Charlene Maney, is the proud owner of two “tweenagers”, a husband, a dog, chickens and a little business called Fleurieu Gifts. She creates beautiful and sustainable alternatives to cut flowers using living plants – with sustainable succulent gardens. Fleurieu Gifts provide a fully sustainable mini-garden in every gift, and the purpose is to bring gift-giving to life by providing a beautiful, eco-friendly alternative to cut flowers.
Located on South Australia’s stunning Fleurieu Peninsula, the succulent gifts can bring lasting surprise and joy and can be integrated into an indoor or outdoor garden anywhere around Australia. Charlene says where possible, she sources her materials and plants from the Fleurieu Peninsula, supporting other local artisans, businesses and growers.
“All our garden gifts are created by hand and packaged with care at Fleurieu Gifts’ headquarters in Port Noarlunga. We aim to bring style and charm to all our products so that you give a gift that shows thought, creativity and taste.”
Fleurieu Gifts is a family-run, proudly South Australian business and Charlene left behind the corporate world, and swapped her heels for gumboots! Like many career mums, Charlene day-dreamed for years about leaving the 9-5 grind behind before finally taking the plunge in early 2014 and never looking back. Fleurieu Gifts is the realisation of Charlene’s desire to work with beautiful things and beautiful people; a love of plants and the outdoors; and ultimately more time spent closer to home.
As part of the business strategy, Charlene says she has a Facebook page www.facebook.com/fleurieugifts and Instagram page www.instagram.com/fleurieugifts that she updates daily. “I do have Twitter but to be honest I don’t understand it very well and very rarely use it properly. I feel like I still have a lot to learn about social media! I’m thinking about venturing into periscope but haven’t taken the plunge just yet” she told me.
Like many people, Charlene started the Fleurieu Gifts Facebook page at the same time that she launched her business as a way of showing a human side to her online store. “I wanted people to know that I was starting out and that I valued their feedback. I wanted people to feel as though they were on a journey with me and Facebook was perfect for that.”
Instagram was something that her children pushed her towards as they (unlike her) knew that everyone was using it (at the time they were 12 and 10). They helped her set it up and walked her through the first week or two of getting started! “I soon found that I loved Instagram for its visual appeal. Conversely I love Facebook for its storytelling opportunities. I feel I can say more on Facebook but show more on instagram.”
There are so many benefits of social media for a small business, especially an online based business like Charlene’s. People get a feel for who you are and this helps to engender trust. “I know that if I feel drawn toward a person’s story or personality I will be more likely to do business with them over a ‘faceless’ business” Charlene explains. “Social media is also great for showing off products, particularly new ones. I do make sales through social media, though this is not my main focus. I also love social media as a tool for communicating knowledge. It is a great way to use your area of expertise to connect with others.”
Like many of you, her main issue with social media is time. “I wish I had more time to devote to creating a really cohesive, visually appealing Instagram page that would result in more fans and greater awareness of what I do. I feel like I need a lot of assistance in this area!”
And finally, this is something many of you may get…”if I’m really, brutally honest, my other issue is that it sometimes makes me feel like I’m not as fabulous as others in my field. If I’m having a day where things are not going great, it is easy for me to fall into the envy trap – everyone else can seem more successful or more popular or kicking more goals (or younger…oh hang on, they usually are!). I have to remind myself that we all put our best selves forward on social media and that everyone has days like these.”
That is such a common issue – don’t let social media comparison steal the joy from what you do.
You can find Charlene on her website and all social media channels