15/12/2013

Special Christmas Discount Code!

This morning I was reliably informed by my son (who got it from Disney Jr so it must be true) that there are only ten sleeps till Christmas!

Only 10 sleeps to get everything ready. Are you ready? I know I'm not (in fact my Christmas mojo seems to have gone AWOL



Don't fret - there is still time to make a few last minute purchases. There are still a few Festive Felines and scented Christmas decorations left in my Folksy shop  and I have now added all the Sweet Kitty brooches and a few fabric puff brooches with vintage buttons which make great stocking fillers.



My last posting day is Friday 20th Dec and if you need any incentive at all I am also offering a massive 25% off all orders (including sale items) placed before midnight on Thursday 19th Dec.   Just pop the code FB25 into the 'note to seller' section at checkout and I will arrange your 25% refund via Paypal.  



Just a little thank you for your support over the past year. Without you all Forest Flower Designs would still be a little dream...  :-)
 
I will be closing my Folksy shop for the holidays on Friday so that I can concentrate on Christmas with my family but I have lots of exciting plans and ideas for the New Year that I can't wait to share with you. 

In the meantime may I wish you all...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year



30/11/2013

I've been 'Folksy Favourited'!

Things are pretty busy here at Forest Flower HQ -  I have been finishing off the last of this year's decorations and getting them listed on Folksy as well as giving the house a spruce up ready for our own Christmas decorating that begins this weekend.
As if I didn't have enough to do I even decided to make a start on painting the kitchen

Earlier this week I had a lovely surprise when I signed into Twitter and found that Folksy had added one of my little star burst print Christmas birds to their #favouritefinds list.

Here it is on the front page!


Getting a little Folksy endorsement can only be a good thing and it has certainly driven up visitor numbers to my little shop and added a couple of sales to my tally - so thank you Folksy!


Have a lovely weekend!


Anthea x






22/11/2013

Folksy Friday - Oh Deer!

The deer trend has been around for a while now but still as lovely as ever and perfect for this time of year.

This week I have mostly been lusting after cute deer earrings and that fab nail art by Kate Broughton is a definite must have!

In fact already have... (I couldn't resist!)

1.  Cute laser cut bamboo Deer brooch by The Owl and Otter  2.  Adorable Reindeer Fawn made from log offcuts by The Log Basket (I am also a little bit in love with their white birch candle holders) 3. I love these Deer Nail Art Stickers by Kate Broughton so much I bought some :-)  4.  The sleeping fawn illustration on this pocket mirror by Nemke is just too beautiful...  5.  A magestic stag head adorns this cute locket and charm necklace by Dear George Designs   6.  This pair of beautiful, handprinted Deer & Stag cushions by HELKATDESIGN would make a beautiful wedding gift for a special couple.  7.  Lovely big Deer Mug  by Charlotte Macey Textiles - just perfect filled with cocoa and marshmallows!  8.  Running Deer Brooch from Art you Wear features artist Justine Nettleton's tree branch artwork representing the deer's dreams of running free. Just beautiful.
9.  These dinky little Deer Earrings by Beadish Delight are on my Christmas wish list but I'm not sure I can wait that long! 

Hope you have enjoyed my Folksy Friday selection this week. As ever there is a pin board with more deer delights over on Pinterest   

Happy Friday and I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Anthea xx



 


ps: have you seen these in my Folksy shop? 
'Deer Heart'  is made with a fab print of leaping reindeer, pretty snowflakes and festive trees. Completely sold out in green but there are still a couple in the sumptious crimson and raspberry pink colour combo left...


20/11/2013

'Revealing Craft' on Kickstarter


Have you ever heard of Kickstarter?

No me neither until recently when I read about a fab collaboration between Folksy and photographer India Hobson - Revealing Craft

If you are a regular reader of Mollie Makes you may have already seen some of India's photographic studies of designer-makers in their studios - this book contains much more of the same promising to 'tell the life behind the work of each of the thirteen designer-makers as well as India's narrative of her meeting with this people in their homes'

What is unique about this book is that it is, through Kickstarter, funded by your pledges. Folksy need to reach a goal of £6500 to pay for the 1st edition print run of Revealing Craft and they are asking for your 'pledges' - effectively pre-orders - in order to raise the money.  You can find out much much more about how it all works here

I have made my pledge for a signed and numbered copy of the book in a presentation sleeve. It is my Christmas present to myself and I very much hope that they reach their goal. I cannot wait to see the finished book.

There are, as I write, only 5 days left to reach the goal and just over £1000 left to raise.If you too want to be the proud owner of a piece of Folksy history why not hop over and make a pledge.

