Sunday, October 25, 2009

like an X Factor Judge (ye, those guys - Simon Cowell, Dannii Mingoue and Louis Walsh)

Is anybody a fan of the X-Factor? familiar with Simon Cowell and co?..well, I had to put on my Simon Cowell hat when trying to determine the top 5 entries for our LadyUmbrella competition...Yes, it is fair to say it was like our own show, "The Umbrella Factor"..

It really was tough. Being honest, I didn't think it would be but it was. The sheer volume of entries (144 I believe) makes it hard to pick a favourite, let alone a top 5 that we could all agree on. So, like Mr. Cowell and co. we had to be a little bit ruthless in whittling down the numbers...Not too dissimilar to the problem they have on the X Factor, only on a much smaller scale as they have thousands of entries...

Of course, Dannii Mingoue (Elena) was arguing the case for this entry or that entry and Louis Walsh (hehehe, Richie [he won't be a fan of that comparison, I know that for a fact]) was also sticking to his guns regarding certain entries. In the end we followed a democratic and what we deem to be a fair process..All of the entries were assigned a number each of us picked our favourite 20 or so and then cross compared...this left us with a smaller number and then we just thrashed out the final five...then we looked up the numbers to find out who they corresponded to..
Thankfully the decision of the three winners doesn't rest in our hands but in the hands of the fans (if you are reading this that means you)..we need you to vote for your favourite one please and you can do it here. Voting ends at midnight Sunday November 1st and we'll announce the winners the following day. When the top 3 are announced we'll also reveal our favourite (yes, an extra prize as suggested by the good people at theLoquax Competitions forums - we listen) and will notify the winners...

And so, now, onto the final five (in no particular order)...
1) Susan Kramer - Warning: LadyUmbrella may not keep you dry but will not melt
2) Catherine Gregory - Warning: LadyUmbrella may not keep you dry but will look the height of fashion when wet
3) Gracie McNab - Warning: LadyUmbrella may not keep you dry but will keep all the drones very close to the hive
4) Dorothy Cotter - Warning: LadyUmbrella may not keep you dry but will brighten your day in the blink of an eye
5) Catherine Miller - Warning: LadyUmbrella may not keep you dry but will mean you become irresistible to all other forces of nature

So, which one is your favourite? Leave a comment and let me know (I crave comments hehe) and please please please go and vote, its really easy to vote and there are no SMS charges hehe, not on "The Umbrella Factor"...

I'll publish the full list of entries soon and genuine thanks to all who took part, I'm delighted the response the competition got and hope you enjoyed taking, for now, I leave with some famous words...


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

When Twitter Fails?

I'll admit I'm new to the twitter world but it has drawn me in, hook, line and sinker...I now admit that I get a sinking feeling whenever I'm greeted with the "Twitter is over capacity" or "too many tweets" screens - however I'm still not too sure why. At worst I might miss a few "secrets to white teeth" tweets, any mentions (@ladyumbrellaltd) will always be there for me...and I like them - say hi..

So, why does Twitter fail? I don't know - probably because there are, like they say, too many tweets going on for their lil ole servers to handle...that or the whale has put on some weight or one of those birds didn't pump enough iron for the task at hand...also their lack of coordination could be a factor...

When twitter fails how do you spend your time? I find the lulls in the tweet-a-sphere allow me a break from the barrage of non stop 160 character (or less) penchants ranging from the nuts to the nude (we all know br.1tneY whatever her name is) to the teeth whitening to t-shirts (I actually get a lot of t-shirt tweets, I like that). During these lulls I like to read about sports (I'm a huge Manchester United fan, anyone else?) and well, get the social "fix" over at facebook and on the LadyUmbrella fanpage - its a busy place and I like to stay on top of it..

My question then readers - how do you spend your time during "twitter over capacity" time? Any TV shows that you watch online to fill the void? some sweet music station that no one has heard of? Perhaps a t-shirt blog that you peruse daily? There is only so much sports news in any given day, please let me know - I need ideas for when twitter fails...

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Kind of Magic...

Sometimes I just can't wait...When I was a kid at Christmas I used to get up at all hours to try see the booty that the main man, S. Claus, had dumped for me from his sack...they were good times..

This inability to wait has continued in my life - I like doing things quickly..once I created the LadyUmbrella t-shirts YouTube page I had to get some sort of video created for it, to fill the void til our other video gets edited..

