Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Top Tip Tuesday - Getting the most out of your craft fair or market

Your very first Craft Fair or Market can be a daunting task, so here's a blog post for the newbies.
A little how to. to get the most from your craft fair or market. 

Turn Up In Good Time:
There's nothing worse than turning up late, especially if it's your first or one of your first craft fairs or markets. Turning up early and having time to have that first cuppa once you've set up your stall will set you up for the day and help you relax into the experience. 

Make an eye-catching display

Colour and branding is really important here. If you sell Vintage Furniture and dress your stall in Gothic colours and your business cards and promo materials are different again it can confuse your customer.
Stay on brand! If you sell Vintage make sure EVERYTHING you do and the way you display thing is also VINTAGE. Everything from your logo to your packaging should reflect your products and brand as a cohesive whole. Avoid this at  your peril. HOT PINK next to Black and White is one example of colour playing an important part in catching your customers eye.

Consider bunting, a large sign or banner. 

And as a footnote here: Make sure your table cover is STRAIGHT and lines up with the floor. (Sorry its my pet hate).

If you can, Demonstrate
Demonstrating or working on your craft while at a fair or market works on many levels.
It shows your item is hand crafted by YOU.
It engages people with conversation. 
People love to watch something being made.
People love to buy things from people who make. 

If you take commissions - Tell them!
A simple card on your stall will show people that you are open to making something bespoke and to their requirements. The same goes if you are willing to sell to trade. 
A card saying TRADE ENQUIRIES WELCOME or COMMISSIONS UNDERTAKEN is all that is needed. 

Price clearly & Price to Sell

Your item may have taken you forever to make and as far as you are concerned youd like £1,000 for it. All very well if you are selling through a gallery, but at craft fairs and markets people dont generally carry around that kind of cash. While its not unusual to sell items for £40-£50, you are far  more likely to sell things at £10-£25 .

 However it's always best to have some of your higher end products on your stall too. 
Alternatively if your product is generally higher than average, have some less expensive things on your table too. The more varied the price range the more likely you have of selling. 

While were on this topic make sure that you price things clearly. Avoid pricing things on the bottom.Think about it. If you go into a shop and nothing is priced would you feel comfortable asking How much’or would you assume it's too expensive.

People will not pick things up from your stall and nor should they have to, its not bargain basement, your hand crafted goods are precious. Price large and clear and avoid loosing that sale because someone is too shy or embarrassed or thinks its too expensive to ask that all important question How Much?.

Promotional materials

Its always handy to have some form of promotional material with you. Pop a business card into EVERY sales bag, hand out leaflets showing your work and where you can be found. Add personalised labels to your product so that when the customer gets home and a friend asks
Oh wow! Where did you buy that? you can be found easily.
Ive bought many things at craft fairs and Im astounded when people say they havent got a card.
Think of these scenarios.

So what if I want to buy some of your other work in the future?

Im on Etsy but I havent got anything with my business name on right now, do you want me to scribble it on a bit of paper?

You can always email me

"I dont have a website or anything Ill probably be back here sometime in September

Any of the above IS NOT AN ANSWER

People may not buy from you on the day, but if you give away promotional material youve every chance they WILL buy from you in the future.

Be cheerful & attentive. Engage in conversation

I know, sometimes its hard if you have had a pretty rough day but theres nothing worse than going to a stall and seeing someone sat on a chair, head down, playing on their phone. Some stall holders dont even notice you there never mind acknowledge you.

A simple hello with a big cheek to cheek smile will go a long way and could make someones day!

Offer something FREE

Yes. You heard that right!
Theres a reason supermarkets employ people to stand at the front of a store and give away samples of a product. Even if its just a bowl of sweets, nothing will draw people to you quicker than something free.

Offer a FREE prize draw for one of your items.
This is a great way of collecting peoples Names, Addresses and Emails, so you can contact them in the future and keep them up to date with your latest offerings.

Packaging Is Key

Many people will buy your product as a gift. Packaging your item and presenting it as a ready-to-go gift will appeal to someone far more than something loose lying on a table. If they are considering something as a gift  then it saves them the time and trouble of finding something to put it in once taken away.
If your customer is short on time, you could very well miss a sale.

