Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Tales From The Disabled Crafter - February 2017



So I’ve got to the end of January and finally my craft room is back to some semblance of order apart from still being overcrowded with crafting items that I cannot find home/space for.  I should feel proud as literally after the craft fairs in December it not only have the decimation of the remanence of makes for the craft fair, but everything unsold and the structure of the stand got dumped in there.  But I’m not proud, I knew it would be some recovery for me after the events, and we had a very quiet Christmas too, but I still beat myself up over not achieving more.  So why am I telling you this, well in fact this is not uncommon with any crafter, those that are well, those that run crafting part time alongside other jobs, those that are a house-parent and a crafter and those like me disabled and crafting all set ideals that sometimes we know from the outset are beyond reach and then punish ourselves when we feel we have not done enough. What is enough?  Here lies the problem, crafters/artists have to in a lot of cases create and sell their work, it’s a dual role one that is difficult to balance, you can spend all your time at fairs, marketing on social media, topping up your websites, stocking shelves in shops where you have rented space and therefore neglect the creating side of the creative wheel. Or we flip that round and spend all the time creating (especially if your busy with orders)and neglecting our presence outside of the ‘Crafting Zone’, to future and repeat customers and finding that when we have dropped out of people’s minds the sales do too.  We have to keep that wheel turning and turning smoothly.  Now I admit I am a failure, I am a cheeky fat hamster who looks at the wheel and feels daunted by it. I step on, go for a little spin, get out of breath and exhausted, to then step off and leave it in the corner for a while, achieving very little. Come on hands up all those that have started a new year’s resolution and haven’t maintained it. So what am I doing, I’m creating fits and starts for both the sales and making, this isn’t good I’ve not got my wheel running smoothly, and risk it coming off its frame altogether.  So, I have started a new plan (not a New Year’s Resolution, I suck at those to), to research ‘the wheel’ to make it work for me and keep me running at a pace that I can and then implement and maintain.

Well how on earth do I do that, in truth I’m not yet sure, I have started by buying an A4 diary, and I’m looking at and trying bullet journaling. I’m researching more into social media and the platforms and tools to help make this work for me.  I plan to start a mailing list and engage my followers, with my future and existing customers with direct contact of my makes, well as we know social media doesn’t show all our magic to all our followers so I need them to be able to see the magic I am making.  I’m working on my selling platforms, current and future ones, I have to make it as easy as possible for people to buy from me don’t I?  But I can’t do this all in one day, and if I tried I will have pushed my little fat hamster body to exhaustion on the wheel.  So I’m making to-do lists, daily ones (yes even weekends) and there is only a few items a day, but I also add in the other things that may crop up and throw themselves into my day, like an order, *whoopee*.  This is so that when I’ve not completed an item on the list I can possibly see why the day didn’t go to plan,  though, I don’t have as yet a tick box for the cat sleeping across my keyboard therefore I could not type *grins sheepishly* which I think should be added. 

It’s even got me on a new make, a stencil to slot into a diary that gives you tracings to bring alive your bullet journal *go me*. So as I move further into February I am still using the diary, which has to be a first for me.  My planning today is already interrupted with an order, a make which will take me most of this coming week, but I have a stencil for that to add it to my journal, so when I look back I can see that is why the next article for the Professional Crafters Guild took me longer,  *sneeks off to make a coffee while no one looks*.

Catch you soon xx Saz xx

You can purchase my Bullet Journal here on Etsy at http://etsy.me/2leqi1g or you can come and chat to me on my face book page Spratt’s Designs www.facebook.com/sprattsdesigns

Monday, 6 February 2017

PCG Creative Showcase February Part 2

Welcome to our Guild Creative Showcase

If you are a Ruby or Sapphire member of our Guild you can submit a product to add to our showcase from the members area on our website.
 
