My guest this week is Ben Harvell, chief wordsmith & founder of a writing service called “Do Us A Ditty”. Covering everything from poems, written wedding favours, invitation poems to custom song lyrics and advertising jingles; Ben’s job sounds fun indeed. I caught up with Ben recently to find out more….welcome Ben 😊
Hi there. I’m Ben, Do Us A Ditty’s founder and chief word wrangler.
What inspired you to set up “Do Us A Ditty”?
My wedding. As a professional writer, I decided it would be fun to write little poems as wedding favours for each of our guests. We hand-wrote the poems and used them as place cards for the big day. People loved them so much that I decided to create a business writing fun little personalised ditties people could buy as gifts.
You seem to have the ability to write poems for all occasions from personalised special occasion ditties to wedding place card poems; poems for readings & speeches to advertising jingles. What poem styles are proving popular amongst your customers so far?
Birthdays and wedding speeches are definitely the most popular, but we do our fair share of anniversary poems too. I’ve also been really surprised at how many people trust us to write really special poems for major events. We’ve written rhyming eulogies for funerals, corporate speeches and even a wedding proposal. The information our customers provide is amazing.
Have you got a favourite “poem” style occasion that you love to write for?
Wedding speeches are always fun. There’s a delicate balance of comedy roasting and sentiment and usually a bunch of hilarious stories to weave in.
What is the ordering process to get one of your personalised poems?
Super easy. You pick the poem you want and fill out a form to provide information about your subject (or we can send you one), make a payment and we get writing. Our personalised poems are delivered digitally via email and our framed customisable poems are shipped directly to you. On average, our personalised poems take around 1-2weeks to complete.
As you are based in the UK, are your poems available to purchase overseas?
They are indeed. We have a lot of American customers in addition to those in the UK.
What inspires your poems? Do you look for something specific on the questionnaire?
It’s a funny thing. When someone is buying a poem like this they tend to really think about what it is they love about their subject. We provide customers with prompts as they fill out their information but, most of the time, what we receive is great and they already have a good idea of what they want to say. It’s then our job to build the poem around the information they provide, taking into consideration their preference in terms of tone and style.
What was the hardest or most unusual piece of poetry you’ve created so far? Most memorable?
There have been a few odd ones. We wrote a memorial poem for a dog once… They’re not normally hard to write, but we spend a lot of time tweaking and perfecting them. People want a special gift and we work hard to make sure each poem is perfect.
Have you always wanted to be a poet or did your career aspirations lay elsewhere?
I’ve always been a writer since my school days. It became a profession via journalism and marketing and somehow morphed into poetry too.
When you are not writing ditties, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Two kids under two keeps us pretty busy but, if I do get a minute free, you’ll find me barbecuing (in all weather) or watching sport.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I fit the writer and work-from-home stereotype – the more comfortable the better. It’s certainly not high fashion but my preferred outfit is shorts, t-shirt and flip flops.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)
Abercrombie & Fitch is my go-to but, having grown up by the sea, I also wear a lot of surf brands, primarily Salt Rock.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
My dream is to find some smart yet comfortable trainers that I could wear to the office or a restaurant without looking like I haven’t made an effort.
Boots or Shoes?
Always shoes. Boots just don’t seem to work for me. I look like a cowboy.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Do Us A Ditty
If anyone is interested in ordering a poem, head over to www.dousaditty.com to check out what’s on offer. We’ve recently launched our framed, customisable poems which are definitely worth a look for a quick gift. You can use the code BSF15 for a 15% discount on any poem or follow this link: https://dousaditty.com/discount/BSF15
Thank you for the chat Ben!
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Ben Harvell