30 Jun 2010

Tips for Setting Up a Market Stall

I posted the following article yesterday on the Etsy Ireland blog, I thought some of you who didn't see it might be interested:
Hi this is Ruth from Nice Day Designs. There has been lots of talk recently within the team at meetings and on forums about markets and I realized that after 3 years at trading at a weekly market I may have a few bits of info to impart. There are two sides to doing a market, the nuts and bolts of display, tables, and getting your stall. And also what to do/say to your customers to make the best of your stand. Both aspects have their difficulties, and trust me I've learned the hard way by making every mistake in the book. Later in the week I'll be posting the second half, so stay tuned!
Firstly lets look at the basics, how to get a stall. Lots of people have been asking how can they get a market stall, and is there one basic source of info, and to be honest I'm not sure. In Ireland it mostly seems to be work of mouth, the best advice I can give is go to your nearest market and start talking to the traders. The likelihood is that they sell at a few different locations, and they will be able to tell you which are the best ones, and they'll be honest about footfall. Always try to check out a market before you do it, organisers will promise you the earth, but quite often they deliver very little. Find out things like do you need to supple cover, tables, what is parking like, do they require insurance? The company that I use is IOMST, they do a yearly rate that's very reasonable, most markets insist on it these days so it's just one of those things that you have to fork out for at the start. Also ask the market organiser do they advertise locally, they is no point paying them 50 euro for the day if there are no customers.
Next you need a great display, this can take a long time to figure out, it's taken me years to really figure it out properly. Maybe try to do some research online and at market, take photos of the displays that you like and try to learn from them. Here are some easy pitfalls.

-Don't put all your products flat on a table, people will be walking past and judge what you're selling in about 2 seconds, if it's not visible they will walk on.
-Don't have an empty stand, if there isn't lots to choose from people won't buy. If you don't have lots of work share your stand with a friend. It cuts on cost and it fills up the table better.
-Price your work, people will be afraid to ask if there is no price on it, especially with crafts people always assume that they can't afford it.

To help with creating a better display use risers, I made mine out of notice boards, Tesco are selling them at a really reasonable price at the moment. Buy two of them and put a hinge in the middle so they can be free standing. Also use things like boxes underneath your table cloth to raise the level of the table. Other things like pretty baskets and hat boxes are fantastic for displaying your work in. Shop around in the Euro discount shops, even in the garden or kitchen ware sections, think outside the box for what you can use. Also places like Aldi and Lidl sell mini easels and chalk boards, which can really add to the charm of a display. I got little brightly coloured picnic pots in a pound shop last year and I still get people commenting on how well they look on the stall. If it's possible try to contrast or conordinate the colours of your table cloth to your logo, it will really give your display that extra punch that it needs.
It's a good time of year to go shopping for market equipment, things like fold down tables, chairs and gazebos are all easily available in Argos, B&Q etc, look in the camping and garden sections. In the past I've used fold down tables that are used for wall paper pasting, they are very affordable and the heavy duty one is still working 3 years later. What ever you do if you need to provide your own stall do not buy the one in Argos that is a pole assembly, it is a nightmare to put together and it's useless in Irish weather, it may look like a bargain but trust me it will break your heart (and your back!). At the start try to find a market that is indoors or provides cover for you. For your first market it will be quite daunting to deal with this aspect as well as your display and selling to customers.
Signage is also very important, you want people to remember your brand and know what to call you when talking about how amazing you are later to friends and family! I made my own banner with my sewing machine, but in the past I've used a long laminated sign, that cost about 40 euro from my local printer. Just like with your etsy shop it's good to keep your look consistent, so my banner matches my tags, and my smaller price signs.I got this great stamp on etsy from Jlmould, and it's really helped with my packaging, while keeping my costs low. Also it's essential that you have business cards on hand, they sell little perspex holders for them in Easons. I'll talk more about business cards in the next post about interacting with your customers.

I hope this helps, and if any other readers have market tips I'd love to hear about them, just leave a comment below.

29 Jun 2010

Sneaky Preview of Album Design

I just finished the album design for the band The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, and I heard back yesterday that they are all delighted with the look of it. It will be going to print very soon, and will be on sale nationwide, including all regular outlets like HMV, which is very exciting to hear. Their website is under going a bit of a redesign at the moment but you can check out their work on myspace here.
This is a little sneaky peek at one of the sketches I did for the booklet, I can't release the design yet as it's all very top secret at the moment!!

