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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Made by Carla and Garreth's hands

Today I'm sharing with you one of my favourite handmade shops, continuing my new series of interviews with designer-makers.

Meet Carla and Garreth Falls

Carla and Garreth are the couple behind ScENT, making and selling the most wonderful ethical and organic soaps and skincare from their home in Northern Ireland. You can find them on FolksyEtsy and Wow Thank You, as well as finding out more about them on their own website

Monday, 17 February 2014

New cards in the shop

I've been promising new designs for ages but it's been so busy with orders that I haven't had as much time as I would have liked to work on some new cards for the shop. But I've finally got a few to show you. Click on the pictures to find out more (or buy one!).

First up is another bright and colourful birthday card, combining some contrasting colours and mixed patterns. I've enjoyed exploring colours and textures in my cards over the last year. 

Wedding cards are very popular so I thought I'd best get another one in the shop before wedding season starts! A lovely glamorous design in shades of white and ivory, personalised with the couple's names. 

And finally, a pack of two luxury thank you cards made from some wonderful pearlised paper that really shines in the light. 

All of these new designs are now available in my Folksy shop.

I'm linking up with Handmade Monday for the first time in ages. They're a wonderful group of craft bloggers who make some amazing things, so do pop over and see what they've been up to recently. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

What a busy few weeks!

I've been working hard for the last few weeks. Since the start of the year I've been thinking a lot about how to maximise the time I have to spend on my business. I've dropped down to working just 15 hours a week, but if I can I really want to continue doing as many orders as I did before. So I'm trying to work out how to streamline everything and make sure I focus on making up orders and spending as little time as possible on everything else.

And it's really been tested this week as it's nearly as busy as Christmas! My new system for packing up orders is working well - I've had to stop making my own fancy receipt and accept that a paypal packing slip is adequate, and I've given in and bought some more expensive envelopes that mean I don't have to add any extra packaging. I'm also putting all my orders onto a spreadsheet as soon as they come in so I can see at a glance where I've got to with each one and when I need to post it by.

The majority of my time has been cut from networking, social media and general 'marketing' activities. I'm now thinking about every little thing I do and trying to assess whether it will help me to get and fulfill orders (i.e. make money, which is really the point of business if you put it bluntly!). I've cut some things completely, like linking up to lots of craft sites and entering competitions, because google analytics told me that these weren't bringing in many views. I've also had to have a stern word with myself about the amount of time I spent on Facebook and Twitter! I now try and schedule a few posts and only pop on every couple of days. My blog refers quite a lot of traffic to my shop so I decided it was definitely worthwhile keeping it, but I think it will achieve similar results with slightly less posts. I'm working harder at writing posts that I think my customers will enjoy though - such as my top handmade picks and my new 'made by' series interviewing other makers.

I think it is working and I've been able to get a lot of orders made this week. However, I am a bit behind sending out my monthly newsletter and really need to crack on with making some new designs for the shop (I do have a couple to show you next week though!). I'm pleased on the whole with how much I've been able to achieve in 15 hours a week. And it does show that it's worth thinking about how to work smarter rather than putting in more hours.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Handmade in my favourite colour

I don't often choose a collection of handmade items by colour, but this month I am inspired by one of my favourite colours. I used to be a purple girl, but in the last year or so I've had to recognise that teal is also a very appealing colour. All these lovely items have been handmade in the UK and are available to buy online (see links below).
Rose mug by Sophie Richardson
Teal geometric cushion cover by Thirtyfive Flowers
Chunky cowl by Handmade by Madeleine
Bird on a wire clutch bag by Red Ruby Rose
Teal and grey felt bowl by That Fuzzy Feeling
Heart scarf by Patchouli Fair

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