Packaging will also increase the perceived value of your item and is also another opportunity to brand your work.

Dont forget the little extras:
Bags and Packaging,
Business Cards,
Table Covers,
Warm Clothing if it's a cold day
Cool clothing if it's a warm day.
Warm clothing if it's a hot day
and cool clothing if it's a cold day.

I know... I bet you are thinking I've completely lost the plot.....
but I have been known to have to rush away and buy cooler clothing on what started as a cold morning, only for the sun to come out and have me nearly passing out with the heat.
I suggest layers that you can add or remove whenever necessary. 

And last buy not least.  .
Something to eat
Something to drink

Above all else, have fun, make connections, show off your work, network with other crafters, share ideas and knowledge and build relationships. 

What advice can you offer others about getting the most from Craft Fairs and Markets?

What works for you?

Did you find this useful? Please share using the share buttons on the post.

We love hearing from you so please leave a comment below.

Warm wishes and happy crafting,
Sue x

Monday, 20 February 2017

Meet the Maker Monday - Introducing Andrea Johnson of KippleTraders

At Hand Made Yorkshire, we want to introduced to you our artists, crafters 
and designer makers, their wonderful work and where you can find them.

This weeks Meet the Maker is brought to you by the lovely Andrea Johnson owner and designer maker at Kipple Traders based in Darlington

Andrea designs and makes naturally inspired fine silver jewellery.
Here's what she told me.

How long have you been a designer maker?

18 months

How did you become a designer/maker?

I taught science in a secondary school for 17 years and felt my life was passing me by and my children were growing up without me.  I used to design and make all my own jewellery when I was a teenager and still had all my old tools and beads. During a bout of depression my partner suggested I take up jewellery making again.  At the time I had been going to pottery workshops as part of the Durham Exchange so we looked into working with PMC, bought a kiln and some moulds to get started, my partner has become a dab hand at casting leaves in silver.   I mostly have enjoyed working with silver wire and glass beads, and hope someday to use the kiln to make my own beads.  Who’d have thought that something that I used to enjoy 20 years ago, still brings me so much joy today.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

KippleTraders was supposed to be the name for our start-up business, the one that we make all the mistakes with and then, when we have learnt what to do (and more importantly, what not to do!) we would change over to our proper name! 
I’m still making mistakes!

The word ‘kipple’ comes from a Philip K. Dick book called ‘Do androids dream of electric sheep?’  It is a term for the collection of useless objects one collects during life.  According to the book, when no-one’s around, kipple reproduces itself so eventually the entire universe will reach a state of total kipplestation!

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I still tutor privately in client’s homes and I mark GCSE papers for AQA but mostly I’m a Mum which is exactly the way I wanted it.  I no longer say to my kids “I’ll be in in a minute, after I’ve marked these books”.  We haven’t got two pennies to rub together but we are happy – phew!

How do you make time for it all?

I have a loving a supporting long-term partner of 17 years – that makes me sound really old!  We never did get married, maybe we can find the time now though!

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

Keeping my own hours and meeting new people.  Woops, that’s two things I’ll merge them seamlessly into one – meeting new people in my own time!

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

I love my spiral rings as they look so elegant, they go with everything and I’ve never seen them anywhere else.

Describe your business in three words?
Inspired Silver Jewellery

I have a love hate relationship with?

I love?
My life!

I ignore?
People who say ‘don’t you think it is time to get a proper job!

What inspires you?
Working with the metal itself – what shape do you want to be today?!

Where can you be found
Tel: 07886869641

Maybe I should write something in there!



A big thanks you to Andrea for your detailed and informative interview.
 I love your nature inspired jewellery.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Meet the Maker Monday - Introducing Catherine Jacksmon from Knit Sew Rosie

At Hand Made Yorkshire, we want to introduced to you our artists, crafters 
and designer makers, their wonderful work and where you can find them.

This week I'd like to introduce to you Catherine Jackson owner of Knit Sew Rosie based in  Melsonby.  Richmond, North Yorkshire.       

How long have you been a designer maker?
I have been working as a self employed designer for six months.

