Meet the compers: Jemma Webster
Meet The Compers’ is back! My last interview was with Nikki Hunter-Pike back in 2018, but to kick off 2020 I have four brand new comping Q&As to entertain you!
First I’m chatting to Jemma Webster, who shares her super inspiring prize unboxing on the Mummalogues YouTube channel and also contributed some great comping tips for SuperLucky LIVE! To give you a taste of Jemma’s successes, check out her 2019 highlights video below.
Tell me how and when did you discover the world of comping?
When I was 13 I began to suffer with anorexia and by the age of 17 I was admitted to hospital where I pretty much stayed for over two years. During that period there was a lot of sitting around so it could be incredibly boring. There was a Health Care Assistant named Yvonne who always used to fascinate me – she entered competitions in her spare time and there was rarely a day that went by that she didn’t have an amazing prize to tell me about. Some of the most amazing ones were holidays, washing machines, a computer and even a car! For a long time I was happy just to listen, however when I went home on weekend leave I began to wonder just how difficult it could be . . .
We are going back about 17 years now so the internet was only really becoming ‘a thing’ (and dial up drove me insane) which meant searching for competitions was slightly more tricky. Back then I had a chewing gum obsession and it just so happened Wrigleys Extra had a competition running. Figuring I had to start somewhere, I entered . . . and won! It was a Now That’s What I Call Music CD (yes, CD’s were a thing then too!) And that was it . . . I was hooked! In that same month I won a few BIG ones that kind of sealed the deal and had me hooked for life:
- Nesquik ran a postcard comp with Morrisons where you had to send off your family’s combined height to win the amount in ‘pocket money’. Our family height total was 64 feet so I assumed you would win £64. I was thrilled to receive a letter a week or two later telling me that not only was I the winner but the figure was £640!
- I returned home one day to find a parcel on the doorstep from a Prima magazine comp containing a brand new Smoothie maker and a month’s worth of Yeo Valley yogurt!
- BT ran a prize draw where you had to send off your details and I was the lucky winner of a VIP box for me and 8 friends and £250 worth of food and drink at Wembley arena to see the Destiny’s Child Survivor tour – my favourite band at the time (see photo below!)
I also found comping hugely helped me achieve my recovery. All my life I had a fascination with The Great Wall of China so decided I wanted to get strong enough to do the charity trek. So to keep my mind off overthinking my recovery I set to work on fund raising. I wrote letters to companies for donations and worked hard to win prizes to raffle off at a village hall event I had booked to take part in. In nine months I raised over £2000 for Breast Cancer Care (which my Gt Aunt had recently died from) and went on to reach my target weight before jetting off to Beijing all by myself at grand age of 20! It was amazing!
Which websites, forums or resources do you use for comping?
This has varied wildly over the years but these days I favour the MSE forum and each night I work my way through the ones closing the next day before I do anything else. I also make notes as I go along for any creatives, am part of a few Facebook groups and also the Compers News Forums. I wish I had more time to dedicate to some of the forums but some days I barely get the chance to flick through. Search tools on Google and Twitter are also a great way of looking for comps for specific things and low entry ones.
Your prize unboxing videos are epic! How many prizes do you win on average each month?
Thank you, I have always thought of them as a hot mess of wild child and feral pooch! In terms of prizes, my 2019 round up indicated I won 331 prizes throughout the year . . . making my average around 27 a month. Really pleased with that as I do invest a lot of time into this hobby. My partner works away so I am at home with the boys and spend all of my evenings alone, most of which I spend comping!
One of my favourite things about comping is that it comes with a whole host of new mates! I know you’ve been able to share prizes with some of your comping friends lately – tell me about your adventures in Scotland!
This has been BY FAR my favourite thing about comping!!! There are several compers I would love to meet and was gutted to have to withdraw from Just Plane Lucky due to a family birthday and also was unable to get tickets for SuperLucky Live . . . my two comping regrets from 2019! . . . BUT!!! I also met up with three amazing compers and we have been on several adventures since! I was super fortunate to get to spend time with Nikki (Glam and Geeky Mum), Emma (who also has an unboxing channel) and Hannah!
In the space of a year I have been on the following adventures with at least one of them: A trip to Edinburgh with a Boe gin cocktail glass and stay in a boutique hotel with flights included and lunch at Gousto the next day, a trip to London for us all to see Wicked with a Broadway themed afternoon tea and over night stay, lunch for two at a London restaurant, cocktails and canapes at Tower Bridge, a Twizy car tour round London, tickets to see Waitress the musical, a pamper day at Neoms Wimbledon with £125 to spend each . . . to name but a few! We have more dates lined up due to prize stacking that at least one of us has won and they are a GREAT bunch of girls . . . I literally couldn’t think of any ladies I would rather spend my time with!
The Scotland trip has by far been my highlight, we explored Edinburgh and also got to meet up with the lovely Vicky Mill in her home town as Nikki won a meal for us all! We all had such a laugh, made some great memories and had FAR too much to drink ha ha!
What’s your favourite prize, and why was it so special?
