Things have been quiet around here lately due to one reason. The Made With Love Markets are on Sunday! I have been crazy busy preparing, making, DIY-ing and rebranding for this bigger-than-Ben-Hur event! There will be over 100 stalls offering … Continue reading
I have a confession to make. I am addicted to buying vintage linens. So much so that I have co-opted my mother into buying them for me too. I think that’s called enabling, isn’t it? Every time I go to … Continue reading
One of the blessings of having a young family is developing your own traditions. This Easter, with our eldest child almost 3 years old, we embarked on finding a family tradition to celebrate as it is the first time she … Continue reading
Pinterest is a dangerous place for me. It gives me all sorts of ideas for new products and home DIY that I really don’t have the time or space for in my life. But I love it, so I tackle … Continue reading
I like to challenge myself. For a while I have been wanting to try something different in my jewellery making. I have been wanting to explore using fabric. Many people use fabric in jewellery to make knotty necklaces. I wanted … Continue reading
Happy New Year!
It has been a fair while since my last post as the end of year activities and trips to see family took up most of my time. But I have been here, quietly working away behind the scenes and making big plans for 2013.
We are here now, in a new year, and I thought I would take a moment to share my goals for business with you. I am hoping that by writing my goals down in a public forum will help to keep me accountable…and who knows, maybe one of you out there might be able to help me see some of them through.
So, 2013. What plans do I have for you?
- WHOLESALE & OTHER AVENUES FOR SELLING – This has been a dream of mine for a while. I would love to find some lovely boutique stores (online and/or bricks-and-mortar) to stock my jewellery and/or cards. I would love to work with boutiques to create exclusive lines for them. Mumma Necklaces might also be a hit for the wholesale market. My main hurdle with this goal is getting over my nerves and working out how to approach shop owners (any tips of this please leave a comment!).
- PRICING – This is a contentious one. I have been challenged in my business blog readings to value my own work and price accordingly. This is one area I have struggled with and I know many in the handmade world also struggle with how much to charge for their goods. As I am taking my business and product more seriously and spending time and money investing in it I need to raise my prices. It will not be a huge increase but enough to allow me to afford the fees I pay for business services (website, markets, Paypal etc) and still make a small profit. The increase will also absorb the rises in costs I am experiencing with resources and materials. Fingers crossed the price rise will not affect my sales in a negative way!
- TRADEMARKING – As my business is growing I am feeling the need to begin the process of trademarking my name and/or logo. This is the first time I have had the money to do this so I believe it is time. Again, if you have any tips on trademarking feel free to leave a comment!
- STOCK MANAGEMENT – After a year of working into the very late hours of the night (or early hours of the morning) while juggling an energetic 2 year old and a frequent night-waking baby I am in need of a new system to manage stock. So this year I will be trialling working in collections. I aim to release a themed collection for sale every 2 or 3 months with other stock being made and kept for markets and wholesale (when I get on to that). Mumma necklaces and my ranges of flower studs will continue to be available for sale throughout this time as a constant. I am hoping this will prevent the mad rush before a market and the fear of “Will I have enough?” when assessing my stock levels. I will still be open for customs but may limit the number of spots I release per month. It’s all about achieving BALANCE.
- MYOB – The boring but important goal of the year. I have MYOB but need to learn how to use it. At the moment I have about 5 different places for keeping track of sales and my expenditure is ‘tracked’ by shoving receipts into a manilla folder in the filing cabinet. Failing learning how to use MYOB and becoming competent in managing my finances I will have to hire an accountant! Again, any good MYOB tips are much appreciated!
So that’s about it. I think 5 goals is quite enough for one year. I will keep you posted on how I go with them and if you have any tips or advice regarding the above please do not hesitate to leave a comment.
Also, if you happen to own a shop (online or otherwise) or know someone who does and think that my products would suit I would love to hear from you to discuss wholesaling!
So here’s to 2013 and all that it may bring!
So, you know that little break I was going on where I was going to do all these amazing crafty jobs and spend time with my two beautiful children? Well, the time just flew by in a flurry of fabric and thready scraps as I refashioned some vintage linens into clothes.
Here is a little overview of what I made…
My first day of holidays was searching through heaps of online tutorials to find something that I liked. I found two projects:
A nursing dress from Shwin&Shwin (here).
And a high-waisted skirt from This Big Oak Tree (here).
