First fair of the new year

craftfair160130-1bDidi Lou Crafts ventured northeast yesterday to attend the Marlow Community Market as a stallholder. This is a regular fair, held the last Saturday of every month and has mixed stalls, including foods. It was a quiet day, cold out (and cold in the hall too). I felt sorry for the cheese man, he was outside the hall in a gazebo.

craftfair160130-2bI made a few sales, but it was disappointing. Perhaps it was the January effect… people say they make less sales of craft items in January, after the madness of Christmas. But I was next to some great stallholders and the day passed quickly enough, some of it sat on the wall heater to try to stay warm.

craftfair160130-3bSome of the newer products can be seen in these pictures, such as the animal door hangers, the love heart and tulip fridge magnet cards which have only just been listed on Etsy in the last week or so. To see these new items, check out the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy store. Other items made their debut, including some fun handpainted ceramic car moneyboxes and some new glass engraved items, which are still to be added to the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy shop in the coming weeks.

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Storage

red desk tidy_tnyellow heart drawers_tn

10 storage solutions for crafts:

  1. At christmas time, Twiglets, Cheeselets, Cheese Footballs and other savoury snacks come in a tall round container with a metal bottom, cardboard sides and plastic lid. Cover the outside with a thin layer of white paper mache. I store jewellery threads and findings in mine. These then sit on top of the radiator, which is never turned on, behind my desk, within easy reach.
  2. Old shoe boxes, particularly the one piece style (rather than box and lid style). I store paints in these. I have one for silk paints, one for glass paints and one for acrylic paints.
  3. Larger amounts of Haribo sweets can be bought from Amazon and come in a large plastic box. I store washi tape in one and use others to store the offcuts of paper from card making.
  4. I have a flat screw and nail storage case, which I use for storing sequins.
  5. I use Really Useful Boxes for storing stock and take these to fairs. I have made covers for each of the 3 sizes which I can set up on my stall as safe stable shelves. I also use Really Useful Boxes to store items as they dry between each stage of work.
  6. I have a set of Really Useful drawers with packing items such as padded bags, tape, cardboard backed envelopes, etc in the garage.
  7. A multiholed pen holder made of papermache stores all the paintbrushes, pencils, glue, jewellery pliers, decoupage and normal scissors. A copy of this could be easily made using the centres of kitchen roll cut at different lengths and put upright into a small box, such as the bottom of a family size cereal pack.
  8. My sewing items are kept in the metal tins that come at Christmas time filled with biscuits.
  9. A Doctor Who rectangular metal pail from a past Easter gift holds plastic clothes pegs. Pegs are really useful for holding things together as glue dries or for hanging small decorations from while they are drying.
  10. I use a concertina file folder to store sticker sheets. I organise them by occassion and colour.

maroonbook pink shelves_tnIf you are looking for storage solutions for jewellery, pens and other items, why not take a look at the range Didi Lou Crafts produces at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts

 

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Small Steps, Big Changes

The Didi Lou Crafts website has now been up for a year and I am pleased with the rate of blogging I have maintained over the year. This time last year I was ordering my first supplies and starting to make my first items. I find myself doing the same, more supplies and more items, but I am also tweaking my Etsy shop, building the social networking on Facebook, Pinterest, and to a lesser extent Instagram and Twitter. I am also booking fairs for later in the year and getting a few sales on Etsy now. I made some subtle changes on Etsy today, updating the banner, controlling the order of items on the pages, including some featured items and adding the business Facebook and Pinterest accounts so the number of likes/followers is listed on the Etsy shop. Could those small steps lead to increased sales? I will wait and see. In fact, this blog post is to remind me to monitor and see if those small steps lead to big changes.

“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow”

At the moment I am researching the option to take on some much bigger fairs. The up front costs are much higher, but then the number of visitors is higher too. They are high risk, but should give higher rewards in the terms of better sales, however I would need to take a lot more stock and I have been trying to calculate just how much stock would I need to achieve various sales goals and how much more stock I would need to make each week in the lead up to the fairs I am considering. I will update the Events page if and when I make the decisions and send off any booking forms.love hearts cardsMy products are made by small steps too, sanding when necessary, painting background colours, painting detail or decoupaging on some, adding a pva and water coating in the hope of setting the paints, spraying with the clear varnish as the protective finishing. I’ve started a small range of wooden fridge magnet cards, so after all those steps, I then have to make up the card. I am really pleased with the valentine’s day ones and am working on some spring tulips now, which would suit Mother’s Day or Easter. I also have 5 animal wooden door hangers in their final stages of varnishing, so look out for those, they are coming soon. Be sure to keep an eye on the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy store.

 

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Resolutions

Happy New Year to you all.

It is that time… when people make new year’s crayon pot holder_tnresolutions and now a week into 2016, often find their original enthusiasm already waning. It is often quoted that many people get gym membership for the new year but only manage one or two visits in January before stopping.

I have set myself some resolutions and goals for Didi Lou Crafts for 2016, including:

  • Book more effective fairs – By “effective”, I do mean profitable which is hard to predict, but I can use the lessons learnt in the last 5 months to help me make more informed choices about which fairs to book. Already I have one booked for January and am in the process of booking others.
  • Consider more expensive fairs – higher risk can bring higher rewards, but requires a lot more stock. There are 3 in particular I am considering for this year, one in autumn and the other two close to Christmas.
  • Increase the stock range – Didi Lou Crafts started with small items last year, the most expensive being £15. This year that will be extended to stock slightly more expensive items. I also plan to do a wider range of items, introducing ladies hand painted silk items, wooden fridge magnets, some kitchen items and perhaps some painted china this year. Also, if Didi Lou Crafts is going to attend some of those bigger fairs, there needs to be a lot more stock. Last year the average number of items I took to each fair was 250, but that will not be enough for those big 2 day fairs.
  • Start using Instagram and Twitter more for networking and marketing
  • Post seasonal items on Etsy in a more timely manner
  • Get up to 200 listings on Etsy – I hit 100 items on Etsy on 30th December, 2015, so 200 by the end of 2016 is definitely possible. To be honest, not being able to get to 200 due to sales would be a lovely way to not reach this goal. Here’s hoping (and marketing and networking).

love hearts cardsSo keeping all that in mind, the kitchen pot holder (see above) and the “Love Heart” fridge magnet cards for Valentine’s Day (see right) are new items completed in the last week. Do check them out at the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy shop.

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