Everyone is keeping everything crossed they make it!!

19/11/2013

Christmas craft fair weekend

I have spent most of the last two weeks frantically sewing up a bunch of stock ready for Christmas craft fairs.

I do this every time - craft fair looms, I go into panic mode, realise I don't have nearly enough pretties to fill a table (because you lovely peeps keep buying them from Folksy! *not complaining* ) and spend every waking moment with a needle in my hand. The house gets completely ignored, and it's truly amazing how quickly kids and partners go feral when they have to find their own tea...

And for what?

This weekend I did two events - one billed as a 'ladies Christmas shopping night', the other was in a local pub.  Both were a terrible disappointment...

Not a complete waste of time to be fair - I covered my table costs and I have an order from another trader for a personalised bunting banner for her own stall. I also had a lovely chat with the organiser of the pub fair about how we could all work together to make a successful regular event. (More on that as and when... )

I have blogged about the craft fair conundrum before over on TFMP and every time I come home from one I ask myself the same question. Why? Why do I do this thing?


The truth is I enjoy them. I come from a retail background and I enjoy setting up shop! I enjoy meeting customers and talking to them. I get a thrill when they point things out they love or pick up my work to get a better look or take a card so they can check out my blog and online shop later. I love wrapping up a purchase and popping it into a bag and handing it over with a smile and a thank you.


I wish I could do more of it.

I just wish more people liked to shop that way...


What are your craft fair experiences? Do you love them or see them as a necessary evil? Do you have any tips for a 'successful' fair experience?

And if you are a customer what makes you make a purchase? Do you have any advice for stall holders on how to attract the attention - and the purses - of potential customers?

I always love to hear your opinions.

We are all in this together after all....


Anthea xx






11/11/2013

5 tips for pricing your handmade products

A few years ago I decided that what I would really like to do is turn my hobby, my skill with fabric and a sewing machine, into a way of earning a regular income.  I set up a shop on Folksy, I made lots of stock and attended craft fairs. I made sales. Quite a few sales. But I never seemed to actually get anywhere...


Why?

The main problem was in the pricing. I had fallen into the trap of pricing my beautiful, one of a kind, handmade lovelies waaaaaay too low. I realised that rather than pricing my products according to the amount of work involved and the materials used, I was comparing them to other similar products. I was trying to be 'competitive' but I was failing at actually getting paid what my work was worth...

SO... as this is my make or break year I knew I had to re-evaluate my pricing. If I am to have a hope of actually earning a living doing this thing that I love so much then I am going to have to learn to price my products properly!!

And if last week's #craftblogclub chat on Twitter (#craftblogclub is hosted by the very lovely @LivePeachy every Tuesday night 7-8.30pm) its a problem faced by many start up craft businesses...

So here are my 5 tips for pricing your handmade products

1.   Set an hourly rate and stick to it!


Think about what you are willing to work for.  Minimum wage in the UK is currently £6.31 so there's your starting point. 
Maybe you are happy to work for less than that - after all, if you work from home there are no commuting costs, lunch is much cheaper, you can work the hours you chose and there aren't many jobs you can do in your pj's if you feel like it.
At the same time though, don't forget you have a skill, one that many other people don't have!  Don't undervalue yourself. 
Whatever you decide make sure you stick to it! When you price your product using the formula below don't balk because it looks a little high and reduce it a bit. Stick to your guns.

2.   Get the best price you can for your materials


Many small business crafters use the same suppliers they have used for years - paying full retail prices for their materials. This is fine for 'hobby crafters' and those who dabble making lots of different things but if you have found a design idea that really works, that people love and that sells well it really pays to buy in bulk and save some money.  
If you want to continue supporting your preferred supplier why not contact them and see if they will do a deal if you order larger amounts? If you normally buy fabric in fat quarters you may be able to get a discount on an order for several metres.

3.  Be aware of your OTHER costs


Listing fees, sales fees, PayPal fees - these all add up. Remember to take them into account when working out your final price.
Listing and sales fees vary from site to site but lets say you want to list an item for sale on Folksy. Unless you have a FolksyPlus account you will pay 18p per item (15p +VAT) and, when the item sells you will pay 6% + VAT as a sales fee.
So if you list an item and it sells for £10 it will have cost you 18p listing fee + 72p sales fee = 90p
(Folksy do not include your postage charge in their sales fee percentage, thankfully)
Now assume you had a postage charge of £3.00 - that means the total amount processed through Paypal will be £13.00. Paypal's standard processing charge is 3.4% + 20p per transaction so they will take their fee of  44p + 20p = 64p
Now the total fees you have paid are £1.54
Then you need to factor in postage costs - 2nd class small parcel rate is currently £2.65 - and your packaging costs - tissue paper, envelopes etc etc - you are probably looking at another 20p - 30p.
So your item which sells for £10 + £3 P&P has cost you a total of  £4.50 already...  the remaining amount needs to cover, at the very least, your materials and your wage. 
If you are serious about this being your livelihood then you also need to be making something on top of that - you need to be making a profit!

