Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sky 30/6/10

Running A Craft Business ~ Marketing ~ Part 1

Having a web site is not enough. If you design and set it up and then do nothing, you are never going to reach good positions on Google and the other search engines.

It’s like having a child, you have to feed it and care for it and encourage it.

You’ll spend a lot of time promoting your site.

• Directory listings: there are a lot of directories on the web where you can list your site. You will in most cases be required to then link back to the directory. You therefore set up on your site a links page, and this is where your reciprocal links go.

• You can link your web site with other people, in exchange for you linking to theirs.

• Social networking is also great. Be careful that you abide by the rules though or you will get banned. You can join forums relating to your product etc. is a great place to share about your craft and to also help other people out. There is a whole bank of knowledge and experienced crafters and craft business owners who will offer advice.

• Listing sites such as are great show cases for your handmade items.

• Blog: Blogs are great tools for promoting your work. Google blogger is easy to use, Free and has the ability to post pictures easily. You should aim to blog regularly and to get started it takes 5 minutes!! You can link to your web sites and do anything you want: and are two examples of how blogs can work for your business.

• Remember that when you are on the internet, you represent your business. Be careful how you respond to people and how you show yourself. Be polite, avoid angry confrontations.

• Social networking sites like twitter and face book, can be excellent promoters. Be Careful though to draw the line between business and personal use. It’s worth setting up a business identity and keeping that professional. Again, remember the image you are portraying.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Presenting colour options ~ Swarovski Colour Chart

It's always difficult to know how to best display colour options for clients and I find this particually with the wonderful array of colours offered by Swarovski.  There are several places around who offer sample packs, but the fiddly little bags are not a very professional way to show the options off to a client.
Then there is the option of aquiring a colour chart, these only offer static crystals or even printed images and it's difficult to see how colours actually work along side each other.
I thought I'd share my idea to work with the crystals allowing the flexibility of seeing the colours nest to one another, whilst showcasing the various colour options and making it easy to see the full rnage in each tone family.
I've used memory wire and cut single rings.  I then loop the end, feed on the crystals and type up a card to attach with the names on,,, (the card is laminated and then punched)  finally the other end is looped to stop the crystals falling off.  The loops of crystals are attached together using jump rings.
I've also added my logo and details to the back of one of the cards.

Day 165 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ Bollywood Bracelet

Bollywood style bracelet created with turquoise blue glass delica beads and silver coloured beads.  Wrap around so fits all sizes of wrist.

Sky 29/6/10

Just a bit of cloud

Craft Juice Tuesday ~ 29/6/10 ~ Spinning a Yarn

Aren't these little woodland creatures by Fluff and Fuzz cute. I think that rabbit needs a cuddle!

Pipistrelle has created this lovely crocheted bag. I love the mixed colour yarns.  The bag is made in a single piece and has no seams.

This mauve and gold boa is created in mixed yarns to provide a real textural experience of yarns and colours.

Sky ~ 28/6/10

Fluffy clouds

Day 164 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ Choker

Sky ~ 27/6/10

Beautiful blue

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 162 ~ One a Day Challenge ~ Neutal knots necklace

Another knotted necklace, this time with olive and neutral tones.

Sky ~ 25/6/10

lots of clouds with a little hint of blue sky

Running A Craft Business ~ Selling on the web

Many people start out with Ebay, but Ebay is not really geared towards handmade items, and is frequented by those after a bargain rather than those who want an artisan product. Your handmade item has been made with time, care etc and you need to sell at a realistic price. Most people find this the hardest thing to do. If you under price, it is difficult to hike the prices in the future. You undermine the concept of artisan products and do not differentiate yourself from the mass produced merchandise available all over.
It’s all part of the marketing.

Web sites that work on a similar basis to Ebay, but that are purely for handmade goods are:

Folksy ~ UK based


Etsy ~ USA based, but used by UK sellers

The benefit of these type of sites is that they promote the handmade item, the artisan and have large followings, are picked up easily by Google etc.
When you feel that the time is right, you may want to start with your own web site.
There are several web site providers, packages etc to suit every budget.
The general rule of thumb is : avoid free sites.  They do not look profewssional and mean that your URL (the bit you type in the address bar is long winded and looks cheap.
You need a site where you can own the domain. That is www. YOUR (or .com)
Mr site is a great start out option. The basic package has 50 pages, the ability to have a shop and receive online payments (through Paypal), A range of templates, the ability to set up how you want.
It retails at £34 ish from Mr site, but you can get it on Amazon for less than £20.
You basically receive a card telling you your password.
You also get the purchase of a domain.
The pages are really easy to use, there is lots of help on the web and in the handbook for telling you how to do things.
When you start out it is a good idea to map out on paper the sections you want and how you will link them together. Think about the future as well. How might your site/ product range develop in the future.
Be careful choosing your domain name. If you currently make Jam, but in the future you intend to increase your line into pies, you don’t want to be called Jenny’s Jam. You’d think more along the lines of Jenny’s kitchen!
The sites can easily be updated and altered, but you really want to be doing big changes as little as possible due to the Google bots etc.
There are other e commerce sites available, but it will depend on what you think your client base, product lines etc are going to be.
You can also get a professional to make your site. This is expensive and often means that any changes you may want to make to your products etc have to be done by the creator, costing you more each time etc.
It’s important that you learn to do the updates, product listings etc yourself. It’s bad practice to be reliant of others to do it for you and it means that rather than just doing it, you are waiting until your “helper” has time to do it for you. You can ask for help, but should try to do as much as possible yourself. Don’t be scared. There is so much help out there should you need it.
Photography: it is really important to have good images. Take time over your photography, use editor suits etc and make sure your products are photographed well. Poor photography = poor quality! The macro button (looks like a tulip) is essential for getting good close up shots. (I'll be talking more about photography in the future posts.)
Contact details: UK law stares that if you are distance selling (i.e. selling through a website) then you must display your address and a contact phone number.
Design: Keep it simple and easy to navigate. A client should be able to locate what they are looking for with 2 – 3 clicks at the most.
You need to apply a counter and keep an eye on where people are viewing your site from. This can be done for free with Google analytics or a free counter web site.  They allow you to see where your readers come from, how long they stay, what they look at etc.  It can be very useful when you are targetting advertising etc.
When you start up a web site, you need to constantly check things out, keep promoting it etc.  Outdated details etc are a turn off and don't show a professional image.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 161 ~ One A day Challenge ~ Knotted Necklace

