On Saturday I went to see my sister in London. We went to Old Spitalfields market to have a gander of all the different products. There were some really amazing products and some great, quirky inspiration! It was actually a very good eye-opener for me who is having trouble with which direction to take my business next. I know I need a more cohesive theme but i’m struggling to find my niche. I recommend anyone having the same trouble to go and have a gander around other handmade shops, businesses and market places. Look at what they do, how they present their products and gain inspiration from their products (baring in mind that copying and inspiration are two completely different things of course).
I actually ended up buying this adorable Penguin Print from Katie Viggers and can’t wait to get it framed and up on my wall (although knowing me it will probably stay in it’s protective envelope for far too long)
We then wen’t for a bit of retail therapy around the corner in a shopping centre. I ended up spending far too much money in H&M but definitely don’t regret any of my purchases. I got an adorable dress with a christmas light print and mesh layer on top, a snazzy jacket and two pretty t-shirts (one bought for me by my generous sister who saw me pining after it). I also spent my Next christmas voucher on a snazzy pair of sunglasses!
A very successful shopping trip!
We then decided it was time for a bite to eat and had some business chat over a bowl of chips and a few drinks.
We brainstormed about my business and where i wanted it to go next. We talked about the items we had seen at the market and how I could make similar things with my own unique stamp on them. Most of all we talked about how I could make my shop cohesive and about how to market my products.
It was really useful to have a big chat about the shop and has really helped me to see what I want for it in the future.
I feel i have more direction with my business now. I just need to wait for a few more supplies to arrive for me to really get stuck in, but I promise there are exciting things for the future, i just need to make sure I stay motivated and don’t procrastinate too much.
‘Till next time!
Although I’m not sure how much longer I want to work in the pub, I do really love the people there. Sure there is the odd annoying, rude customer but the friendly customers (and hilarious staff) are the ones that make it all worth while!
There are a lot of the regulars that are great to have a chat with but there is one gentleman in particular who is the jolliest man you will ever meet, he loves his ale and always exclaims ‘marvellous’ in his deep voice when you hand him his pint. He actually knows about ‘The Penguin Theory’ and follows my facebook page ‘liking’ most of my statuses on there.
He always asks how the sewing is going and has recently started telling me that ‘This is the year penguins will fly’.
I absolutely love this phrase and have now changed my blogs tag line to this because this IS the year the penguin theory will get off the ground and start flapping it’s wings! It’s just so perfectly fitting that I had to steal it (although he has stated that there’s ‘no need to steal for your blog, you have a gift’).
It’s people like this that really keep me motivated. The fact that so many seem to believe I can do it (and not just people from work, friends and family too and of course my boyfriend is a HUGE help) is really a big confidence booster. Without everyone’s support I would have probably given up by now, but the hard work is paying off and sales are being made. I am really starting to believe in myself now and, as long as I keep up the hard work, I know I can make something of myself.
So heres to you Michael! When I’m rich and the penguins are soaring, I will buy you a drink!
I know, I know. I’m a terrible blogger. Christmas became a whirlwind of un-organisation and just seemed to appear out of no where for me! The New years arrived and work took over, I didn’t even get to go out and celebrate! But now it’s a new year and a new chance to work hard, improving myself and my business!
I will do a quick Christmas update soon (once all the photo’s are edited) but for now I want to look to the new year and what it has in store!
I have been thinking long and hard about my new years resolution and realised that I needed more then one. There’s so much I want to do this year to really feel like i’ve got the most out of it.
Here’s the list I finally came up with :
Hopefully with these goals I can not only make The Penguin Theory a success (or at least on the way there) but I can also have an exciting, action packed year following the other loves in my life (acting and travelling being among them).
So what are your new years resolutions this year and what are your goals?
Until next time (I promise I will resume normal blogging again now)
Happy New Year!
If, like me, you’re think of looking for a new job in the UK, then here a few useful websites to help you with the search.
If you’re a student in the UK you may need a part time job to help you afford food (and all those nights out). This website specialises in jobs for students, obviously including loads of bar work, front of house and other part time shift work. It is also good for finding jobs to fill your gap year or christmas/summer breaks.
This is the perfect site for recent graduates like me who are struggling to find a job. It can help you find a job that suits your degree and takes your grades into account in the search.
This site was actually recommended to me by the people at the job centre. It pulls jobs from all around the internet (including the government job seekers website) and put them all in one place for you to browse. Very useful to get the widest job search possible.
For those of you who think an apprenticeship is more suitable, this is the site for you. Lots of great opportunities for the person who didn’t like the idea of university but still wants to learn.
This is great for is you’re not looking for the standard 9 – 5 as this site focusses on agency work. They find the work for you and you just have to turn up. It’s usually good pay as long as you get the hours.
Good luck in your job searches!
‘Till next time
Welcome to the new launch of my blog!
It even comes with some fancy new banners on mondays, thursdays and Saturdays!
Monday is now the ‘Back to work’section of my blog and will be here to help you and I learn how to do well in our careers. From finding a job, to promotions and even running your own business!
This first instalment will cover an aspect of the crafting business, that I am obviously interested in, craft fairs.
