Sunday, 9 May 2010

1st Birthday on Folksy

At the end of May, my shop on folksy will be 1 year old, at the same time I have a number of listings coming to the end of there listing period.

To celebrate the shops 1st Birthday I’m offering 25% discount on the following items in my shop, and 15% off the rest of the items.

This offer will end on 31st of May at midnight.

As an additional extra offer, I’m 3 sales away from 50 sales in this shop. So will be offering free P & P on ‘magic sales’, my son has picked 4 numbers from 48 to 65, and when those sales happen the buyer will be refunded the postage cost as well as the additional discounts.

25% off the following items

15% off all other items

Folksy Shop

Discount will be refunded by paypal, or direct message me for discount to be applied before sale.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Hidden Secrets part two

I’ve had a lot of messages on forums and via Facebook asking me about the stand seen in the pervious post ‘Hidden Secrets’, several have asked where it was purchased and others have asked how it’s made.

The stand was made by me about 4 years ago, it was my first attempt and I’m still amazed at the way it has stood up to being transported, put together and then dismantled, I’ve been doing up to 60 events a year for the last two years, and at a rough guess I would say that this display has attended 250 events.

The stand was designed to knock down flat for transport, and needed to be easy to re-assemble each time it was needed, Initially it would have to be said that I over engineered the design, and maybe that’s why it’s lasted, but some of the initial features, such as using wing nuts to hold the cross braces in place, are now no longer used, I just slide the braces onto the bolts, and don’t bother putting the wing nuts on.

In this first photo, you can see the stall ready for transport, it’s simply 8 components; 3 shelves, 3 cross braces, and two side panels.

In photo 2, we have a view of one of the side panels:

You can see the bolt positions onto which the side braces fit, these bolts are epoxyied in to place allowing me to put the unit together on my own.

In the top part of the photo you can see the dowel pegs that slot into the shelves, helping to add stability to the unit.

Below is a more details shot of the dowel pegs

The first step in putting the unit together is to get the cross braces into place, each end of the cross brace is marked, with a corresponding mark on the frame

The next stage, once the cross braces are in place, is to fit the shelves, these just slot onto the dowel pegs (each shelf has the dowel pegs in slightly different places, giving an added benefit of increased stability), as can be seen from the photo below, the back of the shelf has a raised rigid back brace fitted, this allows for a thinner thickness of board to be used to make the self (the back brace also stops the shelf sagging in the middle, and forms a slight joint with the side frame). At the front of the self you can see a raised section again, this time much smaller; this addition prevents items slipping from the front of the shelf.

Once constructed, the naked frame can then covered with a cloth.

Some things you may have noticed, on the bottom rear cross brace, the are cup hooks at either end, this is where I hang bags that I use to put multiple purchases in, although sometimes they can end up inside the cubby the frame creates. The black PVC fabric on the side panels are their to stop people seeing in the side, and to keep wind and water out.

Please note, I have not included the plans for making this stand, for one simple reason, I do make them to order, and each one is custom designed to the requirements that it will be used for. If your interested in having one made, please leave a comment or message me at

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Understanding twitter (info)

Now a great many people use twitter to promote their shops.

I beleive that everyone understand the concept of followers, and the more you have, the more people will read what you tweet?

I'm sure that many of you understand that messages can be re-tweeted.

How many understand the RSS button? the RSS but apears on all sorts of places, like at the top of forum threads, but with twitter it can sever a second purpose.

Did you know that instead of just having the people who 'follow' seeing what you tweet. people who click on the RSS feed button can as well.

Also remember that once you click on the tweet button, you can't delete or edit what you have said. anyone could be watching.

Even if you try and keep seperate accounts, one for your private tweets and one for your shop.

Once something is posted out into the WWW, it's there forever.

Anyone could be watching your tweets. Even Me (but then i'm Illiterate so i can't read?)

Ooopps is posting info 'throwing my weight around'

Thursday, 8 April 2010

New issue of UK Handmade

The Latest issue of UK handmade magazine is out (it's been out over a week, but with Half term, I've been a bit bogged down).

This Issue also contain my blog post on Insurance.