This knotted glass bead necklace is created with assorted beads in a lovely range of brght colours is knotted onto black cotton cording.

Who can know?

I stand in awe of you
I stand in awe of you
So glorious and true
I stand in awe
I stand in awe...

Who can know the mind of our creator?
Who can speak of wonders yet unseen?
Who can reach the height of understanding,
 to play the notes of wisdoms melody?

Sky ~ 24/6/10

stunning blue

Running A Craft Business ~ Tax and Insurance

Law and legalities: In the UK

There is no such thing as  hobby selling, the moment you offer anything for sale or accept money or reward (can include shopping, bartered gifts etc) you are classed as a trader.You should tell  the Inland Revenue. as soon as you start working for yourself (you can’t register in advance). If you delay registering, you may have to pay an initial penalty. You’ll also have to pay further penalties if payments become due and have not been met. 
You will be self employed / sole trader etc. The tax return is filled out each year. You must keep a set of simple accounts and save all your receipts, note down all income, sales etc.

Ignorance is no excuse!!

If you are selling items that you have made, you need public liability insurance. Typically for a craft type trader this will be in the region of £50 - £100.

CMTIA – is one example, but there are several options.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 159 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ pink and blue bracelet

assorted pink and blue bead dangley bracelet

Sky ~ 22/6/10

beautiful blue

Craft Juice Tuesday ~ 22/6/10 ~ Black and white

This set of beautiful black and white thank you card have been created by
I love the beautiful delicate cutouts against the black and white colour.

A set of four black and white crocheted coaster created by Pins and needles
would look great in a contemporary or traditional home.

These cut little buttons featuring russian dolls are created by From Japan with Love.  They are really pretty and would embellish any garment or creation. 

Day 158 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ Double row crystal tiara

This is a double row tiara created with two rows of tightly packed Swarovski crystals, very elegant and sparkley and perfect for all occassions.

Sky ~ 21/6/10

Fluffy white clouds

Day 157 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ deep alice band crystal tiara

This Alice Band style tiara is created with densly packed Swarovski crystals in three layers.  The resulting multi faceted surface sparkles like no other.  Extremely glamerous and beautiful.  Sadly photos do not do this the justice it so deserves.

Sky ~ 20/6/10

Grey and overcast

Day 156 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ Green tiara band

Two green tones of Swarovski crystals with tiny gold accent beads.  This tiara band can be worn as an alice band or bun base style tiara.

Sky ~19/6/10

grey and cloudy

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sky ~ 18/6/10

Grey but still sunny

Day 155 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ Pink Toned Necklace

Pink assorted beads including glass, Czech, Mother of Pearl, shell and wooden beads are combined along with chain to create this versatile piece.

It's A Discovery Day ~ A Little Bit Of Cornish Mist

Some days, when I am reading my dash board (the list of snippets from all the blogs I follow), I am struck by something beautiful that I just want to share with you.  Today has been one of those days!
Just look at these stunning paper designs by A Little Bit Of Cornish Mist.
The stunning colours and papers used are  so beautiful and delcate and the cornish coast really comes to life in them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 153 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ Knotted blue beads

These wooden beads have been threaded onto cotton thread and are knotted in between.  They are very very chunky and would look great with a summeer outfit.

Faithful One ~ Robin Mark

Robin Marks beautiful song faithful one has some wonderful lyrics

Faithful One, so unchanging
Ageless one you're my rock of peace
Lord of all I depend on you
I call out to you
again and again
I call out to you
Again and again
You are my rock in times of trouble
You lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm your love is the anchor
My hope is in you alone.

Day 152 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ multi colour necklace

Created from assorted glass beads to match a beautiful maxi dress.  The colours echo those in the fabric.

Sky ~ 16/6/10


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Craft juice Tuesday ~ 15/6/10 ~ It caught my eye!

These amazing lampwork beads have been created using soft pinks and spring greens. Each bead is individually made over a torch by Crazy Lady Glass

Cut Copy Create has made this wonderful atmospheric image which is a mono print that has then been digitally enhanced with colour.

More beautiful beads.  This time they are deep swirling greens and blues.  Reminiscent of the sea.  I am in love!
Created by Beadtopia

This wonderful seeless glasses case is felted by violet green.  I love the colour choices and patterns.

Sky 15/6/10

Lovely summer sky

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's A Discovery Day! ~ Carol's bag

Isn't this bag fantastic.  It's been created form dish cloth cotton and satin ribbon by Carol from Rhyme and Reason.
The handles for the bag were created by another skilled craft worker Bodrighy.

You can see more of Carols wonderful work by looking at her flickr album

Day 151 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ A Hint of spice

This necklace has wonderful brown Czech crystals and is interspeced with warm ivory and spice toned delica beads.

Sky ~ 14/6/10

deep angry grey

Day 150 ~ One A Day Challenge ~ Mother of Pearl Pendant

mother of pearl and wire work pendant.
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