My crochet blanket

A while ago I decided that I would like to crochet my daughter a blanket to put over her legs in the pushchair this autumn, before it gets too cold and the cosy-toes needs to come back out! I decided to use the Granny Stripe pattern from Attic 24’s blog; found here, but with random numbers of rows in each colour. I then used the Granny Blanket Edging to finish it off.

I’m now waiting for the rain to stop before the blanket makes it’s outside debut but here it is in all of it’s stripy glory over the back of my armchair!

Quite proud of myself!!

Louise x

Tips for photographing your products

When selling online, it is so important to have great photos of your products as this is all that the potential customer has to go on. They can’t physically touch your product so having clear, well lit photos with a good close up is vital if you want that customer to make a purchase.

This is all great in theory, and I thought that I would be fine as I’ve always loved playing around with my camera, but my goodness; its harder than you think! We’ve put photos of our sewing kits up on Etsy but neither of us are thrilled with them, they just don’t do our lovely little kits justice. With this in mind, I’ve scoured the internet for tips on how to take the best photographs and I’ve listed them here to help in the hope that they’ll be able to help others!

First up are some very helpful tips from Mike on handmadeology.com It focuses on taking great photos for your Etsy shop and covers the macro setting on your camera, using props and backgrounds, and how to get the best lighting

Next, Nicole from Making It Lovely, found here, talks us through taking a photo against a white background. She also shows how using photo editing software, like Photoshop, can transform your image.

And lastly for now, Ashley at Make it and Love it, found here, gives us her tips on using your camera and a piece of white poster board, along with a few different angles to get gorgeous photos of your product.

Well, thats my weekend sorted then, I will be playing with my camera and trying to get some perfect photos of our sewing kits, to really show them off! I hope these tips have helped you too.

Louise x

No stopping us now…bunting sewing kits in the shop!

So after adding the first item to our Etsy shop on Sunday; the lovely Hanging Heart Sewing Kit, we have now added our second kit!

Ta dah…..

Bunting Sewing Kit

 

Find it here in our Etsy shop. Its an ideal length to hang under a window sill or shelf, or above a door; the possibilities are endless! Its perfect for anyone new to sewing and if sewn by hand, it should take approximately 3 hours to make.

Next to appear in the shop will be christmas decorations, we’re so excited!

Thats all for now,

Louise x

Our Etsy shop is open for business!

So, the big day has finally arrived…..

this evening we clicked the link to open our Etsy shop!

Ta Dah!!

  The first sewing kit up for sale is the Hanging Heart kit. This kit contains everything you need to make this pretty little heart. All you need is a pair of scissors, some time and a bit of creative energy!

We hope you’ll pay our shop a little visit soon to have a look at these kits and all the other gorgeous kits we’ll be adding soon. Next to be listed is a kit to make some beautiful bunting.

Happy sewing!

Louise and Rowenna

x

Our tips for starting a craft business; Easy Peasy or Lemon Squeezy

So, with no business experience (apart from GCSE Business Studies which feels like ages ago) we decided earlier this year to set up a craft business thinking it would be easy-peasy! The creative side has been easy; designing our sewing kits, choosing pretty fabrics and all the trimmings, and putting them all together. The actual business side… well thats not been so easy!

Here are a few tips we’ve come up with that might help you if you’re at the beginning of your journey into setting up a craft business. You might also like to see our previous post with more tips and resources that we collected online. We’ve rated our personal experience of each point as ‘Easy Peasy ‘ if we had no problems with it; and ‘Lemon Squeezy’ if it took a little bit more thought!

