Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A year ago I couldn't even buy fabric from Spotlight.

Twelve months on in this little business of mine and I am feeling reflective. I started on the craft path with no idea what I was doing. And I mean NO idea! I could barely sell something on eBay let alone open an Etsy store or god forbid a website of my very own.
I didn't have a clue about fabric, where it came from, who made it, who designed it and who sold it. 
I remember my very first trip to Spotlight distinctfully. I decided I needed some fabric to make some buttons ( which I also had no idea about). I strolled into the store expecting to find exactly what I wanted and get out in 5 mins. Hmmmmmm, I had clearly never had a Spotlight experience before. It was so incredibly busy. Everyone seemed to know exactly what they were doing. Rushing around, lining up, getting out. All the fabric I liked was on these huge rolls. I found the roll I wanted and stood next too it, like a drug dog after it has found a stash. I didn't want to leave the roll, what if I lost it? How did I get it out of the store? I waited for what seemed like forever. No one came by. The line up was absolutely massive I couldn't get hold of an assistant to ask how I purchased my fabric. I felt so ridiculous. I just left empty handed. Of course I now know you just take te roll to the counter and ask the staff member to cut it for you.  Whatever you do, don't just whip out your scissors and start cutting it yourself! Luckily I have learned a lot since that day. Like how to make a button! What to do with them. How to design a logo & design my own website. How to re-size an image to fit an Etsy banner. Start a blog, choose the correct platform and design the site. How to add the social media buttons (challenging)! How to even write said blog ( I read lots of books on this one). How to thread my sewing machine, cut fabric, what interfacing was & when I needed it (always). Which glue actually held things together. How to run a business facebook page. How to make a light box to photograph my products (thanks Pinterest) & how to use photo shop to make them web ready and paint to make them small enough to upload.  How to find beautiful fabric and choose great prints. Researching and choosing the best ways to sell my products. Having the balls to approach perspective stockists (terrifying). Designing and holding my first market stall (with lots of handholding, thank you Nic) Actually selling something you made yourself and handing it over to its new owner and being terrified it was not going to work or worse still, break. 

My poor daughter has been used as a hair model for all of my crazy ideas (she hates it). And my friends have been forced to wear every earring I make before I start selling them. 

I have asked a billion questions to anyone that would listen. And I have come across and met some beautiful and supportive people. One book that was recommended to me was ' The Handmade Market Place' by Kari Chapin. It felt like I had Kari in my pocket, holding my hand every step of the way and giving me the confidence to face the next challenge. Without her I would have never come this far. 

It's been a huge year & I feel like I have learned an incredible amount of new & useful skills.  

During this period I had a new born, an overactive toddler & went back to work (last March) to my day job as a Travel Agent. 

I am looking forward to 2014 & can't wait to see which direction {Lily & Charlie} will take me next. I am way more prepared this time,  I have even written a business plan! 

One of my goals this year is to find the perfect fabric, so I am in the process of designing and printing my own. Who would have ever thought, one short year ago that this is what I would be doing! 

Phew! Time for a cup of tea I think. 


  1. Awesome BJ, and I have no doubt the best is still to come. Exciting times :)

  2. Thanks Belinda. Looking forward to this year! X