Wednesday, 12 September 2012
UK Handmade Week 2
Welcome to week 2 of the UK Handmade blog hop, rules and regs below:
1. Add your blog to the linky tool at the bottom of this post.
2. Make sure you link back to this blog in your blog and mention UK Handmade Thursday.
3. Visit the other bloggers, read and comment on their posts.
4. Posts should be craft related
5. Follow the blogs within the link party.
Blogging is invaluable for any business, whether you visit and comment on blogs, join linky parties or just blog on a regular basis. As posting for UK Handmade is new I thought it would be good if we got to know each other better so the first guest is Allison Hazel. Thank you for being our 1st guest blogger Allison now let's settle down with a cup of coffee, a biscuit or 2 and enjoy reading all about you:
My name is Allison, I'm 43 and I live in Harlow, Essex with my partner Simon and my gorgeous labradoodle called Henry. I'm a primary teacher and in my spare time I love making cards but I also enjoy making bookmarks and tags. Sometimes I just like to chill in front of the telly doing cross stitch.
I've been making cards for a number of years and initially made them for family members, friends and colleagues. About a year ago I decided to try and sell to a wider market so I had a stall at a local Christmas bazaar and then another at a big arts and crafts Christmas fayre. I really enjoyed both and had some lovely feedback which in turn, spurred me on to open a Folksy shop (http://folksy.com/shops/allystamps).
When I was growing up, I used to sit and watch my mum knit and crochet. She also used to make all of me and my sisters clothes (we were often dressed identically!) and I vividly remember her laying out material on the living room floor, attaching paper patterns, cutting them out and assembling them on the sewing machine. She was never idle and I guess she was my main inspiration for crafting in general. I can't knit or crochet (much to my mums despair) but I do follow her in always having something to do.
We are very lucky in that we had an extension added to the back of our house. This is our office. Desks run all along the back wall and along part of each side wall (imagine a u shape). My partner and I are able to sit side by side working at our computers. I then have space along the side where I do my crafting and have lots of cupboards for storing my crafty stash. Mind you, if I don't stop soon, we will need another extension to fit it all in! When I'm making my cards, I often look on the internet for inspiration and may see card layouts that I like. I particularly like Splitcoast Stampers for that. I also enter a lot of card challenges. This keeps the ideas flowing and card sketch challenges particularly help with card designs.
I promote my business through a few different mediums. As mentioned before, I have a Folksy shop. I also have a facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ally-Stamps/209704535743430?ref=hl) and you can find me on twitter (https://twitter.com/AllyStamps). I also have a blog (http://lovinglyhandcrafted.blogspot.co.uk/) Although I've been doing this about a year, I still consider myself a new business and am constantly looking for ways to promote my cards.
I love sitting at my desk making cards or playing with paper, but I hate not having enough time or energy to do it whenever I want. I guess my ideal for the future would be to give up work and craft full time, but I'm under no illusion that this is most likely a pipe dream. Unfortunately, selling cards does not bring in much money.
My advice to other card makers would be to stick at it. There is a lot of competition out there, so promote, promote, promote. Look at other card makers shops, see what is 'on trend' and use look to have a guide for pricing. You don't want to over price but you also don't want to under sell your cards either. You'll never make a profit.
So that's me, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Thank you Allison I really enjoyed reading about you and your business.
Chief of fabric bits