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Advice Wanted and Some New Items

Advice Wanted and Some New Items

I did my 2nd proper craft fair on Sunday, and I don’t know if my expectations have been too high, but this one didn’t go very well either. I was lucky enough to cover the cost of the stall by selling quite a few greetings cards and felted soap, but apart from some nice comments and a lot of people stroking my felt pieces, there wasn’t much real interest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter the last fair I talked it over with my girlfriend and with others on the forum, and came to the conclusion that my stuff isn’t instantly recognisable as handmade felt or even made from wool to the average person, and also that people need encouragement to see the versatility of items. In preparation, I made some felt using lots of natural wools with locks and texture to make into Diary covers, and lots of display cards with info about all the items and ideas for uses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m kind of stuck now knowing what to do. I’ve spent the last few years trying to find a way to possibly eke out a livingย  and establish a business from felting/fibre art. I do have limited opportunities because of health problems; I don’t have the time or energy to promote/market myself on Facebook or other social media and do all the ‘networking’ needed, either online or in real life, and can’t get out and about. Even all the work involved in listing for etsy and having to go out to post any potential sales (not that experience has shown there would be many) seems like a lot of wasted time and effort for little return. Also, because of not being financially secure, I can’t just take risks and keep wasting time, energy and money on trying new things which ultimately fail. It’s really quite demoralising too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne thing I have learnt is that when people are looking to treat themselves or others, they don’t want ‘practical’, they want silly, frivolous or a bit of luxury. So, novelty items, gimmicks, things that are trendy at the moment (moustaches, owls, 50’s whimsy) or at a push, felt scarves, seem to win over well made and affordable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, now I’m stuck with a load of diaries which will soon be out of date – I could always put notebooks in, but notebooks are even more practical; lots of camera cases, which are useless because everyone has a smartphone with a camera on; and lots of pieces of felt which everyone agrees ‘would look great on the wall’ but can’t think of anyone whose wall they could buy it for ๐Ÿ™‚

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, does anyone have any suggestions where to go from here? Is anyone the owner of a gift shop selling artisan gifts who wants to pay me a living wage for well made items? Or maybe I should cut up my phone cases and make lots of greetings cards or just start felting cosies and covers for everything I own and stop inflicting my tat on the world? ๐Ÿ™‚

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll suggestions gratefully welcome, especially humorous ones!

Craft Fair and some new pieces

Craft Fair and some new pieces

I did my first craft fair on Saturday. It was only a small one, the nice people at the LGBT Centre in Manchester asked me if I’d like to take a few things to sell between the Carol Service and Christmas Dinner at their Festive Funday. For the past couple of weeks I’ve done a lot of blanket stitching, a lot of printing and a lot of cutting out of tags and business cards. And who’d have thought writing and attaching tags could take a whole day?!
I didn’t think to ask what size the table would be and not knowing which items might be popular, I decided to take pretty much everything I’ve ever made! Ann talked about getting ready for a show a few weeks ago, well I don’t drive, so I have to walk or get public transport everywhere, so over the last couple of years I’ve relied on my ‘granny trolley’ to cart things about:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUsing a shoe box, old toaster box and a couple of smaller cardboard boxes, I managed to fit in: 7 x A5 Diaries/notebooks;ย  8 x A6 notebooks; 3 x iPad/gadget cases; 10 x camera cases; 6 x glasses cases; 4 x credit card cases/pouches; 9 x coin pouches;ย  7 x coin purses/wallets; 2 x mirror cases; 2 x ring pouches; 4 x placemats/coasters; 23 bookmarks; 4 x felt pieces; 2 x shoulder bags and a woolly vessel. I think I took too many things! This is one of the diary covers I finished in time for the fair:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is an iPad case. I was going to use the felt for a diary cover, but it didn’t shrink as much as I expected, so I searched online for the dimensions of the most popular tablets and made this. It has rainbow felt on the front and back and also a piece of neoprene stitched to the back:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is another piece of felt I made last week. I made two the same, and sold one at the fair:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a great experience doing the fair and I met so many nice people and got lots of compliments. Although it was only on for about an hour I managed to sell more things than I have in the last 9 months on etsy ๐Ÿ™‚

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