Another great issue

Monday, 8 March 2010

Hidden Secrets

When you look at my Craft Fair Stall, there are a few hidden secrets, and I'm going to share one with you all today. One secret to a good stall is to display items at different heights and as can be seen below, this display lifts items of the flat of the table.

I still have a lot of work to do on the front of this display before I'm going to be happy with it, but the real secret is the other side.

I use the underside of the display at the back to store my cash box (unlocked and open so that you can see it), and also my packing supplies as can be seen in these two photos.

Under the table itself is a large box, which hold cardboard jewellery boxes of various sizes (sorry, the photo did not come out).

By having this hidden area at the back of the display, I can keep thing out of sight, such as cups of tea, food, etc. From this partial side view, things can not be seen.

This photo from a recent craft fair, shows the stall and the display, and also it's smaller sister (more hidden secrets under there as well).

Craft Stall Update

Over the last few weeks, I have been working on my stall for craft fairs; I had grown a bit bored with the slate and stone I’d been using.

I had decided I wanted to use more wood in my display, I had been donated a large chunk of root stock from an Apple tree, So my first step was to discard the sections that had root and disease, and then work out just what displays I wanted.

As can be seen in this picture below, these first sections have cuts through the trunk at 45 degrees, each cut was done with a hand saw, and took over 10 minutes of hard sawing, so by alternating the cuts at 90 and 45 degrees, some nice displays were created

Next instead of alternating the cuts, I stayed at 45 degrees and ended up with some large flat ovals (known as oyster cuts), and with the smaller limb sections, I kept the cuts at 90 degrees to the line of the limb, to give me some circular disc shapes

These fit in with the larger oyster cut sections that I've been using for a few years, but cutting these larger sections needs a much bigger saw than I own

I still have a fair amount to do to these new displays, but the theme is slowly coming together. I hope to soon have some more log sections to make some more so that i can replace the non - wood items used to display my work.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Sunshine Blog Awards

The sunshine award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blogging world.

The rules for accepting the award are as followers -

* Place the logo within your blog or post
* Pass the award on to 12 bloggers
* Link the nominees within the post
* Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blog
* Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award

I will be awarding the Sunshine shortly

Monday, 22 February 2010


So what is it?
Who need’s it?
What type do you need?

The three key questions above are common on the forums, most often the question is related to Public Liability Insurance prior to a Craft Fair.

With this post I’ll try and cover as much as I can, but I’m not an Insurance Broker (although I used to sell life cover, it was many years ago, and things have changed)

So lets start with what is it?

To put it simply, if there is a risk, there is insurance to cover against the risk (somewhere).
Basically, if you have the risk of loss, be it stock, life or limb, you pay a premium to someone who is gambling that the risk does not occur, so that they get to keep you money for nothing, but if something goes wrong, they will pay to put it right *.

So what can I insure? Well everything where there is a risk of loss. So by law we have to insure our cars (third party insurance is the only compulsory part, fire and theft are added to make you feel better about paying). In that way if we injure someone, we have insurance to pay them compensation.

Car Insurance
So what do you need, lets start with the car, as I’ve mentioned it above, you drive down to your local supplier to pick up some raw material (be it wool, paint, wood, jewellery findings), or are driving to a craft fair where you will have a stall. You are using your private car for business, and need to check that your vehicle insurance covers you to do that, (I have know of a case where someone was coming home from a craft fair and their car caught fire due to a leaky pipe, She lost £1,400 worth of stock, and because it was classed as business use, the insurance did not pay her for the contents, even though it was a fully comp policy, if she had been shopping and had the same value of good in the car, they would have happily paid as it was a private trip).

Key Person Insurance (Recommended)
If you do your business full time like myself, then I think this is a must, if anything should happen to me, either disability or death, what happens to the income of my wife and son (who may have to nurse me for years).

Premises Insurance (Recommended)
Because I rent a studio, any one of my neighbour’s work spaces could go up in fire, and I would loose everything, from stock, equipment, raw materials.
Check with your landlord what cover they have, and if you a covered on it for anything, (they must by law tell you what cover they have and if you are included).
If you work from home, again check your policy, many policies will be either voided if you work from home, or exclude a large percentage of any settlement in the result of a claim.

