Image for Simply You Magazine by Helen Bankers

Meet Aimee Stewart


Leaving a corporate career and a regular income was a leap of faith almost seven years ago for Connec+ owner Aimee Stewart.

But a passion to help small-medium business owners meant she also got to live her dream of running her own digital marketing company. Getting to know what drives her, helps to understand the passion she brings to both Connec+ and the businesses they partner with.

Settle in and get to know Aimee from Connec+

Role: The Boss 😊
Sounds good on paper, but in reality while it means you get to make the final call, it also means you need to make a good cuppa, file, reconcile bank accounts, generate leads, put training programmes in place, write strategies etc etc, pretty much do all of the things – it’s not as glamorous as it sounds (anyone wanting to own a business because you'll work less hours, you're dreaming!)

Me and my role:
With both digital marketing and retail consultancy I see ideas everywhere and never stop thinking about how they could be work for the Connec+ client family. When travelling I’m always looking at retail ideas, the phone is always taking shots, much to the embarrassment of the family. Working in digital marketing scrolling through social takes on a whole new aspect. You’re not scrolling, you’re answering queries, responding to comments, reviewing stats, looking at your clients' competitors. Social Media never sleeps and neither do social media marketers!

What’s your typical day?

I'm a morning person, I get up early to have a cup of tea and read the news and scroll through what's new on all the social platforms. I do my personal training and upskilling in the morning so that I do them and I try most days to get some exercise. I'm then at the desk by 7.30am to start the day with no distractions hanging over me. I've started time blocking so I'm keeping quite the schedule these days which includes a mix of writing strategy, lead generation, reviewing data and auditing platforms, posting and community management, writing resources for Connec+, generating email campaigns, deciding on look and feel of campaign's, content calendars, Xero and financials and all the other fun things you do as a small business owner. And as much as I am trying to get out of the habit, I tend to sit with my laptop on my knee watching TV and do work at night, I try to cram in as much as I can into my day!

What’s your career highlight?
Oh that's a hard one, I really get a buzz at seeing both team members and clients achieve their goals. If I can't have that, then I would have to say being in business after 7 years is pretty good!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
5 years is a long time away! I think I should say that I would like to not be watching TV with my laptop on my knee, but I really don't think that's going to happen! Probably exactly where I am, I love what I do (otherwise I wouldn't spend every waking moment doing it!) and so I think if we sat down in 5 years, it won't be so dissimilar to what I am currently doing.

What advice would you give someone starting in the industry?
It’s going to take twice as long and twice as much to get going but you will get there if you put in the hard yards, believe in yourself and just do it! Also that the only thing constant in retail and digital marketing is change, make sure you stay ahead of the game and make sure to look after yourself, these are industries prone to burnout. 

Favourite Social Media Platform?

This is tricky, each has it’s own unique character so depends on what mood I'm in. I actually probably use Snapchat the most as I have a family group (which if someone outside the family saw, they would think we are insane. But with 5 sisters what do you expect!) So public platforms, hmmm LinkedIn or Instagram.

What does your star sign tell us about you?

I’m a Gemini, you could get anything ha ha, but perhaps that my mind is always going at a hundred miles an hour on a hundred different topics. But I am fun at a party!

What does your Chinese Zodiac Sign tell us about you?
I’m an Ox, dependable. I’m your woman if you need something done and I'll always have your back.

What you love most about Spring?
The promise that it brings, you know that Summer is around the corner

What you love most about Summer?
The warm nights to unwind and relax. Every day feels like a holiday (with some work inbetween!)

What you love most about Christmas?
The relaxed vibe of the period. Everyone making time for each other and just being with people we love  

What are you hoping will be under the tree this Christmas?
I actually don’t know. After this year I’m just looking forward to relaxing and enjoying time with my family

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions
I set goals but I don’t make resolutions, is that something different or the same thing? 

What's your go to hashtag?

Social Media means to you?
To be social! It's in the name. It's the ability to connect with people in real time in an authentic way. Social Media has changed how businesses do business (or at least it should have).

Sustainability to you means?

Reducing the impact of our lives on the environmental around us. I'm by no means perfect, but I really try to ensure I'm not adding to the problem.

Creativity means to you?
Creative people inspire me, I constantly wish I could have thought of that! It's be about taking an idea and portraying it in a similar yet strong way.

Three words that describe you?
I once said quiet and my friends fell about laughing, so ... passionate, customer-centric, ideas person (sometimes even I want to shut my brain off!)   

Cats or Dogs?
Cats, do you even need to ask?

