Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Top tip Tuesday Pinterest What it is and how to get the most out of it

Top tip Tuesday Pinterest What it is and how to get the most out of it

I'm an artist, primarily a lettering artist and as such I am a visual person, as are most crafters too. Perhaps if I was an accountant, Pinterest wouldn't be so exciting for me. It's like looking through a whole pile of magazines for inspiration, but instead of pouring endlessly and flicking pages, one click and the magic happens. 

I know, I know, you're saying "NOT something else to get my head around".... well, sorry, but yes it is.... but it will be so worth it! 
I love it  and so do my clients and if they are on Pinterest, getting a feel and flavour of how they want their wedding to look, cuts out a lot of guess work for me. At a glance I can see what floats their boat and what styles they are most attracted to. 

Pinterest  is a web and mobile application company that operates a photo sharing website with over 150,000,000 – Yes that’s 150 MILLION users as of October last year!  

Registration CLICK HERE  is required for use. The site was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp.
Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann summarised the company as a "catalog of ideas," rather than as a social network, that inspires users to "go out and do that thing."

In short, it’s an in-line virtual scrapbook where users can set up a multitude of boards and pin photos either from their Pinterest Feed or from a website they are visiting.

If you install the Pinterest Browser Button you can pin any image you find on any web page to your virtual Pinterest Board

So, how do I do that?
How you install the button will vary depending on which browser or device you are using so CLICK HERE to find out how.
The button will help you no end when you find something you like. It’s sort of a one click process after that.

So how do you use Pinterest for your business?

1.    Organise your boards – Take time to set up your boards.
If you are a knitter perhaps you can have boards for Clothing, Hats Scarves and Gloves, Socks etc. If you make Jewellery – Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings etc.

2.    Pin from your website, blog or Etsy shop. Don’t just add photos from your phone or tablet. That way users who pin your pins will have a direct link back to your website, blog or Etsy shop and be able to find you easier. If you just upload your photo, the photo will open as a larger photo. Double clicking on ANY picture on Pinterest will take you to where the picture was pinned from.

3.    Make all your personal boards (those boards that don’t directly have anything to do with your own business or the clients you are trying to attract) private.

 You will be able to see ALL your boards, but your followers only see the public ones.

4.     Add a link to your website in the description of your photo or video. The link back will encourage and help people find you.

5.    Make boards that inspire your target market. For example, I design and make wedding stationery, so I know my clients will be looking for inspiration regarding all aspects of their wedding . From flowers, venues, cakes and right through to their colour schemes for wedding, I can add an Ivy Wedding invitation to my ‘Wedding Invitation’ board, but I can also add it to my ‘Green Themed Weddings’ board too. If you make baby cot quilts, you may like to add a board with ‘Baby Nursery Ideas’ or ‘Personalised Baby Gifts’. Make your boards relevant to your target market.  

6.    Choose your pins wisely. Remember each pin represents you and your business. A board titled 'Rude quotations' could be something that interests you but may turn customers away…. It’s not the sort of personality that you want to portray to someone who is potentially going to spend money from you. I was once put off a Cake Maker that I was going to recommend on my wedding website. Her profile picture had her surrounded by terrier dogs and one was licking her face! Now, she was probably a brilliant cake maker and the dogs could have been kept outside, but have her make cakes for me…. Errrr no thanks… just in case

7.    Follow people with similar interests to you. Leave comments, re-pin their pins and make friends with those around you.

8.    Pinterest shows up in Google Images Search. The more you pin from your website or Etsy shop the better. Simple J Google loves active people! .

9.    Create pins for Step-by-Step tutorials and how to’s. One of the highest shares comes from these. Create a how to on your website and blog, add a title in a coloured box and get it pinned! Teach them something! If you are worried that everyone will copy your idea then think again. The world wide web is FULL of websites, Youtube videos and step-by-step how to’s of EXACTLY what you make. If they don’t find it out from you…. Then they’ll find it from somewhere else. Have no fear! There’s plenty of work to go round. 

