Sign up to receive a fortnightly email from say it with news and fresh designs

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Get an extra 30% off for Black Friday

I feel a little sad writing this as it is my last blog post (at least for quite a while!). I have four more journals to make up before I officially start maternity leave - though it should really be called 'tidying leave' since my workroom has some way to go before it can become a habitable space again!

There are a few sale items left and my Folksy shop is staying open until Monday. To celebrate the start of maternity leave I thought I'd also give you lovely lot an extra discount for the Black Friday weekend. To get an additional 30% off all stationery in my shop simply use the code BLACKFRIDAY at the checkout. It will give you totally mad prices as everything is already at least half price. Valid until midnight on Monday.

Monday, 16 November 2015

One week left to buy made to order items

Got your eye on a personalised travel journal or some vintage map stickers? You had better get your order in quick...

There is just one week left to buy made to order items from the say it shops on Folksy and Etsy. This will be your last chance to place an order with me before I go off on maternity leave. So make sure you have purchased everything you would like by midnight on Sunday 22 November.

And there's still plenty of bargains to be had in my massive clearance sale too. Why not stock up on some super cheap handmade birthday cards or map notebooks that would make great stocking fillers. Shop the sale now.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Last order dates and a massive sale!

Firstly, I have exciting news to share with you - I'm going to become a mummy! Unfortunately though, my new little helper is going to take some time to train up, so the say it shop will be closing at the end of November. I'm starting maternity leave a little early as I have to tidy up and pack away everything in my work room. This is no small task (I currently can't see the floor...!) but apparently babies need somewhere to sleep!

The good news for you is that all the stock I have left needs to go, which means it's sale time. Head over to my Folksy shop and grab yourself an absolute bargain. 

Birthday cards less than half price
65% off - great stocking fillers
Notebooks just £5

The sale will stay open until 30 November (if there's anything left by then!) but personalised and made to order items will only be available until 22 November. So if you have your eye on a personalised doodle book for you niece or a map journal for your brother make sure you don't miss the last order date of 22 November.

Monday, 12 October 2015

I'm back... but not for long

Well that ended up being a much longer break than I anticipated... Sometimes life is more important than work. Sadly when it's just me running the shop that means it has to close when I'm not around, so I'm sorry if you were looking to buy something and couldn't.

The good news is that the shop is open again. However, it's not going to stay open for very long, so if you want a personalised birthday card or some of the new map stickers it's best to buy them right away.

I'll be back soon with more news about the future of say it and last order dates for the year (likely to be mid November). In the meantime, I'm afraid you won't find many blog posts from me. As I have less work time available I've decided to concentrate on making up orders, so you'll find that my blog, facebook page and twitter are rather quiet. I'm a little sad that means no Christmas gift guides this year as I love putting those together but sometimes it's important to prioritise.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

New in the shop - map stickers

I love making things from vintage maps, like these notebooks and these birthday cards. I save every little bit of map that is left over and now have quite a pile. The maps just seem too valuable to throw away, so I have been trying to design products that use them up rather than wasting them. I little while back I added these map notecards, but I have plenty of scraps of map so decided to think about other things I could use them for.

Introducing the new vintage map stickers! I am so pleased with these and what a wonderful way to show off the little bits of map.

Each sticker is completely unique, made from real maps over 50 years old. These aren't your bog standard printed stickers, these are little pieces of history!

There are two sheets of stickers in each pack, with 40 stickers in total. You could use them to decorate your journal, or as envelope seals, or on wedding favour packaging. And they would make a lovely gift for anyone who likes maps or travelling.

Available now on Folksy and Etsy. Really hope you like them as much as I do!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Friday Folksy Favourite

I've been choosing my favourite handmade item from Folksy every Friday for quite a while and popping them on Facebook, but I thought it was time to bring them to the blog. There are some truly amazing shops on Folksy with lovely handmade products that deserve to be shared. Pop back each Friday for more!

A porcelain custard cream! This little beauty is handmade by Delphine and Max and inspired by a love of British tea time. It would be brilliant as a quirky gift for a biscuit lover.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Behind the scenes - July

This month, running my small business has mostly involved taking a break! I closed the shop for three weeks and had two full weeks off work. This can be hard to do as I always worry that I will annoy customers and I'm obviously losing out on sales, but it was so worth it. June had been such a busy month and I was pretty exhausted. I was reaching the point where I really didn't want to make yet another travel journal; I don't want making up orders to become a chore, I'm keen to ensure that I continue to love crafting and am glad to create products for customers. After a refreshing break I'm back with renewed enthusiasm and a lot more energy!