Contents Cover (Recommended)
I have as part of my rented property insurance separate sections of cover
Contents; insures my stock at cost price without any addition for profit (this also covers the stock in the event of a break-in.
Plant & Equipment ; my cover is for replace as new, but is also available on an indemnity basis where wear and tear is taken into account when settling the claim.

Goods in Transit (Very Recommended)
This not only covers me when I’m going to or from craft fairs, but consignment by consignment when I’m sending stock via a carrier to a gallery.

Money (cash loss) insurance (Recommended)
Here the example, I’ve been at a craft fair all day, and during the day some little Oik has been watching who does well, and who doesn’t and he want some money for booze or drugs, He stops me and threatens me with a knife if I don’t give him my money, well he can have it, I’m insured, I have a record of my takings, and I’ll call the police (I also have a list of the serial numbers written in my diary, which list’s my sales, and is kept well away from the cash when I’m in transit). It also covers my petty cash in my studio, my stamps etc. So I’m also happy when I’m taking cash to the bank etc.

Trade Credit Insurance (Personally Recommended if you do Sale or Return)
I have stock out around the country with Galleries, most of it on Credit (sale or return), so what happens if a gallery goes belly up 200 miles away. I’ve lost say £400 worth of stock (average cost price of stock, not RRP), No, Why? Because this is what this insurance covers against, when you work out how many thousands of pound worth of stock it covers, its well worth having.

Business Interruption Insurance (Optional)
Does what it says on the label, pays out if you can’t operate your business, Check with the broker what exactly it covers and how much you get.

Public liability Insurance (Highly Recommended)
Most Craft fairs require you to have your own, make sure it covers legal fees, cost and expense such as representation at any hearings.

Product liability Insurance (Highly Recommended)
If you make (how else would you find this blog), sell or repair anything, this covers you in the result your are being held liable for damage or injury arising from defects in their design or manufacture, even if you have not been negligent.

Professional Indemnity Insurance (Optional)
This is compulsory in some professions, but if you’re making things, it may be worth considering.

Where to go for more info

Start with Business link
Also consider

Find a local broker here

To find details about online comparison site try

Personal feelings
Woody uses a small business policy that has been tailored to meet my requirements, I pay extra for my extras, and would always recommend shopping around for whats best for you

You may also like to try one of these (placing the detail of the following is not a recommendation, merely giving some useful links or

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Craft Fairs 2.

Doing the First Event

Where do you start, you've booked your first event. Now what?

Find out how much space you have. Once you know that, you can start planning.

Step one, space, is to get some masking tape and a tape measure, and mark out on an empty bit of floor the space you actually have.

Step two,stock, work out how much stock you have. do you have enough stock? or too much stock. I always find I have too much stock (well, except for my last two craft fairs before Christmas 2009, when as soon as something was made, it went on display and sold).

Step three, height, when people walk past they should be able to see your stock, the best, eye catching items should be elevated and angled so that people walking past can see it.

Step four, prices, my thoughts on this, is that every item should either be priced individually or be in a group of items where the price is clear.

Step five, branding, where does this come in, well everything need to look good, have a similar theme, I use the same font, and the same paper for my stall,

Step six, table dressing, this is where knowing how high your table is can come in useful, when I'm doing indoor events i make sure that the front and sides of my table can't be seen under, why? because it look cleaner, and more professional

Step seven, practice, get some friends round and get some honest opinions as to how your stall looks. Do some mock sales, have you got packaging, bags, care instruction, tape, scissors, etc.

Step eight,spiel, while your practicing, work out what to say, the worst thing to do is just hide behind the table at a craft fair and wait. you'll come home and say your never doing one again, and that you didn't make many / any sales.

At craft fairs etc. I like to stand all day, mainly at the front of my stall, and engage the public and other sellers, to the extent that i know who will sell well each day and who won't, the biggest clue is the people who bring something to read, if your reading you can't sell, also those who bring cushions to sit on, or on outdoor events, bring their own chair. (Woody's golden rule No.1, Don't get comfortable, get selling),if you look at the table dressing picture, you'll see there is no space behind the stall.

