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!
The 27th was my birthday and also happened to be the date of the Olympics Opening Ceremony. Obviously this meant a party was needed. I invited a few friends around, gathered some snacks and alcohol and made sure the tele was on the right channel. We played some fun olympic drinking games whilst watching the ceremony.
The ceremony itself actually surprised me, in a good way. I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but that wasn’t it. It far exceeded my expectations. At first I wasn’t so sure, the whole arena looked like a field and, although the performance was good, I couldn’t see how much they could do with the set as it was. But then the towers majestically rose out of the ground and the whole stage was transformed seamlessly.
Then later James Bond goes to see the Queen. At this point everyone in the room were arguing as to whether or not it was really the queen. Then she turned around. We were very impressed. Thinking this couldn’t get any better, we all stared in disbelief queen jumped out of the helicopter! We we’re all in fits of laughter. I’m just sad that they didn’t get a stunt double to actually parachute down.
Then it got even better with Rowan Atkinson appearing as Mr Bean. I was obsessed with Mr Bean when I was younger and I made sure no one spoke whilst he was on screen. I always find it amazing that he can create so much laughter without even speaking. He is truly a talented man.
Eventually we went out and about in Camden and had a good boogie.
If you read my last post you will have seen that I mentioned that my family had put a lot into the penguin theory. That is certainly very true, they’ve always been very supportive. It was my sister who first got me involved in making jewellery by taking me to a bead shop in Leeds. There were so many pretty shiny things I immediately wanted to make something pretty and bought lots.
When I first mentioned that I wanted to start sewing it was my mum who bought me my first machine last year. Just a small, cheap (for a sewing machine) john lewis model, but perfect for a beginner. I’m usually not the best at keeping up a hobby (I seem to get bored rather quickly and give up once i find something that’s hard) so I definitely didn’t expect anything more. But for my birthday this year my mum and her boyfriend completely stunned me. They bought me a brand new, full sized, 39 stitch, electrical sewing machine. For them to get together and buy me something it must have cost a lot and I can tell this is quite a good sewing machine. I’m so excited to use it!
It’s made me feel really motivated. The amount of money they must have spent on my hobby and has made me realise that I have to keep at it and do well, or more that I can. My aunt also bought me lots of books about selling online and at craft fairs which are proving to be very useful. In fact I think I will do book reviews of them all in the near future for anyone else thinking of buying them.
My family have always supported my sewing, buying things off me (my sister recently bought some bunting, my aunt bought some bibs), complimenting my products, telling all their friends to look at my facebook page. My boyfriend is even helping out, forcing me to do the admin and even helping when i’m stuck drawing a pattern, he really has been a life saver at times. I really am grateful for the support they give me and probably would have given up long ago if it wasn’t for them.
Yesterday I also got involved with the Olympics! My sister and her housemate had a spare ticket for volleyball so I of course decided to join. We saw the mens Swiss vs Russia and USA vs Poland followed by the Womens Australian vs Austria. Unfortunately we had to leave then as the others needed to get up early and so missed the last match, but it was an amazing experience! The atmosphere was electric and the players were brilliant. Lots of dancers came on during the breaks and got the whole crowd moving. Definitely was an exciting experience and I’m delighted that I had a chance to go.
On the way home we actually saw the swiss team going back to their hotel. We congratulated them on their win and managed to get a photo with them! They were super nice guys (and extremely tall!), definitely backing them for a medal.
For now though, I have books to read and a sewing machine to learn how to use! (I haven’t tried it yet as I’m reading everything in the manual before I touch it)
So until next time!