And my lovely customers haven't forgotten me - as soon as I reopened the shop I started getting sales again. I'm hoping August will be a bit quieter than June though so that I can get some prep done for Christmas!

In the little bit of working time I had in July I have been designing another new personalised journal which I hope I can share with you soon. I also ordered 750m of double sided tape - there's a photo below if you want to see what this looks like! It's unbelievable how much tape I get through.

Before I went away I sent out the monthly greetings card subscriptions. I put together these little bundles of three cards every month and I enjoy designing new cards, many of which are exclusively for the subscriptions. If you fancy getting your hands on a regular delivery of stationery you can sign up here.

On the blog I posted the third in my series of nursery rhyme Folksy Fridays with a collection of interesting sheepy items and came up with 10 reasons you should send happy mail.

Here's the month in pictures.

Monday, 27 July 2015

10 reasons to send happy mail

Hello! It's been a while since the last post but I'm now back from my summer break and my shop is open again. I'm feeling refreshed and ready to get back to making up orders.

I've been thinking recently about how rubbish I am at keeping in touch with friends. I absolutely love receiving a handwritten letter, yet I really don't send anywhere near enough snail mail. I'm too quick to write an email or send a text, but if it's not urgent and doesn't really need a response I'd like to try and pop it in a notecard instead. That's my challenge for the summer - send more happy mail.

If you'd like to join in, please do! And to encourage you to send more happy mail here are 10 reasons to pop a little something in the post and send a smile. (Need to top up your notecard stash? I've got some you might like!).

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Folksy Friday - baa baa black sheep

Here's the third in my series of nursery rhyme Folksy Fridays. These gorgeous sheepy items are all handmade and available to buy on Folksy.

I'll be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks now whilst I have some time off (and catch up with the mountains of laundry/tidying/cleaning that have been on hold during the busy wedding season!). Don't forget that my Folksy shop will close tonight, so if there's anything you'd like you better be quick! 

How cute is this sheep mobile by Ella and Boo. It would make such a lovely gift for a new baby.

Love this ceramic sheep in her own little field of moss by the very talented Sheena Spacey Folk Art.

This has to be the funkiest black sheep ever with his damask patterned wool. Add interest to your walls with this print from ialbert.

Baa! Out of the Shadows created this fab children's t-shirt. You can even have it personalised.

Behind the scenes - June

Wow, it's been a busy month! Wedding season is in full swing and I have been making a lot of wedding cards and journals for honeymoon adventures. It's been my second best month ever for sales, coming second only to last November's Christmas rush. I am looking forward to having some time off in July to recover!

I try to add at least one new product to the shop each month and June saw the addition of a personalised wedding guest book. This has been at the design stage for quite a while as I've tweaked different things and practiced a new book binding technique to create a square spine and allow for more pages. I'm thrilled with the finished product and hope you like it too. In fact, there may be another book in this size coming soon... (see a little sneaky peek in the pictures below!).

On the blog I finished the series on making money from selling handmade products, and you can see part 3 here. And the lovely peeps at Folksy started up Folksy Friday again, so how could I resist joining in with a bit of online window shopping. Check out my twinkle twinkle little star collection and my favourite old macdonald items!

Exciting purchases this month include 1400 blank round stickers that I am planning on jazzing up to make my parcels look a bit more exciting. I might add a few to the shop too.

There hasn't really been time for anything else, it's been make make make interspersed with regular trips to the post office.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Shops closed in July

If you've got your eye on something in my Folksy or Etsy shop you'll need to place your order by the end of the week. I'm closing my shops on Friday for 3 weeks whilst I take my summer break and give my fingers a rest.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Folksy Friday - Old Macdonald

After last week's Twinkle Twinkle Little Star theme, I've decided to do a series of Folksy Friday collections based on nursery rhymes. So this week we're off to Old Macdonald's Farm!

Each of these items is handmade by a very talented designer-maker and is available to buy on Folksy.

Old Macdonald had a farm, e-i-e-i-o...