  • When stating a craft business make sure that you enjoy making what you plan on selling and that you are good at it! Sounds obvious but if your business does well like you want it to, then you don’t want to end up dreading making up your orders, and you want people to fall completely in love with your gorgeous creations. Luckily we both love anything which involves playing with pretty fabrics! Our experience: Easy Peasy
  • Decide early on how you want to sell your creations; will you use Etsy or Folksy, use an Ebay shop, set up your own website or sell at craft fairs? We finally settled on opening an Etsy shop but this was after we paid for two months subscription to a website builder site that we just could not get on with; we also thought about selling via a Facebook page but realised this would make payment complicated! Craft fairs are a great way to interact face-to-face with customers and get feedback on your items but you have to pay for a table and with so many people choosing to shop online these days; it really is a cost-effective way to reach a wider audience.  Our experience: Lemon Squeezy
  • Put some thought into your packaging. Again this sounds so obvious, and we did put thought into ours but we hadn’t really researched things thoroughly. We only got as far as ‘must be pretty’ and ‘must be cost effective’. While both of these points are important, we hadn’t looked into what specific packaging we wanted, or where to find the best suppliers. We bought some lovely brown paper bags originally with the intention of our packaging looking a little like this; 

or this:

but then realised they would crumple in the post! Pretty; yes, but practical; no, so that was a waste of our money. We then gave some careful consideration to what size package we needed for the kits and what size package would fit safely                                          through a letter box and decided on some DVD sized brown cardboard boxes that we could decorate with a sticker with details and photos of the finished product on. The obvious choice for postage was a plastic postage bag, all we had to do there was          choose a colour and size! I’m sure there are other places to find suitable suppliers offering wholesale prices but as had taken so long deciding what to use, we opted for the old trusted Ebay. Our experience: Lemon Squeezy.

  • For UK sellers, make sure you register with HMRC as soon as you get started with your business to avoid any fines. You won’t have to pay tax if you don’t make a profit to start with but you still need to fill out a self-assessment form for tax purposes. Follow this link for all the up to date information you need. Our experience: Easy Peasy
  • Carefully consider your pricing strategy. This was a tricky one for us as we didn’t want to over price our kits and put people off, but under pricing can actually have the same effect because customers might associate low price with low quality. When selling handmade items people usually expect to pay a little more as they appreciate the time the seller puts into making it. We looked at a few pricing strategies but finally opted for this simple one:

                Cost Price (labour + price of materials) x 2 = Wholesale

Wholesale x 2 = Retail

Etsy have a useful page here with more details on pricing. Our experience: Easy Peasy

There are probably lots more useful tips we could pass on but these are the ones that are jumping out at me this evening as I was thinking back through our fledgling business’ journey. We are almost ready to launch Home Stitched Home; Saturday 22nd September is when it will all be happening so stay posted here, follow us on Twitter @home_stitched or like us on Facebook for all the up-to-date information. Good luck if you are starting out on a new business venture of your own.

Louise x

We’re back!

Just a quick note to say that we’re back from a business/blogging break and will be posting our latest news and gossip up soon. Starting a craft business is a lot harder than we anticipated!

Louise and Rowenna x

10 top resources for craft businesses

Although this blog has so far mostly been full of pictures of the pretty things in life, we are in the process of setting up our own craft business and thought we would share some of the useful resources we’ve found with you. These tips are obviously great for people setting up a new business but I guess they are also a useful tool for established businesses to act as a reminder or check list of what you should be doing.

1. Craftbusiness Ten tips from Rory Gear, an expert in setting up and running new businesses.

2. Startacraftbusiness Chock chock chock full of useful information specifically aimed at setting up a craft business. We particularly like this page about promoting your business online.

3. Craftscouncil This is a useful FAQ page from the Crafts Council; the “national development agency for contemporary craft”.

4. Craftsforum A forum full of friendly, knowledgeable people answering all sorts of questions about setting up a craft business… they’ve been there and done it themselves.

5. Craftytips Some useful tips and information about using Facebook to boost your craft business.

6. Brightoncraftaganza A personal story of setting up a website for a new craft business.

7. HMRevenue&Customs For the more scary bits; how to register your new craft business for tax and national insurance purposes. It might seem scary but its very important and the site is very easy to use.

8. Etsy If you decide that you want to use Etsy to sell your lovingly handmade items and not have to worry about setting up your own website, this page has the information you need.

