By Ana Bacic
Patricia Arruda, Canada-based home decorator opened up her beautiful home for the local charity (Hope Springs) Holiday Tour of Homes. The proceeds were directed towards cancer research.
The first generation Croatian-Canadian, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Zagreb in the late 80s, keeps all Croatian Christmas traditions in her home in Kitchener, Ontario.
“Although I was born in Canada, my parents kept the Croatian traditions alive for us as we were growing up especially during the holidays. One of my favourite memories was when we would set out the clean boots at the fireplace for Sveti Nikola. I remember waking up so excited in the morning!”
Patricia established herself a content creator for interior design whose Instagram platform has 33.8 K followers. She has several paid partnerships with leading Canadian home decor brands, from HomeSense, Lowes, Canadian Tire, Wayfair, Overstock, Style in Form, Brian Gluckstein Home, Hello Fresh, Endy.
This creative 30-year-old was one of the pioneers among design influencers in Canada. Her first blog five years ago started to attract many followers. Right after graduation from Business and Marketing college, Patricia had a brief stint in beauty industry until she found her true passion in designing and decorating beautiful interiors.
“I started my Instagram journey to document our home/decorating process as a hobby, after I got married and bought my first home. At the time, “influencers” and brand collaborations weren’t very known, so I had no idea what would come out of this. A few months in, my following began to grow, and within 4 months I had over 10,000 followers. I started receiving emails from companies asking to collaborate with me and send me their products to review.”
Patricia affirms that because she writes and posts about things she loves, the content creation come easily: “As a content creator, I have gained an audience of 33.8K and specialize in sharing my neutral home décor style, projects, seasonal decor, design tips, DIY, and lifestyle content while delivering quality posts and creative shots. I’ve had some amazing brand collaborations and campaigns over the years.”
WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Her job as an influencer Patricia describes as demanding. “It sounds cliche, but to be yourself and to be very consistent in posting and with the content you’re producing. However, with the new Instagram changes as of late, it takes a lot more behind the scenes work, such as tracking analytics if it’s a business/creator account, posting at high engagement times, being very engaged with your audience, plan out content, use high traffic hashtags, and connect with other creators that have similar content and niche as you. There are so many influencers now, that you really need to focus and treat it as a business in order to succeed. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that many don’t see.
Sometimes I find it strange to call myself an “influencer” because I am really just a relatable girl, sharing her home and passion. I receive such sweet messages from my followers, and it truly makes me smile – they are the reason for how far I’ve come!”
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS IN HUIĆ-ARRUDA’S HOUSEHOLD
For this Christmas edition Patricia opened the door of her home, a place where the magic happens! She baked traditional Croatian cookies for her family. “My husband is Portuguese, so we like to bring in both cultures into our holiday traditions. Christmas Eve is spent with his family, where we have Portuguese dishes, and Christmas Day is spent with my family where we have Croatian dishes – my favourite is mlinci!” Patricia’s maiden name was Huić, her mum Miljenka Huić is from Krapina, thus she enjoys traditional meals from Hrvatsko Zagorje region.
CROATIAN BACKGROUND/TIES TO CROATIA
Every year, since I was 6 months old, my family and I would go to visit all of our relatives in Croatia for the entire summer. (All of my relatives still live there). We would visit several parts of Croatia, namly Oroslavje and island of Krk.