28 Jun 2010

Passing on the Baton

As some of you probably already know I've been running the blog for the Etsy Ireland Team for the past 6 months. I was doing it on a voluntary basis and it's been an amazing experience getting to know all the team members really well, and getting so involved with the team. I'll be finishing up this position at the end of this week. It's with a mixed sense of relief and reluctance that I finish up, the part of me that is a control freak is flipping out. It's been highly rewarding but very time consuming so that's why I'll be glad to pass it on to someone else. Then there is the other side that is still bursting with lots of ideas that I still want to implement. But as things have gotten much busier with me doing two markets a week I had to be sensible and find a replacement. I'll be staying on in the capacity as a blog host which means I'll still be writing articles for the team regularly. So that means that hopefully I'll have more time to blog here, and maybe find a bit of room in my day to read my favourite blogs(something sadly I had to give up recently due to an insane schedual), maybe I'll even do a little more house work too!!

27 Jun 2010

How Strawberries Taught me Two Lessons

During the week I decided to made lots of the strawberry keyrings that I blogged about last week. I couldn't help myself after getting that beautiful fabric in Vibes and Scribes in Cork, strawberries and polka dots are meant to be bossom buddies!
Firstly I broke the number one rule of 'measure twice cut once'. Instead I barely measured and cut out 20 circles, all way too small. I then proceeded to waste 3 hours sewing while never really noticing the tiny size. I blame complete exhaustion for my total lack of wits that day. Eventually I noticed I was making lots of miniscule strawberries, but I'm way too stubborn to give up so I went back to the drawing board, remeasured and started again. In the end after much post watershed language I got this bunch of key rings finished.
Another lesson I learned on this project was to shop around. I needed to buy the rings to go on the keyrings, I priced some at my local shoe repair shop, I was quoted 50 cent each, or wholesale 30 euro for 100. I thought this was a bit prohibitively expensive so I tried somewhere else instead, where I got a whopping 100 rings for only 4 euro. So don't be afraid to say no, always ask for wholesale price when you are buying in bulk, and it never hurts to flirt a bit too!!

Note: After timing myself making them I decided to charge 4 euro each for them. They take longer to made then I had originally estimated, and these are larger than the first prototypes. I still think it's a fair price and it's a handy small handmade gift that won't break the bank.

25 Jun 2010

Delicious New Fabrics

In a follow up to yesterdays gushing about the supplies I got when I was down in Cork, I also found a fantastic material shop too. Apparently Vibes and Scribes was a book shop before and they've just added a sewing section in the past few months. Weirdly it makes perfect sense, you can but fantastic sewing goodies and the browse through beautiful art and craft books. This was the shop I really had to rein in my urge to splurge lots of money. I did allow myself to buy this stack of green fat quarters, and this great selection of half meter pieces. Nearly every fabric that I saw I wanted to buy, so you can imagine it was really difficult to just buy these ones. I'll be using them to make my knitting needle cases and my strawberry key-rings. At the moment I want to invent an 8th and 9th day of the week so I can get lots of things made.

24 Jun 2010

New Retro Handmade Cards

When I went down to cork at the weekend for the Etsy Ireland meeting myself and my friend/fellow team member Rebecca were like two kids in the biggest toy shop with all the amazing art supplies shops that we found. Our first port of call was Cork Art Supplies, which has an amazing selection of papers, it was difficult to restrain myself from spending 100 quid on paper, but I was very good and only bought to pads of paper. But thank goodness I discovered that they sell online here so I won't have to wait so long for alleviate my paper desires, also click here for their specific card section. I fell in love with a vintage looking pack of paper, that had beautiful dark colors and textures, I just had to buy it!! The staff in the shop were extraordinarily helpful and friendly, people who totally understand having a craft addiction.

Here are some examples of the cards I made with the fantastic paper that I got. I had lots of fun tearing the paper to add more texture, and also using my sewing machine to finish some of the edges. For the first time I used sticky dots, which raised up the paper in certain areas. It's a really nice technique for adding depth. So thanks to my boss in the restaurant for giving me a pack of those, they're my new favourite toy. For more pics just click on my facebook album. I'll have them for sale on my stall for 4 euro each or 3 for 10 euro.

22 Jun 2010

Printed Shopping Bags for Nice Day Designs

My stamp eventually arrived from the states!! I ordered these bags stamps from JlMould to use for the things I sell at the market and also Roisin from the boutique I sell my work in Inistioge wanted one for her shop too. These were just a quick proof, I 'm looking into getting white bags instead of the brown, although the brown looks nicer than I expected. I also want to play around with different colour inks, so I might be asking your advice later in the week.

