Mainly business stuff, but not always :-)
Mainly business stuff, but not always :-)
Caroline walks us through her workshop where the most unusual combination of glass and textiles have been created.
"Also when you see and work with your product every day you tend not to value what you do as much because it is 'every day'. You forget that actually, what I am doing is unique and no one else does what I do in the way that I do it. It is hard to remember that, especially when you first start out, and some of that is down to lack of confidence"
"It is one of the things I am still figuring out is finding the right audience, the right target market and where I actually find them is still an ongoing exercise for me. If you can find the right people, as long as you are good enough and have a high quality product, then you start to sell at the right prices. One thing that I have realised is that I am not necessarily my market and that took me a while to figure out."
"And that I find very difficult because the places where I should be selling I would not normally shop, I don't have the the income to shop in these places which makes it even harder for me to figure out my marketing. Add to that the problem of consumers sometimes not able to differentiate between mass produced and artisan maker and you will find that the area of marketing and pricing is extremely difficult to navigate. I have to get the fact that my products are all individually and carefully made to such a high standard that my products deserve to carry a premium in comparison to something you get in a high st brand."
"I have also had to learn about the hidden costs of tidying up after myself such as the bookkeeping, the social media, the ordering etc. It would be great to have someone to do that for me but apart from keeping an eye on my costs I often find it takes just as long to update my website as it does to tell someone what I want done."
"I now have a website that I love and I can update myself which has been a huge help in my marketing. It means now I can display my work on a professional level without the expense of a retail premises. Although I do have to be more disciplined to stay on top of it and update it."
Handmade wedding gown"One of my biggest success stories for 2015 was an order for a wedding dress, which was an enormous confidence boost. Somebody gets what I am doing and she gets why I am doing it. So she had bought into the whole ethos of creating her wedding gown from scratch and is involved with the entire design process. So we have started with some preliminary sketches with some swatches etc and I will be putting the entire design process up on my website once we have the wedding photos to show off the finished article"
"I have also been commissioned by the International Sheep Vets Society to create 50 scarves as gifts for guest for their 2017 International Conference. If nothing else I think that this will be the right target market as they are not only the right income bracket but also have a unique appreciation for the fibres I use coming from specific breeds. Not everyone is into wool and my fibres are very specific. So I am hoping that it will also be a really good platform"
"Start off with your paperwork in some kind of order straight away. I know that sounds boring but it really is important, otherwise you just end up worrying about it or, even worse, making a mistake that ends up costing you money"
"People say research your market, but if you don't have a market to research that can be a little difficult to find something to research. My business is not easy to define - so that was a bit of advice I ended up ignoring, but I did try to figure out who my target market is."
"Measure your marketing results in someway. I have done bits of marketing previously but I am not sure if it has worked particularly well. So measuring the effectiveness of my adverts etc would have been a bit of advice I would give to anyone first starting out. I think what I have learned from my marketing efforts to date is that I still haven't got the right equation. But I am keeping going because I am enjoying it and feel like I am getting somewhere. And as long as I keep learning from my mistakes I will be going in the right direction"
You can find Caroline and her lovely giftware and textiles on elegantoriginals.co.uk