9. Craftbusinesstips A fun, useful A-Z of tips for setting up a craft business.

and last but by no means least…

10. Clairescrafts One mum’s inspiring story of setting up her own craft business.

I hope some of these sites will be useful to you, they’ve sure helped us on our journey so far.

In other Home Stitched Home news, we had another little business meeting tonight over a cuppa and played with yet more buttons; I promise that this isn’t all we do! We also made further decisions on our packaging, all I’ll say is hot pink twine… its beautiful!

Thanks for reading

Louise x

Love Hearts

If there ever comes a day when we cant be together, keep me in your heart and I’ll be there forever

-Winnie the Pooh

Here at Home Stitched Home HQ we love hearts, no we adore hearts and we want to share some lovely, hearty pictures and news with you.

I gave little lavender hearts as my wedding favours for the ladies


Rowenna has made this gorgeous hanging heart for her bedroom


I have crocheted lots of little hearts to hang from a vase of twigs, with my white enamel heart, at the bottom of my stairs

(Click here for the easy-peasy tutorial I used for the hearts)

and we have both used hearts as the design for countless cards, presents and home furnishings. See, we really love them.

We also have a Pintrest board dedicated to these little beauties and so it should come as no suprise that the first Home Stitched Home sewing kit will be…

A Hanging Heart, handmade by you

The kits contain everything you need to make yourself a gorgeous hanging heart, right down to the needle, thread and pins. There are a choice of pretty fabrics and the postage and packaging is absolutely free. Production of the kits started this week and we are pleased to announce that they should be on sale by the end of next week so watch this space for more details.

Sending hearty best wishes,

Louise x

Buttons Buttons Buttons

I mentioned that we were playing with buttons in the last post about the business update and since then, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about them! I’ve started a board on Pintrest especially for the pretty little things and have found lots of gorgeous buttony photos to show you…

Vintage buttons from Bowerbirdz

Wooden buttons

Colourful wooden buttons

Fabric covered buttons

Pretty buttons

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little button interlude!

Louise x

Its official… we’ve made a decision!!

So, after a couple of ‘business meetings’; aka drinking tea, playing with fabrics and brown paper bags with a bit of business talk thrown in for good measure; we’ve decided that a dedicated shop website is not for us at the moment. Neither of us have any experience of building a site, nor want to fork out yet for a website designer to do it for us so we’re channeling our inner social-networking goddesses and selling through a Facebook business page. I don’t know why we didn’t think of this in the first place, well I do… we had big dreams, but we’re now being realistic and taking baby steps, building up to our own online shop in time.

So that was tonights decision, well one decision anyway; the other was the packaging we’re going to use and oh my goodness that was a much more exciting decision to make! We played around with our brown paper bags and bits of ribbon and twine, its lovely how such simple, modest items made us so happy; it felt like being a child again!

Talking of feeling like a child, we also emptied out my button tin so we could play with the buttons while we were talking! It reminded us of playing with Mum and Grandma’s button tins when we were younger, and like both of them mine are kept in an old Golden Syrup tin!

Other recent (more boring, but essential) decisions have been to register with HMRC as a Partnership and to decide on a business bank account. They felt like mildly exciting decisions at the time because that really was the ‘proper’ beginnings of Home Stitched Home, and I guess they are important business decisions but they’re not the most thrilling ones to write about or read so i’ll leave them there!

I guess the biggest decision we made tonight, and it was just as Rowenna was leaving my house, was to buy some supplies next week and start making up the kits themselves ready to put them on Facebook. This is hugely exhilarating but we didn’t really celebrate making this decision, we just said our goodbyes as it is getting late, this is why I thought I would quickly pen this post to shout loudly from the online rooftops….

“We are buying lots of pretty fabrics next week and putting together some of our Home Stitched Home Sewing Kits ready to sell, our little business will be up and running and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Im so excited!”

There, that feels better! Hopefully the funny buzzing feeling I’ve got inside will quieten down and let me get some beauty sleep!

Thanks for indulging me

Louise x

More

Previous Older Entries