I have so many but one that stands out is the Belazu competition I took part in last year. It was even my favourite type of entry, both creative and cooking! You had to buy a Belazu product and make a meal with it. I didn’t realise you could enter more than once so only submitted one entry. The comp ran for nine months and they were choosing five winners in total to fly out to Barcelona for three nights for a #FlavourJourney prize where we were taken up to the olive groves in Lleida to watch the entire process from start to finish. We had a delicious breakfast in the olive groves and then took part in picking the olives and raking them from the trees, on to a factory tour before my favourite part of all – a cookery lesson with their very own Michelin starred chef Henry Russell. It was fantastic and all five entrants had a dish each to make. My dish was a cold almond soup called Ajo Blanco, with pears, watercress and tarragon. It was so tasty and a fantastic experience but the thing that made this experience the most special of all was spending it with my Mum. She has recently sold her business so for the first time in years we have been able to start spending quality time together and this was such a special treat to be part of with her. We also spent two days exploring Barcelona and made the absolute most of it!
What’s your best unboxing video blooper?
Pretty much any clip that involves Luna or Theo ha ha! I have had to cut the video and edit bits out several times because either Luna has heard a car go past and felt the need to tell the world about it, or she has jumped on the table mid shoot and stood with her bottom in full focus of the camera . . . or Theo has decided to tell everyone about his fascination with ‘boobies’ . . . and even grab mine!!! I try to keep them in a few as it is nice to look back on but they are both highly unpredictable!
Your dog Luna is quite a star in your unboxing videos – do you have any tips for winning pet comps?
Luna is often up to no good and when I manage to capture one of her antics in a photo that often helps!!! But I find it really helps that she has had her own Instagram profile since day one! Whenever I enter a dog competition I tag her handle @lunatheprincessjug into it so they can see I a) genuinely have a dog I love and the prize could go to and b) see that I would possibly post of photo of my prize for other dog owners to see.
You’ve done well with creative photo competitions – do you have any tips for taking prize-wining photographs?
If you were to scroll back to my early Insta days you will see my photo skills were shocking. I have found trial and error has helped me take the kind of photos I take today. And for every photo I enter I have usually taken 20-30 different angles before I scroll back to select my favourite. I have found really good lighting is a god send, clear backgrounds and flat lays are my favourite type of photo to take. In the future I would love to take a photography course but for now I am happy to learn as I go with my iPhone camera!
Are your family enthusiastic about entering comps too?
Despite seeing the prizes I have won over the years none of my family or friends are hugely into it, to the point they will send me anything with a competition on but not enter themselves! Serg opened an Instagram account in the last year or so and has actually entered a few competitions on there which surprised me hugely! His reason being because he doesn’t have any real life friends on there that can see what he enters ha ha! He tends to only enter for fitness / health and protein products but he has had reasonable success considering the ration of comps entered.
The boys love a chance to get creative and pose and I have had great fun over the years with them. Zachy has had a huge success as he is quite the artist but is getting a bit too cool for the camera these days!
Which prizes are top of your wishlist at the moment?
Travel! Now Theo is more grown up and the baby days are behind us travel is something we will do more of as a family. And any kind of experience really, these prizes mean far more to me than material goods.
What’s your favourite kind of competition?
Anything creative based by far. I love the chance to unleash my inner child! I was the type of kid that when the cereal box was empty I would scurry off and see what I could turn it into! I also love cooking competitions, anything that involves getting busy in the kitchen is another firm favourite . . . funnily enough the family love this one too!!!
What’s the best ‘money can’t buy’ prize you’ve won?
Meeting Anne Marie on her Speak Your Mind tour last year was a pretty ace one, as was Belazu. I would love to win a trip to the BAFTA’s or a film premiere.
Do you have a winning comp entry that you’re particularly proud of?
Several that I have done with the kids over the years. Zachy did a recycling comp entry where we had to collect rubbish from our local park and turn it into a sea picture. It was run with Sea World and whilst we didn’t win the prize of a trip to Florida they loved his entry so much they sent him lots of Sea World toys.
You’re very successful with Instagram competitions – do you have any tips?
Instagram is most certainly my platform of choice because I LOVE photos. I try to keep my feed super tidy and attractive and fill it with things I love, to show I have a use for the prize I would like to win. I also think it is handy to use another account, if you have one, for the daily comps because I have neighbours and school Mums etc that follow me on my main account so rather than having them think I enjoy taking daily selfies with Pringles and cans of Coke I use my Mummalogues account. Just ensure you don’t enter the comp twice if it is just one entry per day, per person. I enjoy the story feature, save features and filters that Instagram has to offer too so ensure I utilise them well.
What would be your top tip for being an organised comper?
Persistence and keep it FUN! For every competition I win there will be hundreds I entered and didn’t win so you need to be prepared for that. It’s a numbers game a lot of the time so work hard at supporting your entry with wit / content / research etc. but also be prepared for random winner selections being out of your control. It really does pay to read T&Cs as this could save you a lot of wasted energy on an entry …that you could be investing in comps elsewhere. And remember, when the fun stops you stop. A few days away from the hobby to get your mojo back is invaluable at times.
Thanks so much for all the amazing advice Jemma – I wish you all the best for 2020!