Recycled eco bags… my journey so far

2012 has been quite a year, my creativity was resparked with a Christmas gift from my husband…”the perfect handmade bag” by Clare Youngs.

I was inspired to set to and make some of the bags from the book, which I greatly enjoyed.

Prompted on by a friend setting up a Facebook Page and attending craft fairs I realised that I would always regret it if I didn’t take the plunge. Vicky Myers Creations was born, to try to make a small business out of handmade items. My aim is simple, to have a purpose behind my creativity, and to self finance this creativity.

Norwich Makers Market was my first sale, back in July, followed by two further sales in the run up to Christmas….

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These three fairs have taught me:
• to book fairs which happen just after people have been paid in a mont,h rather than just before!!
• display is key,
• to book suitable fairs with good footfall
• I prefer making to selling!

Plus I have bags for sale at two local shops, The Greenhouse and The Craft Room in Norwich.

Online I have set up an Etsy shop, a twitter account, blog and Facebook page, joined Pinterest and StumbleUpon, plus submitted the blog to NetMums and Craft Blog Uk. I have written a bag tutorial submitted to Craftori.

Yet online sales elude me.. I appreciate tags and excellent photographs assist, both of which I am sure I could improve on. To be fair I have put no money into marketing, or invested in a professional website.

So where next?? perhaps some form of business plan would be a good idea! I have sold 28 bags, including 4 commissions but feel as though I have not yet reached the desired market. This conclusion is based on only selling 5 bags to people I don’t personally know.

• Register with the tax office and learn what I can claim for and can’t (ie working from home, mobile phone etc..)

• Explore WEETU, and free courses for women setting up businesses.

• Apply to Not on the High Street, but first I wish to finish 3 jacket bags, 3 shirt drawstring bags, and load these along with children’s bucket bags to Etsy (in order to have a wider range of goods to show).

• Explore the environmental angle of my bags, and venues/events linked with this.

• For the autumn have a professional e-mail with images of bags ready to send out to potential retailers stocking new items for Christmas.

• Save for professional photo shoot? professional website? Bag stands for sales at events?

Any tips welcome, all suggestions gratefully received:)

I appreciate all the support I have had from my husband and family and friends over the year, without them I would not have got this far! Thank you 🙂

2 Comments

  1. January 9, 2013 / 12:50 pm

    Thank you so much for the link to Craft Blog UK! I got a little google alert to say you had linked to me. I have a course on social media that may be of interest – it’s not free, but there is 10% off at the mo, just ask if you’d like me to send the code. My top tip for you to focus on would be getting an understanding of search engine optimisation (free tips on my site or search SEO tips) as well as getting the photography nailed (lovely, sharp, bright images!) – a really branded look helps too – so be consistent with where you photograph and the lighting conditions, maybe add some simple text on each leading image, so people come to instantly recognise your work. Also making sure that all the little details of your bags are recorded so people can see the quality of the stitching – it really gives them confidence to click on ‘add to basket’ 🙂

    When I was selling purses I made a little video of me unzipping them and showing the lining – just using my digi camera – sold a fair few based on that alone I think as people could see it was a quality product.

    Thanks again,

    Hilary

  2. January 10, 2013 / 7:59 am

    Thank you HIlary, that is really helpful feedback. I appreciate you taking the time:)

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