If you are self hosted, selling from your own website, don't forget you need to think about your monthly/yearly website costs too!

4.   The Formula


Now you have your basic costs you need to set your price. There are many different ways of working out the ideal price and a lot depends on which way you want to take your business. If you are happy retailing directly through your own shop/website or through a hosted site like Folksy or Etsy then this formula should work reasonably well for you. There is also room for supplying local shops at a trade price or sale-or-return on commission.

(Materials + hourly rate) + 20% = 'wholesale price'   (the 20% to cover those extra costs. This is the absolute minimum price you could sell your goods at and have all costs covered)

Wholesale price x 2 = retail price   (this is the price you should be retailing your goods at)

One of my basic birds costs me approx 30p in materials and takes 20 mins to make
  30p  + £2.10 ( 20mins at minimum wage ) = £2.40   
add 20% (48p)  
so my wholesale price should be £2.88.
retail price = wholesale price x 2  or  £5.76

My birds are currently retailing at £4.99 so, as you can see I am still slightly undercharging - this is mainly because I have set my hourly rate a bit lower than minimum wage. This is something I NEED to address if I want a sustainable business that earns me a reasonable income and will be adjusting soon *



This is just the way I have made pricing work for me. It's not perfect and I am sure there are many designer/makers out there who would scream at me for suggesting that it is ok to set your hourly rate at minimum wage, or less, if you chose.

Which brings me neatly on to...

5.  Don't be afraid of 'high' prices!


So you've worked out your price using 'The Formula' but it just seems waaaay to high!

'No-one is going to pay that for it' you wail...

Stop! Now it's perfectly possible that you think YOU would never pay that for it but then you have all the skills and materials to make one for yourself, you don't need to buy one.  But think about all the people out there who don't know how to knit/sew/bead.
Customers of 'handmade' goods are generally very discerning and whilst you may get people muttering about how expensive your products are at the school fete or local village hall craft fair (we'll talk about those another time...) online shoppers are much more savvy - they are looking for beautifully made, unique designs. And they ARE prepared to pay for them.

So why not try that higher price first? What have you got to lose? If it really doesn't sell you have room to reduce the price in a sale or with a special offer code. Also if it doesn't sell at the price it deserves to sell for in terms of costs then you will know that you need to either reduce your costs or try something different...

And if it does sell - CONGRATULATIONS! You are on the right track to running a viable 'handmade' business!

So there you have it.

My top 5 tips for pricing your handmade products.

I hope you find them helpful.

Here are some links to other great articles on pricing your handmade goods. Research is the key to setting up any successful business. You have to decide what is best for you, in your circumstances, taking your personal goals into account.



Anthea xx

* you may be interested to know that if I did up my hourly rate to minimum wage, in the bird example above, taking into account Folksy fees, Paypal fees and postage costs I would make 98p more than I do now.  Every little counts...

09/11/2013

Beautiful Bright Christmas Decorations




I have finally finished this little batch of decorations in lovely bright colours and just had to share them with you.

I think they would look just gorgeous on a white Christmas tree or strung together on a long ribbon and made into a garland! (ooooo the possibilities...)





Lots of lovely hand stitched details and,of course, with plenty of those gorgeous Christmas Spice scented aroma beads in the stuffing!
I will be listing these on Folksy over the next couple of days so keep your eyes peeled :-)


Have a lovely weekend!


Anthea xx

08/11/2013

Folksy Friday - cosy cable knits

This week I have noticed a definite nip in the air during the morning school run. I even gave in and switched the heating back on - well it IS November!

This week's Folksy Friday selection is all about cosy cable knits...



1. I love the colour of this Rustic cable knitted cowl by Miss Frekkles. Perfect for weekend walks in the woods, kicking up leaves.   2. Cable Knit E-Reader Case by Daisy Beth  because, you know, your Kindle deserves to stay snuggly too! 3. Hand knitted purse by The Handcrafted Home look after your pennies in cosy cabled style!  4. Love this  Slouchy Cable Twist Knitted Beanie  by Cappelli Hats Check out their Folksy shop - this gorgeous style comes in several different colours!  5. Giant Cable Knitted Throw  by Knitting Revolution - perfect for winter evenings snuggling on the sofa   6.  The Chunky Cable Cowl by Dolly Knits - another super snuggly cowl in a beautiful shade of red will surely get you noticed!   7. Got a newborn in the family? Whip up the perfect gift using this Cabled Baby Hat knitting pattern by Lovefibres    8. Handknit Long Fingerless Mittens by Creative Therapy  - glorious cabled arm warmers reach parts other gloves can only dream of . . .  9. This fab  Braided Knit Bracelet by  the delightfully named Jessica Joy snuck in coz I just love it so much!

