Huge thanks to ARTS hub 47 for letting me take over part of your fab window display with my prints, necklaces and pins.
If you don’t already know ARTS hub 47, it is a creative community arts co-op at 136 Aigburth Road, Liverpool. Run by a team of volunteers, they sell a wide range of arts and crafts including cards, face coverings, bags, paintings, prints, clothes, turned wood, jewellery, textiles, clothing, mosaics and ceramics all produced by its members.
Feeling very grateful to have such an innovative community-focused organisation in my local area and for all the customers who support it.
In October 2019, Curated Makers invited Imagine Attic to take part in their Made Local Pop-Up Shop in Marks & Spencer Liverpool City Centre. Curated Makers offer unique opportunities for partnerships between themselves, northern makers and high street shops. As well as having my cards for sale in the Pop-Up, I also took over the ‘Maker’s Table’ for one day, offering Personalised Papercut Posy Bouquet cards and selling cards, prints and jewellery.
It was the first time I had sold my work face to face and was lovely to meet customers and hear their stories as I created personalised cards for them. It was also very lovely to see some familiar faces and to see my name on the window of M&S!!!! 💙 Thanks Megan and team for all your hard work.
Indie biz champion Leona Thrift-ola of Indie Roller provided us with a rainbow of inspiration, discussing how her businesses have evolved from product to service focused and the importance of setting boundaries to avoid burn out. The term ‘Keep Going’ can sometimes mean adapting and making changes, but we need to build our resilience and learn from our mistakes. We should be proud in telling our story and set out a clear future focused business vision using our values and our own measures of success. If we feel the fear and stretch beyond our comfort zones and then we will be comfortable in the uncomfortable. I loved seeing Leona’s values scribbled onto sticky notes on her studio wall as a constant personal reminder of her beliefs and intentions.
For the first breakout session, I chose IP & Copyright with Ingrid Fernandez of Dec & Dash Legal Consulting. Ingrid gave us tips on protecting our work through keeping date stamped documentation and applying to register trademarks. As a small business, you can do this yourself however it is pricey and time consuming and even if you register a trademark in one class (for example clothing), it doesn’t mean you own the trademark in all the other 44 classes. Also, if you want to own the trademark worldwide, you would have to apply for the trademark in the UK, EU, USA etc. separately. It is a bit of a minefield and best to get professional help. Ingrid also gave useful advice on dealing with copycats and we discussed how easy it may be to accidentally infringe someone else’s copyright by using on trend symbols and patterns.
Next, Yvette Streeter editor of Mollie Makes magazine gave us handy tips on a writing press release. The best press releases are concise with 3 great images (close up, overhead and lifestyle shot). Include the story behind the product, tailor content towards seasonal gift guides, make it easy for editors to download high res images and use a witty and engaging subject line in your email. Send press releases to anyone and everyone and don’t be put off if you don’t hear back. “Keep it short, reflect your brand and dream big.”
Athena Cauley-Yu owner of Meticulous Ink told us her business story and emphasised the importance of flexibility, having a range of different revenue streams and listening to what customers want. Athena owns her own shop in Bath which specialises in high quality bespoke letterpress printing on site. She also uses the space for selling her own range of inks and papers, delivering workshops and offering open evenings. “A physical shop is like having a second home, but it gives you somewhere you can fill with creativity.”
As I am preparing for my first craft fair, the session that I found most useful was Stacey MacDonald of Darwin & Gray’s talk on Styling & Visual Merchandising. Stacey has been a seller at the UK’s top fairs and trade shows and has a background in visual merchandising. I have had multiple trips to the DIY shop trying to work out what I need and how to build a wooden display and Stacey had all the answers I had been looking for as well as practical tips I hadn’t thought of. She believes in a DIY approach, using multi purpose units that reflect the brand identity and can be used around the home in between craft fairs. Top tips: look everywhere for inspiration, put prices on items, clearly display your Instagram handle and make sure what you are taking fits in the transport you have available unless you are prepared to fork out for a van.
Meneske Stewart provided a break out session on SEO and driving traffic to websites and Lucy & Yak gave the closing keynote session.
Manchester Hall was a great venue for the event – lots of separate rooms on the same floor for different sessions, plenty of space, some sparkly chandeliers and easily accessible from Salford Central train station. The quotes about creativity beautifully illustrated on the mirror of the ladies’ powder room by Myro Doodles were a lovely touch and made everyone smile.
Thanks to the whole Creatival team, The Creative Business Network, Curated Makers, to everyone who contributed to the fab good bags and a special huge thanks to the lovely people at noissue. who generously provided my ticket for the event. So much useful information and tons of inspiration for the future.
The JUST A CARD campaign aims to encourage people to buy from Designer/Makers and Independent Galleries and Shops by reinforcing the message that all purchases, however small, even ‘just a card’ are so vital to the prosperity and survival of small businesses.