The thing is though we don't have a camcorder (or whatever they are called these days?) so we had to improvise..Our improvisation resulted in this "lighting rig" being created to get enough light on the, eh, "set" (desk). I'm quite happy with the tower structure - 3 cushions from a couch for base, fold out chair for height and external hard drive combined with an art deco book to give the bedside lamp the perfect angle - yep, twas a professional set up alright...

To actually make the video I moved in super slow-mo as Elena set her camera to rapid-picture-taking-burst mode and captured over 200 stills of the magic unfolding..Then she sewed the pictures together in iMovie, we got some funky old school music, some choice sound effects and added a lot of time to get what we call a kind of magic..we got so lucky with how the timing of the music worked out (or we think so anyway) and are happy with the end result..for your viewing pleasure..

Its fair to say the Steven Spielberg probably ain't quaking in his boots and that Tom Cruise has no job concerns but we are happy with our first foray into the silver screen...if you like the video - please, tell a friend, tweet it, share it, shout about it from a mountain..the choice is yours...

Alright, nice and sweet..I'll let the moving images do the talking...oh but, ye, should also mention that we are taking pre-orders - leave us a comment on the LadyUmbrella Facebook Fanpage telling us the one you want and we'll give you a 10% discount and a guarantee of a tee - nice...peace out...

EDIT: Since posting this blog I'm delighted to say that our video has been mentioned on the awesome Teeoff Blog and the insanely cool t-shirt video page...anyone else like to mention our blog? Let me know and I'll link you...rock on..
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

I received pure gold today from the postman...

Now, I don’t know about all of you guys out there but for some, strange reason, whenever I hear mail coming through the door its delivery also gives me a sense of excitement and anticipation. Now, it is fair to say that often times this excitement proves to be folly as bills, bills and more bills are not what I would deem pure gold from the post man..

There are times though when hastily getting out of bed upon hearing the clank of the letter box and dumpf of the mail landing on the floor are merited. Like today for example..we have received our long awaited LadyUmbrella neck labels.. these babies have taken over a year to get here…no no, it didn’t take a year for them to arrive here, the good people at Franklins run a tight ship and post promptly but we have had so many redesigns throughout the process it has taken a year for the finished article to get here. So, again, big thanks to Franklins and in particular Karen who had a never ending well of patience and understanding throughout the many e-mails we exchanged. So, pure gold for us this morning when we got our neck labels, check out the them? Another example of some pure gold we got are our swanky buttons.

Lots of times we get junk mail. Junk mail, such a condescending term..sometimes it is true but sometimes those deals for pizzas or furniture or gardening tools are golden – it all depends on what you want to come through the letter box… There is a whole variety of things -well, everything more or less, obviously not a car though or giraffe or similar, they’re just too big - that can be sent through the post these days.

And what about the guys who review t-shirts and write t-shirt blogs? Is that not a cool job or what? The likes of Rangga at Cottonable, Brad at T-Shirt Review Blog, Coty at Coty Gonzales Reviews and Kat at T-shirts Around the Internet must receive a whole bunch of cool t-shirts on an almost daily basis, some of which must be pure gold...they're blogs are also pretty damn good and well worth checking out...

So, my question to you, what is the most bizarre thing you have received via the great postal services of your respective nations? Were you expecting it to arrive? And how happy were you when your own form of pure gold arrived? Really would like to know, I’m sure people out there have received the most bizarre things – let us know about it..

And, if you want some more pure gold, we’d be happy to send you some LadyUmbrella t-shirts..our online doors will soon be open…stay happy ya'll...
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lights, Cameras, Action...

It may not be the silver screen but it was my first time in front of a camera, 8 hours of shooting, one room, 3 people, 1 bottle of rum, good times and the first ever LadyUmbrella video..

We (me, Elena and Richie - the LadyUmbrella team) figured we wanted to create a nice little video to help let people find out about us and who we, we came up with "How LadyUmbrella comes to Life" - a short little movie about LadyUmbrella..Unfortunately Richie wasn't there as he is in, eh, Norway - many miles myself and Elena persevered and got in front of the camera..

We shot the movie last night on location (the directors house)and well to say we are excited is an understatement. I'm absolutely bubbling with anticipation and just can't wait to see it..sadly, it will take about 2 weeks of editing, the main man, the Latvian Spielberg, Mr. Ivars Burtnieks, has big plans for how it is going to look and we are confident that he will make it look insanely confident we set up the LadyUmbrella YouTube - I'm still just trying to figure it out though, so subscribe and check will become a stockpile for all things digital, moving and LadyUmbrella..I'd love to divulge a lot more about the movie but I can't..all I can do is hope that you'll watch it when the time comes...

