Made With Love Markets – Christmas Special

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

A Story of Consignment in a Bricks-and-mortar Shop – Cactus & Co, Qld

Facebook can be a wonderful place for a sense of community when it is used appropriately. Amongst the handmade business community there are several groups where we creatives can chat and ask questions pertaining to anything from how to adjust … Continue reading

Rad Retro | Fab 50s Collection Release

For a while now I have been wanting to play with a “new” style of vintage jewellery. I love the lacy, pearly, flowery-ness (if that wasn’t a word before, it is now) of the vintage-inspired jewellery I normally create but … Continue reading

Finding my voice…What shall I say?

I have been blogging here for around 10 months and in that time I have written about business, my jewellery, vintage fashion, my history with depression, fundraising efforts, family traditions and a few DIY and sewing projects. But it has … Continue reading

How do you balance business and family?

It has been a long time since I last blogged. Life has happened. Apart from being very busy in the business side of things (that’s a good thing, isn’t it?) we have had some family things unexpectedly come up in … Continue reading

The Made With Love Markets – A quick look at my stall

On Sunday I had a stall at the Made With Love Markets in Coffs Harbour. It also marked one year since joining the MWL market family! What a ride! Over the past year of doing markets I have refined and … Continue reading

Venturing into the Real Life World – Markets, Consignments & Marketing

I’m in super-industrious mode at the moment. Next weekend, Sunday 17th March, I will be a stallholder at the Made With Love Markets in Coffs Harbour. It will be my fourth MWL market and it marks one year since I … Continue reading

Self Doubt, Depression and the Unexpected Entrepreneur

Self doubt.

It’s such a powerful thing, isn’t it?

I don’t know if there’s anybody out there who hasn’t experienced a little self doubt before but I know it is something I find myself fighting all the time. It’s not so much because I’m not a confident person. Or because I don’t have any real talent or aptitude for what I do. It’s more a scar of my battle with depression.

{As those of you who have been following my blog will know, I have battled on and off with depression since 2007. I have been brutally honest about this as I am passionate about ending the stigma on mental health that makes some feel that they cannot be truthful about how they are really feeling. If you want to know more about my journey with depression you can read about it here.}

So how does this relate to business?

Lately, I have been feeling a bit of self doubt. Sales have been a bit slow (as is usual at this time of year) and I seem to be waiting interminably for my next market in March. After all the busyness of the Christmas/New year period it’s all feeling a little slow. So those niggly thoughts start coming in…

“I’m not selling anything. Maybe it’s because people no longer like what I do”

“If this keeps going I won’t have any income left to continue with my business”

“I know lots of small businesses fail early on…will mine be part of that statistic?”

“Is it worth spending the money and taking the time to apply for Trademark?”

“Other businesses look like they’re selling well…why aren’t I?”

“I feel so guilty taking time to work on my business when I should be cleaning the house/folding washing/spending better quality time with the kids/etc.”

And so it continues.

Now, despite all the cognitive behaviour therapy I have done, negative self-talk and thoughts still blow through my mind like a whirlwind sometimes, making a big mess of calm and confidence and leaving a big pile of rubbish to sort through. I KNOW in my head what is happening and I KNOW it is not good, but I sometimes feel like I’m standing there helpless as I watch my thoughts get all muddied.

So, in my state of ‘blergh’ I signed up to do an online milestones workshop with Get It Done Mum and Build A Little Biz (two excellent resources if you are a small biz owner!). The big selling point was that they promised to “overcome the overwhelm”…just what I needed!

I scrounged together the time to access the meeting online in between juggling my two young children and threw myself into the exercises wholeheartedly.

What a breath of fresh air through my mind!

Through doing this workshop I found the clarity to discover what I really want (and need) from my business as well as from my personal life and set milestones and strategies to achieve this newfound vision.

Then, last night as I was talking with my husband about the workshop and how I’m feeling about business and all the rest, and I realised that the self doubt I had been feeling was because I didn’t set out to start a business, it just grew organically from a hobby. It’s this fact that has meant that I still have a mental barrier to considering myself as a true and proper “entrepreneur” (or “mumpreneur” if you prefer that term). I don’t yet recognise it subconsciously as a real job. It is the first time I haven’t had a clear job title or written list of responsibilities pertaining to my job, and it’s affecting how I see myself and how I value what I do. When I fill out a form I stumble upon what to write in the occupation part. It used to be so clear-cut and easy – “preschool teacher” fitted nicely and people knew what it meant. Now I find I fall back on “stay at home mum” because it’s too hard to come up with a title for what I do.

Maybe it’s also because there doesn’t seem to be as much social recognition of small home-based business. Yes, there’s the whole “mumpreneur” movement thing but some part of me thinks that it’s not taken as seriously as it should be. This perception could be because I keep having conversations like this with new people I meet:

Them: So what do you do?

Me: Oh, I’m at home with my kids….oh and I have a small business.

Them: Oh really? What do you do?

Me: I make jewellery.

Them: Oh.

Silence. End of conversation.

Is this just me? Is there a better way I can describe myself? Am I “good enough” to say that I am a “jewellery designer”? Will this make people more interested or value what I now do?

And see, there’s that self doubt again. Sneaky, isn’t it?

So I suppose the moral of this story is that I need to take myself seriously. I need to invest (time and…wait for it…money) in myself and in my business. I need to focus on my passion. I need to value what I do.

When I do this, self doubt disappears. The thought patterns of my depression-scarred mind can be changed. I can be proud of what I do.

So I have this manifesto from Build A Little Biz stuck up right in front of me at my desk and I am going to read it every day (or several times a day if I need to!) and I am going to keep marching on…

Thanks to Build a Little Biz

Thanks to Build a Little Biz


Hello Twitter!

Today I bit the bullet and signed up for Twitter. I feel like I’ve crossed over to the Dark Side. But I think it will be a good development for my business.

I’m still getting started and learning the ropes. Thankfully hubby has been using Twitter for his professional development as a high school teacher for some time so he has been helping me work things out.

Any Twitter tips? Please leave a comment!

If you are on Twitter and would like to ‘follow’ me you can find me under the handle @VintageCordelle.

A New Year – Goals for 2013

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?

  1. 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!).Lustre bracelet
  2. 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!IMG_9961
  3. 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!IMG_0390
  4. 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.Snowflake earrings
  5. 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!Rosa brooch/clip

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!