Thursday, 17 January 2013

new year


What a busy Christmas-time I had, so much so that it's taken me til now to review my Christmas sales and sit down to blog. It was busy for so many reasons; my new notonthehighstreet shop went CRAZY over the Christmas period, my baby demanded as much attention as ever and her first Christmas was my best Christmas ever, by miles. I also braved a trip to London for the BUST London craftacular, which was about 500times more busy than any craft fair I've ever experienced and packed with really lovely people, I had such a great timr (despite spending my first ever full day away from Rose and managing to slide her into every conversation and cooing over all the babies at the fair/on the tube!).

So, the Christmas period in review:
- NOTHS went great but because of limited time with a baby constantly attached to me next year I'd like to start stocking up from August; I had to set my delivery time to 10-14 days by early December in order to cut off Christmas orders early, so could have sold more if I'd had the capacity to make more
- BUST craftacular was worth it and a brilliant experience, again I'd like to stock up for longer next time and would concentrate on less designs if I did it again - I had to get out a load of old stock to fill the table and this makes my work harder to navigate for a customer. I got loads of inspiration from other people's work/presentation.
- My packaging for NOTHS, I box both brooches and puppets in a small brown box, use a ribbon or red wool, and label the box with both y brand name and product name, makes my work more expensive to produce but it totally worth it - I'll offer boxed sets of puppets at future fairs.
- By making products to order I don't end up with loads of unsold items, and can focus on a smaller range of designs which should give me a stronger brand image.
- Folksy got in touch to encourage me to list some items (my last listings were years ago) because they were doing a feature on craftacular sellers, so I've re-joined. But only one sale so far, but disappointing.

Because of my plans to make designs to order, and focus on less designs, I'm flogging a load of sale stock on etsy and folksy. Fingers crossed someone will have a spree.

x x x

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

blog feature

I've been featured on a blog called Yonder and they're giving away one of my fox brooches here.

They approached me through etsy and I'd never seen the blog before, but I've enjoyed reading through their posts - the blog is run by two friends Megon and Julie, and as well as great posts about etsy sellers, trends, and everyday life, Megon has a baby so there are posts to keep me happy in my obsession with all things baby related!

Alongside the giveaway they did an interview with me, which is rather embarassing and totally baby obsessed, but it was nice to have some interesting questions asked that were personal to me rather than the usual general ones.

It's nice to have been noticed! Two of my brooches - the London bus and a camera brooch - have recently made the etsy front page, so my listing views are through the roof - I don't feel so invisible anymore! Woo! Now roll on the sales before I'm totally consumed by baby brain!

x x x x x x x

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Stay at home

As I've said many a time, I'm really glad to have crafting as an activity to get me through quiet/boring times. It's been a god-send during my pregnancy, and I'm sure that in what tiny little scraps of free time I get after baby is born it'll come in handy too. But it's more than just a hobby, it's also a business...and this side of crafting will be all the more important once maternity pay runs out and we try to survive on Dan's wage alone. Which makes me extremely happy to say that my etsy sales have been steadily, and very quickly, growing over the past few weeks. I've never managed to reach the level where I'm making anything close to a "wage", but over the past 4 weeks I've sold 9 items, one of which was a set of 4 finger puppets so I've sort-of sold 12. Woohoo. It's not going to come close to making up for not doing as many craft fairs, expecially indietracks as last year I managed to make over £400 in 3 days, but it'll hopefully just keep on growing.

One of the best tools I've finally started using is the ability to re-list an item using the same photo, and warning the buyer that I'm making these items to order, it's so much easier than worrying about getting a decent photo over and over. Plus then I can keep track of the most popular designs and concentrate on making more of these.

I've just re-listed this cute set of woodland creature finger puppets, they're one of my favourite things I've made!

x x x x x x

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Busy Bee

I've been laid up with pregnancy related back-pain for about 2 months now, and at times it's been pretty much the worst thing ever. Crafting has got me through some dark days! I've been really glad to have something to distract me and to keep busy, and time's flown. I remember when I booked the craft fair I thought that I'd be HUGE and almost ready to pop. Well I am fairly huge, but it's kind of crept up on me and I really can't believe how soon baby will arrive. Some of the bits I've been making for the fair are the smaller/cheaper things that I don't bother listing on etsy (although I might in future when baby comes and craft fairs are off the cards for a while!), such as bookmarks...

and heart badges...

I've also been concentrating on "new designs", mostly because it's more exciting to make new things. I loved the outcome of making a mallard duck for etsy so have been sewing up some more, and I've also been making some more birds to keep the ducks company..

Sullivan (my cat) has been keeping me company a lot of the time (although he does like playing out with his pals), and he LOVES it when I get the type-writer out and insists on siting really close the whole time I type, funny cat...

Handmade is next Saturday, 12th May, at Wharf Chambers, more info here
x x x x x

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


The next handmade fair is just over 2 weeks away. I've had a lot of time to sew as I've been laid up with a bad back, so have sewn for a couple of hours most days to keep myself busy. The new woodland animal designs have done well on etsy; I sold the fox brooch and the mallard, so I've been making more of those for the fair. This is the amazing poster for the event by Kristyna Baczynski...

And the facebook event page is here
I'm excited, I just hope that people come! xx

Monday, 16 April 2012

the biz!

I'm not great at the business part of my crafting. I've been organising craft fairs a couple of times a year for about 3 years now, and have managed to make a small profit from the table fees each time, mostly because I managed to hire the venue for free. But this time I'm paying for the venue, and although it's a small charge I've also spent a lot on posters and flyers, and have had to buy some more tables because of a muddle-up, and I've kept table fees low, so I'm going to be paying from my own pocket to put on a craft fair. Eeek. That makes no business sense at all. I hope I sell some wares!

It's also the start of a new business year. I did a tax return last year (for the year before last) for the first time, and made very little profit after all the costs of materials and paying for tables at fairs. I've already done all my paperwork for last year's tax return and am happy to see that I've made considerably more (despite making a loss over the last few months because of this coming craft fair!). If the dream of crafting as a part-time job is to come true then I'll have to get a lot more savvy about profits, and more specifically about pricing. If I'm brutally honest with myself I know that my pricing is all off. I price items according to what I think they're worth/what I'd pay for them. But really I should cost up materials and the time it takes me. And when I do that it becomes obvious that I'm paying myself about £2-3 per hour for labor. I'm not planning on upping my prices at the moment as I don't want my stuff to be over-priced, but it's on the cards in the future. Maybe I could change prices according to where I'm selling items...for example at somes types of fairs I know that low pricing works, but other fairs would suit a slightly higher pricing, and maybe I could experiment with adding £1 to my etsy shop items to see how it effects things. With baby on the way etsy is going to be my sole selling avenue for a while (apart from a couple of brick and mortar shop who sell my items), so I want to get it right.

Money money money!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

British Wildlife

Spring is in the air and it's nice to be able to get out into the countryside and enjoy some of Britain's finest wildlife. It's inspired me to make some brooches and finger puppets celebrating some of my favourite creatures. I've even been making a mobile with some "city birds" hanging down (pictures to follow when it's complete), and I've plans to make versions with different birds of prey, and maybe little garden birds.

Here's a set of finger puppets...

And a mallard...

And finally a fox. I've held off making foxes as they're such a favourite with crafters that I thought the market might be saturated, but I couldn't resist giving a brooch a go when I saw how nicely the finger puppets came out. And I think he's pretty darn cute...

All available in my etsy shop here

x x x x