Saturday, 31 August 2013


Specifically on Etsy and no, not those kind of tags although I won't moan if you decide to buy some! I belong to Team Eco Etsy on Etsy and their blog has some brilliant information on it. I thought I would share this particular post about tagging and how to get more shoppers to your Etsy store as this is something that everyone wants right?

You can find the post here and if you read carefully enough you will see that they included some of my aforementioned gift tags to illustrate the post!

Sharing the love people, sharing the love!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Back from holiday :)

We've been on holiday for a couple of weeks - first in London and then in The Netherlands :) We didn't take a camera so there aren't too many shots and those that are there aren't brilliant!

Two of my loves on The Underground - both Matt and I have Oyster cards which makes journeying in London much cheaper and the girls go free on the tube which is fabulous!

The girls loved being that much more independent on this holiday - here's Tara sitting by herself on the Tube :) We went to the National History Museum to see the dinosaurs and to The Imperial War Museum to see the Horrible History Spies exhibition which was brilliant.

Here are the girls climbing 'The Matterhorn' at the camp site we stayed at in The Netherlands! We stayed at Duinrell which is about 25k from Rotterdam and was brilliant. There is a theme park there with ace rides and also a waterpark with lots of slides/wave machine etc.

Me and Anya on the Freddie Frog rollercoaster - Tara tried it a couple of times but then decided that she really didn't like it!

Aqua Swing. Anya and I learned not to go on it twice in a row as it is slightly vomit inducing!

Lots of fun!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Taking stock

I've been inspired by the lovely Pip and the lovely Kate to write a post about what I am doing right now. Join in if you like :)

Making : lots of lists of things to do
Cooking : with things from the garden
Drinking : too much Pepsi Max. I need to cut down!
Reading: An older kids book by Henning Mankell
Wanting: an allotment but I'm currently 100 on the waiting list!
Looking: at my cute Harry dog
Playing: Plants Vs Zombies on my DS
Wasting: time on Facebook!
Sewing: I'm mending clothes at the moment
Wishing: for chickens
Enjoying: where I live
Waiting: for my house to be magically tidied :)
Liking: that the girls will try most foods once - see picture
Wondering: how I an make my garden more productive veg wise
Loving: nice friends
Hoping: to make it out one night soon with above mentioned friends
Marvelling: at how fast my girls are growing up (2 in juniors soon!)
Needing: a cleaning and organising fairy
Smelling: the aforementioned cute dog - he needs a bath!
Wearing: my thrifted cherry sundress that is made from a tablecloth (not by me!)
Following: my family's lead and trying to relax more
Noticing: lots more butterflies are around this year
Knowing: that everything happens for a reason
Thinking: too much! My brain is extra busy at the moment.
Feeling: happy
Bookmarking: Well not bookmarking but adding lots of lovely pins on Pinterest
Opening: a Twix bar :)
Giggling: at some of the grown up things my girls are saying
The girls trying (and enjoying) Japanese food in London

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Oooooh Folksy front page!

My work was featured on the Folksy front page yesterday :) How exciting!

You can find the Central Europe map stickers here if you would like to buy them!

And did you know that you can curate the Folksy home page yourself? Just make a Pinterest board of things on a theme picked from Folksy and use Folksy in the title and it could be chosen. Simple! Thanks must go to Little Ledbury for featuring me and to Paula from Wychbury for letting me know.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Do you read Handmadeology?

Then you should! It's great for handmade businesses and gives lots of practical advice for your online shops (if you have them) and has some good tips for photography. I don't always follow their advice as I don't have much time to spare but you certainly should!

One of their recent posts about copycats struck a chord* with me and gives a new perspective on something that can make your heart sink. Well worth a quick read :)

*My work isn't rocket science but it still hurts when people copy it - boo to copiers who have no imagination of their own!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Approaching Retailers Seminar - long post!!

This post was originally posted in February last year but I thought it would be useful to share again :)

Last Wednesday I went to a seminar held at Inc Creative in Keighley. It was run by Neil Campbell from Business Specs and it was a very interesting evening. The first point he made was about your actual product - where does it sit in the market? What is your price point? And most importantly, what is your USP (unique selling point) If you don't have a USP then price has to be your key selling point.