I've a busy week ahead of me, I'm working a split shift in the restaurant today, tomorrow/thurs I've to head out to Ennis to my VERY pregnant sister, to be nice to her before she becomes a mammy, then Friday I've a wedding to go to in Laois, and finally market day on Sunday! Yikes, I kinda wanna curl up on the sofa and watch and dvd and catch up on some sleep! Well only half of me wants to do that, I know I'll have a great time at the wedding, and I really want to see Karen before the all the baby madness ensues.

21 Jun 2010

Selling at the New and Improved Milk Market

I had such a lovely weekend! Friday was taken up with crazy amounts of work, but I love doing that, locking myself in the studio all day until I go to bed, it's exhausting but incredibly satisfying!

Saturday I was up bright and early to go to Cork for the Etsy Ireland meeting, more of that later in the week. Because it was my birthday we went for dinner when I got back. I eventually got to go to Freddys Bistro, 10 years of living in Limerick and I only manage it now! This lovely meal was followed by a fantastic gig in Dolans by my great friends Vertigo Smyth and The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra. I also got to catch The Rubberbandits playing in the main venue of the Warehouse. The latter band are pretty hilarious but probably entirely baffling to anyone outside Limerick, and especially outside Ireland, but they drew a massive crowd I've never seen the place so full.
I was rather bleary eyed on fuzzy brained for the early start on Sunday morning for my first day trading at the Milk Market. The truly glorious weather, general excitement, and two Anadin Extra Strength helped to wash away and residual hangover. Wow it is such a treat to trade in the new premises!! There are no worries about weather, or hauling down tables, and it looks so clean and modern. The large white roof reflects the light beautifully so it feels very light and spacious. Also the set up that they have dividing the stalls into little blocks is perfect,which means I was back to back with my fellow traders. I was delighted with my lovely neighbours of Vinny and Noreen, although I was sad that I'm not beside my friend Orla. I blame my rather compromised state for the fact that I forgot my camera, but my good friend Rebecca from Lucky Rainbow Designs took a few cute pics when she was down, thanks for these missy!!
Being honest I think it will take some time for people to realise that there is a market on Sunday, and for traders to come back. Things had gotten very quiet down on Bedford Row, with some of the regular traders giving up the ghost. With new venue they are sure to come back, and I was assured by the organisers that we will have lots new people joining over the coming weeks. I'm really excited about the move, and I'm hugely positive about the potential that it has. In the words of that corny 90's film The Field of Dreams: 'If you build it, they will come'....and I'm convinced they will.

18 Jun 2010

Strawberry Delight

I stumbled upon this how-to earlier today and even though I should be packaging and stapling in preparation for the market I had to take a little break to try it out. I was surprised at how easy it was to make something so adorable!I might whip up a few and put them on the stall. I figure 2 euro is a good price from them, they're quick and easy, but it still covers my costs of the metal ring and materials. I really want to get some small print polka dot material now.
Between the needle cases, button jars and these key rings I think a trip is necessary to the much loved quilt material shop in Limerick. I've never been there but I've heard it's a near spiritual experience for any crafters. I just have to save up a few pennies first, a friend told me she spent 80 quid within a few minutes of getting inside the door. Yikes!

17 Jun 2010

Recycled Glass Jars....Made into Button Heaven

I said in my previous post that I had an idea for some new pincushions, I'm so delighted that I got a few made for the market this weekend. After searching through lots of glass jars I found these three. The aim is to find lots of lovely glass jars of different shapes and sizes an turn them into these super cute pincushion/button holders. Included in the jars is a great mixed selection of beautiful vintage buttons.

As I type this my fingers are suffering from my use of super glue while making these. It feels like I have thimbles on all of my fingers...a very strange sensation. I'm still undecided as to the price of these, especially for the larger jars as they contain a lot of buttons

15 Jun 2010

Knitting Needle Organizer

After looking at the amount of space that I will have at the new Milk Market stand I decided that I needed to expand my range a little bit so my stall doesn't look too empty. Last night when I came home from working in the restaurant I cut out all the panels for 7 new knitting needle rolls, I hope to have at least 10 of them completed for the market. I always think having a range of the same item looks far more eye catching at a stand then just a few bits of everything.
I'll be a busy bee trying to get everything sorted. I want to make sure that the stand looks it's best from the first week. That means I'll have to sort out all of my signs, and make sure I'm fully stocked for all of my buttons and mirrors. A change like this can be a very good thing as it forces me to get organised and breathe a bit of life back into my selection. I'm also thinking of adding a new range of pincushions, but I'm not sure I'll get them done this week.