10.                       Include all your contact information in your description and on your pins. The easier you make it for people to find you the better.

Your challenge for this week…. Should you choose to accept it, is…. Get your Pinterest Page in order.

It’s free and it WILL get you noticed!
Did I also mention it’s great for inspiration too? From what to cook, to decorating ideas, fashion to gardening. 

In case you still don't 'get it' here's a short video

By the way Ben Silbermann, CEO & Co-Founder, currently saving ideas to Delicious Dinners 

Warm wishes and happy crafting,
Sue xox

Monday, 16 January 2017

Meet The Maker Monday - Introducing Michelle Lavender from Careful Keepsakes

At Hand Made Yorkshire, we thought it was about time we introduced you to our designer makers, their wonderful hand crafted items and where you can find them.

This week i'd like to introduce you to our latest contributor to MEET THE MAKER MONDAY,  Michelle Lavender (I know.... fab name eh?)  owner of Careful Keepsakes.

Michelle has been a designer maker for nearly a year (trading since April 2016)

Here’s what she told me:

What do you do/make?
I make bunting and cushions mainly. I can transform old baby clothes into bunting and create designs from clothes on a cushion. I can also make bespoke bunting with or without personalisation. I have recently made a cushion from a man's shorts and shirt, so the clothing is not just limited to a baby's either. I also have more ideas but it's just taking time to implement them.

How did you become a designer/maker?

After the birth of my first child and when I realised I couldn't return to my previous job in HR as I would have had to go back full-time and I wanted part-time hours to fit around my son. I have always been creative and the ideas started rolling and I thought now is the best time to try my hand at being self-employed and see where it takes me.

How did you choose your business name and what’s the meaning behind it?
I thought of a lot of different names before settling on having 'keepsakes' in the title which reflects the nature of my work. 'Careful' then kind of fell into place as it's something I say a lot to my son and I thought 'Careful Keepsakes' had a nice ring to it.

Do you run your business full time or balance another job as well?
I am a 'stay at home mum' and fit my business around bringing up my son.

How do you make time for it all?
I have a set day to work on a Wednesday when my son goes to his grandparents. Then I work when he is napping or on an evening or weekend. I also write lots of lists!

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?
I enjoy the freedom of choosing my own hours/time off etc and love it when a finished product comes together and I can show it off. I also enjoy selling at craft fairs.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, which has been your favourite?
It would probably be the first baby keepsake bunting I ever made out of my son's clothes, personalised with the word 'play room' which is now displayed in there. For a customer, it would probably be 'Henry' personalised blue gingham bunting which was sent all the way to America.

Describe your business in 3 words
Professional, bespoke, creative

I love?

My family and the support they give me.

I  have a love hate relationship with?
Social media. I love taking photos of my work and posting them but it does take up so much time. Sometimes I can get sucked into it too much and lose hours of my day!

What inspires you? 

Seeing the lovely work of other makers

You can find Michelle in the following places.

Tel: 07903255112

Email: carefulkeepsakes@outlook.com

Blog: coming soon!

Thank you so much Michelle for showing us your wonderful hand crafted work and being one of the first contributors to Meet the Maker Monday.

What a great idea to turn those memorable little outfits once so loved, into memorable keepsakes. Something to treasure forever.

I'd also like to thank you for being part of the collective and being active on the group page. 

Warm wishes and happy crafting
Sue xox

REMEMBER: Sharing is caring. Please help support our Designer Makers by sharing and/or commenting on this post - Thank you xox

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Hand Made Yorkshire Collective Meet & Greet Sunday 29th Jan

We are over the moon that so many of you want to be part of the Hand Made Yorkshire Collective and have loved getting to know you all... 'Virtually' on the Facebook Group anyway.
What an amazing bunch of designer makers we are! 

So we had a little meeting and thought it would be great for us all to get together in a little, informal meet & greet, so we can share our plan and ideas for 2017. 

Here's the details......

We hope that you can join us and look forward to meeting you all.