 
Created by Guild Member T2Kreations
Wooden Makeup Brush or Makeup Holder. 
This lovely makeup brush holder measures 195mm X 70mm X 70mm and has 10 holes of varying sizes to allow storage of either makeup or makeup brushes.You can choose from either, not engraved, engraved as shown or engraved with the text of your choice. 
£14.00
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/507269329/wooden-makeup-brush-or-makeup-holder-10https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/507269329/wooden-makeup-brush-or-makeup-holder-10



Created by Guild Member Cotswold Characters
Available for adoption! These to beautiful pegasus creations are looking to bring magic to their forever homes! Just £16 plus P & P of £4 they can be flying their way to you!

£16.00
https://www.facebook.com/cotswoldcharacters/photos/a.250936728338401.51756.250680051697402/1180711208694277/?type=3&theater 




Created by Guild Member Alfie Moon Designs
I Work All Day Tote Bag
Great new dog design! 100% Cotton Tote bag

£6.00
https://www.alfiemoondesigns.co.uk/product/comic-dog-bag/







Created by Guild Member Custom Hair Accessories
Sinamay side-swipe brimmed hat trimmed with 5 hand sculptured calla flowers featuring Swarovski Elements stamens.
All creations are fully handmade and shipped in a hatbox where it can be stored when not in use. Created in the colour of your choice.

£150
http://customhairaccessories.com/products/hat-calla-bouquet




Created by Guild Member Fire-Drake Jewellery
Patterned Silver ring with Lapis Lazuli

A Sterling Silver finger ring with patterned shank and a pretty lapis lazuli cabochon which has been set at the centre.
  
£41.00
https://www.firedrakeuk.com/product-page/patterned-silver-ring-with-lapis-lazuli  




Created by Guild Member Iain S Byrne, Wildlife Art
Amber
A dog art print depicting the portrait of a brown Newfoundland dog. Amber is a young and very friendly Newfoundland who would spend hours just playing. I had to bribe her with treats to capture this portrait.
£12.60
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/206747964/dog-print-dog-art-dog-lover-gift-dog?ref=shop_home_active_1

Monday, 30 January 2017

PCG Creative Showcase February Part 1


Welcome to our Guild Creative Showcase

If you are a Ruby or Sapphire member of our Guild you can submit a product to add to our showcase from the members area on our website.
Created by Guild Member Blackberry Wedding Designs
Sycamore clock with Rabbit design in Pyrography - personalised to order
Unique rabbit design solid sycamore clock with quartz movement.
This item has lovingly been created and is now ready for personalisation - maybe a couple's names and date of wedding or it could be to celebrate an anniversary. So many occasions this could be used for, you may even prefer it without any added text - the choice is yours!
£29.95
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/507380791/sycamore-clock-with-rabbit-design


Created by Guild Member Taylor Mayde Scents
Melt shards
Comes in a 200g glass jar with wooden spoon making trasferring your melts from jar to burner easy.


£5.99 per jar
https://www.facebook.com/taylormaydescents 





Created by Guild Member Arabella's Attic
Vintage Coin Purse
This pretty coin purse made from cotton linen fabric with a beautiful vintage inspired pattern is just the right size to hold coins, notes (bills), credit or debit cards. Or, if you prefer, you could use it to hold makeup or jewellery

£9.00
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/93335499/coin-purse-vintage-sewing-labels


Created by Guild Member A.R.P Jewellery
Swarovski Element 925 Sterling Silver Heart on a Silver ChainThis beautiful necklace has been put together from a sterling silver chain with a gorgeous sterling silver heart with a bright eye-catching blue swarovski crystal.
£14.00
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/476534587/swarovski-element-925-sterling-silver


Created by Guild Member The Scrapbooker
A beautifully designed scrapbook or photographic album with built in panel box to hold all your tickets, brochures and guides from your holiday. This album has been lovingly designed and handcrafted from scratch using the finest materials - gorgeous bespoke designed cover and lining.
The inside has 15 white card leaves or plastic top loading wallets giving 30 workable sides on which you can add your photos and memories.
Can be customised to suit your needs.
£65.00
http://thescrapbooker.bigcartel.com/product/boxed-scrapbook-photographic-album-holiday


Created by Guild Member Carolee Crafts
By The Sea Door Pillow
Made in 100% silk this crazy patchwork design conjures up images of the sea, with shell charms, sequins and flowers.
£8.00
http://www.caroleecrafts.com/shop/cushions-decorations/by-the-sea-door-pillow-800.html  



Thursday, 26 January 2017

Crafter to Crafter - Advice On Your Small Business

Crafter to Crafter

Advice on your small business

Running a small craft business can be a minefield, there are so many ways that you can waste your time and money. We asked some of our Guild Members what advice they would give a new or struggling business.