12 Jun 2010

Guilty Pleasure Saturday

Is there anything that you do that you know is either pointless or bad for you but you still love it? Here's mine
Crime Dramas: I've gotten really addicted lately to awful crime dramas. We haven't had a tv for a year but since we got really fast internet I can watch them online. So I got totally hooked on Wire in the Blood, a drastically terrible ITV cop crime mini-series that was shot about 10 years ago. When we had tv they used to show it a 3am on RTE and I loved it, but I only ever saw about 3 of them. It's based around a female detective and a male crime psychologist played by Robson Green. It's really terrible but the faux gritty realism and comforting predictability and scooby-doo structure is brilliantly addictive. I only have 1 episode left to watch, and I'm traumatised that it's over!

Farmville: Yes I'm one of those crazy people that's addicted to that stupid facebook game!! For those of you blissfully unaware of what it is, farmville is a basic game connected to facebook that is quite like The Sims except it's on a farm, so you grow crops, raise animals, buy cottages etc. It's no way near as complicated as Sims but it's feeding upon the same addictive logic. I totally blame my friend Laura for my addiction, she came to stay one weekend and she got me totally hooked. I actually stopped playing it for months, and then recently when I had a really nasty cold and couldn't work or think I started playing it again!!

4 in 1: This will take some explaining. Back when I was growing up in Celbridge we had a Chinese takeaway that served something called a 3 in 1, which was fried rice, chips, and curry sauce all in the same container, also called 'a long tray'. It was a rare treat when we got to have it; total junk food but it takes fantastic. I didn't realise how in love with it I was until I moved to Limerick 10 years ago and I discovered that you couldn't buy a 3 in 1!!! Well you could, but it would cost you loads extra to buy all the bits separetly, and it never tasted quite as good. There were other things like good white pudding, and Brennans batch loaf that seemed impossible to buy down here too, much to my annoyance. Anyway about a year ago a local Chinese started serving a 4 in 1, wow, low and behold they managed to top my childhood love by adding some chicken into that mix too. It's perfect, all the lovely bits of a curry for a fiver, and not too big cos it all fits into one of their small containers. Obviously I don't eat it all the time, but it's good to know after 10 years of it's absence in Limerick, that if I ever get a craving that it's only down the road.
Fantasy: Reading fantasy books as a woman in her late 20s isn't as unusual as it once was, in the last few years the world has fallen in love with Harry Potter, Twilight and Lord of the Rings. But there is still a part of me that feels I should be reading something slightly more intellectual, especially when I whip out my book in a coffee shop and it's got one of those nasty illustrations on the front. I feel like I should have a badge that says 'No really I am smart, I do know this is trash, but I still love them'. I weirdly got into fantasy when I was 18 and my friend gave me lots of David Gemmell books, I then tried some Ursula Le Guin, Tad Williams, and J.R.R.Tolkien. A few years ago I started the epic Wheel of Time series, 12 books and still going. A few of the things I hate within fantasy are that they are mostly written by men for teenage boys, and have awful female characterization, there's a disproportionate mentioning of heaving bussoms and firey tempers. But I love the scope and detail of the stories, and the freedom within the narrative of making up your own rules, magic and myth are part of the everyday. At the moment I'm at a loose end book wise, so if anyone can recommend a good series let me know, I just read the last installment of the Wheel of Time, so it will have a lot to live up to.

Note: To any Wheel of Time fans I recently stumbled upon these new series of covers for ebooks. Still quite traditional fantasy work, but a huge improvement on the originals, with a couple of real stunners aswell. Click this link, scroll about half way down, and each of the links is an article of the illustration with background sketches etc. facinating stuff for any fellow nerds!

