Over the Easter weekend there was a delightful mixture of sunshine and snow. (I have to admit this post was a little slow to be uploaded. I have no excuse other than other events got in the way of blogging, but as they say, better late than never!) Easter Sunday brought icy cold winds and overcast clouds, but by the Monday the skies were a bright blue and the sun brought the temperature to a level where I could happily walk coat-less, although not quite scarf-less. Taking advantage of the sunshine, I spent the afternoon wandering around a scarecrow trail in nearby Chalford. Local residents had made some spectacular creations around the picturesque village.
This past week has flown by in a flurry of new products and exciting orders, so that my update on my first craft stall seems to have taken a back seat. As I blogged last week about the preparations for my stall at the Made Market on Saturday, I have had many messages asking me how it went and asking for photographs of my stall. I have already posted a few on the Mystic Moose facebook page, but I felt a blog post was needed as well!
All the planning and foraging for display parts paid off, and I was delighted with the way the stall looked. By painting some of the wooden display boxes, which were all different kinds of wood, it gave a more cohesive look and made the products the focal point. Using upturned wine crates added height and depth to the display, and the mixture of large and smaller items drew customers in for a closer look. My one improvement for next time will be the find a better way of hanging the tote bags – I used hooks attached to the edge of the table, which worked really well, but because there were so many designs I felt it looked a little messy!
I arrived with much more stock than I needed, and two boxes of totes sat under the stall waiting to replenish displays. Even through one never get used, I felt reassured by its presence, and would definitely bring more than needed again. As long as it can fit under the table, the worse that can happen is you turn up looking like you’re moving in!
I used the stall as an opportunity to launch a few new product lines; lavender bags, shrink plastic badges and new padded make-up bags. All three were very well received and have been launched in my etsy shop this week!
Selling fabric and paper crafts, and having an outdoor stall means the slightest breeze can cause chaos, which is where gaffa tape comes in. Honestly, my stall was held together with gaffa tape. I picked a spot that was relatively sheltered, but to be on the safe side I used it to tape tablecloths down, the hooks to the side of the stall, bags to their stands, price signs in their places, and to tape string around display boxes to keep cards from fluttering away. I used nearly a whole role, and gave some to my neighbouring crafters. I would recommend taking an emergency role of gaffa tape to anyone doing a stall.
Some things to bring next time:
More change – especially £5 notes!
Table clamps to save some of the gaffa tape.
A calculator – I had one perching on top of my bag before I left, but it must have fallen out!
Another calculator – in case the one you planned to bring goes missing.
A bottle of water, or a flask to tea.
Paper bags for customer’s purchases.
A card machine.
The wonderful thing about craft fairs is getting to meet your customers face-to-face. Selling predominantly online means you have some lovely email exchanges, but you never get the casual light heartedness of a conversation. You also have the opportunity to mingle with crafty peers, and meet some truly talented folk!
A few weeks ago I blogged about and uploaded my Typewriter totes on etsy. When I pressed two different coloured versions of the illustrations onto bags I was interested to see which would be more popular, and whether having different coloured versions was worth the extra time spent taking photos and listing online. As it happens, the two designs are roughly equal in their sales and favourites so far, although the orange version has been slightly more successful than the blue.
I think that having several colours available allows people who like the design to find something in your shop that compliments their colour tastes and usual colour scheme. Since I transfer all the designs onto my tote bags in my studio, rather than sending my designs to be printed wholesale by someone else, it makes it relatively easy to make the same design in different colours, and I can make more of one colour variation easily if it proves to be more popular than the rest!
Following this, when I was drawing my Make Tea Not War design last week, indulging in several wonderful cups of delicious tea for inspiration, I decided to make use two different colours for the totes again. I chose a charming turquoise-y blue and a beautiful shade of slightly burnt red which is very in trend this season. I am very pleased with results, and can’t decide which of the two I prefer! Any thoughts?
Oh, and don’t forget to take a peek at my new facebook page for my etsy shop!
With the Christmas season upon us, it’s time to deck the halls. It’s been many years since I’ve put up any decorations, because I’m not overly fond of the artificiality of tinsel, plastic baubles and synthetic trees, and I’ve never liked the idea of cutting down a tree for the holiday season. But this year I’ve made an early resolution – all the decorations will be handmade, thus saving our house from a plastic makeover and celebrating the creative coming together of loved ones.
I started this venture by constructing a driftwood Christmas tree, drawing inspiration from a few I’ve been ogling in the past month or so. It took under an hour to actually assemble, but finding and sorting the driftwood took considerably longer. I was lucky enough to have a box of driftwood in the shed, left over from a driftwood mirror project my mother was working on last year. We had spent many months combing British beaches for the materials, beautifully sculpted by the sea and sand, which cut out so much time from the process of making the Christmas tree. I only had to spend an afternoon sorting the wood into size order and then dividing it into two rough piles, so I could make two of the trees. (One for myself, and one as a thank you for using the materials!) After this, it was a simple matter of drilling holes in each piece of wood and threading them on a metal pole. I came across two rather sturdy pieces of curved wood for the bottom branches, which made a stable base, but this was sheer luck, and would recommend further research on the bases of driftwood trees for those who would like to try their hand at making one!