You may have noticed I included 9 items rather than the usual 6 today! And that's not all. For more Cosy Cable Knits on Folksy just head over to my pinterest board.

Now you have no excuses not to keep warm and snuggly!

Anthea xx

05/11/2013

It's in the post..

This weekend I finally got the first batch of Christmas scented 'Sweet Kitties' listed on Folksy

Nordic Christmas Cats are made from gorgeous printed cotton fabric from Scandinavia teamed up with ribbons, felt and buttons in lovely winter shades of red, grey and white plus, of course, they are all stuffed with those festive Christmas Spice aroma beads.
There are four designs available in very limited numbers - the first batch were listed and sold within an hour!!

I have now completed and listed the second batch but I don't expect them to hang around for too long either if your facebook comments and tweets are anything to go by!

(click on the pictures to go shopping)


The weekend sales gave me a good excuse to crack out my new packaging materials. I love wrapping presents and I feel that if someone has made the effort to look at my shop and part with their hard earned cash to purchase my designs the least I can do is wrap them up nicely for them!


I found some lovely sky blue tissue paper and shiny red envelopes on ebay.

They match my new stickers from MOO perfectly don't you think? 

How important do you think the packaging is? Should sellers put more thought into the way they send their goods out to customers or do you believe that it's what's on the inside the counts?


Let me know!


Anthea xx


01/11/2013

Folksy Friday - Taking Notes

I admit it, I have a bit of a *thing* about stationery... I have way more notebooks than I actually NEED (but since when has need come into it?) and yet I still can't resist a pretty notebook when I see one! I keep them in my bag for shopping lists, wish lists or to take contact details for people I meet. I have a them scattered around the house because you never know when inspiration might strike. I have them by my bed - for late night scheming and early morning to-do list writing whilst drinking my wake up cuppa.

I even buy plain A6 notebooks so I can cover them in beautiful fabrics (here's a great tutorial from my other blog if you fancy doing the same - it's a great way to show off small pieces of gorgeous prints!)

So this week's Folksy Friday is all about exquisite pocket stationery. I hope you are taking notes...

 1. Fox notebook  by Kate Broughton proves that sometimes simple is best. 2.  Cat Notebook by MyPipSqueak, inspired by their rescue cat Lovely Stella. Purrrrfect.   3 These Leather satchel notebook by Beauty Bound Books must be the ultimate in stationery geekery. Definitely on my notebook wishlist!  4.Beautiful Vintage Embroidered notebook by Kate Bowles Books is hand bound and covered with a piece from a vintage tablecloth. I love the exposed spine detail!  5.  This fab set of 4 hand stitched Mini suede notebooks from Peony and Thistle are just perfect for pockets and would make great stocking fillers too  6.  A Walk in the Woods notebook by The Little Bird Press is part of their lovely range that includes gift tags and mugs too!


This is just a small selection of my favourite finds - want to see more? Head over to my Taking Notes Pinterest board . . .

I did warn you I was just a wee bit obsessed!


Anthea xx

28/10/2013

Building up Christmas stock...

As part of my new organised self I have declared that weekends are for family and home projects only. Forest Flower Designs IS my work and has to be kept to working hours (even if those working hours are anytime between 9am and 10pm Monday to Friday!) in order that we, as a family, have all important family time!

However as I spent most of last week dying from some nasty flu type virus this weekend I really needed to spend some time catching up so I devoted a couple of hours to stuffing...


All of these are Christmas items which means they all have lovely Christmas Spice aroma beads added to the stuffing for a lovely warm festive fragrance. 
It also means my living room currently smells gorgeous!!


A selection of Festive Felines in various Christmas fabrics -  I particularly love the modern multi-coloured star burst print! 


These little birdies will soon have cute colourful felt wings added - they will look just stunning on a pastel themed tree.


There can never be enough red and white hearts on my Christmas tree...
 
The stuffing bit is the 'hard' work. This week I shall be stitching the holes closed and the fun bit begins - embellishment!!! 

Time to get the felt, buttons, ribbons and trimmings ready....

