Brooke and Emma, a mother-daughter duo, wanted to start a business together once Emma turned 18. After years of finding recipes online and trying new ones together, they decided to launch a food blog of their own.
Their blog, Savor the Flavour, incorporates two different English spellings to tribute their Canadian roots and current American home. And through their consistency, willingness to learn, and different yet complementary skillsets, Savor the Flavour has grown and reached the eyes of millions of people!
While not everyone wants to start a business with someone else, let alone a family member, Brooke and Emma share how incredibly convenient it has been for them. And how being in business with someone you live with gives you the convenience of working in an office while still working from the comfort of your own home.
They share a unique perspective that if both people have a strong work ethic and similar passion, then launching a creative business with a family member can absolutely be worth the growing pains. Starting a business with anyone can be a big commitment, but as Emma says in the interview:
There’s no one you have more experience communicating with than a family member, so if it makes sense, then go for it!
From picking recipes, grocery shopping, making food together, and doing the dishes afterward, Brooke and Emma have made their blog a family-run business, even eliciting the help of Brooke’s other two daughters as their official taste testers.
Between photography tips, task management, and helpful advice for starting your business on the right foot – Emma and Brooke have tons of useful information to share with this lovely audience.
Brooke: We started over four years ago after thinking of a home-based business the two of us could do together so we could have flexible hours. I always liked having people over and planning a menu. And I’ve gotten my recipes online since Emma was about one or two years old.
I would spend a lot of time reading recipes online, in magazines, and cookbooks. And I just thought it would be fun to do a food blog.
At that time, Emma was 18. And I thought, yeah, let’s do it. She’s old enough now to do it.
Emma: Since August of 2017, so back when we started this blog together.
Lauren: Which recipes do you each prefer to make?
Emma: I like baking, and mom does more of the savory dishes. But we both do drink recipes and a lot of copycat recipes too.
Brooke: I gravitate towards soups and stews and that sort of stuff. We have quite a few on the website, some copycat, some not, and I enjoy doing those the most.
Emma: We have over 450 recipes. So, it is hard to choose just one. But I have a top three I like to eat frequently. The English coffee and walnut cake is a top favorite. Scottish steak pie and, of course, the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte is always a good choice. Those three are popular among our family.
Brooke: As far as recipes from the blog that I’ve done in the past year, I think I’ve been focusing more on copycat. I like the firecracker chicken from Panda Express. It’s a stir fry—lemon kale caesar salad from Chick-fil-A. I love the vinegarette! And sofritas with chipotle. Emma likes to make it way spicier than I have it in the recipe.
Emma: It’s just easier, I think, because we live in the same house. We don’t have to email every little thing. You can just say, okay, I’ll do X, Y, Z right now. It’s easier and faster to get the workflow done. I just came back from a trip, and we were communicating via text, and it was a lot harder because we’re used to communicating in person. It’s definitely slower communicating through technogoly.
Emma: I’d say choose someone who has a strong work ethic to work with you. That’s really important. And someone who has traits that compliment yours. We work so well together because my strengths are not necessarily my mom’s strengths, and her strengths aren’t my strengths. We complement each other well in a lot of ways. And also, choose someone you like spending time with. You’re going to be with this person for a lot of time, over many years, so make sure you get along.
Another crucial thing is to keep each other accountable. It’s so easy to get distracted, especially when you work from home. There’s so much that crowds your attention as a business owner. So just keep each other accountable and always be willing to learn something new. That’s especailly important.
Emma: Mom is more the office manager role for our business. The organizer and planner. She creates our schedules for the day. She does the bookkeeping, she tracks analytics, and she oversees content planning.
She also writes our twice-weekly email newsletters, whereas I do more of the computer work. I’ll do basic WordPress support for our website, social media scheduling, pin creation, newsletter scheduling, video creation. And I do our food photography and styling as well. That includes photo management and photo editing.
Brooke: But we both write blog posts and help with the grocery shopping.
Emma: And dishes.
