Friday, July 10, 2015

I's a Rollercoaster: the Ups and the Downs of a new craft business

Just a few weeks ago, after a moment of success at my first craft fair, everything went quiet. 

Deathly quiet.

I had no more new orders. Great responses on social media were not leading to sales. My Etsy shop had wind whistling through the shelves. Cash flow was becoming an all out no in thing.

I had a huge pity party, feeling very sorry for myself and wondering if I should just go and get a job at the local Co-op.

Then, quite out of the blue I opened a link on Facebook, which I think came from my friend Sarah's Dottery Pottery page. That link was to a local group called Hidden Talents Craft Fayres, run by two local crafters - Nicky and Clare, who set up the group to promote the work of local makers, including themselves, after finding there was a definite need for good quality, well-run fairs in the local area.

I joined the group and immediately felt at home. I also immediately booked a table at their next craft fair on 25th July. This group is quite possibly the best thing to have happened to me so far with my business. The other makers are so wonderfully supportive and positive. Their work is beautiful - to the extent where I wonder if I'll manage to get away from the fair without spending any money I may make!

One direct result of joining the group was me being contacted by a lady who fund raises for Labrador Rescue and an order for Labradors on All The Things!

Another new development has been my phone covers. 

Ages ago a dear friend of mine suggested I make phone covers and I kind of consigned it to the back burner while I thought it out. It took a while but I got there in the end and of course, could not just stop at one! These have already become a great seller and I wonder why it took me so long!

I now have two weeks left until my first big craft fair and am ticking things off my list on a daily basis. 

I can honestly say I haven't worked so hard or been so absorbed in my work for years and I'm loving every single minute of it. I know there are bound to be dips as well as peaks because that is the nature of the beast but at last I feel like I'm headed in the right direction.

Happy weekend one and all,

Moogs xxx

p.s. if you wonder what I'm up to between blog posts take a look at the links in my sidebar - I'm constantly on Instagram, regularly on Facebook and Pinterest and am trying (!) to get to grips with Twitter.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hello Blog

My poor blog.

I've been thinking about you a great deal since the last time I blogged but it's taken me until now to come back and actually make contact again.

Since being at home, taking steps to set up my business, time seems to have grown wings and although I'm constantly on Instagram, regularly on Facebook and even occasionally on Twitter, there never seems to be quite the right moment to sit down and write a blog post.

Somehow it feels like it needs to be more involved, more time consuming and to have more structure and quite frankly, it even feels a bit indulgent. So, whilst thinking about this I realised it doesn't necessarily have to be all those things.

It can be just like Instagram (which I LOVE) but just a bit more and I don't need to plan a great big essay with lots of meaningful content. It's my little record of life and my creative process.

I'm going to start with just a few photos of preparations for my first proper craft fair, which I did this past weekend.

A recent holiday in beautiful Pembrokeshire inspired some little applique and free-machine embroidery pictures of those beautiful Welsh cottages, two of which sold at the fair. I have lots more of these in my head needing to get out and several more awaiting frames.

I can't stop making little fabric brooches - they seem to have become a bit of a thing for me and I love making them. I have dozens of them! Now I just need to sell them.

Taking Janet Clare's advice I decided I needed one of her Artisan Aprons to wear to the craft fair and had great fun making it and then adding some embellishments to make it mine. It was much admired by visitors and other stall holders and it did feel right to be wearing a 'uniform' of sorts.

A trial run at home was an incredibly useful exercise as it took away a lot of stress on the day, even though the table at the fair turned out to be smaller than expected. All in all it was a successful first fair, with lovely people and I sold enough to cover my costs and give the children their overdue pocket money!

My head and all six of my notebooks are full of ideas for things I want to make. The making is fun and it's the easy bit. It's the getting out there and selling that seems to be the hardest part but then I think that's true for anyone trying to start a creative business.

I've never been a natural salesperson (which proved interesting in a former job as a sales rep!) but it's a skill I now need to develop, alongside becoming organised with paperwork....*cough*.

Happy weekend one and all,

Moogs xxx

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Looking forward

Well, here were are in January and I'm finally getting round to blogging again. We had a lovely Christmas, with Mr Moog and the teenagers at home for a full two weeks. We caught up with lots of family and friends and all of a sudden my lot were back at school and work and it's nearly halfway through the month!

The in-laws were thrilled with their Christmas quilts and they came in very handy as both of them were poorly with colds over the holiday. Father-in-law slept under his shirty quilt on their sofa for three nights, bless him :)

I seem to have been on a bit of a go slow getting back into my work but I'm now back in the swing of things and am busy working on some orders. This little lot of free-machine applique filled a very happy afternoon and is soon to be turned into zipped wash-bags, lavender bags, and the little dogs are to be framed pictures.

One of my good customers asked me to make her a penguin embroidery. I ended up doing these five, as I struggled to get one that I liked. My customer loved them and ended up having all five! There were five more that looked even more weird and demented and they've gone over to the States as Kristi at Schnitzel & Boo fell in love with them!

I'm also taking part in the Schnitzel & Boo mini-quilt swap on Instagram and this is my little offering for my swap partner. To be in the mail in the next few days. It's my second attempt at foundation paper piecing and is far from perfect but I loved making it.

I'm beginning to feel like I'm going in the right direction with my little business. Once I'm through this batch of orders I'm going to be working on some samples to take into a local shop whose owner is interested in seeing my work and I have a thousand and one other ideas that I want to develop.

The admin side isn't proving to be my strength (!) but I'm getting there. I've now got a Moogsmum page on Facebook so do pop over and say hi if you do the Facebook thing :)

I've also had a 'business meeting' with my good friend Sarah today. Sarah is a brilliant ceramic artist who I first met at toddler group 15 years ago! She's now working full time on her business and posted a Folksy update on Facebook this week - I just couldn't help myself when I saw this gorgeous little pin cushion.
It feels so good to finally be doing what I love and I'm looking forward to a busy and creative 2015. I can hardly believe the change that I've gone through this last few months and all the tears and anxiety seem like a dim and distant memory. Here's to a great new year!

love Moogs xxx