Food Content Creators — you are in for a TREAT! Learn how the six sisters behind Six Sisters Stuff inspire their readers and meet them where they are on their food journey.
When I started Simple Pin Media, I was so clear on who my audience was and what I had to offer them. But I’ve learned over the years that this clarity can only remain if you continually re-examine who you are serving and what they need.
In this episode, we are talking with Lauren of Six Sisters’ Stuff to learn how she and her sisters have inspired pinners in the food niche and have continued to keep their audience connection strong over the past 12 years!
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Six Sisters’ Stuff has been one of my long-time clients here at Simple Pin. The story of how I met one of the sisters, Camille, still amazes me!
Camille was at my very first conference speaking engagement back in 2015. She spoke before me and then I got up and spoke about Pinterest.
As I was walking back into the hotel, I heard these footsteps running after me and my name being called out. It was Camille.
“Kate, Kate! We want to work with you. We are drowning. We’re trying to figure out how to manage Pinterest and it’s just so much. We get so much traffic. We just need somebody to take this off our plates. When you spoke today, your philosophy aligned with ours. We would just love to hire you.”
Let me tell you, my heart was beating so fast. I couldn’t believe it!
Of course, I said yes! So we had a meeting, got everything set up and we began working together.
A few people on my team have taken over managing that account since then, but we have all loved working with them over the years.
Today we have Lauren, one of the sisters, to talk about what it’s been like over the last 12 years and how they have been able to continue creating new content to inspire their audience for so many years. We learn the unique approach they have taken to help strengthen their connection with their audience and how this strategy helped them ask the difficult questions during the pandemic.
The answers caused them to pivot and navigate the business a little differently, allowing them to continue to inspire their audience and see great growth as a result.
I hope as you listen to this story, you are encouraged to think about how you can serve and inspire your audience through changing times.
The Evolution of the Six Sisters’ Stuff Blog
Lauren describes herself as sister number five, the second youngest of the group. She and her husband live in California and they have a crazy, busy household with a two-year-old and a five-month-old running around. Life is equally busy for all the sisters.
Lauren and her five sisters started their company, Six Sisters’ Stuff, in 2011. They are very passionate about making sure everybody feels comfortable in the kitchen and enjoys their food journey. They strive to make sure their recipes are delicious and easy enough that anyone, at any skill level, can make them.
As stay-at-home moms, they run their business completely online. Lauren says it’s a lot of fun to work together and to share what they all love with the whole world.
The sisters started writing and sharing ideas with each other when the older sisters were moving away with their husbands and the younger sisters were in college, with the youngest being only 15.
Because texting and unlimited minutes didn’t really exist back then, writing a blog became their way to share things with each other over the distance. They shared things like their mom’s brownie recipes, easy pasta dishes, or things they discovered that toddlers would eat.
Their blog began to attract an audience of people who were looking for the same things the sisters were sharing. People searching for family-friendly recipes and ideas were finding the sisters’ blog.
They found they had an audience just because they were sharing the things they all loved.
When they began posting on the blog, they had no idea what social media was all about. They did have a plug-in on their website which allowed them to see where their readers were located.
The sisters were from a little town in Utah. They didn’t have friends or family in places like New Jersey, Chicago, and New York so when they saw people coming from those cities they were so confused about how the readers had found them.
Pinterest had just become more popular about that time. They figured a few of their recipes had been pinned onto Pinterest since they had created a Pinterest account and had started using it. So, in the beginning, they believe Pinterest was driving traffic to them. They didn’t even have Facebook or Instagram accounts at the time.
12 Years of Evolving into Food Content Creators
Lauren says the switch from using their blog as a way to share personal family stories and recipes to a website designed to inspire people on their own food journey was a gradual process.
Back in the day when blogs were just starting, people would write a comment on anything they read on a blog post. We would have tons of comments like ‘Oh my gosh, I made this for my family’ or ‘This is the first time my family has eaten dinner together in months. Thank you so much for this recipe.’ It kind of slowly evolved into us realizing that we could help some people.
Lauren believes the fact that none of the sisters has a professional cooking background connected them with an audience of women and moms who were in the same space. She says one of her sisters always jokes that she didn’t learn how to brown ground beef until she was married.