Sarah from Spratt's Design
  • Don't get into like for like farming on Etsy or Facebook it doesn't help you in the long run. 
  • Research, look at people that sell similar items to you, note what you like, photographs, wording, how they communicate, where they promote - don't copy but be inspired. 
  • Things don't happen overnight. We are all very good at posting positives, so you don't see the tears behind the mask, so don't think that everyone else is a big success and your not, you'll be surprised at how many struggle everyday, even those with lots of sales.
  • Register with HMRC especially with the changes coming in April. 
  • Socialise online in groups like the PCG as you can moan and celebrate with fellow crafters who understand how much hard work your putting in, you don't have to be there alone xx

Ann from AnnBCrafts
  • Know your market. If you are selling items aimed at mums don't post them at tea time or early in the morning.

  • Don't buy lots of supplies.
  • Find a niche 
  • Don't get obsessed with competitors. 
  • Invest in your skills ( training) and make sure you have a quality product. 
  • Don't underprice yourself. 
  • Don't spend a fortune on branding. 
  • Be careful with giveaways. They attract mostly people who want things for free. If you do one make sure you have entrants sign up to your mailing list.

Kirsty from Beadie Eyed Edie
  • Speak to other crafters/artists/designers! 
  • Get to know like minded people via social media, fairs, groups. We can learn a lot from each other and I personally have found the majority of people are friendly and happy to offer advice (PCG perfect example). 
  • I would also say create what you love! Yes look at trends, but the best work is created when you love what you are doing.  

Kirsty from K.D Jewellery
  • Be legit. Register with HMRC, get insurance and be sure you comply with any regulations that are relevant to your business.
  • Work out who your ideal customers are. This makes it so much easier to target your marketing and will save you time and energy in the long run.
  • DON'T undervalue your work. Work out your prices correctly (including your overheads, materials, time and profit) right from the start! Your prices will always change over time but at least you won't have to do a complete overhaul if you start out too cheap.
  • Branding is important. You don't need to spend a fortune on it but you NEED to have a consistent brand, especially if you are present on a number of different platforms. 
  • Network the right way. Like for likes etc. May give you a boost but they are no good to anyone in the long run. Good content and interaction are the key! 
  • Connect with other business owners! Running your own business is lonely sometimes and even if you have support at home, I don't think it's something people understand completely unless they've experienced it. 
  • Good things come to those who wait! And those who work really hard! Business is NOT going to come to you, you will have to work for it but don't be disheartened if it isn't going anywhere fast - building a business takes time. 
  • NEVER forget why you started your business in the first place!! This is SO important because if you lose the connection and the passion for what you do it will end up feeling like just another job. You ARE your business so love what you do :) x 

 Join us today at the Professional Crafters Guild and become part of our fabulous Community. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

PCG Creative Showcase January Part 3


Welcome to our Guild Creative Showcase

If you are a Ruby or Sapphire member of our Guild you can submit a product to add to our showcase from the members area on our website.
Created by Guild Member Lynns Gem Creations
Herkimer Diamond Quartz measuring between 4mm - 8mm in size have been stranded onto very strong beading wire and finished off using a sterling silver clasp, with a sterling silver extension chain as an option.
Beautiful Herkimer Diamond Quartz Bracelet in Sterling Silver.
£73.50

