Are two separate shops better than one?

Evening all!
Just a quick one from me tonight before bed.
Crafty Miller, as I’m sure you’ve all noticed, is a shop quite a bit different to the normal crochet shops you come across on Etsy or Folksy (or my favourite Conscious Crafties) I have traditional items such as blankets and teddies and then we have the ……… stranger things such as boobs and cat bums! For a long time I’ve been trying to decide whether these two different types of crochet can survive side by side.
Would someone coming to find a crochet blanket be happy to buy one from someone who was also selling boobies? I’ve put this question to the lovely members of the Etsy UK Sellers Facebook Group and a lot of people have said it would indeed put them off.

Crafty Miller has always been Bright, Bold and Beautifully Bonkers Crochet but maybe they cannot all fit together? So I put it to you……. does Crafty Miller need a Bonkers Shop and a Traditional Shop?
Let me know your thoughts

Take care
Jenny

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Hello everyone! ✋

Its been a while since I wrote a blog and that’s because I’ve been super busy which, obviously, is brilliant! Being this busy has also made me reevaluate how I work. I’ve created a few things that help me keep up to date with what I need to do as well as the smartest way to do it and I thought I’d do a quick blog post to share them with you so you can see if they can help your business too. 

The first thing I made was a front page for orders. When an order is placed I print it off then attach my front page which picks up the important information for me to see at a glance. 

I then sort them in the order of when they need posting. I also created a “to make this week” sheet so I can see quickly, how long I’ve got to make new orders. Then, so not to stress, I only keep hold of the order forms for those due this week.

I have also found myself listening to podcasts which have made me work better and I am currently in the process of making a daily task sheet, when its finished I shall give you a glimpse but for now the most important thing I’ve learnt is to care for yourself as well as your business.

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Take care of yourself first.

Enjoy your work!

Jenny

http://www.craftymillerjm.etsy.com

Writing Descriptions to Sell Your Crafts

Hello all 😀
I know, I know, I’ve been away for a while but life and business got busy so I had to take a step back from the blog. I’ve hit a quiet moment so now I can join in again.
Today’s post is about writing descriptions for your gorgeous creations. I’ve been working hard on making my descriptions sell my items based on something I was told once that has stuck with me

Write a description as if there are no photographs

So here we go; my descriptions now have a few main categories that  I try and fill to the best of my ability while still allowing my craziness to come on through. I always have this to hand when i’m putting a new item up for sale.

Advert
When someone searches for something on Google they display the first few words of your listing – This is your first point of sale so make it worth it. You need to explain what your item is, who its for and why your buyer should choose yours above all others.

Special Offers

Do you have any special offers; Free Postage? Buy one get one free? Anything? Write them here.

Design

Here’s where you explain what your item is but don’t go giving away any state secrets. You give them enough to know how it’s made without letting them think its easy to make themselves (remember you don’t want the DIYers). In this category there are subcategories I use;

  • Design – How’d you make it? I’m a crocheter so can only explain what I mean using crochet terms but hopefully you’ll be able to understand how to change it for your category. In here I explain if it’s created using amigurumi or the stitches used but I don’t give away the pattern.
  • Measurements – In this area you need to either be EXACT or make sure you add approximate to it (remember people can claim your item is not as described and demand a refund). You need to give height, width and depth.
  • Ingredients – *again i’m talking like a crocheter* I state the name of the wool, along with the type (double-knit, aran, cotton thread) and the make up of it, such as 100% acrylic. Also any other items used such as toy stuffing, eyes, buttons etc.
  • Variations – Is there anything your buyer can change to customise the item? Things like; size, colours, fastenings, adding a name – anything you don’t mind adjusting (On Etsy you can use the variations sections to ensure the customer has made choices, stops delays with processing – but you only have 2).
  • Safety – For anything with play value (even if you wouldn’t have thought it’s for children) must be CE Tested and you need to state that it’s been done. Anything with play value can not be stated “not for children” this, does not get you out of CE Testing. There is more information on CE Testing Here
  • Washing Instructions – Can your item be washed? How? – This may make the difference for a sale as some people do not like “dry clean only” etc so should they recieve an item stating this you may be forced to take a return which would not have been needed had the buyer had this information first.
  • How long does it take to make? – If your items, like mine, are made to order then people need to know how far in advance of the occassion they should order. Here’s a peek on how I write this section which I have named CREATION TIME.

