It seems like recently I have caught the drawing bug, probably largely helped by a sudden avalanche of sales for my Penguin Valentines Cards! It really has been rather exciting over here at Penguin HQ!
I’ve found that I really do love drawing cute little animals and it seems like i’m getting better and better every time i open up photoshop! I’ve even started recording my drawing process as i think it does help to watch back when i’m not concentrating on drawing, plus i think it could be quite a nice little addition to my youtube cannel that’s been lying dormant for so long! You can watch all my time-lapses here!
I drew these seahorses as another option for valentines day, but ended up not really liking them enough to put up in my shop. I do think they’re cute but, gosh, are seahorses hard to draw! Maybe i’ll revisit them once i’ve improved a bit more.
I started to relax into my drawing a bit more and drew this adorable Hippo! This has to be one of my favourite drawings to date! He’s wearing a cute little party hat and singing ‘Hippo Birthday’, because Hippo’s are obviously amazing singers! 😉 I think my shading improved so much on this picture and I just love the hippos character!
You can buy my Hippo Birthday card here!
Ashley then gave me the idea of drawing a shiny-object-loving magpie stealing a ring for a wedding or engagement card and I thought it was a great idea! I wanted to add a little simple background to this one and love how it turned out although i think i will tweak my shading tomorrow as it isn’t as good as on my Hippo.
You can find my Magpie Thief card here!
What do you think I should draw next?
I also have some other exciting plans for my youtube so do keep an eye out for more learning, projects and other fun things!
But for now, it’s time to sew!
For a while now I’ve been stuck on how to package my products, usually just sending them off in some purple tissue paper and them, quite honestly, not being that exciting. I want even receiving and opening my items to be a good, memorable experience. I want not only my products to ‘Wow’ but the packaging it comes in to make the moment really special.
I think I’ve finally found a winner and have sent off my first two parcels with my new wrapping design!
When you open up your parcel now you will find a pretty little brown package wrapped with a bold, orange ribbon and finished with a Penguin Theory’ business card.
The package wont be sellotaped so that if it is a gift you can open it up to check the product is to your liking before wrapping it back up again to give away.
Alongside the package will be a special Penguin Theory Invoice. Inside will be the product you have purchased nestled amongst some bright orange tissue paper.
Unfortunately the two packages I sent off yesterday had purple tissue paper as the orange I ordered didn’t arrive until I was leaving the house for the post office! Doh!
I also have some good ideas on how to package my items at craft fairs, although i still need to find a way to make my vision a reality.
I am super pleased with my new wrapping and it’s making me even more excited to sell lots of amazing products this year! I’ve already made two sales before January even really started and have so many ideas already in progress and a commission in the works, not a bad start to the year at all.
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!
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!
So I haven’t blogged in far too long, but things have been, well, hectic.
I’ve been searching for flats in London for the boyfriend and I to move into. I managed to find one gorgeous (yet small) flat in the north and have put a deposit down on it. We’re hoping to move very soon, just having to sort out the paper work (which has been very stressful).
I’ve also been working with a sales and marketing company temporarily. It’s taught me a lot about how to sell my own projects and hopefully will help me gain a few sales. Unfortunately I’ve had to leave after my mother refused to be a guarantor for the flat unless one of us had a regular paid job (we were both earning by commission so i understand her worries). I went for a few interviews around and finally managed to get a job in a Weatherspoons, just a 10minute bus ride away from our new flat! I’ve always wanted to be a barmaid at least for a little bit! The only problem is that now I will probably be earning less money, definitely not enough to cover expenses, and so we are, unwillingly, looking into receiving some housing benefits to help us along for the time being. I am also considering keeping up the sales job on my days off as well, but this is depending on another exciting development in the form of a stall for my crafts!
My sisters-boyfriends-mother also does crafty things (making some amazing aprons like this one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/200727530177?ssPageName=STRK%3AMESOX%3AIT&_trksid=p3984.m1559.l2649#ht_1441wt_1348) and was thinking of opening a stall in camden market. However she lives in the north and so would need someone to run it for her. That is where i come in, she’s asked if I can run it for her and in return i will be able to place some of my items along side hers. Obviously i jumped at the chance to say yes but it could be a while before all the logistics are figured out and I know if it’s really going to go ahead.
In other news, i’ve been celebrating my sisters birthday. We went to watch Les Miserables, then had a nice posh meal before going out for some drinks. I would have loved to stay out longer but the last train back to Essex was 12:40 and I really didn’t want to sleep on the floor. I also made her present, my first ever clothing item! It didn’t exactly go to plan and wasn’t really the best thing ever, I definitely feel I should buy her something to make up for it. At least i’ve learnt for next time, a bit more practice and it should be fine i’m sure.
Today i have been making things again for the first time in weeks! I had a brainwave with an old brcelet i never wear and started making some earrings. However i’m a little unsure of how to finish them off…I know what i want, just not how to do it.
I also started my first tiara which isn’t turning out too badly, but could be better. I think it needs more of the pretty stones on it.
Not the best photo’s i know, but my camera is re-charging.
Hopefully my next blog will be sooner, but, as we’re expecting being able to move any day now that might not be the case.
Until next time!