Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Making Community Work

Dear Savvy Aunties,

I love the Savvy Auntie Community. I read the members' profiles and see the passion they have for their nephews and nieces and it feels great to be able to provide a platform for Aunts around the country - and the world. There are many active members on the site, but many are inactive. And while Aunties need to gauge their own Community participation, if we're all going to become Savvy Aunties, we need to connect, inspire and teach each other through making Friends, creating Groups and participating in Forums. This is not happening at the pace I was hoping for. So we're in the process of creating new tools to inspire more Community participation.

On the SavvyAuntie.com Homepage, members who are logged in, will see a number of Savvy Things They Can Do Right Now. They'll also find those same tools in the Community section. And in other places on the site. But I encourage all members to begin new Forum discussions, or reply to those already posted.

Right now there are a couple of Forum posts that should really get a response from the Community. I really hope the Community responds. Once we show how warm the Savvy Auntie community is, we can really start to benefit from the support, advice and information we get from each other.

I am always looking for new ways to make Community more effective. Savvy Aunties have so much to share and we finally have a voice! If you have ideas on how to Make Community Work, please leave a comment here. I would love to see them.

I am so excited about the new opportunities for Community on SavvyAuntie.com!

Auntie Melanie

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Toy Wishes

Dear Readers,

About a year ago, I went to my first event as "press." I was very secretive about Savvy Auntie at that point, but I was somehow able to convince the good people at Toy Wishes to invite me to their toy event at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

The Toy Wishes event was great for me. I got to learn about new brands and toys, as well as hear what the classics were up to. I was amazed at the innovation in toys. When I was growing up, it was all My Simon and Light Bright. And my favorite toy was the Easy Bake Oven. And I had a doll named Pebbles. She wasn't from the Flintstones - I guess I just liked the name. She blinked.

I also met a lot of cool people from the toy brands who were nice enough to help me learn about their latest and greatest toy trends. And I met some of the toy inventors, like Jacobe Chrisman from I Can Do That Toys. He's so creative!

So you can imagine my incredible surprise and honor when Toy Wishes' publisher, Gareb Shamus, asked me (ME!) to be their consumer spokesperson this year. And I was right there last Tuesday, October 7th, when Gareb announced the Hot Dozen toys for this Holiday Season. And while I was at the event, I got to to interview some of the brands about their new innovations, and even got to ask a few questions to tween stars Aly and AJ.

If all goes well, I'll be doing a lot of press over the next couple of months, helping Toy Wishes get the word out about their Hot Dozen. In the meantime, you can see them here on SavvyAuntie.com/ToyWishes. They are among the dozens of Savvy Holiday Gift Ideas I have handpicked for Savvy Aunties, uncles, grandparents and even parents!

In just a year, I immersed myself in the toy and gift industry so that I could help Aunties be more Savvy about gift giving. It's no small task. There are so many amazing toys out there. In fact, if you're on Twitter, I am Tweeting a Savvy Holiday Gift Idea of the Day everyday from now until Christmas. I hope that's useful and helpful.

Thomas Jefferson once said: "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."

I am very lucky. But make no mistake - I am working very hard at it - for all the Aunties out there so that they can feel more Savvy about giving the best and most wanted toys to their nieces and nephews this holiday season - and rankly any time she feels like it.

At least, that is my wish.

Auntie Melanie

Friday, October 10, 2008

Three Months and Big News

Dear Readers,

Yesterday was the three month anniversary of SavvyAuntie.com! I can't thank you enough for the support! Traffic is unbelievable. We had 58,000 Unique Visitors last month (September). Wow. Considering we have not spent a dollar on advertising the site, those numbers are fantastic! Truth is - even if we did spend money on advertising, those numbers would be outstanding.

Speaking of advertisers, please help me welcome our first major advertiser: Warner Bros. Warner Brothers is promoting the Sex and the City The Movie Download on SavvyAuntie.com. I think it's a great fit for the SavvyAuntie audience. In fact, we have two great articles that relate to Sex and the City on the site: Sex and the Air Water Earth and Fire by our Auntie-Scopes Expert, Jeannine Mercurio, and What Kind of Name is Uncle Katie Anyhow? by Notes from an Uncle, Jeff Cutler.

To have an advertiser as wonderful as WB on SavvyAuntie.com is truly appreciated. They believe in SavvyAuntie.com and I hope we prove them right!

My next big advertiser is launching on October 21st. It's a bigger campaign that fits in well with our Savvy Holiday Gift Ideas holiday gift guide. It's Playskool! Yes - Playskool is going to be advertising on the site in just a few days! They have some real winners for the younger set of nieces and nephews so I am very happy to have them help make Aunties more Savvy about what the toddler and pre-school will really love this holiday season.

There is so much to be thankful for. We have great advertisers. Great traffic. And an even better future ahead... Yay!!

Auntie Melanie

(by the way - I am tweeting a Savvy Holiday Gift Idea every day, so follow me on Twitter.com/savvyauntie if you're not already. Thanks!)