Lauren thinks it sent a message to their audience that if the sisters could do it, so could they.
When they realized that people were relating to the learning experiences they were sharing as sisters, they began to make a switch in their mindset and to have their audience’s needs in mind as they created new content.
The sisters had named their blog Six Sisters’ Stuff because they were sharing everything — crafts, activities for their kids, sappy notes about how much they missed each other, and other life experiences.
Eventually, they realized most of their readers were coming for the recipes and they began to make food content creation the focus of the blog. As they got busier and started having more kids and life just took over, recipes are what they found to be the best thing for them to focus on. Together, have a lot of fun learning how to create them and get better at them over time.
Behind The Business
Creating Fresh Content Year After Year: How Do These Food Bloggers Do It?
In the beginning years, their recipes came from their mom and grandmothers. Their first two cookbooks and a couple of hundred recipes on their website are recipes they and their parents all grew up eating regularly. They also incorporated recipes from friends and their mothers-in-law.
Now, with over 3,000 recipes on the blog, they still have recipes from family and friends but they also gather ideas from Pinterest as inspiration for creating new recipes.
Restaurants are another place they find inspiration. They like to go to restaurants, try new things and then create similar recipes that are easier versions so people can make them at home.
Like any good food blogger, Lauren says the sisters try out all their recipes first with their pickiest taste testers, usually their husbands and children. Those that are successful make it onto the website.
The funniest thing is there are so many recipes on our blog but there are probably 3,000 more that did not make the blog. Ones that were burnt, didn’t taste good or just completely failed.
The Biggest Challenge of Running Their Successful Food Blog
While it might seem that the greatest challenge would be coming up with new recipes, Lauren says that isn’t as complicated as it may seem.
With so many new methods of cooking always being introduced, they have lots of fun experimenting with their favorite recipes using new techniques. For example, Lauren described how fun it is to take their favorite slow cooker and Instant Pot recipes and modify them something for the air fryer.
One of their biggest challenges is achieving work/life balance. They are all mothers, some with teenagers and older kids and some still having babies. Their lives are very busy. Lauren thinks the hardest thing is finding time to meet all the demands of both business and family life.
Related: How to Work at Home with Kids
Creating content and putting it out for everyone has always been a lot of fun for the sisters, but it is also a lot of work.
They have always put together a meal plan on the blog for free. They used to put out this blog post every week — Seven Ideas for Dinner. Eventually, people were started to request additions and modifications to it (e.g., including a shopping list).
Those ideas evolved into a meal plan subscription for them. They have recently moved that over to an app called Prepear. The app is completely integrated with Walmart grocery pickup and their readers can create shopping lists from any meal plan they create using any of their recipes.
Their first cookbook was created in 2012. Lauren thinks there was some pretty intense divine intervention that played into getting set up with a publisher so early in their business. They created their cookbooks so people could find printed versions of their recipes in places other than their blog.
How the Sisters Work as a Businesses Team
Although working with a team will be different in every situation, Lauren offered some advice from their experiences.
In the beginning, they were all trying to do the same thing. They were trying to split work up evenly, making sure everyone was putting in the same amount of work and time. While it worked well for a little while, Lauren said they didn’t see a lot of success or growth with that arrangement.
Then they started focusing on each sister’s strengths.
Once we finally started focusing on each other’s strengths and splitting up the work according to things that we were each personally passionate about, that’s when we saw the growth. That’s when we could see the work we were putting in takeoff and be worth all of the time that we were spending.
Now the work of the company is split up and each sister has a different “lane” of responsibility. Not many people know this, but their mom also works with them doing as much behind the scenes as they do. They each have different lanes.
One of Lauren’s exciting new projects is working on launching their new podcast called Start-Up Spark in a couple of weeks. They are super excited to embark on a whole new branch of their company designed to help other online business owners and start-up companies.
They plan to share everything they’ve done over the last 10-11 years that led them to where they are now. The podcast is designed to help anyone that’s in their position or in the position they were when they got started. It’s for people who might be feeling stuck in their business or who are not sure where to start or where to go.
