I’m always surprised by how much ‘stuff’ you (I) can accumulate. The more space you (I) have, the easier it is to fill it!
Moving studio happened slowly over a few weeks. The previous studio was on the third floor (with no lift) and this was a challenge. The new studio is on the ground floor with parking outside the front door 🙂
As the space is big enough, it has become a new location for the graphic design business I run with my husband, Equilibrium Creative.
The space really echoed until we started to fill it!
So, in mid January this year, our studio landlord issued all the studio holders with two month’s notice to leave! Didn’t see that coming.
I was just getting settled into my new studio space (of 3 months) when I was on the move again. There was the possibility of staying but it involved endless meetings with local ‘supporter groups’ and the local council (who owned the building), without any security that the building wouldn’t get boarded up on eviction day! It was all very stressful and not a conducive environment for running a business.
I started looking around for alternative spaces, of which there was surprisingly very few. But after making some enquiries, a couple of options did come up and I went along to look at them. The second space I saw seemed like a real possibility: the space was bigger; had heating (a major plus!); had it’s own kitchenette; and there were similar small businesses on site.
It was a difficult decision to make as it meant leaving the other artists behind and moving to a studio nearly 10 miles away. But the security the new space offered was the decider.
I am becoming obsessed with alpacas. Their crimped fringe is so cute but more importantly their fleece is super soft, it doesn’t contain lanolin like sheep’s wool, so there’s no itch! The wool is also very lightweight and breathable.
There are a number of smallholdings with alpacas popping up everywhere in the UK and I enjoyed a visit to Blackwater Alpacas a couple of years ago where we took an alpaca, named Curly, for a walk.
Since then, I’ve been looking at ways to bring alpaca wool into my craft business. As I am often cold I’ve already been making fingerless gloves and scarves, so I thought “what about socks?”
I have an old chunky Knitmaster knitting machine and I wanted to try using it to make socks, so I bought some chunky alpaca wool and had a go…
It took many failed attempts and hours of watching YouTube tutorials before I finally got results that resembled socks.
Each sock was knitted on the machine and the cuff was finished off by hand. The finishing touch was to design a packaging sleeve for them.
My alpaca socks are £20 a pair and are made to order. DM me if you would like to enquire or to place an order. Thanks!
The main highlight of 2022 has to be dipping my toe into the world of artisan craft fairs!
As with any new venture I always find myself spiraling in towards the intended goal before I reach it. So this journey hasn’t been any different and this is how I’ve gone about it:
Step 1: Help a friend with her stall. Back in June I wanted to gain the experience of being at a craft fair without the risk of doing a craft fair. The day included: pickup, drive, unload, (drive back to collect a forgotten item!), set up, hang out for the day, meet and greet potential customers, cover the stall for little breaks, pack down, drive, drop off. The day flew by!
Step 2: Take part in Open Studios. In early October I moved into a new studio and in mid October we had Open Studios – Phew! Challenging to get everything set up but it was a really good weekend with a few sales to boot.
Step 3: Share a craft stall with friends at different craft fairs. In November and December I shared stalls with friends at three local craft fairs, which was a really good experience. I only had half a stall which meant less space (but less stock was needed!), plus it was half the cost. I also had support throughout the day and gained lots of knowledge from the wealth of their craft fair experience.
Step 4: Have my own stall at a craft fair. This is my aim for 2023 and I have applied for a few fairs that take place early in the year, which I’m waiting to hear back from. Watch this space! Very exciting 🙂
I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has visited the fairs, liked my posts, followed me on social media, my customers and everyone who has supported me – it’s been a lot of fun so far!
Hope to see you in 2023!
BTW: I will be selling throughout the year via Instagram and in person from my studio at Hadleigh Old Firestation. I also take commissions, so if there is a bespoke size or colour you’d like, please DM me to discuss: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve been interested in doing a craft fair for a long time. I also know a growing number of people around me who take part in them regularly, which has inspired me to finally take the plunge!
I initially helped a friend with her stall back in June, just to get some experience and to see if I would like it, and I really enjoyed it. She then very kindly asked if I would like to share her stall in November – I jumped at the chance. But then the nerves took over and the more practical questions began…’how much stock do I need?’, ‘what prices do I sell my items for?’, ‘how will I transport everything to the fair?’ etc etc
Luckily I had already decided WHAT I would sell, as over recent months I have received a lot of interest in my crochet wrist warmers. I personally love these and have made a few pairs for myself as my hands are ALWAYS cold! I wanted a simple design with a thumb hole so that I could still use my fingers while keeping my wrists and hands toasty warm. They have since been snapped up by other craft stall holders, artists and dog walkers and they make the perfect gift.
To compliment the wrist warmers I also made matching cowls, scarves and slouchy hats. These are a few of the items I had on display.
The display is a work in progress but for a first attempt I think it worked ok. I had varying heights, a space to stash my notebook and water bottle and a long table covering to hide everything under the table. I had also bought a Sumup machine to enable me to take card payments. It was sooo easy to use and accounted for about 90% of my sales on the day! Well worth the investment (in the initial purchase and in the time for setting up the stock items).
I’m now busy making new stock for my upcoming Christmas Craft Fairs, see dates below…
Upcoming craft fair dates where you can find me:
Sat 19 Nov – Christmas Eco Fayre at Leigh Road Baptist Church, SS9 1NN Sat 10 Dec – Folk & Bespoke Artisan Craft Fair, Leigh Community Centre, SS9 1SP Sat 17 Dec – Folk & Bespoke Artisan Craft Fair, Mill Arts & Events Centre, SS6 7ED
I also take commissions, so if you have any specific requirements please drop me an email at email@example.com, or pop along to one of the craft fairs above, and we can discuss them 🙂