It's not ALL been about Christmas decorations though. I have been working on these cute little brooches too - Sweet Kitties to wear!!


And how about these cute 'puff' brooches using gorgeous vintage buttons from Nan's button tin?
I think they will make fab pressies - definitely going to add a few more of these to my Christmas craft fair stock pile!


It's half term this week and I already have most of the week planned around activities with Roo so much of this week's Forest Flower work will be crammed into the evenings once he is in bed.
I hope to get that first batch of cats, birds and hearts finished and listed in my Folksy store by the end of the week

To those of you who are busy prepping for the upcoming round of Christmas craft fairs I wish you all the best! 
May we all maintain our sanity at this most wonderfully hectic time of the year!!

Anthea xx

25/10/2013

Freaky Folksy Friday...

What does Halloween mean to you?

When I was a kid it wasn't a big deal - it was something they did in the States and we saw on movies (ET anyone?) but not something we really got excited about.  In my late teens it became an opportunity to dress up and go to some really cool parties! As an adult I learnt more about the pagan origins of Samhain (which has very little to do with the dead and much more to do with the end of the summer season, harvest and preparation for Winter).

Now I have a child of my own who is reaching the age where he is becoming aware of Halloween and, in particular that American custom of Trick or Treating! To be honest I'm not mad keen on the idea of him traipsing around the neighbourhood begging for sweeties but I can see spooky themed Halloween parties looming - complete with scary jelly, bobbing for apples and fake spiderwebs everywhere...

This week's Folksy Friday, then, is a celebration of all things spooky!  Don't get too scared now...


1. I love this Skeleton Hands Headband by Janine Basil (check out the Zombie Bunny shoe clips too. So cute!) 2. Cute Halloween cupcake toppers by Amanda Lincoln - perfect for a kids Halloween party! 3. Bat and Circles Garland by Pelemele  4. Light up the night with this Bats tealight holder from Bex by Design  5. Perfect for Halloween crafting! Recycled felt bundle from The Felted Rainbow  6. Screen printed, eco friendly Trick or Treat bags by BYKI Designs would also make cool party bags

Don't forget my very own Halloween designs are available in my Folksy shop right now!


Have the best dressed Halloween party with this fab bunting - polka dots on black and orange interspersed with GLOW IN THE DARK spiderwebs - this really is the coolest bunting! £12.50 for approx 2.5m length and as it's double sided and properly stitched this is bunting for life not just for Halloween (if I was 15 again this would be in my bedroom permanently!).


...and if glow in the dark bunting isn't enough there is ONE glow in the dark kitty left too - I shouldn't really be surprised that these have sold so well. Not only are they very cute with their green embroidered faces, orange pompom collars and pumpkin tummy appliques (nicknamed, rather appropriately 'tumkins' by my friend, children's author Shoo Rayner ) but that fab spiderweb fabric really does glow in the dark!  Great for sitting in the window to spook your visitors or just hiding under the duvet with and watching them glow (or is that just me?).

Whatever you do for Halloween, I hope you have a fab time.


Anthea xx

23/10/2013

Hello and welcome to my new blog!

Hello there! Thank you for dropping by...

For those of you who have popped over from Tales from Mount Pleasant - hi there and cheers for showing your continued support!

For those discovering me for the first time - hello! I hope this is the start of a beautiful friendship!!

I have been blogging over at Tales from Mount Pleasant (TFMP) since 2009 and in that time it has seen me through the early years of motherhood, set up my own business and develop as a crafter. What began as a simple chronicle, a diary of the things I got up to with my little man has grown and developed over the years into a fully fledged crafty lifestyle blog as I have settled into my role of a stay at home/work at home mum with a baby/toddler/pre-schooler.  Now Roo is at school it is time for Forest Flower to blossom fully and with that in mind I have set up this blog dedicated to my work!

I hope to share with you new ideas and designs in progress, new stock as it is available and the highs and lows of running a craft based business from home - it can be very stressful and lonely at times but also exhilarating, satisfying and great fun!

I know some of you will be going through the same things so I would like to show my support for all small 'handmade' businesses here too. There will be regular Folksy Friday posts and, once I get my head properly around Etsy and get my shop open on there I will do Etsy treasury features too.  I will also be running articles on individual designer/makers - if you are interested in being featured then please drop me a line! (use the contact me form in the column or tweet me @forestflower23)

Blogging at TFMP will continue (if a little sporadically) - I still have lots of makes, tutorials, recipes and reviews to share with you but my goal is to earn a living as a designer/maker and that is where my focus must be!

I hope you will join me on this journey.

Together we can keep the handmade revolution going!!


Anthea xx