What I can do however is show you some pictures..Whilst "on set" (hehe) we took a few, a behind the scenes expose if you will, of us making the video...hope you like can see more of them at the LadyUmbrella Facebook Fanpage and sure, why not become a fan whilst you're there...

And thats it, lights, camera action baby..Ivars - a big thank you to you man, we know it will look incredible...and readers, LUFANS (LadyUmbrella Fans) and general lost surfers don't forget to check out our Compe-tee-tion for a chance to win some LadyUmbrella t-shirts...Take care all..

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

A big idea and a big beard..

One serious man, with one serious beard who I recently came across is a fascinating character called Aubrey de Grey. It was during one of my many sleepless nights when I happened upon It's Only a Theory, a TV show where scientists or those with theories come before a panel of judges who'll say whether or not their theory is credible.

Mr. de Grey's (although he might prefer Aubrey, or at least he did on the show) theory was that "the first person to live to 1,000 years has already been born"..Wow, I thought...He then gave what I believed to be very convincing arguments as to why this is true...the advances we have made from 60 years ago when life expectancy was about 40 to where we are now with life expectancy at a haughty 70 years + in some places. He believes that the advances we have had in "sickness prevention" (his research is not to keep you alive forever but to try keep you healthy whilst living) will increase exponentially and that we are living a lot longer now due to medical advances and the reduction of child mortality rates. Now, the the medical profession - of which I have absolutely no connection or knowledge of, I just watched this show and was gobsmacked - are turning their attention to medical techniques that will rejuvenate our biological age, roll the clock back as it were...if we have added 30 years in the last 60 years (and my figures may be wrong, I'll happily stand corrected, just lazily going from memory as I'm tired) then any sort of exponential growth will see us adding many more years in a short period of time giving rise to the idea that the first person who will live to 1,000 years is already born...

I believe the title of of Aubreys theory was "The Methuselah Theory" and after a quick google have found a video link to it here. I won't let you know whether or not the 3 judges thought his theory was valid but from where I stand (or sit rather) I really do think its possible and I agree with what Aubrey said. He is clearly a man of immense knowledge and clearly a man who likes his beards...As beards go that is one of the most impressive I have ever seen, so on every level, Mr. de Grey, you impress me very much...I don't know if I would like to live to 1,000 but to have the choice would be nice...what do you think? 1,000 years possible?

So, thats the big beard covered, now the big idea (although the following is a let down compared to living 1,000 years)..this idea is big I think..real big, in fact it could be so big I don't yet know how big it is or how big it may get, I think that the key thing to note though is that it is a big idea..The idea has kept me up for 2 days, full with excitement, anticipation and thoughts of how it might work and if it will work..It'll be an experiment of sorts but unfortunately I can't divulge anything yet - just watch this space..

So, again, will we live to 1,000? Is there already a person on the planet who will live to 1,000? And, would you like to live to 1,000? Or, who is the oldest person you know and how long do they have until they reach 1,000? Love to hear what you all think about this possibly life changing (or extending at least) theory...

EDIT: Since posting I've become even more interested in the whole thing and figured I'd do a google or two, here is a newspaper report about the show in question for more information.
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Monday, October 5, 2009


Hola todos..I'm back after attending my first Spanish class so feeling positively in the mood for a siesta..also ready, willing and able to count up to like 20...alas, I can't count how many buttons we have here...buttons, lovely, finger pricking, buttons...

For me its an exciting thing - you ask, how can buttons (or badges) be an exciting thing? But, they represent the progress at LadyUmbrella ladies t-shirts. We're at the point now where we are just tying up the loose ends as it were in the anticipation of our launch..buttons were something we wanted to get and once we came across Pure Buttons it was a done deal...they have a great friendly service (really, they do, thanks Jeff) and the product they provide is genuinely top have lots of different options and ordering is a pretty straightforward thing - check the site and you'll see...And, to top it all off, they'll even give you some buttons for free if you give them a link to their page (or, they used to anyway) which is ideal if you want to test the water as it were...speaking as someone who has their toes wet I'm about to don my Speedos and do my best Phelps impression...UPS are gonna be hauling a Santas sack worth of buttons my way pretty, look at them, they're swanky in the extreme...