Craft fairs are essential to any maker as they seem to be the best way to make money and are able to reach a wide and local customer circle.
Yesterday was my first real craft fair and, although not a complete failure, there are definitely a lot of improvements needed to be made.
This instalment will take examples from the fair I attended yesterday and give you tips on how not to run your stall.
1. Get everything ready before hand
By everything I mean everything. Have all of it packed up and ready to go the night before at the latest. In my defence I was pretty ill and worked a 14hr shift the night before, but I ended forgetting to take a few important things (such as my info poster, carrier bags and even half my stock!).
Save yourself the panic of trying to get everything together that morning because you will definitely forget something.
2. Think about the little details.
Everything from decorations to levels and even packaging. You need to make it look and feel professional.
A large sheet to cover the table is a must! Also play with arranging boxes under the sheets to create different levels and to add a bit of interest. Try and think of exciting ways to display your products, little bowls, stands or anything you can hang your items from. As you can tell from my images I forgot to pack those kinds of things and so had trouble really arranging my stall. It didn’t look the neatest it could have done but I don’t think it looked terrible. I will definitely think more about how I can really show off my items.
You also need to think about what you’re going to do if you make a sale. Customers will expect a bag at the very least. If you want to think about wrapping you products as well that’s also a good idea.
3. Take someone else with you
Craft fairs usually last a few hours and there’s not really a point when you can leave your stall unattended. You will most likely need the toilet and/or food whilst there and so will need to leave your stall at some point. Plus it’s always fun to go have a look around at the other stalls and
spend too much money see what they have for sale, maybe swap a few business cards.
If you can’t get anyone to keep you company you should definitely pack yourself some drinks and snacks. Usually you will be able to ask the stall next door to just keep an eye on your table whilst you nip to the loo at least.
Unfortunately I couldn’t take anyone with me and forgot food and so was feeling pretty rough by the end of the day, especially as I was ill as well.
4. Have a varied stock
Don’t just cater to one price bracket. Have smaller, cheaper objects as well as the larger/more expensive ones. It’s always good to have something kids can spend their pocket money on, or adults can buy without worrying about how much money they will have left. With smaller objects it will be a lot easier to make more sales, how ever you should still have some more expensive items as then one or two sales could cover the cost of the table. The table next to me had lots of little items and sold a lot of products, I had forgotten all my smaller products and didn’t make my first sale until a couple of hours before closing.
5. Be polite and engaging
If work in sales and retail has taught me anything, it’s that if you’re smiley and engage the customer in conversation they will ultimately feel welcomed and be much more open to spending money. Think about it, would you buy from a grumpy stall holder who didn’t really seem interested in your custom? Of course not! Engage the customer in conversation, ask them how their day is, if they’re enjoying the fair, talk about yourself and explain your products and what makes them special. Take an interest in the customer and they will take an interest in you.
6. Business Cards
A lot of people might not buy on the day but might want something later on. Take business cards and hand them out as often as possible. I was a little slow on the up take with mine, I just kept forgetting about them. But there were a couple of potential customers who seemed really interested in commission pieces. If they do get back to me it’s possible I can make back all the money I spent on my stall!
Plus business cards are useful to swap with other crafters. You can keep in the loop together letting each other know of upcoming craft fairs, advertising each others wares and generally giving each other support.
Always always always have a float. People will be paying money for things, if you don’t have enough change to give them you may well lose a sale. Deciding how much money to take is hard and really depends on the event and your prices. I took £30. £10 in pound coins and the rest in £5 notes.
8. Multi-buy Deals
Everyone loves a deal and, if it doesn’t mean you’re under selling yourself, there is no reason why you can’t have one on your stall. Maybe you have some little hair grips that are £3 each. Why don’t you sell 2 for £5? It shouldn’t affect your price so much that you will lose out and more people are likely to end up buying a second hair grip that they wouldn’t have necessarily have bought before! Of course these deals aren’t for every shop, but it’s a good way to get a few more sales under your belt.
9. Offer Solutions
If someone wants one of your items but isn’t sure, why don’t you offer your services to create one that suits them perfectly? I had one woman want my cupcake apron but it was too small for the child. She almost bought my pink and brown striped apron but wasn’t sure if the child would like it as much. I said I could make her the cupcake apron in a larger size if she wanted and gave her my email. I missed out on doing this with a few other people which could have resulted in more sales, if not on the day then at least in future.
10. Enjoy yourself
I was a bit mopey all day due to my insides trying to fight to get out, but sitting there and looking bored is not going to attract customers. Sure you’re sat there for a long time and it can get boring, but at least don’t let everyone else know you’re bored. Maybe take some work to do with you. The table next to me were busy sewing little ornaments whilst running their stall and got quite a few good comments about it. People like to see the artist at work and it means you can add even more stock to your table. Of course not every craft will allow you to do this in which case you’ll have to find some other way to keep yourself amused.
I have a lot to do before my next craft fair and a lot more stock to make. I did manage two sales though and handed quite a few business cards so hopefully I will see interest in my products picking up in the next few weeks.
For now though it’s time to keep sewing and planning for my next craft fair!
‘Till Next Time!