The coasters take a few hours to make each one. Your order aims to be processed within a week (subject to back orders). When your order is placed, a message is sent to you detailing the date they will be posted on, if you need it sooner there are rush order slots available — https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/280500166/uk-rush-order-add-on-priority-listing

Do you offer Rush Order Slots? Don’t know what I mean? It’s worth considering.

This listing is an ADD-ON only and can be used as a way to cause your item to be upgraded to NEXT DAY DELIVERY as well as asking me to work longer hours to ensure your item is posted out within a week.

Following on from the Design subsections my next one is
Gift Ideas

Here you are trying to give your customer a reason for buying this item so you need to tell them WHO your item is for – dad, mum, daughters, sons, teachers etc and WHEN your item is for – birthday, anniversary, christening, housewarming, homecoming.
This is also the place where I tell anyone about other items that are similar, I call it THE REST OF THE RANGE. I also mention any special bulk buy offers here.

Post & Packaging

Consider how you pack your items – tell your customer. Do you offer gift wrap? (I do), can you post directly to the recipient? (I do – MAKE SURE YOU GET THE NEW ADDRESS IN WRITING TO PROVE YOU POSTED CORRECTLY). All these are worth mentioning here.
How do you post your items? Mine are Royal Mail Second Class – signed for on anything over £10.

Finally it’s a good idea to add a link to any overall policies you have such as refunds.

 

So there we have it, it’s a bit more updated than the original one as i’ve had nearly a year of practice 😀 Have fun listing yours and I wish you many sales in the future.

Jenny xx
http://www.craftymiller.co.uk

 

 

The Creative Process

Hi all,

Hope life is treating you well. I’m just getting over a nasty hospital procedure designed to try and help me walk without crutches again, so far it hasn’t worked but it means I’m sitting down a lot more and can spend more time creating and blogging – all good right?
Today’s blog post is about how I decide what to make and the process behind it all.

When I decide to make a new project the first thing I do is have a quick nose on Pinterest (yes I know, you can’t have a quick look and it normally involves me scrolling for over an hour). When I decide that I like something, I ask the girls and they pick the colours and the shape and I make it.
If something requires CE Testing then I take some nice photographs and do the CE Tests, then once they pass I give my makes to the girls for a few days……. if they’re still going after the road test they get put in the shop. However, the process normally includes an impromptu photoshoot from the girls and I thought I’d give you a little insight with the latest product that is undergoing road testing with the girls.

ChPkZsJWIAEc3GF

Taking Advantage of Twitter – Pt 2

Following on from the last post (Taking Advantage of Twitter) I have discovered a few more twitter hours but first I strongly suggest you follow @hashtag_hour and head to their website http://www.hashtaghour.biz to keep up with any and all or add yours to it.

So here’s the new ones

Monday – Friday
#GlasgowHour – All day, Every day
#1pmlunch – 1-2pm
#Elevensies – 11-12
#earlybiz – 7-8a

Monday
#LincsHour – 8-9pm
#sparkconnect – 10-11am
#bizmumfollow – 9am – 9pm

Tuesday
#Fermanagh_Hour – 8-9pm
#GalwayHour – 9-10pm
#BromsgroveHour – 8-9pm

Wednesday
#ExmouthHour – 7-8pm
#ScotlandHour – 9-10pm
#CoDurhamHour – 2-3pm

Thursday
#BelfastHourNI – 9-10pm
#BrideHour – 8-9pm
#LeedsHour – 8-9pm (1st Thursday of the month only)

Friday
#PinHitsHour – 7:30 – 8:30pm (Pinterest Networking)

Saturday
#giftideashour – 6-7pm
#weekendhour – 11-12

Sunday

#louthhour – 9-10pm

 

Taking Advantage of Twitter

As a crafter you know that you can only sell what people see, so how do you spread your name and get people to see your wares?.
Social Media is a great way to do this but which platforms?