Step nine, think again, look at everything you have laid out for your stall, where is it? That something you've missed? Do you have business cards? Do you have fliers for people to take away? Do you have a cash box and float? Do you have some way of checking if money is real? I have a pen which i can use to detect if money is fake? you should be able to pick one up for a few pounds at most good stationers.

Step ten, pack it all away, sounds simple, but years of doing craft fairs has taught me to pack away one of three ways.
Method 1, pack stock in one large box, and table dressings in another, and pack everything in reverse order. so the items you want first are at the top, not the bottom.
Method 2, used if i want to get to things, is to use loads of small boxes (raid the likes of lidl or aldi for empty boxes).
Method 3, used when my next fair is smaller, pack what i need for the next event in one set of boxes, and what i don't need in another set (after the smaller event it all need bring back together for the next one)
Now i know the above seems a bit .... well, it does, but it works

Look at the two stalls below, can you see the big difference, both in layout and presentation

As comments come in I'll start adding them to this post (and giving credit)

Craft Fairs 1.

Craft Stall Evolution

So you are thinking about doing your first craft fair.

Where do you begin?

Let’s start with a simple question, how long has it taken you to make your stock?

Why should that be the first question? Simple, a great many people can spend hours and hours making there stock, and then only spend 10 minutes working out how they plan to display it.

I’ve developed my stall over time, but go through phases now where I’ll spend as much as a week or two planning a stall face lift.

The stall is laid-out every day in a large meeting room (I will generally use my own tables at crafts fairs). I work over every aspect of how the stall will look. How the stall works for me, and for the customer.

I get people to come and look at how it’s laid out, and give me there honest thoughts about how things look.

My big problem every time is too much stock, I love to offer the widest variety, and have this big fear that if I don’t put something out, it would be one of the things that would sell.

I now just make jewellery to sell, but when I first started, my main product was wooden toys, house signs, and I then added candle holders, then key rings, book marks, and finally Jewellery.

How did this evolution come about, I went with what was selling and what was easier to transport and display (of course, I became engrossed in making nicer and nicer jewellery as my skill at it progressed).

The photos below show one of the early stall’s, where every product just had to be seen.

Now, having worked out how to make my jewellery, and spending more time wandering around other craft fairs, I have started to look back and see where the time now needs to be spent.

Over the last week (half term holiday), I have once again been reviewing some of my display.
I take the long term view, what I can’t afford today, I’ll wait for.

Last year, I saw lots of stalls with bunting up, and many had taken the time to put a letter on each bunt, the only problem was, you could spend ages trying to work out what it said.

Toward the end of last year, I posted that I wanted a hand made banner for my stall, I wanted it handmade, I was in no hurry, because once I had it, I could use it.
Helen Jane of was kind enough to undertake this commission, working to a simple brief, she was able to use my font (this was a key part of what I wanted, I use the same font on everything, I call it part of my brand recognition policy), and produced the banner seen below

Anyone who looks at my shop will notice the same font is used on my full banner there; I use several small printed versions of this on my stall (see below)

I use the same on various posters, which are A4 and are used in clear plastic display stands

Here's how they look on the stall (this is a earlier version in different colour)

I also use the same on my wood description and care inserts which are now given with every sale (these are 8cm x 10cm).

Even my price tags, which i make myself, use the same font, and once again the shop address online (this tag was a reject, due to bottom cut not being square), (size is 2cm x 5cm).

You will notice several things about the images. They all have that uniformity of banner, paper; style and colour (once again part of my push for brand recognition).
Here are some photos of last years stall, at various different locations, and sizes

I now have a stall that is becoming more focused, and giving a much more professional look. As I have said above, I will always keep reviewing how the stall looks. over the next week i will be building the stall once again, and getting people to look and critique.

Friday, 22 January 2010

What price for a sale

Regardless of how you price an item, the price is only one factor in getting a sale, but you must get it right, and for the right reasons.

What do people think when they see the price of an item?
a) it is priced perfectly
b) it is far too expensive
c) it is far too cheap

So what do these three key words mean, perfectly, expensive and cheap? There are people who will not buy something if it is too cheap. Let’s say my wife’s birthday is coming up, I wouldn't buy my wife a handmade scarf for £10, that’s far too cheap and probably not worth my time looking at. I would certainly consider £35 - £65. So here you can learn something. If and when I decide that my wife needs a handmade scarf, I would dismiss scarves that are cheaper than $35 and more expensive than $65.

