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