I apologise if this post is a little 'ranty' but I have been somewhat upset about a comment left on our Facebook wall and want to clarify a few things.
Many of you know me as The Crystal Lady long before I created the Guild, and that I have dedicated many years to promoting crafters with no financial gain whatsoever. (Despite me being a self employed crafter very much on the breadline).
I created the Creative Connections Social Network for Crafters in 2009 so that we would all have a friendly place to go and make friends. This was and is still a FREE service. Since starting the CRAFTfest events, yes there is a small stall charge if you would like to take part but this is by no means compulsory and most of our 1000 + members do not. These events take a phenomenal amount of organising and are a burden on the site which although kindly sponsored by Tracey at WowThankYou to cover its monthly subscription costs still incurs costs through this. We are very lucky that we have a wonderful set of team leaders who give up their time to assist our members with their stalls.
Creative Crafting Magazine was first published in October 2009 and is still a FREE online magazine. There is a charge for the hard copy but this is provided to you at cost by HP Magcloud, we do not put a markup on it. Over the years the magazine has promoted hundreds of crafters who would never be published in mainstream magazines. There are only two of us that bring you this magazine and it is a huge amount of work. Yet we are happy to continue to do it for you all.
I created The Professional Crafters Guild in July 2011 as I was aware that like me, crafters were very offended that their businesses were thought of as a hobby. As part of the Guild they have their registered membership badges to show their customers that they mean business! I also regularly get emails from members asking advice which I always reply to. I am also constantly looking for suppliers to offer discounts to our members along with various other activities to help people. Guild lists are my first stop when looking for crafters to feature in the magazine each issue. The next one has all three interviews from members plus various projects.
For the first few months I offered membership to the Guild for free, I could not however sustain this as I was being overwhelmed with applications. It was taking me entire days just to create the badges and certificates and add people to the site. I wasn't getting any network or magazine work done, let alone my poor neglected jewellery business which was my first love. I was also finding that with it being free, people weren't taking it very seriously and I was getting lots of time wasters. I had to send tons of emails asking for more information from people who obviously weren't legitimate businesses anyway.
So I introduced the small administration fee (£2.50) hoping that this would deter people who weren't serious and also to stop me begininning to resent spending all of my time on it! I am very proud of our members who enjoy being part of the Guild, I have many ideas for it that I will hopefully be able to put in place in time. Please bear with me though as I am only one frazzled mum of two and there just aren't enough hours in the day.
I am very sorry if some people think all of our sites should be free and that I should give all of my for nothing but I am trying to run a business here! It is not my hobby!
If you are finding your craft business a little slow right now, try not to let it get you down too much. Everyone is in the same boat in the current financial situation. A lot of small crafters are giving up and calling it a day, this is a huge shame as so much work goes into creating products and marketing them. (The latter can often take more time than actually making the product in the first place). It can be extremely depressing when days/weeks/months go by without a sale but there are things that you can do to lift your spirits a bit. Look at it as a fantastic opportunity to Spring Clean your business. Look at your current stock of products. Are any of them looking a bit tired, if possible could they perhaps be revamped into something new? Scour the Internet and other sources looking for fresh inspiration. Create a new product line or update an old one. Does your Website/Folksy/Etsy shop etc need a facelift? Sometimes changing a colour scheme or moving things around can work wonders when getting people to find your store. Could your images be better, or more uniform. With a bit of time on your hands you could perfect those all important sales pictures. Blog, twitter, Facebook. This all takes time so make use of it while you have it. Contact previous customers and ask for Feedback. This can not only be very useful but also reminds them that you are still there and may cause them to revisit your sites. Join groups or get together with other crafting friends, share the marketing, more blogs, Facebook pages, twitter accounts reach more people.
It is very easy to feel that the world has forgotten you and it is easier to just give up. Try and remember why you were attracted to crafting in the first place, how much you enjoy creating. The vast Crafting Community will continue to support each other ready for when things take a turn for the better. One thing that I have always found is that there is always someone willing to offer a kind word and inspiration when you need it. You only have to ask.
"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one."Elbert Hubbard
Nicky creates Wire & Chainmail Jewellery in the UK
We still have some pending members, if you ahve applied to join the Guild and have not received your welcome pack or your email (please check your spam boxes) you can check our Pending Members list on our site or email us at
Here is a blog post by one of our members Felicity from Perfect Patchwork about CRAFTfest. Don't forget that booking forms close on the 20th February so if you would like to take part, grab hour virtual place NOW!
Good Morning, I promised to come back and tell you more about CRAFTfest, so here I am.
CRAFTfest is an online craft fair open to anybody across the world. This time it is running for a whole week, to give people plenty of time for browsing and shopping. Anyone can join in, it is open to crafters, artists, suppliers, ALL OF YOU. It is very easy (and cheap) to join in, simply pop along to http://www.craftfest-events.com/ and fill in the booking form. You can make payment (of only £5) via paypal, so nice and easy. Once you've booked your stall, you create an album on the site of all the items that you would like to sell, together with a price and location where they can be bought, (website, Folksy, Etsy, even via email if you wish). There is not a limit to how many items you can include, and NO commission is taken on sales. What could be better? I'll tell you what's better.... we have set up support groups/teams, to help promote both the event and you stall. You will be allocated to a group and told who your leader is. This gives you the chance to join in with group discussions, follow on twitter, like on facebook etc., and the following etc. will be reciprocated. Then whenever you promote we will share it, retweet etc. and hope you will do the same for us. All the team leaders will be writing blogs about their team members including pictures and websites/Folksy shops etc. - so maximum exposure. Where else could you get all this for £5?
BUT wait there's more.... Once you join the CREAFTfest you will have joined Creative Connections - what's that I hear you ask... Well it is an amazing community of crafters and artists, we have forums, discussion groups and even a live chat room where you can go and talk to many of us, and get any help, advise or just a friendly chat. We would love to see you there, and watch out for the next blog as I will be telling you a bit about some of my group - The Lilac Group Bye for now F xxa If you would like to visit Flicks blog you can find it here http://perfectpatchwork.blogspot.com