Now apply that logic to the items you create.

In the post ‘One percent’
We have looked at how many views an item need before a purchase.

Now I am going to use myself as an example of a buyer, whom do I buy for, simple, myself and my family.

There are some 500 sellers on folksy at the time of writing this; I doubt I would buy from quite a few of them. Why? I admire their skill, their use of materials, their designs, the technique employed. A lot of my favorites are woodworkers or jewellery makers (I need to refine that); they are people who hand craft a piece from raw wood into a unique object. So many of the people I have in my favorites are woodworkers or jewellery makers. Somebody who glues one item to a finding and calls it jewellery is just not my cup of tea. They have a market, and some people have sold hundreds and thousands of objects. But it just isn’t what I’d buy for my wife, mother, or sister.

So there are loads of sellers who have had visits from me on their pages. I admire their work but won't buy from them.

I have also looked in amazement at some seller’s shop’s, whose work I think is just awful....... (Sorry, simple truth)

Now one of folksy faults is that to get on, you need people to favorite your shop, I think this was intended as a type of peer review, but many people (myself included, have asked people to favorite them, in exchange for being favorite back), thereby defeating the objective.

You may make the most beautiful brooch and live in a large urban town. Do you decide to price because nobody in your town would pay more than £5.00? You had a look in a few shops, and that was the price they were selling at, even though there’s was not handmade. No. You price your product properly for the time, raw materials, overheads and profit. I have never sold an item off folksy to someone in my town. Why would I price what my local economy would accept?

You all need to price your items for the right reasons. Never, ever think that because you hand knit a scarf, and that to price it correctly you need to charge £60 that it will not sell. Why should you only price it at £20 because that’s what you think it will sell at? There are buyers out there, they will pay extra for handmade, and they want original, quality items. If they want cheap tat, they can go to asda or anywhere else selling dirt cheap mass produced crap.

Make people want what is special, not what everyone can have.


One percent

Is my pricing right? Can anyone give me tips on getting a sale? I’ve not had a sale yet, what am I doing wrong? Help! How do I get a sale?

Haven't we all read this kind of post before?

This post will probably be quite long, It’s not the complete answer, but it will help, Remember that underlying everything, your items will only sell if there is a buyer who want’s it. If you have made something that’s rubbish, it wont sell

It doesn't matter what you are making, your item will only ever appeal to 10%, 5%, 1% or 0.001% of the population.
(excluding fellow sellers)
Wouldn’t it be amazing if every time you listed something, it was viewed once and purchased?

Lets not worry about what it is, let just call it ‘the item’.

So we can now agree that your item will only ever appeal to certain % of the population. Now lets make a figure up of 1%. So you need 100 people to view it, for 1 to say, "I would like buy that." The other 99 will say that is pretty, nice, etc. Then move on.

We are now happy that 1 in 100 will like it enough to buy it. But for some reason, that person does not have the money to buy it then and there, but she may have the money soon and will be back then.

So the first 100 people, who view your item, generate the 1 who might buy it, but they don't. You now need another 100 to view it to generate your next 1. This happens, and this one is a student who just can't afford it at the moment, they agree that it is priced more than fairly for what it is, but they are skint.

It is probably at this stage with Mrs. Right just around the corner and three clicks away from finding your shop, that you have a crisis of confidence and drop your prices, close your shop, stop blogging, stop promoting - any or all of these.

By using the ‘Manage your items’ tab under your account, you can see how many times an item has been viewed, you can also use Google Analytics to help with this. For sellers on folksy, the percentage should be higher than 1 percent

So you need to remember that you need people to look at your shop, the more people that look, the more chance of the 1% seeing your item, and having every other factor in place to buy it, now you have been following the advice of other sellers, you tweet, facebook, and blog, but what more can you do? The key question to ask is, How can I get visitors to the site to view items in my shop?

The next few posts will deal with the answers to this question

This post owes a lot of content and respect to Chris Parry, a jewellery who sells on etsy, and his own website