Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Giveaway - Promoting Small Creative Businesses

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A couple of weeks ago I held a giveaway to celebrate having 100 followers on this blog and 300 followers on Twitter.  I realised today I had not updated my lovely blog followers of the winner, my sincere appologies.  The winner was randomly selected and was Nina, one of my Twitter followers.  Nina is a self taught crafter who has created some gorgeous items, as I discovered from looking at her Flickr page.

As you can see Nina is a very talented lady.

I now have another GIVEAWAY to share!  This time there will be no ribbons or buttons involved, but something that will hopefully help the three lucky winners.  I have been planning some posts about Promotion and how to help small creative businesses get the most out of the options available and to give details of possible marketing options.  So my new GIVEAWAY is offering three of my followers one months free advertising on this blog.  This will always start on the first Monday of the month and initially will be for my blog followers only.  My blog now receives over 500 visitors a month and over 1100 page hits a month, from the UK, USA and Australia, so you will be receiving good exposure.  Ideally the winners will have a badge to use in the right hand sidebar on the main page of this blog and I will then link it to their shop, website or blog.

I will announce the winners on Sunday! GOOD LUCK!

P.S. Other advertising options will be available, details to be announced in July!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


I find there is often a post on the Folksy or Etsy forums about USP. When I first saw this abbreviation I didn't have a clue what it meant, but reading the particular post I soon caught on! USP stands for Unique Selling Point.  So now that I knew what it meant it led me to thinking if it was necessary to have a USP before starting out in business or was it something that developed over time.  Now every time I look at a small business I think of their USP, what is it that makes them unique?  Obviously there are main USP's, for example you may only design wedding stationery or be a photographer or make cushions but what is it that makes your product stand out from other wedding stationers, other photographers or other cushion makers? 

Sales are increasing for 'handmade' crafts and designs but also the number of people creating and selling is increasing, so it is more important to have a USP to succeed.  I certainly feel it is necessary to have a USP to stand out from the crowd, whether this is due to your particular graphic design style or that you only design and make silver jewellery or perhaps that you try to only use 'found' fabrics to upcycle.

Milly & Pip are a fabulous example of having a USP.  Each picture or home accessory is lovingly created to order, often being personalised and using 'found' fabrics to create the gorgeous appliques embellished with freehand embroidery.  Even though Milly & Pip are selling within the homes accessories market they stand out because you can have your purchase personalised and they are also helping the environment by upcycling fabrics that would otherwise find their way into a landfill site.

Dots & Spots are another fantastic example of having a USP.  In every card, postcard, notebook, picture and print you will find dots and spots.  Each design is created using paper collage and then most are digitally printed so that more customers can share Dots & Spots gorgeous designs.

Dots & Spots have just celebrated their 2nd anniversary and are growing, with their first trade show, Home & Gift Fair in Harrogate, in the next few weeks. Read about how they started here.

Emma in Wonderland is one of my favourite photographers on Folksy and Etsy.  As her business name suggests her photographs are often daydreamy and Emma even mentions in her profile that she fell down a rabbit hole!

So whilst I plan to work from home I am stumped at finding a USP.  It has been suggested that I make cushions, but many people make cushions and would having a shop just selling cushions be unique enough to stand out from the crowd?? However I feel I have found a USP in Buttons & Bows by specialising in ribbons and buttons and am now looking at expanding my ranges and having my own website.  I also feel this blog provides a USP in that it promotes small arts, crafts and design businesses, mainly concentrating on the UK. 

Maybe after all of this time of trying to create a business/product with a USP I had one all along!

Todays featured designers & photographers

Friday, 18 June 2010

Fabric Friday - Pillow & Maxfield

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you some photos, courtesy of The Fabric Shopper, of the Quilt Market.  Whilst writing the post I came across a name I had not heard of before, Pillow & Maxfield.  So for todays post I thought I would investigate and find out more about this design duo!

Pillow & Maxfield produce bold colourful prints in partnership with Michael Miller fabrics.  The design team behind Pillow & Maxfield are Val and Anne, who are good friends and artists through and through.  They claim their inspiration can literally come from anywhere or anything.  They have designed two collections under the Pillow & Maxfield logo, Whimsy and  Pretty Bird.

As you can see these fabrics are colouful and bold and perfect for lots of projects. Thank heavens for the internet as nobody in the UK stocks Pillow & Maxfield.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Buttons & Bows Giveaway

Last week was exciting, well for me, as I reached 100 followers on this blog and 300 followers on Twitter . So to say thank you to all my lovely followers I thought I would have a giveaway!

You can win one yard of each of the ribbons in the mixes and 10 of each of the buttons, simply by following me here or on Twitter. I will randomly pick a winner on Monday 21 June.

These are all available in my Folksy shop!


Sunday, 13 June 2010

Handmade Wedding - Keepsakes and Gifts

As I come to the end of my Handmade Wedding feature I thought I would focus on keepsakes and gifts for your wedding party.  I'm sure as you plan for your wedding you will collect little bits & pieces that are important to you and also from the actual day, that you will want to treasure. Aswell as planning your own wedding list, I'm sure there will be little gifts to buy for bridesmaids, best man and ushers.  These all can also be handmade and personalised to make them even more special.

Something for the grown up bridesmaids?!

I have of course only featured a small selection over the past week and there are many more artisans working to bring you beautiful handmade items to help make your wedding day very special.  I hope that I have showcased the work of these artisans to prove that weddings can be created without entering a major high street store.

Now all this talk of weddings and searching for gorgeous things has made me want to get married again....of course to the same man. However this will wait as we plan to renew our vows for our 20th anniversary. In the meantime I may well start a wedding blog as I have enjoyed this so much....I hope you have too!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Handmade Wedding - Cakes & Flowers

I know cakes are obviously handmade and fresh flowers definately are not, but I could not write about weddings without looking at cakes and flowers!  So I thought I would have a look to see if you can get cakes or flowers from Folksy, Etsy or Not on the High Street.

Cupcake Toppers from Crafty Pagan Designs

Who said you needed fresh flowers?

Cake toppers designed to look like the happy couple!

And something for the little ones!

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