Any questions please email me at inspiredbyscript@yahoo.co.uk

Warm wishes and happy crafting,
Sue xox

Monday, 9 January 2017

Meet The Maker Monday - Introducing Harriet Ward from The Sewing Ward

At Hand Made Yorkshire, we thought it was about time we introduced you to our designer makers, their wonderful hand crafted items and where you can find them.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to our first contributor to MEET THE MAKER MONDAY,  Harriet Ward owner of The Sewing Ward based in Scruton, Northallerton, North Yorkshire 

Harriet has been a designer maker for 11 years in the sewing industry, 3 years ish self employed

Here’s what she told me:

What do you do/make?
Clothing alterations, sew to order, I teach sewing and run workshops and work on my own children’s wear brand Betty&Bob (this part is very much at the beginning after introducing in October)

How did you become a designer/maker?

 Its a way of life, went to uni studied fashion, worked in sewing industry in various jobs went back to uni part time to graduate with a teaching degree, had children and now use all my qualifications and life experience to run my unique sewing business

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

Last name Ward, also a ward on a hospital where you need help so a play on words The Sewing Ward a place for all your sewing needs. (hope ive explained this so you understand it)

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

Balance with children once youngest is at school in September ill be 9-3.30 and occasional evenings/weekends

How do you make time for it all?

Cups of tea, chocolate, tears, laughter and never do my hair! Lol

What’s your favourite thing about running your business?

 Im free to be me!

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

 I couldn’t possible pin it down to one creative thing. I have made 2 beautiful children I’m pretty proud of.

I have a love hate relationship with?


I love?
 Vintage, retro, sewing, crafting, uniqueness, creativeness, absolutely everything inspires me and I see things very differently to a lot of people.

What inspires you? 

You can find Harriet in the following places.

and generally running round like a mad woman aspiring to be a super woman!

Tel: 07846990742

Facebook: The Sewing Ward

Thank you so much Harriet for showing us your wonderful hand crafted items and being the first contributor to Meet the Maker Monday. Your work is certainly unique and inspiring. 

Warm wishes and happy crafting
Sue xox

REMEMBER: Sharing is caring. Please help support our Designer Makers by sharing and/or commenting on this post - Thank you xox

Friday, 6 January 2017

Why Use Blogger Blog for your small, crafting, business?

There are many blogging platforms to choose from, but the 2 most talked about are  WP (Wordpress) And Blogger.

I cut my teeth way back in 2006  on Blogger and still use it today.

I did, for a short while use WP but it was far too complicated and my life was too short to learn about all the different plug-ins and options and I reverted back to Blogger.

A little note here: I also use the blog that comes with my website, constructing the blog in Blogger then copying the post into y on-line shop.

2 posts for half the work. 

The main reasons I use Blogger are

It’s super easy to use
It’s colours and templates can be customised
It can quickly and easily by converted to a website by buying a custom domain – If you buy your domain from Go Daddy it will cost you less than £10 a year (Currently less than £10 for 2 years!) for a website! What’s more you’ll be building it yourself!
You can use a .co.uk address (Unlike WP where you have to have a .com)
I know it like the back of my hand
It instantly uploads any changes you make
It’s clean and clear for any reader to navigate
It’s designed and made by Google so therefore it’s great for SEO
Images are uploaded to Google Images almost straight away, which means you can easily be found.
I like the no nonsense approach
It fully integrates with all your other Google apps – Google+, google Maps, Google Docs and Google Drive to name but a few.
It’s FREE! (It’s the Yorkshire in me that made my type that in CAPS!)

Why you shouldn’t take any notice of me

Of course, there’s no reason why you should believe any word of this and there are many pro businesses which will completely disagree and snort and laugh when you tell them you use blogger, however for a plain, simple, straightforward, no nonsense blog and website with no need to know anything more than simple word, then this is perfect for crafting businesses in particular!

Here’s a pro that uses both and why he likes Blogger


Read the article HERE

And here's a video to back it up

I hope this has got you all fired up.
to create a blog in Blogger go to

You'll need a Google Account but if you haven't already got one, you'll be taken step-by-step through the whole process.
It's easy.... honest! 

