These are fabulous! Little crochet key covers or key cozys, they are by Italian blogger Airali Handmade, she says they are made for a magazine - I'm hoping she has the pattern available in her shop soon too as they are absolutely brilliant and would make amazing gifts or little crafts to sell at a fair.
I had a google to see if I could find any more key cozies -
Key covers - "Cozy Keys" little knitted jumpers for your keys!
I have a fantastic competition to share. Seriously it's amazing!
I'm judging a new competition for Hillarys Blinds where you will receive a free sample of their lovely fabric and have the chance to win £1000 if you make something fab with it. I made this shoulder bag yesterday with my free sample and I have lots left over to make more - so you'll have plenty of fabric to work with on your design.
HOW TO ENTER!
Choose one of these fantastic fabrics below (it will be sent to you free of charge), make something lovely with it and then blog about it.
As I said, I'm on the judging panel and we'll be choosing one lucky winner of the £1000 so make something really interesting and take some good photos!
PLEASE mention you found the comp on Craft Blog UK where asked in the entry form!
The competition will open on Monday 17th February 2014 and requests for fabric will close on Monday 17th March 2014 - you then need to create your blog post by March 31st and email it to Hillarys - all details on the link above.
I just read a round up of an interview with Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy - click here to see the article.
What advice does the head of Etsy have for his 1 million shop owners?
There are some great quotes picked out in the article. If you follow this blog you will have heard this advice before, but when the head honcho of Etsy says this is the way to become a successful seller then I think it's worth listening! I've added some successful Etsy sellers from the UK to illustrate the tips from Mr Dickerson.
"Make good products"
Skulls and Crossbuns - UK Craft Seller with 5302 sales on Etsy - she has a fantastic, briqht, brand with a quirky name and a distinctive style. There are many people selling hand carved stamps on Etsy but Emily has, quite literally, carved herself a loyal customer base with her eclectic and alternative mix of stamps.
"Photography is key - Too many photos are bad and blurry"
Tovie Corrie, based in Bristol have 7,275 etsy sales to date. The photography is excellent - you can clearly see every stitch and crease in the leather on this image along with the beautiful hummingbird design. Instant customer confidence in their products. The white background gives a professional look and also enables their products to be used easily in magazines.
"Telling your story,
talking about your family, who you are, that's huge"
Louise Verity from Wall Envy Art based in Kettering (2539 Etsy sales) has been featured on many websites including on Etsy's blog, discussing how she made her Etsy shop into a full time business. There's a lovely background to her shop not only the way she talks about the vintage book pages she uses but also the fact her brother makes the frames in his frame shop. It's good to know as a customer when something is entirely made in a really sustainable way, supporting local (and family) economies. As a buyer that makes me feel happy. What's your story?
Anyone can learn the basic principles of online marketing! The tips quoted above apply to selling handmade crafts online on any platform, your own website or a handmade marketplace. It takes a lot of effort to get the kind of volume of sales these shops have achieved - learning basic seo and online networking skills are important to get your work noticed.
It's different when you sell face to face because the customer can pick up your crafts and feel the fabric and see the fine detail and craftsmanship. They can also see your smile and you can chat naturally about yourself and your work - this just needs to be translated into an online conversation!
So before you start selling your crafts on the internet or if you have had no luck with sales, take a minute to assess your products, your brand look, your story (biographies and about me pages) and especially your photography. See my recent post - "Selling Crafts Online - 10 Get Real Questions"
This dandelion pom pom tutorial was submitted to the Craft Life board recently - I loved it and managed to track down what I believe is the original tutorial on a community site - it's in Russian but the Google translation sounds like it's the original tutorial - I'm just a bit worried by the watermark that says Oleysa - I have tried reverse image search and searched oleysa but can't find anything. Please let me know if you do so I can quickly swap links over (anyone speak Russian?)
It'such a brilliant idea and I'm determined to have a go when if I get a little time this weekend!
I have a lovely piece of trivia about the dandelion that I learned one morning when my daughter suddenly remembered her nature themed show and tell.
Dent de Lion - Taraxacum or Dandelion or pissenlit (french for piss the bed) as they say it makes you wet the bed!?
I vaguely recalled there being some reason why a dandelion got it's name so convinced her it was a good show and tell - it's from the french Dent de Lion which means teeth of a lion - so not dandy because it's bright and yellow at all. Say Dent de Lion over and over in a french accent, I can't see one now without coming over with a dodgy french accent! It's because the edges of the leaf look like lions teeth - and they really do! (if you have a cat take a look!)
There's a diagram to crochet the leaf... might be a bit much for my crochet skills to translate, I'm still mastering granny squares - find the tutorial plus more pictures here
There's a great deal of info on this site and all over the internet on starting a craft business and selling your handmade products online - and the craft market is booming with more and more independent artists, makers and designers looking to start selling crafts online everyday - which is FANTASTIC!
However competition is rife, and unless you fully embrace online marketing (and I mean a proper bear hug when I say embrace) then it's unlikely you will succeed (which is sad for everyone). I have been writing tips for building blog traffic and selling your crafts online for a number of sites and on this blog for nearly 5 years now, sharing tips I learn in my day job as a digital marketing consultant and online community manager.
Have a browse through my post online marketing tips for craft sellers which has masses of links for you to read through. I wanted to concentrate this advice into 10 questions for anyone considering setting up a crafts business to answer before they make a start.
If you have already started selling your handmade products online please leave a comment at the end of the post - because I'd really like to know -
Here are my GET REAL questions for would-be craft sellers -
1. Do you have a desirable product?
If the answer is "yes it's ace, obviously - I made it", then slow down before you start bulk buying materials. Have you done any market research? - Who will buy your products (the target market) and do you have any competition? Ask your best friends for their honest ruthless opinion - be sure they understand that the product is a prototype and you need feedback.
2. How much time do you have per week to spend making your product - and how many products does that mean you can make per week?
eg - realistically 2 evenings a week plus a Sunday afternoon for example = 10hrs a week. If each item takes 30 minutes to make that's 20 items a week maximum. What if they each take 3 hrs - that's just 3 a week - how can you make the items quicker without compromising on quality.
3. Have you worked out the exact cost of producing your handmade item?
You want to sell your work at a fair price - don't give it away, if you don't make a profit it is not a business, it's a hobby. Also look at the hidden costs of selling online, web hosting, market place listing fees, advertising, stationery, packaging, postage. Oh and your time? Can you use less expensive materials without compromising on quality.
4. Are you happy to spend that much time working for that much profit?
Lets say your 20 items a week are a great success and you make £5 profit on each after factoring in all the costs. So in a really good week you make £100 for 10hrs work right? That's £10 an hour... oh but we've forgotten one thing...
5. How much time do you have available to spend marketing your work per week?
I think at least an hour per day is needed (would love to hear how much time any of you actually spend on marketing, eg writing blog posts, social networking and writing newsletters etc) - so 7hrs per week - your hourly wage is now coming down to around £5 - and you are working pretty hard! Oh and don't foget the time needed on admin! (taking photographs, editing photographs, adding listings to websites, accounts and self assesment forms) Does your idea still work for you? Good because that means you are passionate about your craft and that's a good sign - you will love every hour you put into it and you aren't purely motivated by profit margins. Hooray, now move on to the next set of questions!
6. Have you thought of a unique business name?
Research any name ideas online to see if the domain is available (check with 123reg) and also checked for similar names on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. It's very deflating when you realise your funny pun name is not "sew" unique after all.
7. What is your route to market?
Will you sell just from your own website or take advantage of the traffic on handmade market places? Setting up a shop with Folksy and Etsy is a fantastic way to test the market before investing (time or money) into a website or into paying fees for a more prestigious site like Not on the High Street. They also have big internal support networks so you can get involved in the communities and make some friends and fans in the craft community.
8. Can you take amazing photographs?
When you are selling crafts online you need to have lovely photographs. Take a look at my craft gallery for inspiration and read my product photography tips - if necessary invest in a course, it will pay off!
9. Are you aware of Search Engine Optimisation?
People need to be able to find your work! The content you create online can be tweaked so that it appears nearer to position one when someone searches for it - I have a good post on here that explains seo and how you can use your craft blog to drive traffic to your webshop.
10. Do you have a Social Media Strategy
Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ - any idea how to use them and importantly how not to use them to sell your crafts. They are all about engaging with potential customers and influencers - you need to to some research on each social media channel and work out how much time you can spare to keep them regularly updated.
Find all my marketing advice for crafters here - boosting traffic to your website with seo and content marketing and increasing your social reach - just click here!
Please ask anything you like in the comments or add your advice by letting us know what you should have spent more time researching or doing when you started running a craft business.
SALE: Heart Earrings: Miscellaneous £3
DescriptionAll earrings have sterling silver findings with butterfly backs. The design is 1.5cm in diameter. Colours may vary from the photos, however the ea...