Created by Guild Member Paperama
The Message In A Bottle has become Paperamas signature piece. Beautifully presented personalised handcut mini papercut Message In A Bottle.
These little bottles pack a big punch so many beautiful responses.
Comes in a gorgeous presentation gift box with additional sprinkling of glitter confetti & a small semi-precious crystal stone.
Message In A Bottle
£20-24
Created by Guild Member Spratt's Designs
Unicorn Vinyl Design Overlaid Glass Block with blue fairylights, creating twinkles of illuminated magic. These blocks are perfect as an occasional light, as a nightlight for your home, or a gift for friends or family. Lovingly handmade to order in Worksop, Nottinghamshire and shipped across the entire UK.  
Unicorn Vinyl Design Overlaid Glass Block
£22
Created by Guild Member Squiggly Sue Designs
Personalised Family Group of wellies in a contemporary white 23.5cm x 42cm frame. Each wellie boot is hand cut and a large variety of styles, and different coloured and patterned paper is available. Each pair of boots is mounted slightly raised from quality watercolour paper and the family members name written in fine pencil underneath. 
£25
Created by Helenka White Design
A cute fox sculpture, handcrafted with polymer clay and painted with acrylic paint.
Fox Scultpure
£50
http://www.helenkawhitedesign.com/product/fox-sculpture/
Created by Guild Member ArtfulCrafter
This cute pair of tibetan silver Cat earrings are Alice in Wonderland inspired. They are created with silver plated hooks, rubber backs and packaged in a black velour gift pouch and would make a lovely token gift idea... for somone who loves cats.
Tibetan Silver Cat Earrings
£4

Monday, 16 January 2017

PCG Creative Showcase January Part 2


Welcome to our Guild Creative Showcase

If you are a Ruby or Sapphire member of our Guild you can submit a product to add to our showcase from the members area on our website.
Created by Guild Member K.D Jewellery
This beautiful memorial bracelet, or angel wing bracelet, is a lovely bereavement keepsake item to honour the passing of a loved one. Handmade using traditional macramé techniques, the design features a single silver-tone angel wing connector, on a nylon thread, and is finished with seed beads. The angel wing bracelet can be personalised with the addition of an initial charm.  
Personalised Memorial Bracelet
£5.00


Created by Guild Member From the Heart Creations
Vintage style glass Candle Jar with Red Heart East Of India ribbon, a mini red wool blended felt Heart, with cream blanket stitching & red scented, red spotty patterned tealight.
Candle Jar with Red Heart ribbon, mini red Heart & patterned tealight 
£5.00
Created by Guild Member Erika Price Designs
Unique handcrafted glittery resin dragonfly wings float below sparkly artisan handmade lampwork beads in luscious shades of rose pink. I've accented the wings with rose Swarovski crystals and sterling silver beads, and hung them from my handmade sterling silver earwires. 3.6in/93mm 
Enchanting pink dragonfly wing earrings 
£28.00
Created by Guild Member Pitter Patter Tiny Feet Knitting Emporium
These are gorgeous Hand knitted in 100% cotton little Mary Jane Shoes for baby.
Fit 0 – 6 months approx
3 – 4 inches sole – little bit of stretch.
Gorgeous purple/lilac to base with white contrast and lilac button.
 
Lilac & White Cotton Baby Shoes
£12.50
http://www.pitterpattertinyfeet.co.uk/shop/products/lilac-white-cotton-baby-shoes/ 



Created by Guild Member The Crafty Artisan
This stunning Wedding anniversary card is absolutely perfect for couples celebrating their Emerald wedding anniversary - 55 years together. Whether it be for friends or parents, they are sure to be delighted with this exquisite handmade and personalised card.
This card can be personalised with any text you choose printed on a white insert. Names or Mum & Dad etc can be added to the front on a small banner
£12.95
http://www.thecraftyartisan.uk/ourshop/prod_5467154-Anniversary-card-Emeralds.html 


Created by Guild Member Tweedie Beasties
A cute wee baby to go with mum!

Baby Highland Coo
£29.50
http://www.tweediebeasties.com/Baby_Highland_Coo/p2431625_14472688.aspx