An Interview With Anna Whitehouse From Mother Pukka
A journalist, editor and mother in search of pukka things for her kid, Founder Anna Whitehouse previously worked as the Vice Editor at Time Out Amsterdam before writing about shoes and handbags for fashion labels SuperTrash and Tommy Hilfiger.
Looking for a change of pace, she recently returned to London and now works as a writer at Shortlist Media. Anna likes super hero cape-making classes, and dislikes the naming of celebrity couples (TomKat, Bennifer, Brange etc.).
Q1: Hi Anna. Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. So where did the idea of Mother Pukka come from, and when did you launch it?
A1: “I was tired of hanging out in soft play areas that smelled of feet. I felt there was more fun to be had with parenthood. So I started pressing some buttons on 23 February 2015 and went from there. It was simply a platform aimed at making people laugh more than they cry.”
Q2: Obviously, you’re an experienced journalist and editor who has worked for some pretty big media companies and fashion brands. Do you think this has been a big contributor to your success? Do you think that writing style and tone is an important aspect in blogging, or can any one just set up a blog and pull it off?
A2: “I suppose be honest about who you are. It’s no good offering up a blog about Scandinavian minimalist design if you live in a bric-a-brac-filled raggedy shoe box. It’s better to say ‘cool ideas for people in raggedy shoe boxes’ than try and be something you’re not – only because people sniff you out and lose the faith.”
Q3: So what is the best way to grow your readership and fanbase? You have managed to build quite a hefty following. Could you give us an insight?
A3: “Determination. I think you need to be prepared to feel shit and to feel like what you’re doing is rubbish – followed by feeling tired and a bit sorry for yourself. And then you’ve got to dust yourself off and start again. It’s like any relationship, you’ve gotta work at it and accept the good, bad and ugly along the way.
It’s also probably not far off the actual ‘social media’ name. Be social; get stuck in. Don’t see people as competitors but as potential friends. Someone doing something similar to you? See what you can do together. I invest as much time in answering questions for smaller blogs as I do larger publications. Everyone is a potential friend; someone to potentially lift you higher – but not before you’ve helped them out!”
Q4: You have managed to get some very good press coverage, which a lot of bloggers would love to do themselves. How have you achieved that? Did they approach you? Or did you approach them?
A4: “Having worked in the industry, I know what journalists are after, so I made sure there was a strong hook to my story and brilliant images that made their job easy.”
Q5: What are your thoughts on the best way to monetise and make money from blogging?
Q5: “In terms of money, it’s a case of putting A LOT in and having a clear plan. You can’t make money without really investing it, so be prepared for that, I suppose. Most brands partnering with us comment on the quality of the content – that’s a big sell for a blogger.”
Q6: With the exponential rise in blogging, do you think the industry will end up becoming over-saturated, making it harder for bloggers with work with brands and generate an income?
A6: “I think the bubble has to burst at some point. I think the good ones will stick around and hopefully the best editorial titles will still be in print.”
Q7: And how do you market yourself and get eyeballs on your website in those early days?
A7: “By including people in my content. I launched the Flex Appeal (a campaign to push for flexible working to stop the swathes of women being chopped out of the workforce when they procreate) and that got eyes on us because it wasn’t about what I was wearing but about what I was doing.”
Q8: And last, but not least, what advice have you got for bloggers who are starting out?
A8: “Have a point. Invest in your point and don’t let anything stop you making that point.”