I need to have my hands seriously slapped and make a big apology to Diane, as she sent me this article well over a month ago and it’s taken till now for me to get my act together, I even had to ask her for a couple of updates which have been included! Lx
This rather long-winded journey I’ve taken myself on towards having a little crafty business is taking a slightly more determined step right now. Not only have I agreed to help out a friend on her stall at a local craft fair but I’ve also taken steps towards the operational business side too.
Firstly, the craft fair. A few months ago I started going to a little crafty get together called ‘Crafty Saturday’. During my first visit Polly mentioned that she’d be doing a stand at a Church group run craft fair in September. I thought this was a perfect opportunity for me to take the plunge, so I said that I’d share her stand. This will serve as a ‘breaking in gently’ of the selling face to face market. I intend on taking a variety of items with me to test the water. One of the main items will be the portable coaster sets but I’ll also have a place mat and coaster set and a tote bag or two. I’m going to do some bunting to just decorate the stand and some either felt or paper flowers in a vase. I’m still not comfortable with a name yet but that’s irrelevant really before I’ve started getting my items sold. I’d like to perhaps have an ipad playing with a slide show of items I’ve made in the past, to whet people’s appetites. Chris went to the bird fair this year and he said that a lot of the stands had videos running either of the craft being performed or just displaying various projects previously made. It might grab the attention of people and get them to linger a tiny while longer by the stand and then I can perhaps get them involved in conversation, which will also make it all more fun for me. In regards to pricing, I’m thinking about £35 for the 6 placemats and coasters, as there’s machine quilting on those, hand sewing and patchwork. The portable coasters will be sold for £5; tote bag will be priced at circa £10 possibly. I also have an owl cushion I could sell for £25.
This photo is rather busy but perhaps it works to make you focus harder on what you can actually see?
Learning about the business aspect has finally seen me join the Enterprise Nation Club. Please do visit their website for more information about what Emma Jones (MBE) co-founded – http://www.enterprisenation.com/about-us/. As well as that, I’ve also signed up for one of their Start-Up Saturday events in September. They hold them in a wide variety of locations; most in British Library buildings from what I can tell. I’ll provide a link to a video which shows you in a far more professional manner than I could achieve – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikP1Mcgl6F8 . That’ll be nerve-wracking as well, as I have no idea how much experience the other marketeers will have, compared to me.
Before I get there though, I’ve also signed up for the FREE 12 week email course about starting up a small business. I will have read a lot of the information before but I feel this way is a more structured, determined way of learning what is necessary. There are many good reviews of course on the site. I’m suspecting that it will focus more on the website selling opportunities, rather than the face to face selling, as EN is not purely for craft related businesses; it’s for the whole range. Internet selling is fine by me, as hopefully most of you know that I have dabbled on Folksy for a while now and it can definitely reach a wider market.
First Update – I’ve since received three of the emails and I’ve actually actioned the ideas and made a very basic (needs much more specific financial information) business plan!
Update October 2013 ~
Despite getting there a tiny bit late (how I mixed up the start times is beyond me but then again, so typical of me!) I really got into the whole feeling of the day very quickly. That feeling was one of ‘yes, I can do this business malarkey’. Everyone explained what their varied business ideas were and Emma Jones responded very quickly and professionally to them all and continued to refer to them throughout the day. It’s almost impossible for me to briefly tell you what went on but the main thing I took away from that day, was that crafting businesses are quickly becoming a boom business. I got the impression that kits are the way forward, as many people love the idea of crafting but don’t have the time to go and resource the patterns, materials and ideas and all of that which is required to craft. Providing everything in a box and posting it off, is also a relatively cheap way of providing people with goods. I’m considering this but have yet to put it into action. I might have to be quick to catch the boat though. I agree wholeheartedly with what she said, as I’ve bought kits myself and love the ease with which they make the creating. They’re maybe not as personally satisfying but for the average person, it could really spur them on to try things more from scratch or they just keep buying kits; mine with any luck! 🙂
We were given ‘The Start up Kit’ book which will be some of my holiday reading next week. That as well as the new magazine I’ve signed up for which is ‘Patchwork & Quilting’ which has a little kit in it for a Christmas bauble make and I’ve also got a Corinne Lapierre kit for some scrummy little lavender houses. I rest my case about the kits! 🙂
Update on My first craft fair
At long bloomin’ last! I’ve done my first craft fair at a local Church event. The weather was glorious, so that pulled in the punters. I was originally comforted by Polly, as she was doing the stand and asked if I’d care to join her. I swear that was just a ploy to get me to do the stand; if that’s right, I’ll be eternally grateful. I ended up being on my own on the stand, which was a good job really as my stuff took up a lot of room. I didn’t do a great job on setting it up but hey, we all have to start somewhere. Here’s a link to the blog post I did about it, please do pop by and see how I got on: HERE
(TCN Note: Ignore Diane, for a first timer her stall looked FAB, Lx)
I’ve since had other commissions, I’ve set up a Facebook page (Click HERE) and I’ve started an Etsy shop (Click HERE), with a fancy shop banner and logo (as seen at the top of this post), which I decided to pay for instead of messing about trying to spend hours to do and make myself. I also finally decided on the business name ‘A Place to Set’.
Another thing I’ve learnt recently is that there are just some things which have to be outsourced. I won’t always be able to pay to do that but this time I did; seize the moment! Beg and borrow as much as you can to get your business where you want it to go.
I’ve barely started and some days I think this is too much but other days (such as straight after Start Up Saturday) I feel really empowered and motivated.
Progress not perfection is my target.
See you soon.