Sad News

Last Monday morning my husband died suddenly from a heart attack. He had been ill for a long time, but a heart attack was certainly not what we expected. I was his carer and we were living on his medical pension whilst I am building up Didi Lou Crafts. This has left me with no income and a lot of paperwork to sort out before I can get access to the bulk of our savings, which is what I will need to live on until the business picks up. My health had suffered somewhat whilst caring for him, eating the wrong foods and not exercising as much as I needed, so I am now making my health a priority along with the business. I will continue with the business as I want to build it up more, but I may have to supplement that with a part time job for a while, although that is a decision I won’t make until the new year.

sportsandstuffxmas baubles

Please, if you do see this, considering buying a homemade gift or card for someone from the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy shop. I also have a lot of Christmas decorations ready and for sale, so maybe consider those. I need to make this work for me as I adjust to my new circumstances.

red desk tidy_tncampervan moneybox_tndevoncards

 

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Amused by small things

750px ebay

The news today is Didi Lou Cards has been launched on eBay today. For now it is just to sell some of the older card stock that has not been purchased via Etsy. eBay will give a much larger pool of potential buyers, so it does make sense to sell there as well. eBay still seems to be trying to work out how to list all the listing under the seller “didiloucards” so I won’t link it here for now. I still have a lot to learn to ensure the items get found, so I have started with just 3 cards for now to see how it goes.

xmas cards 5xmas stars

It makes good business sense not to have all my eggs in one basket so to speak. I am working on another online sales outlet opportunity, but will keep that under my hat for now until it is finalised. I am also still exploring more craft fairs for the lead up to Christmas.

xmas stockxmas stockings

In the meantime I am sat at my desk working today, on what should be a summery day but in fact it looks dull and grey outside. The Christmas in July event on Etsy has been and gone. Summer is said to be slow on Etsy, so I am using the time to continue listing items that are sitting around in various stages of completion as well as working on new seasonal stock. I am itching to start this year’s Christmas stock, but today I have been painting bronze bats onto pumpkin shaped ceramic tealight holders in preparation for Halloween. I don’t plan to make much Halloween themed stock for Didi Lou Crafts as it isn’t a big holiday celebration here in the UK.

xmas baubles

For now, above are pictures of some of the most recently listed items from the Christmas in July event on Etsy. They can be found on the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy store, but for ease they are divided into 2 sections: Christmas and Christmas Cards

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Summer is here

xmasornaments1It is summer and in fact the longest day was nearly a week ago so it is all downhill from here towards winter again. This year I am disappointed not to have home grown vegetables in pots in the backyard. We gave access for our neighbour to do their building work, but as is often the case the work overran and I didn’t get time to plant out the pots. I am hoping next year I will have the opportunity to get the seeds out in time.

xmascards1Interesting numbers:

Days till UK School Holidays 22 days
Days till Autumn 65 days
Days till UK School Restarts 69 days
Days till BST ends 124 days
Days till Bonfire Night 130 days
Days till Winter 156 days
Days till Christmas 180 days
Days till 2017 187 days
Days till Spring 246 days

xmascards2

Already I am thinking about new Christmas stock for Didi Lou Crafts in time for the craft fairs in November and December. It is 180 days till Christmas now, which isn’t a lot of time. Etsy have a big online event coming up, Christmas in July, so I have already been listing items on the Didi Lou Crafts store in preparation.

Click here to go directly to the Christmas items on the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy store.

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Etsy Mini on the Website

The Didi Lou Crafts website now has Etsy Mini installed. What’s that I hear you say? I am glad you asked. It is a feature offered by Etsy to show items from Etsy on your own website.

etsymini1I’ve actually implemented Etsy Mini twice on the website. The first is on the sidebar of the blog (home page) where there are the 4 featured items displayed. It is as easy as 1 click on the product or link below and you will be on the DidiLouCrafts Etsy shop. The second is as a new page, called Etsy shop, which opens up to display the latest 15 items from the Etsy store. Again it is just 1 click on the product or link below and, hey presto, you are on the DidiLouCrafts Etsy shop and can make your purchases there.

etsymini2

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Spring Fashion

I’ve really got into the fun of making treasuries on Etsy. A treasury is a collection of up to 16 items with a similar theme. I’ve averaged about 4 a week most week since I developed an interest in them. Some treasuiries I choose a random topic, others I have been doing series, for example I did a series on Spring 2016 Home Decor Trends and I have recently done a series on Spring 2016 Fashion Trends. Over time the number of items in a treasury can reduce due to sales, which is a good thing, triggering sales for other people.

Here are the treasuries I did for each of the key colours for spring:

tealfashionindigofashionburgundyfashioncoralfashionmoonstonefashionpersimmonfashiontaupefashionlemonfashionhydrangeafashionperiwinklefashion

You can check out the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy treasuries here

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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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More items to post to Etsy… How I do it!

I have posted more completed items here on the Products page of this website today. That’s another eight items.

So when these are posted to Etsy, that will be a total of 33 items for Didi Lou Crafts, found by going to https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts, having posted 3 additional cards to Etsy late Wednesday.

floral sandblasted vaseMy favourites in this batch are the sand blasted vase and the two hand painted silk ties. Also included are some tea light holders and some upcycled gift bags. These are hot off the press, having been photographed only a few hours ago.

The process from photography through to listing on Etsy is actually quite drawn out. First I load the photos from the camera to the computer and check them, sometimesautumnal silk tie needing to go back and get additional shots. I then choose the best 3-5 photos of each item, deleting the rest. The remaining photos are then cropped, but they have to be cropped either square or in landscape orientation, portrait is not suitable on Etsy. I then resize them to be 1000 pixels wide.

Next I choose 1 photo for the website, making a copy of it resized to be 200 pixels wide. Both copies of that photo can then be loaded here and I can update the product page here, coming up with a suitable name for the item.

oceanic silk tieBut the processing getting ready for Etsy continues. The items each need to be weighed and measured to work out the postage and start writing the description. The description also includes putting the item in the right categories and adding appropriate tag words and components to get picked up in searches. I also double check my initial cost estimate and readjust the price if necessary as I load the photos on Etsy. Only then can it be made active on Etsy for sale.

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Blast Off!!!

Hot off the press: Didi Lou Crafts launched on Etsy today.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts

There are 22 items up for sale so far, mostly UK only, although there are some cards that are available for sale worldwide. More items will be loaded up in the coming days.

In the last week I have sorted out business insurance. I have also photographed more items, uploading the photos to both here and onto Etsy. I’ve been researching postal costs, pricing up a range of items and ordering more packaging for future sales. I’ve also created a FaceBook page for Didi Lou Crafts today, but it is a work-in-progress at the moment, so I will save the link for that till my next news update.

asian hexagon boxMy personal favourites so far are the red box (seen here) and the 3 Delft/William Morris inspired plant pots.

I’ve also been working on more products. I have another 15-20 items close to completion for the coming weeks. Of course, I have some personal favourites in the upcoming items, in particular a bracelet and a little chest of drawers, so watch for those.

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