Can’t live without?
My cat, my phone, my hair straighteners (oh and my husband!)

Minimalist or Maximalist?
Ha ha, definitely Maximalist!

Most Treasured item?
My Cat? I guess she’s not a possession though is she so ruby snake ring my husband gave me (also art collection!) 

Favourite Holiday Destination
Overseas? So hard, Noosa, we got married there so it has special memories. Hawaii, because well, Hawaii! A couple of years we went to Europe and I fell in love with a new destination everyday. Shall I just say everywhere? How could you go to any amazing destination and not love it? 
Favourite Holiday Destination - NZ?
Where are you traveling to next?
Was hoping Europe but with Coronavirus may be a Staycation this year.

Your Travel Essentials?

Phone, Allbirds, Hat

3 words that describe your holiday style?
Relaxed, excited, ready to soak everything up (can't think of one word for that!)

Best Travel Hack?
Pack everything you need to survive 5 days in your carry on so if your suitcase goes missing! On that, a great travel hack I was given is that if you are travelling with someone else to split your things between the 2 bags so if one goes missing, you still each having things to wear. (you can tell I've lost luggage can't you!) Oh and packing cells, gods gift to travellers!

Bucket list holiday destination?
Ronjiv ... St Petersberg ... Can I have 2? Actually I still have many places to tick off! 

Last book you read?
Bone Tree Series by Greg Iles. A-MAZ-ING!

Next book you have to read?
The Violin Maker's Daughter

Favourite film?
It’s a tie between High Fidelity and Gloomy Sunday, could I get two more different films? Oh and the French version of The Intouchables ... 

Favourite TV/Netflix show?

Game of Thrones 

You never leave home without?
My phone (and kissing the cat goodbye)

Artist that sparks your imagination?
Too hard! McCahon because of use of Caselberg poetry throughout his works, Frans Marc for his use of colour and animals to express emotions
What you’ll be wearing this season?
Colour … but in baby steps

Your biggest inspiration?
Is around you every day, you just need to open your eyes and see!

Song you have on repeat?
Anything by Damien Rice

Wish you could do?

What are your top three tips for small business owners?
Believe in yourself.  It’s going to take twice as long and cost twice as much as that business plan you drew up, but don’t give up. Self-belief is really hard for small business owners. You work so hard in your business and often by yourself. It can feel very isolating at times but dig and you will get there.
It’s hard to sell a secret. Everyone has great ideas or products, you’re not alone there. You need a marketing and sales plan to take your service or product to your target market. If you don’t have the skills, team up with people who do. Without a sales and marketing plan, you actually don't have anything.
Goals without a plan are just dreams. Don’t write a 30-page business plan, it will go in the bottom draw never to be seen again. Once you have a plan, put action points against it, work towards those action points every day and don’t get distracted by things that won’t deliver your goals.

Who’s your icon or inspiration?
Hmmm I have many! Mine tend to be more personal than women in the public arena. Those in the public arena are just the same as you and I, they just have a public platform to showcase their passion and beliefs. So here goes, my Mum who raised seven children, worked and was just all round amazing. She taught me that I can do anything if I believe in myself (as long as I do them with good manners!) My beautiful friend Nadine who runs a fabulous store, is an amazing mum to her two boys and does it all with grace. My six friends who make up the Seven Wonders. We’ve been friends from school, and we are all so different but the love and support from each other is always there. We support each other, we celebrate each other’s success and we love each other completely. But also, any women who takes the plunge and believes in the dream. Being a business owner is not for the faint hearted. It means long hours on top of running a busy home. To all women business owners, I salute you.

You’re passionate about?

Mantra you live by?
Live more magic (it’s my hashtag too!). We all cram so much into our lives that we sometimes forget to be present and live in the magic of the moment. It’s also a reminder to me that I need to slow down and live in the moment!

All About Global HQ - Havelock North

Favourite Place to Eat: There are too many favourites! Namaskar for the best Indian, Alessandro’s for the best pizza and Deliciosa for the best tapas.

Favourite Place to Shop: 
We have a lot of great shops in Havelock North! Lolita for shoes, Compleat and Bazaar for clothing, Gilmours for home and gifts (and skincare, you probably didn’t know that!), MUSE for art (and inspiration).

Favourite Place to Play: Love our new wine bar Smith & Sheth and any event that Advintage host ... oh and F.A.W.C! (Hawke's Bay's Wine and Food celebration)

Best Kept Secret:
Advintage Wines, is it weird that it’s one of the key Hawke's Bay places we take people too is a wine shop? If you know Advintage, you'll understand!