Farmyard placemats featuring original paintings by Grace Scott. These would look great on the dinner table.

Isn't this the cutest little babygrow? Available from My Pipsqueak.

This Old Macdonald bunting from Peony and Thistle would make a great decoration for a kids party.

Love these colourful farm animal bean bags by With Hugs and Kisses. You could sing the rhyme whilst throwing them!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

An extra special wedding gift

I've been working on this month's new product for quite a long time and I'm so excited to finally add it to my shop. If you've got any weddings coming up this summer and you're looking for an extra special wedding gift you will love it!

Handmade wedding guestbook

This new wedding journal is personalised with the names of the bride and groom and the date of the wedding making it a unique gift. It is entirely handmade - I cut the pages to size, stitch them together and make the covers.

Personalised wedding guestbook

Use it as a journal to record all the special memories from the big day, or a wedding album, or a scrapbook, or a honeymoon journal or a wedding guest book. Fill it up with whatever makes you happy. Or, at 120 pages, there is plenty of space for everything! You could start it off as a guestbook, add some photos, then take it away on honeymoon to record your adventures. One big book bursting with memories.

Personalised wedding gift

You can buy the new personalised wedding journal on Folksy or Etsy. Just allow up to 2 weeks for me to create yours.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Folksy Friday - Twinkle twinkle little star

Folksy have started up Folksy Friday again. I need very little excuse to spend time window shopping for gorgeous handmade items! The theme I've chosen this week is twinkle twinkle little star.

I love the simple design of this star ring from Tartan Tree.

Let the kids be superheros for the days with this felt star badge from A is for Alice.

Wouldn't these tags by Victoria Snape look fab added to a thank you or congratulations gift.

Everyone should send one of these cute cards by Funky Fossil to their hero. Perfect for father's day this weekend.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

How to make more money from selling handmade products (part 3)

Here's part three of my series on ideas for making more money from selling handmade products. In part one I considered the impact of increasing your prices and in part two I thought about using higher quality materials. In this third part I'd like to share my thoughts on what happens when you reach your capacity and don't have any more time to give to the business. Is there a way to make more money from the hours you put in?

Part Three - Remember that your time is money

When I started my business I had plenty of time and very little money. If I could save a few pennies by doing something myself I would. For example I didn't buy board backed envelopes for posting out my cards, I used normal envelopes and cut sheets of recycled cardboard to size to stiffen the parcels and make sure the cards wouldn't get bent in the post. It was much cheaper this way as board backed envelopes are expensive, and my hand cut cardboard inserts did the job just as well.

This is sensible to start off with because you need to keep your costs low and sales are probably slow so you have the time. If I could save a few pence on each order by doing a little extra myself I'd have a bit more profit at the end of the week.

But then you start to get busier and you have a lot more orders to fulfill. Once you reach capacity and you are making as many products as you can your time is no longer a cheap resource. You don't want to spend time doing things that you could pay other people to do. Your unique talent is in making the handmade products so you want to spend as much of your time as possible doing this. Therefore it might become sensible to think about outsourcing where possible.

I'm not just talking about the big things. When I first read about outsourcing I thought it wasn't for me, because the articles were talking about hiring someone to run your social media channels or manage your marketing. And I'm just not at that point yet. But think about the really small things - is there anything that you spend time doing that you could pay for someone else to do and therefore have more time to make products? Switching over to using board backed envelopes was a good starting point for me! Yes it added about 12p to each order, but it saved me so much time. And when you are working at capacity you have to remember that your time is money. In the time I saved cutting up cardboard each week I could make up another journal for a customer.

To see if it's cost effective to 'outsource', work out how much time you could save. Then convert this into an hourly wage that you want to pay yourself and compare this to the extra price of paying someone else to do it for you. For example, if you want to pay yourself £10 per hour then every minute of your time is worth 17p. If you can save a minute of your time and it costs you less than 17p to do so you will be making more profit.

Here's the costings for my envelope example:

I now spend a lot more on packaging, but I have more time to make up orders so I'm bringing in more money each week. I'm ashamed to say it took me a long time to get this and my husband had to convince me it made financial sense (he's an accountant!). Doing things more cheaply by doing them yourself isn't always the best option.

