a profile picture on, and I didn’t post ANYTHING - I just really enjoyed looking at people’s interior feeds and commenting on their posts. Luckily people didn’t assume I was some sort of stalker and they kindly engaged with me.
So, one day in April 2017 I plucked up courage to post a photo of the playroom/man cave and looking back it wasn’t too shabby. Rhys & I had a lot of fun styling it and he showed me how to upload the post to insta (I really had no idea) and it got 67 likes and 23 comments!
My first post in April 2017
After that I sporadically posted random house stuff and really just enjoyed chatting and getting a little buzz when I got a few likes – Instagram was kinder in those days and likes were more forthcoming (if you know you know).
Instagram has been a huge part of my life over the past 3 ½ years. It was my absolute crutch when I was going through cancer treatment. I became a bit* of a recluse (*read total – still am a bit), I didn’t have the energy or the inclination to talk to anyone other than my family and my dogs but I did have the energy to chat at length to people on my phone about a vase or a rug. That bit of meaningless chat with people who had absolutely no idea what was going on “behind the squares” got me through long, lonely days whilst my family were out at work and school. And I realised that to be able to keep that dialogue going I would have to start posting decent(ish), styled images regularly. So that is what I did.
The girl squad who kept me company
Thinking about what to post, making myself physically style it (and believe me I did NOT feel like it) and then actually posting it and engaging with the post literally got me through the days, weeks and months and for everyone who liked or took time out of their day to leave a comment I thank you.
Also it was a great thing for my competitive boys and husband to get involved in – when they came home from their days they would ask how many likes I’d got rather than how my treatment had gone (they did still ask obviously but a post getting 600 likes or a few new followers was far more exciting & quite frankly mind blowing and it took the intensity away from real life shit).
I now spend my time working with brands to style and photograph products using my home as a backdrop (a lot of it makes onto Instagram but a lot of my work is also purely for the clients advertising/social media). We’ve hired the house out for brands to come in and use it for campaigns with their own photographers (damn you COVID for temporarily putting a stop to that), I do a couple of client room or garden makeovers a month, I write blog posts for brands and do ad-hoc work advising brands how to make the most of their social media and I am loving it.
If you’ve got this far, thank you so much reading. This is in no way a ‘woe is me’ post it’s just a bit of my back story. I have been through a few Instagram names changes before I got to SallydoesSassy and I’ll tell you a bit about my decision to make my feed into essentially a brand in a later blog post.