My USP is that the large majority of my stuff is unique - once it's gone, it's gone!

Then you need to look at the sector of the market that your product fits into. Also observing trends helps as you can see where your product fits in with those. Also understanding your consumer is vital - certain products fit certain people and once you know who your demographic is you can target them. All of this is more about your product and not the retailers yet but of course you have to get your product right before approaching retailers.

Then Neil said something which I think is very difficult for for the small scale designer/maker to comprehend - we should make the retailers think that they are lucky to have our work in their shop. Now I don't know about you but when I get a retailer who wants to stock my things I jump for joy (often literally!) and often feel very grateful. Neil thinks that we should actually choose the retailers who stock our work very carefully which is a strange concept for me - in the past I have grabbed any opportunity that comes along. But thinking about it, it makes much more sense - target your products to the right people and places and avoid making mistakes.

He is just here to add some colour to this post!

There are 2 main types of deal that retailers will offer you - wholesale or sale or return. I won't go into these as I'm sure you will know about them but there are some points Neil had about SOR. Get them to sign for the goods on the delivery so that both parties know where they are (I do this already so do I get a brownie point?!) and have a return notice period which I hadn't thought about at all. It makes a great deal of sense though so that each of you knows exactly where you stand. And it also gives an opt out from both sides if the goods aren't selling or either side isn't happy for any reason. Neil suggested 7 day terms but I think that isn't enough - I would aim for 3 or 4 weeks myself. It's a good deal for the retailer as stock rotates fairly quickly and they get fresh things in (providing they want to continue stocking you!) There should also be a ceiling price on your goods that you should stick to across all your shops/stockists/websites so that retailers don't think that they are competing against your own website. And another good point that Neil raised is once you have these contacts, then make sure you keep them. Get in touch with your retailers and see how things are going. Pop in if you can and try to foster a relationship with them. If they are decent retailers they will want your work to sell as it means money for them as well as for you!

So how do you pitch to potential retailers? Research the shop first - will your products fit? Are they at the right price point for that particular shop? A phone call to verify the best time to go in is a good idea and then make sure you stick to that! Introduce yourself and your company. A great opening line is 'I've chosen to call you and I'd like to work with you because........' Another good line is 'I believe my products are complimentary but I would like to know more about your business' Next is when you show off your product ask about comparable product lines and how many they sell. What do they expect from you in terms of lead times? And always repeat back what they have said to you to make sure you both understand where you are coming from.

The last little bit is rushed as I have been writing this blog post for the last two hours and it's bedtime but I would love to know what you think. Are these things you stick to? Do you have any other advice? What works for you in terms of approaching retailers?

Friday, 2 August 2013

52 books - part seven

My readings for the last month :)

This book was recommended to me by Laura at Dropstitch and I'm so glad I listened. This book follows the story of Patroclus who is exiled to the court of Achilles and his father. It's a brilliant book and I highly advise that you buy it!

This is a book I've had on my shelf for a while and it's set in a high school in America. It's a young adults book that deals with some serious issues - I'm keeping this one for Anya to read when she gets older.

Matt bought this for me from Kickstarter so I don't think it's officially out for release yet. There is a Facebook group dedicated to the Academy Of Magick with updates about when the book is out - well worth a look! I loved it and I have friends who will love it too so they are next on the list to share it with.

I loved this play! It's very amusing and made me laugh out loud which isn't bad for a play written in the 1890's. It's also fairly short (I read it over lunch one day) so you won't waste too much time if you don't like it!

I must admit that I only read Brokeback Mountain in this series of short stories. I really did try to read some others but I just couldn't get into them. I really quite fancy seeing the movie now.

And I'm not counting them in this round up but I've been reading lots of fan fiction online too so that kind of makes up for the shortness of Brokeback Mountain :)

37/52 - any recommendations for further books to read?

Oh and the 150 books we sorted last month to go to the charity shop turned into 400 over the weekend. However our shelves are still full - how did that happen?