Here's another example from my business. I use a lot of A4(ish) sheets of brown paper. I used to buy the brown paper in rolls as it was much cheaper, then cut it to size myself. Doesn't take long to do one or two and saves a few pence per item. But it takes ages when you're trying to do 20 at a time - time that could be spent making more products. Now I buy brown paper in A4 sheets so I don't need to cut it to size. It costs a little more but my time is more expensive, so overall it is cheaper.

Making your products is the skill that is unique to you - the skill you can really charge for. So what do you do that isn't making that you could outsource to someone else? Buy your business cards instead of printing and cutting them at home. Buy materials pre-cut to size. Buy gift boxes instead of wrapping things. Buy accounting software to keep track of sales. Save yourself some time and make a bit more money.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Behind the scenes - May

How is it the end of May already?! It's kind of flown by in a crazy whirl of double sided tape backing (that stuff gets everywhere!) and lots and lots of maps. Here's what I've been up to.

I've mostly been making up lots of honeymoon journals. These new journals are really popular and I've been cutting lots of heart shapes out of my vintage atlas collection. So many lucky brides and grooms are off to America this summer!

There are two new sets of notecards in the shop. Both come in a pack of four presented in a nice new kraft card folder tied up with bakers twine. Choose from pretty butterflies or vintage maps.

At the beginning of the month I set up my new spreadsheets for the year as I follow the tax year from April - March. I have to make sure I keep track of all orders and expenses. Every month I total everything up and it's great to see how much profit I've made. It's also encouraging looking back on that month last year and seeing how many more orders I've had. I also track where sales are coming from so that I can see which of my shops are performing well.

I've had so many orders for journals that I nearly ran out of the paper I make them from. So I put in a order from the lovely people at the Exotic Paper Company for another 800 sheets of their wonderful rhino poo paper. It's 100% recycled and made in the UK. I love it.

Lots of sales also means that I started running low on packaging. I buy board backed envelopes in bulk which makes them much cheaper and means I don't have to place an order very often (though it does give me the problem of where to store them all!). I've also just bought some postage boxes that I'm planning on using for some new products coming soon - before I can add any new designs to the shop I have to work out how I'm going to package them to ensure they get delivered safely.

And here on the blog I've started a new mini series about how to make more money from selling handmade. I occasionally like to share what I've been learning in the hope that it helps others who are following along a similar path. Part 1 and part 2 are up already, part 3 is coming soon. Please do share them with anyone who may be interested.

So, here's a round up of the month in pictures:

Thursday, 28 May 2015

How to make more money from selling handmade products (part 2)

I'm by no means an expert, but I love sharing what I've been learning on my journey of running a small handmade business. Recently I've been thinking a lot about how to make more profit and earn a little bit more money. You can catch up on part 1 here where I explored the impact of increasing the retail price of handmade products.

Part Two - Use higher quality materials

Depending on what products you make, it's likely that a large part of the cost of the finished item will be the time it took you to make. It might only have cost you a couple of pounds to buy the paper/wool/beads, but if it took you a while to make up the finished item (and you want to pay yourself a decent wage) it probably costs much more for your time.

For example, you might buy £5 of colourful beads and then spend 2 hours stitching them together into a beautiful necklace. If you want to pay yourself £10 an hour you've spent four times as much on your wages compared to the cost of the beads.

You could try speeding up the making process, looking for ways to be more efficient, but at the end of the day handmade items are made by hand and this will always take time.

To make more money from selling your handmade items you might have thought about spending less money on materials, but have you ever considered spending more? You can sell the same product at a much higher price point if you use more expensive, luxury materials, yet it takes the same amount of time to make.

Back to that beaded necklace example. What if you were to make a very similar necklace that still takes 2 hours to make, but this time you use more expensive beads. Perhaps you might add some swarovski crystals, or sterling silver elements. Let's say you spend four times as much on the beads, so that they now cost £20, but the necklace is worth a lot more so you could double the retail price.

Obviously this is over-simplified, but spending more money on the materials could actually help you to earn a better wage for the time you spend making.

It's a bit counter-intuitive, but imagine you wanted to buy a knitted blanket. How much would you be prepared to pay for a lovely handmade blanket made from cheap yarn? And how much would you pay for a similar blanket knitted from pure wool? Knitted blankets might take hours to knit. Made from cheap yarn it's just not that special, but made from pure wool it can reach a very high price point. Using higher quality materials may make it easier to charge a decent wage for your labour time.