By the way... If you have a Blogger Blog you can transfer it to WP at a later date if you so wish..... and vice versa. 

Warm wishes& Happy Crafting,

Sue x

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Why Blog? Why EVERY business needs a blog - Including YOU!

This is the subject I am most passionate about. Blogs - Short for WebLog are everywhere. Unless you’ve lived in a cave for the last 20 years you’ll all have come across blogs of one kind or another.
I started my first blog in 2006 and now have about 30! 

Lately, blogs seem to be talked about everywhere.
There’s Fashion bloggers, Make-up blogger, Cookery Bloggers, Book bloggers, Travel bloggers…. In fact there’s a blog for everything under the sun and if you think that you don’t have a blog already, you’d be mistaken. Twitter, Instagram and even Facebook are forms of blogs.

Every industry is using blogs! From major retailers to micro businesses, Newspapers to the emergency services, large corporate businesses to hobbyists… and there’s a very good reason for this!


Drive traffic to your website
Get you noticed
Increase your ranking with Google Search
Help you find and connect with other like minded folk
Make it easy for people to find you
Increase your visibility on the net
Increase your sales
Help you share information across other platforms
They are simple to use
You can turn your blog into a website by simply buying a custom domain! (MORE ABOUT THIS LATER)
Best of all….. THEY ARE FREE!

What do I blog about?

Anything and everything your perfect clients would like to hear.
Use it as your on-line diary
About your products.
About your services.
New products.
Product launches.
The trials and tribulations of running your own business.
What started you working for yourself.
Where it has or is taking you
Where you will be available for people to see/buy your work… Craft Fairs, Markets etc.
Your experience of making your latest piece of work.
Where you have just been on holiday….. yes EVEN THIS!
The difficulties of being a working mum.

A blog differs from a website in that websites are pretty static and lack personality.
The point of a blog is for people to get to know YOU, the person behind the making.
What makes you tick.
What floats your boat,
What interests, hobbies, values do you have?

If you write the write stuff, the customers that connect with you and really ‘get you’ will follow you and come back for more.

I could go on…. However I’m trying to limit the number of words in the posts so I don’t overwhelm you J

Do you have a blog?
Why do you blog?

5 Great Reasons to Blog with Blogger?

Please  like, share and/or leave a comment below or join us on our FB pageand leave a comment there.

Warm wishes & Happy Crafting,
Sue x

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

What's On Wednesday - Darlington Sunday People's Market

Darlington Sunday Peoples Market.

Sharing this email from Sam who runs and organises the Darlington Sunday Peoples Market, which is held on the first Sunday of every month.

Stalls are outside on High Row.

If you are interested please contact the following.

D. S. P. M Sunday Market DSPM.Darlington@live.co.uk

Email follows

Hi All
Happy New Year
The Next Darlington Sunday Peoples Market is Sunday 5th February 11am - 4pm.
Stall Tolls are £18 for a 3mx2 Gazebo, If you require any tables they are £2 each for hire. You must have public liability insurance if you do not have we can cover you for a fee of £5.
If you wish to attend please reply to this email and advise if you will require any tables.
Any queries please ask
Thanks Samantha

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Top Tip Tuesday - Keeping your customers coming back for more! The importance of collecting your customers details.

There’s no feeling like it…. Your first sale! And ever other sale after that!
Making stuff is the easy part, getting someone to actually buy it is a whole new ball game.
I’m assuming people are buying your hand made goods because they like them and have bought into you as the maker and shaker.
You can have the best products in the world, but if someone doesn’t like you, they won’t buy it.
Now this is not going to be a post on ‘How to win friends and influence people’. No, it’s about how you keep the customers you have and how to keep them coming back.

You’ve probably noticed that most shops and stores now offer a Loyalty Scheme these days. 1p in every £1 hardly seems worth the effort of carrying around that irritating piece of plastic that seems to be the last card you take out when you need to find it.
That card is not about thanking you for being a loyal customer…. 1p in the £1 is hardly a reward…. No, it’s about collecting your information!
Stores will give you this piece of plastic in return for something….
Your name,
Your address,
Your email address

What they get from you:
A traceable record of your spending habits
(Ever wondered why Tescos knows what products to send you coupons for and why yours differs to your friends?)

