Thursday, 30 May 2013

Custom Creations- Think Pink.

Occasionally I am asked to create a completely unique item for a customer, the most recent of which was a bespoke purse for birthday present. Word of mouth was instrumental in this one, with the good folks at Really Now pointing the client in my direction.
After some discussion about styles and shapes of purse, using my Flickr album for reference, the customer decided on one of my embroidered snap purses, with a flamingo on the front and pink polka dot lining, all excellent decisions!

With something more figurative like this I try to do some research first, so I know what I'm aiming for. I find Pinterest really useful for this, as I don't need to go printing out sheets full of birds for just the one project.
And now I've remembered what flamingos actually look like, not always pink it would seem, I can start scribbling.
Once I've got a general idea of the design, and it's placement on the purse, I use the iron on transfer pencils to get a simple outline on the fabric to work from.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Book Club - The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business

I have a lot of books. A LOT. It makes moving house a bit tricky, but they make my bookshelves look useful, it's swings and roundabouts. I'm the kind of person who will seek out the bookcases at someone's house to get a better idea of what they're really like. That's why I distrust e-readers, people hiding themselves away where I can't judge them for owning the whole Twilight saga. You are what you read.

Since I have so many, particularly of an art/design/craft nature I thought I might share a few recommendations with you from time to time, use my ex-Waterstones-WHSmith bookseller skills to help you find the perfect book for you and sign you up to a pre-order of Harry Potter while you're here. Do you have one of our loyalty cards yet? You'll earn one point for every £50 you spend, with each point worth 0.25p, so it soon adds up....

This week I have been going over the finer details of my business with a view to widening my customer base, gainign new stockists and so on. Of particular help in this task have been these two publications by Kari Chapin.
Kari is a business coach who has worked in marketing and publicity with various arts and non profit organisations, and has a passion for handmade and creative businesses. The first of the two books, The Handmade Marketplace, is a great guide to starting out in the craft and handmade sector. As well as her own advice she draws togther a wealth of other designers, makers and business mentors to share their expertise in the industry. 
The book covers the absolute basics, like setting goals and defining your business, branding, pricing your work, advertising, using social media, preparing for a craft fair, selling online and in shops.
It's a brilliant book if you are just starting out in the handmade sector, or if you're just thinking about it. It breaks down everything you need to think about before you begin, and provides lots of real life examples of people who have taken that route, what they did and what they might do differently.
One of the things I love the most about these books is the use of hand drawn type, because it takes me back to that other great literary institution, The Babysitters Club books (particularly the Summer Specials), classics.

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