Emma: I like having a job where I can stay at home a lot because so many kids my age have to work and always be away from home. I love being at home. So I’m happy to be able to be here a lot. I can spend a lot of time with my younger sisters, and it’s nice to see them during the day.
I also have a piano blog, and I’m an online piano teacher. I really like that I still have time to do other endeavors that I enjoy.
Brooke: I like being able to set my hours and have a lot of flexibility. I like to get up early and do stuff before anybody wakes up. And then I also like to have that flexibility and the variety. I get bored fast.
Brooke: With Pinterest not driving as much traffic as it once did, I wish we would have focused more on SEO. Right from the get-go, we focused a lot on making a cool pin to get traffic from Pinterest instead of SEO. We used to think SEO wasn’t that important, but it is.
Emma: Make sure you have a good web host and theme. That’s so important. We lost a lot of traffic during our first year or two because we were with a slow host. Go with an excellent host that’s reliable and fast because you’ll lose people if your site takes too long to load. Choose a theme that is really solid and well recommended by the experts. And that will help you a lot.
Brooke: With food blogging, you’re always fixing things. It’s like owning a house. You’re always cutting the grass, fixing things inside, outside. And as soon as your yard’s perfect, you get a windstorm.
Emma: I’ve done a lot of different art throughout my life. So learning basic photography composition skills wasn’t too hard to catch on. It was just a natural next step.
Emma: Pick props, your background, your basic dishes, and even your basic poses. And you can reuse that stuff over and over again. Not only will that brand your photos, but it also saves you a lot of time. And you don’t have to think of something brand new every single week for your photos.
Don’t worry about an expensive camera. You only need an entry-level DSLR. And I shoot all of my photos with one lens, a 50 millimeter, 1.8 lens. That’s all you need to take good photos.
Make sure you stick with either natural or artificial. Because if you flip-flop your lighting sources, people will notice that.
And then, as far as post-processing, I would say create your lightroom presets. That has saved me a lot of time. So when you import your photos into your lightroom catalog, you can actually apply the preset you’ve custom-created right to those photos as soon as they’re dropped in. You don’t even have to go through and click the preset on each one. And that saves so much time. Then you just have to do a few tweaks for each individual one.
Always back up your photos. Have at least two, if not three, copies of your photos. That’s really important. You’ll be surprised how often a hard drive can fail on you. We’ve had that happen in the past. Fortunately, not since we’ve had our business. Do USB backups, a cloud backup, and a hard drive backup. At least two or three backups.
And also, make sure your photos are well organized on your PC. I like to have yearly folders, then 12-month folders, and then day folders. Then I label my photos and the folders with the recipe name. Because then if you’re trying to find gumbo photos from two years ago, you can search the word gumbo, and all your gumbo shots will pop up. It’s really handy if you’re trying to search for something really fast.
Emma: We first heard about Tailwind through Food Blogger Pro with Bjork Ostrom. I’m sure you’ve heard of him. We also wanted a tool that Pinterest and Instagram approved.
Brooke: But we signed up because we wanted it to do our Pinterest scheduling because we had so many pins that we were doing, and then we also ended up using it for Instagram. But we definitely needed it for Pinterest too.
Emma: I love being able to schedule and forget about things it’s so simple and freeing. You can do it a week, a month in advance and you don’t even have to think about it anymore. I love that.
I also love Tailwind Create because it’s really neat to just drop in some photos and there are already presets there. You can just put your text in there, drop your link, and you’ve got your pins made, and that saves so much time.
Brooke: We’re getting an audit with Casey, he’s pretty big in the food blog industry, and he’s going to tell us everything we need to fix on our website.
Emma: I would recommend that any other food bloggers listen to the SEO for publishers’ webinars that Casey Markee does with TopHatRank and Andrew Wilder. It’s such good information for SEO and just getting your blog really, really in shape.
And don’t forget to check out Emma’s personal business where she teaches virtual piano lessons!
Until next time, friends!
Psst! This Pin was made in seconds with Tailwind Create. Try it for yourself!
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