So ye, Spanish...I figured its time to learn...signed up to a beginners course and am rolling r's and coughing up chunks trying to say J - ah, languages...I've been to Spain a few times so for now the Spanish course is handy enough, I do have a feeling though that we are just being eased in only to be engulfed in a bewildering world of wild ñ and other strange looking letters...anyway, I'll keep ya'll posted...

Our great LadyUmbrella T-Shirt Compe-TEE-tion is still running and we have almost received 100 entries which is startling in the extreme but also pretty damn cool...keep them coming...

Alrighty, and that'll do it for now... would love to hear what you think of our buttons? and, if any of the readers out there have any questions about LadyUmbrella, SEO, marketing, t-shirts or Spanish (well, maybe in a few weeks) - feel free to ask...would love to hear from you guys...rock on..
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Friday, October 2, 2009

Blogs, t-shirts and competition tips..

Hello again avid readers - the multitudes of you out that read this, I hope..I'm sure..Well, as always we've been busy here at LadyUmbrella ladies t-shirts, foraging away diligently behind the scenes, running our competition and trying to get the word out..trying to get the word out - the story of my life, I'm a bonafide promo pimp now..

..and, I'm happy to say things are working out nicely so thing I've learned is that you need to, or should really try to, get blogs written about you, your brand and company..Its incredible what happens if you get a few and then as a result you get some nice traffic to your page and can connect with some more people who like what you are doing..We've recently got 3 blogs written about us and I'd just like to list them here for you all and also say thanks to those who wrote them for us...
Mums Day Out - A blog all the way from New Zealand..nice to get a mention from the other side of the world..Shirt Snob - An informative blog that you don't have to read - it will read to you - how nifty is that? And lastly, but by now means least, Rock Steady Vibes - a very well written blog, longest one yet about stuff..These blog posts have help spread the word of LadyUmbrella and we're forever indebted..

And what about the LadyUmbrella t-shirt competition..well, its too early to call it a success but to any t-shirt company out there looking to get more fans or whatever I can't recommend getting a competition going enough..They are incredible..To date we've had over 80 entries from all over the world..We have gained about another 150 LadyUmbrella facebook fans and ultimately a lot more people know about LadyUmbrella t-shirts. So, how do I suggest you do it?

Firstly, I think its important to make sure your competition is easy to enter, not just the actual entering part itself but also the question or want to include as many people as possible and make it simple for them to enter..KISS - keep it short and simple..

Secondly, you should set targets for what you want to achieve out of a competition..Do you want to swell your mailing list numbers, get more facebook/twitter/myspace fans or do you want to try get sales as a direct result of the competition? For us, we want to get more fans and spread the word of LadyUmbrella..this is primarily because we are a new t-shirt brand and company..more bedded in brands may want to get sales directly from the competition..

Once you have decided upon your competition and how it will be entered with some realistic targets set now the games begin..You have to promote the life out of the competition..Get on twitter, facebook, myspace and shout about your competition (obviously don't shout aggressively though, be friendly like)..this will get you some traffic and entries..Get down and dirty with Google and see what it returns for searches like "sweepstakes submit", "online sweepstakes", "sweepstakes forums"...If you get lucky you'll find some incredible forums with thousands of active members who just live to "comp" (as they call it)..there are also lots of directory type sites for competitions that also have huge numbers using them to "comp"..Here are a few that we have used and that have been effective for us:

- - very active forum in NZ, quite a few entries and a nice friendly forum
- - not sure how much entries this one has given me but we do get page views from it
- - has got a lot of traffic for me, not sure about entries/new fans
- - got a few entries from here
- - not that successful but they all help
- - not a lot of traffic from here but again all helps
- - not a whole lot of success here but....

Ok so, the last three listed weren't dynamite fan making entry yielding machines for me this day and age of King Google it is important to get backlinks to your page to appease the SEO(verlord) and the even if sites don't give you a lot of traffic they will give you that all important backlink..hopefully some of you will find some use for the above?

And what about LadyUmbrella t-shirts..when will they be here? The quest in trying to get t-shirts produced to our exact spec is drawing to a close..we hope..its been a long and winding road but the end line is almost in site..Production should commence soon and then it will be party time..(or time to sell t-shirts rather)..Rest assured that once we get them I'll take pictures of them like they are a new born baby and have them up here for you all to see..

Alright, I'm going to call time on this soiree...first blog in October, in the can..rock on all...
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