There’s plenty more too, use the ones that suit you and your business. For this blog I’ll be focussing on Twitter but check back and there will be more (as I get used to using them myself).

On Twitter, unlike Facebook, you are limited on what you can write, by 140 characters. With that in mind, think of short phrases describing what you’re trying to sell. The 140 characters also includes photographs which equal 24 characters.
Here’s a quick example:

includes this beautiful . Just £5 on

So based on this tweet, I’ve told people that I’m having a special offer (#fiverfriday) on my #bunny and that it is purchased through the link above on Conscious Crafties (@consciouscrafty). You may also note that I’ve put a hashtag of #craftbuzz at the end, more on this further down. I also added a photo so people could see what I was I was trying to sell. USE YOUR PHOTOS!! People are less likely to click on a link if they don’t know where it leads.

Bunny.jpg

Keep things, short and sweet with as many hashtags (the #) as possible for people to reach your item. When someone searches twitter they’re searching the hashtags, so for you to be found when someone searches #handmade you need to have #handmade in your tweet/other tweets.
If someone likes your item they will pop through your link and buy it OR they will retweet your post. When someone retweets your item, it means that it begins to show your tweet in their feed, and all their followers see it too.
It’s like when you hand out flyers, not only are you trying to show that person what you do, but also anyone else they come into contact with.

Another good way to get your items seen is to take part in networking hours on Twitter. This is where, during advertised times you can post your items and the people who run the networking profile which retweet your message to their followers.
Here’s a list of known networking hours, feel free to message me if you know anymore that you’d like added to the list.

Monday to Friday
‪#‎uklatehour‬ = 9 – 10
‪#‎bizhour‬ = 2 – 3
‪#‎b2bhour‬ = 2 – 4
‪#‎womaninbiz‬ = 6 – 7
‪#‎ukbusinesslunch‬ = 12 – 1

Monday
‪#‎enterprisehour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎northwesthour‬ = 3 – 4
‪#‎gifthour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎creativehour‬ ‪#‎ccc‬ = 7:30 – 8:30
‪#‎mondaymarathon‬ = all day
‪#‎lincshour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎bayhour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎horsehour‬ = 8 – 9

Tuesday
‪#‎chesterhour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎treasurytuesday‬ = all day (For Etsy Treasuries only)
‪#‎dartmoorhour‬ = 8 – 9

Wednesday
#northwesthour = 8 – 9
‪#‎wrexhamhour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎britcrafthour‬ = 9 – 10
‪#‎devonhour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎nwpukhour‬ = 8 – 9

Thursday
‪#‎ukbusinesshour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎sunderlandhour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎etsyuksellers‬ = 8 – 9 (etsy only)
‪#‎eastangliahour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎southwesthour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎leedshour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎kirkleeshour‬ = 8 – 9
‪#‎wirralhour‬ = 8 – 9

Friday
#northwesthour = 9 – 10
#fridayfaveathon = all day

Saturday
#merseyhour = 1 – 2

Sunday
#crafthour = 7 – 8
#handmadehour = 8 – 9
#englandhour = 9 – 10
#spooniecrafts = all day (conscious crafties only)
#waleshour = 8 – 9
#equinehour = 8 – 9
#brumhour = 8 – 9
#sundayhour = 8 – 9
#holmfirthhour = 8 – 9
#eastdevonhour = 8 – 9

I know, I know it’s a huge list, how are you meant to keep up with all these networking hours? You might not be in as life happens. I use http://www.hootsuite.com and schedule the tweets (and Facebook Posts) for when I’m busy. You write what you want to post and then schedule what time you would like them to go live.