Next week I'll finish the series by considering how you might make more money by paying other people to do things you could have done yourself, so make sure you pop back for part three.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Cards I've made

As well as crafting for my job it's also my hobby (how lucky am I?!) and I love making cards for us to send. I like the chance to be properly creative without having to worry about making designs that are suitable for the shop (i.e. profitable, easy to replicate etc.). So I thought I'd show you a few of the cards I've made recently. Some of these ended up going into the greetings card subscription packages because I loved them so much, and some are just one offs that I'll send to friends and family.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

How to make more money from selling handmade products (part 1)

From time to time I like to share what I've learnt from setting up and running my little handmade business. I'm not an expert, but I might be able to help others who are a few steps behind me on the journey. Even if you aren't trying to sell handmade items, I hope you'll find it interesting to see what is involved behind the scenes - sadly I can't just sit here being creative all day long!

One of the things I've been thinking a lot about over the last year or so is how to make more money from what I do. I'd love to get to the point where I'm paid a decent wage for all the hours I put into my business. So I thought I'd share some of my thoughts over a mini series of 3 posts.

My starting point is a small business selling handmade products that has got established and found products that people want to pay good money for. But it's just not making sufficient profit. How can you start to make more money by selling your handmade products?

Part One - Increase your prices

The most valuable lesson I learnt about pricing was this:

I used to worry about putting my prices up because it may mean that less people would buy my work. And this bothered me. I didn't want less sales, I was trying to make more sales. Then I read the above, - and I wish I had noted which amazingly insightful person shared this valuable lesson so I could thank them. It's possible to make less sales but more money.

Lets think about an example. Say I sold hats for £8 each and sold 20 a month, then doubled the price to £16 but only sold 10 hats a month as less customers wanted to buy my expensive hats.

So my profit is higher, my costs are less AND I've only had to spend time making 10 hats rather than 20!

Therefore, put your prices up and don't worry about losing a few customers. You don't have to double your prices, the general rules will work even with a smaller price increase. If you sell your handmade products at a higher price, even if you get a few less customers, you could easily still make more money overall. Obviously there will be a point at which no-one wants to pay out such a high price tag and you lose all your customers, so it may take a little experimenting.

Justify the price increase

To help sell your products at a higher price point you might need to justify the price increase. Here are three ideas:

1. Sell your expertise.
If you have been running your business for a while and you  have made a lot of your products you are no longer an amateur just starting out, you are a skilled craftsman. Make sure your about page and product descriptions really sell this.

2. Smarten up your branding.
If you want to sell at professional prices you need to look professional. My sales really started taking off when I refreshed my branding a couple of years ago. I started to look like a proper shop.

3. Make sure your packaging reflects the quality of your product.
It might be ok to ship a cheap item in a recycled envelope, but if your customer has paid a lot of money they may be a little disappointed (unless recycled packaging is part of your brand). Think carefully about how you present your item to the customer. Does it need a packet, tag or belly wrap? Will you gift wrap it? What sort of packaging will it be shipped in? Make sure everything is consistent and well branded and your (now a little bit expensive) product will feel worth the money.

Parts two and three are now available:
Part two - make more money by using higher quality materials
Part three - remember that your time is money

Monday, 18 May 2015

New in the shop: Handmade notecards

Every month I like to make sure I add something new to my shop. This month, there's two new packets of notecards.

I've been designing some new cards for my greetings card subscription. Once a month I send out packages of three cards, with some designs taken from the shop, some new designs that aren't yet available elsewhere and some cards designed exclusively for subscribers. These two notecards were made for subscriptions, but I liked them so much that I thought I'd offer them in my shop too.

First there is a pretty set of cards made with washi tape and die cut butterflies. They would be perfect as thank you cards, or for sending a little note to say hi.

And these map notecards are made from real vintage maps. I have so many little pieces of map left over from making journals (like this one) and I've been saving them all because they are just too nice to waste any. So this is the perfect use for all my little scraps! These notecards feature 9 circles cut from a wide range of different maps and atlases all over 50 years old, so each card is unique.

Both sets of notecards come as a pack of four, presented in a kraft brown folder. They'd make a lovely gift for anyone who likes stationery. Pop over to my shop now for more details.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...