What do you do/make?
My main passion is creating beautiful embroidery hoop art. I especially enjoy the free hand design aspect of my creations. I love these colour therapy books but get bored colouring them in, so instead I free hand draw some basic designs on my fabric and embroider and appliqué them in instead. I love combining textures and work a lot with buttons, beads, different fabrics, crochet and knitting all fused together to create my hoops.

How did you become a designer/maker?

I have always sewn and embroidered from a young age, many of my skills have been passed down from my granny and my mum. After having my children and becoming a full time mum, I found that I needed something to do to relax, unwind and escape the everyday hustle and bustle of family life. I took up my knitting needles (not forgetting to blow the cobwebs off!) and started knitting. My creating then started to take off and I settled into my own unique way of designing and creating. I am also an avid crocheter I love making baby blankets and wedding shawls.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

I chose my business name to reflect what I do which is knitting and sewing. My youngest daughter is Rose or Rosie and this was added as it sounded good and more personal.

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I am a busy mummy to my three beautiful children. I run my business part time inbetween school pick ups and when they ve all gone to bed.

How do you make time for it all?

I often ask myself this very question. Sometimes one has to turn a blind eye to the cobwebs!

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

I love the freedom of being able to work the hours that suit myself and my family. I enjoy being able to design and create what I like.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

This is a hard one, I have two favourite things. Firstly I love and couldn’t be without my toolkit. One birthday my brother bought me some beautiful fabrics and I designed and created my own knitting needle and crochet hook case.

The second is a beautiful gift box from one of my closest friends and god mother to Rose. She had filled it with all sorts of things from fabric and beads to buttons and ribbons. In it she had written a note saying to make a keepsake for Rose. I felt very touched by this and will treasure this memory always. I created a cushion and incorporated all the items we had received on to it. The leaves were made using leaves from a Rose bush from the same friend for Rose’s first birthday  as a template.

Describe your business in three words?

Unique, Bespoke and Personal

I have a love hate relationship with?

My sewing machine

I love?

Fabric, more fabric and did I mention I love fabric?

I ignore?

Others comments, there are many who think what you do is not a justifiable job and that no priority should be given to it. I will prove those people wrong.

What inspires you?

Colour, texture and pattern. I really love Scandinavian, Indian and Hungarian designs along with anything from a folk background.

Where can you be found? 

Tel: 01325 717979

Thanks Catherine for letting me interview you and showing us your colourful creations. 

I love your needle roll! I made one similar to hold my calligraphy pens in. I hated the plain calico ones available on line and managed to get some green fabric with lettering on. It was much admired :-) 

And what a fantastic idea Rosies God Mother had of filling a box of bits and pieces to make something memorable. How creative was that?

Once again, thanks for taking the time to share your life as a designer maker and showing us your beautiful work. .

Happy crafting
Sue x

Monday, 30 January 2017

Meet the Maker Monday - Introducing Steve Smith of Steve Smith Jewellery

At Hand Made Yorkshire, we want to introduced to you our artists, crafters and designer makers, their wonderful work and where you can find them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Stephen Smith (That's his Sunday name by the way), designer and maker at Steve Smith Jewellery, based in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.Steve is also 1/4 of the founding members of Hand Made Yorkshire. 
Here's what Steve had to tell me:

How long have you been a designer maker?

6 years making dichroic glass jewellery but was an abstract artist before that.

What do you do/make?

I design and make Kiln fired glass jewellery and include some silver smithing in some of my pieces.

How did you become a designer/maker?

For a long, long time, I painted abstract art for open exhibitions and before that did quite a few animal portraits.
When I went to art exhibitions the three-dimensional art always caught my eyes. It’s different shapes and form and watching the light change and bounce in different directions.
 I think this is when it started.

 I loved the idea of making glass jewellery but never could because of the cost of a kiln. Until I met my wonderful muse and partner, Sue. It was her who gave me the confidence to start designing and making and put the idea of asking for a kiln on freecycle to get me started. Within 48 hours I was fully kitted out with a kiln and all the tools to get started. Although, the very first time I plugged the 40 year old kiln into a very long extension cable and set it going outside in the garden, just in case it burst into flames.

I used that kiln for nearly 2 years before buying a more reliable one that didn’t have hot spots.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?

 That’s easy, my name and what I do!

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?

