Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Guld Member Alfie Moon Designs. One year one...

Alfie Moon Designs was founded in 2015 by husband and wife team Julian and Christine Brown. Working from a small office and studio in the Shropshire town of Bridgnorth, they design and make character-led gifts, which can be personalised for special occasions. They also cater for the corporate market producing merchandise and promotional items for small businesses.

 “As we approach our first anniversary trading as Alfie Moon Designs we took some time out to reflect on and share our experiences of running a craft based business with our friends at the Professional Crafters Guild. Here’s what we had to say in our quick fire interview:

How did Alfie Moon Designs come about?

I have always loved designing and making things. I particularly take my inspiration from everything around me – the beautiful countryside we live in, British wildlife and most of all my cats. Having worked in a corporate environment for over 20 years, I felt the time was right to use that experience to run a creative business, doing the things I love every-day and getting to work with my husband! (Christine)

What’s your favourite design or gift you’ve made this year?

Without a doubt it has to be the Crazy Cat Lady range. It’s had an amazing response and sums up at least of half of the team at Alfie Moon Designs! (Julian) And for me, my favourite design is one of my first designs to be sold and that’s Slouchy The Penguin. We’ve put him on lots of gifts but by far my favourite has been our new glass clocks. (Christine)

Are you working on anything special at the moment?

We are working on a new sparkle range which involves converting a selection of our most popular designs into rhinestone stencils to put onto bags and clothing. It’s meant learning new techniques and getting to grips with new materials. (Christine). We are working on a new range of denim bags and taking our existing designs to the next level to reflect the look and feel of the new materials. (Julian)


Describe a day in the life of the team at Alfie Moon Designs?

No two days are the same. Julian leads on the production (making our lovely goodies) and retail side (dealing with customer orders, managing the web site and running our Ludlow market and other fair commitments) and I focus on the design, marketing and PR side. (Christine)

Have you got any advice for people setting a new craft based business?

(Christine) My three top tips are: 1) never forget that the customer is king. Always design and ‘make’ with them in mind. Great customer service will not only guarantee repeat business but word of mouth recommendations are priceless. 2) Do your sums before you start – whilst you need to be priced competitively don’t forget those hidden costs and the fact you need to pay yourself a salary. 3) Join the Professional Crafters Guild – after all it’s your business not just a hobby and having that professional badge helps people to take you seriously, as well as providing you with a network of support from like-minded people. 

Find out more about Alfie Moon Designs at www.alfiemoondesigns.co.uk or follow them @alfiemoondesign

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

It's a Creative Life - March 2016

Sometimes, running a small business, especially from home, can feel a little lonely, but it really doesn’t have to be. Over the last few years I have met some wonderful people who have helped me on my journey and I’m hoping you will find some of that support and advice in this magazine. I have to say, I’m really excited about having the opportunity to contribute towards that.

A little bit about me and my hopes for this column.
I’m Kerry, I started my papercutting business, Paperama®, 3 years ago without any real idea of what I was doing or what I was letting myself in for. I can tell you it’s been a whirlwind of a journey so far and I’ll never stop wanting to learn and develop more.

You have this idea in your head, you want out of the rat race, you want to be able to spend more time with your family and on activities that you enjoy; then BOOM the realities of running your own professional business set in and the wobbles start, doubt creeps in. However, here I am, still loving it, still having the odd wobble here and there but still reaching for the stars. You can read more about the beginnings of Paperama® over on my blog http://www.paperama.co.uk/blog/

I am also a youth worker and have been for almost 14 years. As a youth worker I am all about encouraging growth and development, providing support and direction. I would like to think that I can bring some of those skills to this column.

I have ideas of the things I’d like to cover, and the direction I’d like to take:

  • Ups and downs of running your own business
  • Support with business concerns / worries
  • Differences between art / crafts as a hobby and being a professional artisan 
  • Papercutting 
  • Enjoying arts / crafts when it is your business
  • Arts and Crafts as therapy / relaxation for all ages   
However, I would very much like you to be a part of this. I am keen to hear from you, what is it you would like support with, what are your questions, your worries /hurdles, what experiences have you had so far in your journey that might help others? I am also thinking about some goal setting and challenge participation … oh I am excited.

Please feel free to send me your thoughts / ideas / questions by emailing the Guild and mark it FAO Kerry.

Find Kerry on Facebook www.facebook.com/Paperama.Kerry

It's a Creative Life is published in our PCG News - Find the latest issue here