So what happens if you want to share things but it’s outside of the special hours? Well here’s a list of handy hashtags to use whenever;

  • #Tweeturbiz
  • #etsyuksellers
  • #mylocaltweets
  • #britishcrafters
  • #chestertweets
  • #northwalestweets
  • #shareourshop
  • #craftpromote
  • #womeninbiz
  • #epiconetsy
  • #etsymntt
  • #giftideas
  • #THLx
  • #tweeturbiz
  • #tweeturpromo
  • #tweeturbizuk
  • #ukbiz

So there’s your tips and tricks. If you have some you’d like added to the blog, let me know in the comments below.

HAPPY TWEETING

Conscious Crafties

As those of you who follow my blog know, I have many conditions which hinder my ability for a normal life. For those who have got here as a one off, here’s my story. https://craftymillerjm.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/meet-crafty-miller/

Those with a chronic illness often fall into deep depression as you feel your body giving up on you. Having something to accomplish can help fight this black dog and for me it was crafting, every new item I finished gave my heart a surge. Eventually I realised I was not going to be able to work as I couldn’t predict how I would feel, or how my mobility would be day-to-day, I had to rely on benefits from the Government. However, this Government seems intent on attacking the benefits from those who need it, so I needed a way to make money while still protecting my health.

While trying to get advice from other crafters I found people who weren’t supportive of a newbie, demanding I change my prices as I was too cheap and ruining it for them, the “real” businesses. It was heart-breaking.

Then I found Conscious Crafties! Here’s some info on it –

About Conscious Crafties

Conscious Crafties is a handmade craft buying and selling community for creative people living with chronic illness, disability or caring for those affected. It’s built by a Spoonie for Spoonies.

How was the idea born?

Sam De La Querra, Gastroparesis and POTS warrior
My Beautiful Friend Sam

Hi there, I’m Karen and after becoming sick in 2011 almost overnight, I found my way to various support networks. I noticed that many of us turn to crafts to help distract from our illnesses and to feel useful again. Seeing so much untapped talent, the idea was born to create a community for everyone to showcase their work, in one place and give people a way of creating their own business. It was also a way for me to feel useful again, by using my skills to help others. Conscious Crafties is about empowering us all to be successful through our crafts, tell our stories and meet new like minded friends who understand our struggles. I’m also hoping it plays a key part in changing the way disabled/sick people are viewed by the world. We can still contribute and are incredibly talented!! Conscious Crafties has been built in honour of Sam, my beautiful friend I met through sickness and our love of crafts. Her strong fight with Gastroparethis and POTS sadly ended in Oct 14. Heartbroken, I knew then, after years of thinking about it, the idea for us all to sell our crafts within a supportive community needed to be launched, so it could help people now and give them hope for the future.

Stories are told:

As most of us feel unheard, each ‘Craftie’ gets to tell their story on the site to help spread awareness of our (sometimes invisible) illnesses. Stories appear in the ‘Meet the Crafties‘ page and also posted on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve gained a massive following on Facebook in such a short space of time (thank you everyone!) so our stories are seen by thousands. Our crafts are regularly shared through social networks and many of our Crafties have appeared in various online newsletters, all helping to increase sales whilst raising awareness. Every new Craftie also gets invited to our ‘Crafties Community’, a fun place to share crafts, selling tips and form close bonds with friends who understand our struggles.​

How to get involved

There is no joining fee or subscription, it’s free to list and when your item sells a small percentage is taken to keep the site running.
https://www.consciouscrafties.com/

I applied to join, there’s a waiting list as they’re so popular! 😀 Just after Christmas, I was allowed to join and I swear, it’s been the best I ever did. The support from the community is immense and Karen, who runs Conscious Crafties, is BEYOND helpful, going out of her way to help you list, to the best of your abilities.
Just look how good my shop looks thanks to her – https://www.consciouscrafties.com/Crafties/crafty-miller/

So if you’re a Spoonie, or support a Spoonie that needs to feel accomplishments, PLEASE, take the support that’s out there and come join the community.