A way to send you a newsletter promoting their products many of which you don’t need or want…. Until that vital email comes through! 
Then somehow you need to act quickly! And before you know it < CLICK > SOLD!

Sending you that ‘Irresistible offer’ – You know… the one that you simply can’t refuse.

They’ll send you invitations to wine and cheese evenings  and their sales preview nights as one of their ‘preferred customers’.

They’ll also have your details to sell on to marketing firms and other businesses!

This is not exactly conning you… although you may feel like it once the veil is lifted from your eyes…. But it is a very clever way of keeping YOU as a customer and getting you to return and spend money with them, rather than going elsewhere.

How can knowing all this help you and your small business?

I’m not suggesting everyone rushes out and splashes out on loyalty cards, although this may be a topic for later, but I am going to suggest you at least gather Names, Addresses and emails to build a list of your clients, so that you can at least in the future contact them when you have special offers or new products to offer them.

How do you do this?

If people buy off your website this is easy as all the information you need will come in with your order.
However, what about craft fairs and markets?
A simple notebook or a printed sheet will help you gather your customer’s details.
A simple email now and again or better still a personal postcard will be all that is needed to keep you top of there minds.
We are so heavily bombarded in our email boxes these days a hand written small message on a postcard can mean a lot!
Customers become friends and friends buy and recommend you…. It’s that simple.

A word of warning

And by that I mean, don’t just sell, sell, sell.
The point of collecting customers information is about building a relationship and a following which in turn will build up T.K.L.
Trust and get the customer to know and like you.

Why bother?

If someone has bought from you and it is admired or appreciated, then there’s a very high chance that, the person will buy again.
Keeping a customer is cheaper and far less time consuming than finding a new customer every time.
It makes your customer and yourself feel valued – Win Win!
You can offer your customer products that you know they will like and give them first refusal.
Every time you contact them, you’ll be back in their minds and most probably first on their list when they need something special.
Market research. You can always contact them and ask their valuable opinion about your product or service and how you may improve. People LOVE to help
You can keep them informed of any craft fairs or markets you are visiting and tell them that you’d love to see them again.

Play nicely!

If you want to loose customers probably the best way to do this is to insist they part with their details willy nilly. Avoid this tactic at all costs!
Don’t think for one minute people will hand over this info without there being something in it for them. It’s human nature!
Large store offer incentives for you to have one of their store cards, perhaps extra points or a discount on that purchase.

I know that in your small business, where you’ve cut your prices to the core offering a discount may leave a nasty taste in your mouth.

So let’s look at an alternative:
How about offering entry into a free prize draw to win
(insert a small incentive that won’t make you bankrupt).

In my own business I offer entry into a Wedding Postbox Draw. The draws take place on 21st March, 21st June, 21st September & 21st of December. Entry is free and on the draw forms I ask for
The couples names – So I can email them personally using their first names
Their address – To give me a clue as to their location
Their wedding venue – So I can judge their overall budget and target the marketing to suit their pockets.
The date of their wedding – It’s pointless offering them wedding stationery after the event has long since been and gone.
Their email address – as a point of contact
Their wedding colours and theme – Again for target marketing.

Perhaps you could do something like this in your business? Even if it’s just 1 prize draw a year?

If you sell or make baby items, then the above idea would easily transfer.

You could offer a discount coupon for them to use on their next purchase either at your next craft fair or market or off your website.

With larger more expensive purchases the incentive can be much higher (of course).

What ways do you use to collect customers information?
What incentives do you offer?
What other ways can you think of to make this work for both you AND the client?

Please leave a comment below or come and join us in our FREE Hand Made Yorkshire Collective Page we’d love to hear from you.

Bright blessings & Happy Crafting,
Sue x


We're planning lots of exciting events in 2017. Make sure you join us to keep up to date and get the help, support and friendship of like minded people

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