I am absolutely hopeless at following directions about things I know a little about so I only used the tutorial for the nursing dress as a loose guide. I do the same thing with recipes. It’s great for creativity but hopeless for troubleshooting! And I had lots of trouble with this dress. It was the first time I had sewn with stretchy fabric. A quick Facebook chat with my Mum, the sewing genius, got me started with a few good tips. I launched myself in and just had to fix things along the way. I’m pretty happy with the result and the breastfeeding capability is great! I am going to try it again but using a cotton for the skirt to make it easier to sew.
Next it was time to attack my vintage linens. I had never gathered before so I decided to use a pillowcase from a vintage Sheridan set to make a simple gathered skirt as a practice before I cut into the big guns – my beautiful yellow vintage sheets.
This was much simpler. It was just a simple skirt with a lining and elasticated waistband. It’s so pretty, feminine and super twirly! I love it!
It was time. My holidays were fast running out and I had not yet touched the vintage sheets. I ironed them carefully. Laid them out on the dining room floor. Took a deep breath. Measured. Measured again. And then finally heard that sweet and satisfying sound of good fabric scissors cutting through cotton. Terrified of making a mess of my vintage find, I decided to follow the tutorial as closely as possible…ok, so I still did a bit of my own thing, like making the seam go down the back because the width of the sheet was exactly right, and I cut out the pieces so I used the lovely wide hem of the sheet as the hem of the skirt (one less seam to iron and sew)…but it was pretty close. For me. I also did not attach the sash to the skirt as I wanted the versatility to wear it with a belt.
Here’s the end result. I’m absolutely in love with it – the 1950s feel and how it makes me want to have high-tea followed by a frolic in a field of wild flowers (or maybe the other way around – one probably shouldn’t frolic on a stomach full of tea and delicious cakes). I can’t wait to wear it!
And you know the best thing? This skirt used just half of ONE sheet and I have TWO! Ooohhhh…what else shall I make?
My littlest one is almost 6 months old now. He arrived two weeks early. Not so early as to be worried but early enough to scrap my plans of getting everything organised before our lives entered the haze of newborn-ness again. For this reason I returned to my business as soon as I came home from hospital to organise donations for the charity auction I was holding for beyondblue. It never slowed down.
I am now at a point where I can finally take a breath. I have decided to take a week or two after the Coffs Coast Craft Expo I am exhibiting at this weekend to stop, recharge and get my head together before the rush of Christmas. It’s a sort of belated maternity leave.
So now I am busy, preparing for the expo, catching up on correspondence and finishing custom orders. But in one little corner of my mind, the plans for my break are already forming…
*cue daydream music*
I love op-shopping. I recently found a little stool that I am planning on painting white and fixing up to make a lovely addition to my daughter’s room. I also discovered a set of vintage sheets in a gorgeous buttery yellow floral. Dress and skirt designs are swirling around in my head as I make plans for sewing projects with the sheets. I also found a little tutorial for making your own breastfeeding dress from a top and some fabric here, so I’ve bought the necessary bits and pieces to make that too (I’ll let you know how it goes)!
I am also picturing trips to the park with the kids. Painting together in the sunshine. Play-dates. Building train tracks around the coffee table.
Then there are the odd jobs around the house. Sorting and storing the kids’ clothes that are too small now. Vacuuming out the car. Backing up all the photos on the computer. Updating the budget. Finally hanging up those last couple of pictures that have been leaning against the wall since we moved in January.
All this (and probably much more) in just one week or so. Hmmm…
Sometimes in all the planning we (or rather, I) forget to just be. Stop. Smell the roses. Savour the moment.
This is a skill I’m not very good at. I’m the kind of person who’s always doing. Multitasking is a natural way of life for me. Even as I’m writing this I am feeding my son and trying to prepare for bath time!
So, as I prepare to take my break I will plan to…take a break. The only way for me to remember to take a moment and stop is to plan it. Schedule it in. Then maybe it will actually happen.
So, I’ll be back in a little bit. Maybe with a new dress or skirt to show you. Maybe with a nicely restored stool to borrow from my daughter for photo shoots and markets. Maybe with a nicely organised house (ok, maybe not….I am mother to a toddler and an almost-on-the-move baby). But hopefully I will return relaxed and refreshed and happy in the knowledge that I had taken time for me and my family.
Fingers crossed. x