Reflecting on the challenge of work/family life balance, Lauren also emphasized the importance of keeping business business and family family. They try hard not to turn family get-togethers into a time for talking business, for their husbands’ sake.
She says they also try to remember not to take things personally. They realize they need to treat this as a business so that it continues to grow and flourish as a business.
To help with that, they meet almost every week and they have FaceTime meetings almost every day.
We are pretty much in constant contact with texting and emailing but we do meet every Monday over Google meets to hash things out and talk through things. Everyone kind of takes a few minutes for their specific lane and we go through and make any decisions that need to be made.
Lauren says this works well for them since two of the sisters live in California and the rest live in Utah. Being able to communicate online is very beneficial to them.
Inspiring Pinners On Their Food Journey
The Impact of the Pandemic on Their Food Blog
Although the pandemic hasn’t been fun for anyone, Lauren believes it almost made things a little easier for the sisters because they were all stuck at home. Well, it was easier for at least some of them.
The older sisters, who have older elementary or high school students being educated at home, found it difficult to find the time to continue working and doing everything for their families. But for those with younger kids, it became easier because they no longer had any outside appointments. They had more time to dedicate to working.
This required some adjustments in terms of who was taking care of each lane in the business. They are aware that this is not something a lot of businesses can do.
They also made adjustments to the meals they were creating.
You might remember that at the beginning of the pandemic, people were running out of meat. It was crazy! They adjusted a lot of recipes to account for this. They also decided to put out a lot of freezer meals and tried to focus on what their customer was needing at that moment.
It was cool to hear how the sisters were able to pivot in response to what they saw happening in grocery stores and how that was affecting meal planning and prep at home.
How They Connect to Their Audience Along Their Food Journey
The sisters have found a unique way to remain connected with their audience. They refer to it as focusing on the one.
They know that their analytics can help them see who’s coming to look at their content, but that highlights a broad range of visitors and is non-specific. So they created their “one person” and focus all of their efforts on her.
We have created this woman, I guess an avatar is what you would call it. Her name is Susan. We all personally know Susan. She is a mom. She has five kids. We’ve created this whole background story on this one person who is our customer. She’s obviously not real, but that is who we are aiming all of our content at. We have been able to connect so much more with our audience because we have a clear picture of who they are.
Every time they are creating recipes or social media posts, or they are coming out with new products, they always have this avatar in mind. Lauren says focusing on their avatar has made creating things so much easier.
Lauren shared one additional piece of advice based on their experience.
Typically, for the last nine or ten years, Six Sisters’ Stuff has posted healthy recipes in January because everyone is dieting and trying to make healthier food choices after the holidays. This year was different for them. This year they focused on “Susan.”
This year we thought, “what is Susan doing right now?” Susan has been in a pandemic for 10 months. She is trying to balance home school and maybe she’s working out of the house. So right now, Susan is not thinking about eating healthy.
They adjusted their focus and put out different content this January. Rather than jumping on the usual healthy eating bandwagon, they decided to put out really easy meals and content they knew Susan would find useful.
They saw a huge spike in traffic relative to their typical January numbers. Lauren attributes this to their adjustment in what they were creating for that “one person.”
Lauren’s advice is to find your “one person” and build your content based on what you think that person wants. Find things you know will meet the needs of your avatar and she believes you will find success.
I love this part of their story because it rings so true. The last thing most of us needed in January was this “pull up your bootstraps and start working out now or start eating better” message. We were all fatigued and just so tired of being stuck at home.
I love that she shared the idea of connecting with your avatar and serving them where they’re at, instead of where you’re at. I think that’s such a key idea for marketing strategy. Oftentimes we have this idea of what our audience is struggling with but we’re really connecting with ourselves rather than our audience.
I also love that their story includes a new business venture.
I was reading a study the other day that said the applications for new LLC’s tripled in 2020 as people found themselves laid off. Maybe people were going for the thing that was on their minds all these years and decided to start something new.
For Six Sisters’ Stuff that something new is their podcast Start-Up Spark. It’s a great place to hear more about their story.
The sisters can also be found at sixsisterstuff.com or on any social media platform by searching for “Six Sisters’ Stuff”.
For Further Reading/Listening: