Friday 14 May 2010

Folksy Friday - Holidays are coming, holidays are coming....

I'm off on my holidays.... yay....

yes, ok there's an ash cloud floating a little too close to my flight path for comfort,
yes, maybe the civic unrest in Greece is a little offputting...
and yes, the fact that my dad's wife has just broken her foot days before we fly is giving me the impression that the holiday could be ... erm.... doomed.

BUT I'm putting all that worry aside, whilst I get into the holiday mood with some folksy friday picks...


Lovely stuff huh?

Just click on the pictures to go straight through to the shops.

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Setting up a craft fair

Like most of you reading this, I've been to a few craft fairs in my time. I've also had a stall at a few, but I've never set up, organised, and run one. Though I must admit I have wondered just how much work is involved. So when Teresa from Rustic Gifts told me she was planning to set up her very own craft fair I was keen to find out more.

Before I let you know what I found out - I should mention it's on Sunday 6th June at Cross Barn, Odiham, from 11am until 4pm and admission will be free.

So here are the questions I put to her......

Q First of all back to the beginning, why did you decide to set up your own craft fair as opposed to the easier option of just hiring a stall?

A I booked into a ‘craft and antiques fair’ in March and it was horrendous!  My table wasn’t ready when I arrived, there were only 7 other stalls and they were still charging people to get in! It would appear that they hadn’t advertised and there was nothing to indicate there was anything going on there at all.  About 20 people came in all day and they were mainly family of people with stalls.. I made a flip comment that I could run one better and it has snowballed from there really!

Q How did you decide on the location  - did you have any key criteria?

A Odiham seemed like an ideal location – it’s quite a buzzing little town with a lot of surrounding towns and villages and local events are well supported.  A friend mentioned The Cross Barn, a beautiful, restored barn it seems very in keeping with a craft fair and is just off the main High Street. It is also reasonably priced which means I have been able to keep down the price of the tables and not charge admission.

Q What does the marketing side involve?

A This is probably the most important thing – not a lot of point having stall holders and no one turning up because they don’t know it is on!

So far I have designed/built a website which is already listed on google and listed details of the craft fair on various websites with a link back to I have designed and printed posters and flyers, which I am sending to stall holders when I receive their booking forms and hoping that they will also advertise themselves.  I already have posters up in the Fleet area where I live and will be getting them up in the Odiham area – Cricket Club, Cross Barn, Post Office etc. I have also got someone taking them to the local RAF Camp and local playgroup.

Obviously I will also be advertising in local newspapers the week before the craft fair.

In addition I will be skulking around a few days before putting up posters on lampposts at roundabouts etc! I am also getting some wooden arrows to hand paint with ‘craft fair today’ so that it is well sign posted. 

Q How do you find stall holders?

A This is more difficult than you would think – I am trying to get as many different types of high quality craft as possible so have emailed people that I have met at other craft fairs with lovely crafts. Obviously some people are already booked up or have family commitments. 

I have also contacted people that I have found on Stallfinder.

Other people have found the website through google or listings and contacted me, but many are imported from abroad etc. which I have to turn down… oh and funny one from someone who had just bought an ice cream van… odd!

It is a slow process and you have to hold your nerve a bit but I have some lovely stalls already booked and I’m just looking for the last few bookings now, (only 4 spaces left).

Q What makes or breaks a craft fair?

A Firstly you need the people through the door, so advertising is very important!

It also needs to be easy to find, so plenty of signs around. I went over there again today to see where I could put up signs and have also got posters up in various places around the town.  They were great over there – no problem getting the posters put up at all.  The George Hotel on the High Street, a local cafĂ© and a lovely clothes shop (wish I could remember the names of them!).  They have also put one up at The Cross Barn, so a good mornings work!  Still lots of other places for them to go though and will be getting more printed over the next couple of days

A good mix of crafts is a must and I also think the layout can make a difference, no similar crafts together.

Free entry –  The majority of Craft Fairs charge admission and I think this puts quite a few people off. 

Good organisation – I already have a floor/table plan so I know where people are going to be on the day, and know what is still available. You can’t tell someone they can have lighting/wall space etc. and then find you can’t actually do that at the last minute.  Have had it done to me and it irritated me!

 If you want to find out any more about it, take a look at the website here....

Thursday 6 May 2010


I love working with gemstones. I find it amazing that these gorgeous stones that shimmer and glow are actually real stones,  mined from the earth. They are part of the substance of our planet - nature at is most glamorous!

(Click on any of the pictures to find out more!!)

I have never really believed in the healing powers of crystal that some people subscribe to, but I do figure if it looks good - I'll go with it. I also think there is something a just a little bit special about wearing your birthstone. And I know if I was ever pregnant again, I might just wear some moonstone - it's like reading a horoscope, I hardly ever do it and don't believe it even when I do... but if you want to believe it enough.... any extra amulet, or good luck charm to help with some situation in particular can often feel really special.

The actual definition of what makes a gemstone is a bit hazy - gemstones certainly seem to be minerals or rocks - but what makes a mere rock a gemstone? Does it have to be rare? Nope - quartz is one of the most common gemstones around - in various forms and colours. Does it have to be clear and sparkly? No - I often use black onyx, or matt black agate. Does it have to be expensive - oh no - head over to my shop to buy some veeerrrry reasonably priced gemstone jewellery.

At the end of the day, it seems to be in the eye of the beholder - they have to be hard enough to be cut and polished, but mainly it's that they are nice looking enough for people to want to use them to make jewellery. And thats about it!

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Featured Crafter - Knit Frekkles

I met this fantastic knitter in the etsy listing club, and just love her work. She can't cast a stitch wrong as far as I'm concerned. I tried knitting once, failed miserably, and now leave it up to the mother in law to knit the girls jumpers as she's brilliant at it. I am so in awe of people who can knit.

Anyway, I caught up with Nichola aka Knit Frekkles and asked her a few questions... (click on the scarves to get more info from her etsy shop!)

Tell us a bit about yourself:
My Name is Nichola I was brought up in the countryside in the North East of England and now live in Manchester with my boyfriend.

What do you make?
I’m a knitter, and at the moment I make scarves but would like to move in to garments in the future.

Why do you use that medium?
I’ve always been good at Art for as long as I can remember. I discovered knitting at school but didn’t take it up seriously until my Degree in Textiles when I was 25 (wow that was 10 years ago!) I love to weave as well but a loom is harder to house, knitting needles store easily…although yarn sometimes gets out of control!

When did you start selling your stuff, where do you sell?
I only started selling in January this year; I’ve tried a few times but never plucked up the courage to take the plunge until now. I currently only sell through Etsy, although I hope to open up on Folksy soon for those Brits who don’t want to make currency conversions when they shop.

Do you also have a day job, or is this your main job?
Since childhood I’ve been sporty, you know the type, I was in every team at school, loved sports day and only slightly minded the airtex and knicker shorts. I joined a gym as soon as I left and shortly after the owners asked if I would like to train as a Fitness Trainer and Aerobics Instructor, I did and have been teaching ever since.

What do you love about your medium, what you hate?

I love creating fabric from thread. The story of knitting reaches further back in to history than we will ever be able to prove. I love that knitting is used in medicine to save lives, those same continuous loops make swimmers go faster, keep climbers warm, keeps us all in underwear…whats not to love!
I hate that one missed stitch and a whole garment can be gone, its completely infuriating.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I find this hard to pin down. I find inspiration everywhere. It could be a book, a magazine, a film, a website or catwalk collection (I loose hours on - its a great site). Quite often it’s patterns and colours in the natural world.

What is your favorite music to work to?
Well call me weird but I don’t listen to music (other than when I’m teaching) I’m a film fan so I put them on in the background instead. I love a good thriller or period drama (doesn’t every girl) and I could watch Jaws, Pride and Prejudice or Sherlock Holmes every day…don’t get me started!

What is your favorite piece of your own?
The garment I’m most proud of is the garment I made for my MA. The dress told the story of Cinderella figuratively and literally. Embroidered words in Sheltandic overlay threads with the memory of Fairisle patterns still held within them, underneath is a  layer of metallic, satiny yarn turning a once traditional, practical, functional craft into Couture.
Where do you do your work?
I knit everywhere. Mainly in our front bedroom as it has the most light, Sometimes on the sofa, in the back yard, or even at work when its quiet (shhh)

Thanks Nichola for letting me be nosy and answering all my questions..... you make fantastic stuff!!!

Monday 3 May 2010

Listing clubs

So did the April listing challenge pay off? Is it really worth the effort of listing each day?

The short answer has to be......



..... well for me, anyway.

So here are my stats:

For my etsy shop:
Etsy - sales up from 4 items up to 8 sales of 10 items
Visits, up 100%
Page views - up 115%
Pages per visit up 7%
Time on the site up 21%

And for my Folksy shop

(which excludes the beginning of the months for comparison as I was featured on a website and got LOADS of traffic for a day or two at the beginning of March!)

Sales up from 1 to 8
Visits, up 124%
page views - up 182%
Pages per visit up 25%
Time on the site up 65%

So a nice busy month for me, with a sale on average every other day. Well worth the gruelling listing regime. It is difficult to list everyday, but it certainly helps bring visitors into the site.

However, it's not been the same for everyone I know some on the challenge got similar results, such as FairlyGirly, andAccidentalVix but for others the sales just weren't increasing.

It seems to me that I was just getting more traffic - which eventually resulted in more sales. So I thought it would be useful to look at where the views came from. For both shops direct traffic  and search engine traffic were up significantly. But the bulk is still referring sites as it always has been e.g. other people featuring me on their blogs, site forums and also twitter. I know for a fact that at least a third of my sales, and possibly more have come via twitter, so I'll be looking into all the ins and outs of tweeting and report back soon.

In the meantime I just need to get some more things made so I can try and list most days as it seems to be the way forward!!
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