Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Handmade Gifts

I love making things for people but am sometimes wary about giving gifts that have been handmade, I would only give a handmade gift to someone I knew would appreciate it as it takes a lot of time and effort to make. I love receiving handmade gifts and my friend Dawn always makes me the most adorable crocheted ones. This year has been especially tough money wise so I have made quite a few gifts such as cushions, bunting, owls and personalised alphabet cushions, which I am really glad to say were really well received.
Here's my Friend Chris (hiding!) with her Penguin fabric cushion, she adores penguins and was lucky enough to find some fantastic penguin fabric!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Another Outlet

Its always good to explore other avenues at which to sell your products, at the moment I sell via (in no particular order lol)
1,Crafts Fairs
2, Events such as Baby Shows, Steam Rallies/Dogs Shows/Boat Shows and Festivals
3, Shop (rent space)
4, Our Website Knot Just Jigs
5, Amazon
6, Ebay
7, Wholesale
8, Charity Events
10, Markets
I also have account with craft selling sites MISI (Make It Sell It) and wowthankyou but haven't got around to uploading things on to them yet as they are specifically for handmade items these require me to keep stock and as quick as I make things they sell ! (I am not complaining though)
I don't sell all my products at each of the places on the list, I set my "stall" accordingly.
Are there any places that you can think of that would be a good avenue to explore or that has worked for you ?
Today we became a new stockist at a local shop that has recently opened in Eastwood, Mummy's Bump and Beyond by a lovely chap called Darren, his shop is an eclectic mix of handmade (by other work at home parent's) vintage homely products and pre-loved high quality children's clothes. At the back of the shop is a specially built photographic studio where Darren offers family shoots at a very reasonable price.
Here is a picture of our space showcasing a small range of our lovely traditional toys at Mummy's Bump and Beyond.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

By Special Invitation

If you have come for a nosey at what I invited you to "like/follow" then your here because your on my friends list and hopefully will want to support me (and probably laugh at me) in breaking through this technophobia I have, I cannot actually believe I have set up (and installed codes!) myself on a networking blog! For anyone who knows me and knows that we have had a Wii for a couple of years and I still don't know how to turn the bugger on will know how big an achievement this is for me, if you are prepared to support me bumbling my way through then I Thank You from the bottom of my heart x x

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Challenges for 2012

Whilst I have my "blogging mojo" back I am going to start by saying I am NOT going to make any New Year resolutions because I always set myself up to fail so I have decided to set myself goals and challenges instead.
This post will be a business related one and I will also do myself a personal one, I will do them monthly and tick them off as I complete. Anyone care to join me ? I challenge you!

10 Business Challenges for January 2012

1, Sort out office into some sort of defined work space/sewing space
2, Finish last years accounts (I know, I know this should be number 1)
3, Book fairs for the year and list on websites where to find us page
4, Set aside one day to schedule blogs/twitter and face book posts
5, Pencil in Mondays to get ALL paperwork up to date and pay invoices etc..
6, Sort out re-vamp of website
7, Buy new fabric (yippeeee)
8, Re-stock handmade items and try out new designs.
9, Plan PR campaign for events during the year.
10, Source new stock.

Looking Back

Looking back...I couldn't even type that without singing Mike & The Mechanics "Over My Shoulder " here goes some of my high (and low) lights of 2011
At the beginning of 2011 Knot Just Jigs signed another 3 month contract to carry on trading at our retail until in the Nottingham Victoria Centre, this was both a highlight and low light. The experience taught me a lot, it opened new doors, closed some old ones and also helped others along the way.
I started the new year with the resolution that after all this time of being self employed I needed to crack this work/life balance thing once and for all and vowed that I would take at least one weekend off a month and do something with my family and friends, this is the one and only resolution I have stuck to (with the exception of November) and one that I feel has been my greatest achievement of 2011, as anyone who knows me knows I am a self confessed workaholic!
The second quarter of 2011 saw the closure of the unit in the Victoria Centre and a huge sigh of relief and a big weight taken off my shoulders, although I am a workaholic being tied to opening 7 days a week and a minimum of 9 hours a day was taking its toll. On the upside of this it also encouraged me to be more creative and make more things to sell, this side of my business has grown gradually and for me it doesn't feel like work!
Suddenly were half way through the year ! Summer craft fairs are my favourite....
We had a pretty decent summer of craft fairs weather wise, a bit more windy than previous years but hey at least they were dryer!
We did the Nottingham Riverside Festival and the Moorgreen show as usual, both of these excelled our expectations and sales compared to the last 5 years we have traded at both of those events.
Autumn, we have 2 huge (in terms of rent, expected sales, stock required and footfall) events planned Chatsworth House and Lincoln Christmas Market, both of which were meant to happen in 2010 but Lincoln didn't due to snow and Chatsworth wasn't as good ...due to weather lol.
Both didn't disappoint, they were amazing in all ways and whilst being completely knackering (16-18 hour days!) they were worth while doing and made our Christmas much much more manageable ;). My last event was 16th December which was a lovely traditional Christmas Market at Loughborough and I was effectively on holiday (apart from posting out website orders) from then until today, I feel very lucky and very blessed to have had such supportive family friends and customers. Belated Happy New Year to you all x