I balance my business with a 4 day a week PAYE job as a Chemist.

How do you make time for it all?

 I don’t. But I do get most things done, eventually. (too much TV make me a lazy man)

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

 The freedom to create whatever I want.

Of all the thing’s you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?

That always changes, on a weekly rate. I make new designs almost every week, to pick one would be very hard.

Describe your business in three words?

Quality, Colourful and affordable.

I have a love hate relationship with?

Sunday nights, as I have to go to my PAYE job in the morning.

I love?

Designing, making and coming up with new ideas that work!

I ignore?

Sometimes common sense!

What inspires you?

Shape, form and colour of the things I see around me.

Where can you be found

At the studio on Fridays & Saturdays, 288a High Street, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 8DW

Tel: 07736 680 190

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteveSmithGlass

See Steve making one of his pendants here

Thanks Steve for sharing your beautiful, shiny, sparkly, objects of dazzling, delight with us and for the video too. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

Meet The Maker Monday - Introducing Ruth Hawkes owner of Ruth's Arty Experience

At Hand Made Yorkshire, we want to introduced to you our artists, crafters and designer makers, their wonderful work and where you can find them.

This week it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to our latest contributor to MEET THE MAKER MONDAY,  Ruth Hawkes owner of Ruth's Arty Experience .

Ruth creates arty experiences for children..... But I'll let her tell you her story in her own words. 

This is what she told me...

How long have you been a designer maker? 

I've always loved making things, as a teenager I'd always be getting glue and paint on my bedroom carpet while making something instead of doing my homework! I took Ceramics A-level and fell in love with clay and all its opportunities. I trained and worked as an Occupational Therapist for over 12 years but my passion has always been for art and making things. I have made beaded jewellery, greetings cards, felt pieces, painted material wall hangings, ceramic sculptures and much more.

What do you do?

 My passion and experience has equipped me well for what I do now, which is providing exciting and innovative process art workshops for childcare settings and schools, as well as a weekly club for families at Romanby WI Hall on Monday mornings and Arty Parties by appointment. 

My aim is to bring true joy and exploration to art. I have had adults comment that they would love to 'experience' my art workshops and I am bringing my Arty Experience to an Expressive Retreat coming up at the beginning of April!

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it? 

I think Ruth's Arty Experience describes well what I do, as I want to provide a safe place for children (and adults) to 'experience' creating and experimenting with art without focusing on an end product, which people can get hung up about and if it doesn't turn out how they were expecting they can become demoralised and dismiss the idea that they are creative.

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well? 

I am a mum to two lively young children so it doesn't leave much time for my business at the moment. I have great support from my husband and father who take care of the kids when I do my workshops, parties and business admin. And when the children are in school I will have more time to expand my business.

How do you make time for it all?

 Lots of multi-tasking e.g. thinking up new art activities while lying next to my children getting them off to sleep, or doing business emails while having a conversation about Peppa Pig!

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

 The freedom to take the business where I want, if I have ideas I don't have to check it with anybody else, I can just go for it!

Of all the things you’ve ever done, which has been your favourite?

 Bringing Ruth’s Arty Experience to the unique childcare setting Mini Explorers Nursery and taking the art workshop outside and using nature’s treasures to create art work e.g. paint brushes made with leaves, dripping fir cones and rolling conkers. It really encouraged my creativity to think of different art activities to complement the nursery’s outdoor ethos.

Describe your business in three words?

 Exploration, joy, art

I have a love hate relationship with?

 Computers! I couldn’t do without them but they do frustrate me!

What inspires you?


If you'd like to book Ruth she can be found at the following places

Tel: 07855 395747
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ruthsartyexperience

I think you'll agree, Ruth's passion shines through. Art is something everyone can do, but only children do it with wild abandon and without judgement.
How many kids have you heard say “Oh no…. I can’t draw/paint?” and how many adults have you heard saying the same?
Sadly today, kids education is more about academic subjects than creative ones. Art and craft is not a choice or a cop out, we are all born creators, hopefully the kids who are being allowed to express themselves this way will never be bored, never rely solely on technology for entertainment.

Thank you Ruth for letting me interview you. Keep that creative spirit going! 

Warm wishes and happy crafting!
Sue xox
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