11 Jun 2010

New Tweaks to Blog Design, and a Spot of Knitting

Oh I'm so impressed with the new layout function that they introduced on blogspot today. I've been wanting to change the blog for ages, but there were a few little things that I couldn't get right. I think I'm most impressed with how much better the tabs look now, and I totally love the rounded edges. I know they are only little things but the designer in me is a happy camper now because of them!
I was inspired by all the knitting needles I have lying about the studio at the moment, and while I was watching a particularly unentertaining film the other night I decided to try my hand at a bit of knitting. Weridly I've been hoarding wool since I was 15 (that was the last time I knitted) so I had a few balls to choose from, I went for this crazy electric pink. After digging out my craft book to remind me how to cast on I was away and happily knitting for the evening. I used the circular needles so I can made a snood(here's a picture in case you're not sure what a snood is), so at least it will be functional. I've already decided that when I'm finished I want to make myself some sleeves/wristlets. I don't profess to be a great or fast knitter, but it's nice to do it while watching a cheesy crime drama, and just let my brain go to sleep for a while. I doubt I'll turn into an avid knitter like all of my Aunts, but there something nice about putting on a cozy scarf that you know you've made yourself., here's hoping I get it finished by Winter!!

10 Jun 2010

I like to Polka

How cute are these notebooks? I was in Tesco yesterday and I just had to buy them, and they were cheap as chips at only about a fiver for the two of them. The little pink polka dot one is to use at the new market, and it comes with a handy pen. And well the other one was just too adorable to leave in the shop, I knew it needed to join my ever growing collection of notebooks....but as all stationary addicts know you can never have too many notebooks!

9 Jun 2010

Etsy Ireland Team Treasuries

Earthy Romance

It's treasury time again. All the treasuries here are picks from the Etsy Ireland Team, I'm really impressed with how diverse the team has gotten, there are so many things to choose from now. Now that we have over 150 members to choose from it's a real pleasure to make treasuries. I wanted to make an earthy romantic collection, so I chose browns, and textured or aged looking items.
The 3 treasuries below are collections made by fellow team members this week that were nice enough to include me. The first beautiful grey themed one was currated by Homespun Ireland. I really love her work , and I'm not surprised that she put together such an elegant collection.
The Moon Coming Home
The Emerald Isle
This beautiful collection was made by CherryBlossomTattoo.
Sunglasses Not Included
Lastly this riot of rainbow colours was put together by TanyaMac

I also made this non team treasury the other day as an ode to my button obsession

8 Jun 2010

Handmade Knitting Needle Case

Since I was offered the large lot of vintage knitting needles I've had it in the back of my mind to make handmade cases for them. I had a little root around the bundles of my material in my studio, and I found this cute red and white striped poly cotton. After fiddling around with sizes and measurements for a while I figured out a pattern to make this needle holder.

I've included 5 circular needles, two sets of 4 double pointed needles, 2 bodkins and a needle gauge in the set. I think it's a great present for crafty people cos you get your different sized needles with the case. I listed it in my etsy shop the other day, I really hope they are popular because I loved making it and it would be great to have an excuse to go buy lots of pretty fabrics!!

7 Jun 2010

Paintings:Work in Progress

Yesterday I had to cancel my market due to really horrible cramps, it was a shame not to be there on the last day, but I would have scared the customers away with my pained expression. I tried to just chill out here instead but I got really restless, so after taking lots of very strong painkillers, and strapping a hot water bottle to myself I went into the studio.

It's been ages since I did any painting, and I really love it, I don't claim to be any expert since I did very little of it when I was in college. It was mostly after I graduated that I started tinkering around with small canvases and my flat mates paints. But when Nice Day Designs took off it meant I didn't have any time for it anymore. It was really lovely just to be painting with no real goal in mind. I revisited a project that I worked on in college, childrens illustration style. I just wanted the relaxation of doing something and not that pressure of what to put on a blank canvas.

I worked on the 4 of them at one, swapping over as the layers were drying. They are all still very much works in progress but I thought I would show you some half way point pictures anyhow. The square pieces are just 6" x 6" and the longer one is about 15" x 6".

6 Jun 2010

Win, Win, Win....stuff

Do you wanna win free things???

I'm having a giveaway on my facebook page for a $25 voucher for either of my shops, just head on over to my page, click 'like', and leave a comment on my wall saying that you want to be entered.
Question: How easy is that??
Answer: Very!!

5 Jun 2010

The Big Move for The Sunday Market

I went down to the Milk Market today to have a look at the fancy new interior and I'm so impressed. I met one of the organisers, Chris, and we had a chat about the stalls, layout and the facilities there. We will all be provided with our own stand, and even tables, which will make my life so much easier since I haul down all my stock on a trolly. He is also encouraging people to have their logos printed on vinyle sheeting, so that wel all look colourful and disttinctive from each other. When it's all totally finished it going to look really amazing and I'm so excited to be moving into it.
When I heard that they were putting a roof on it I was delighted because of the weather cover it will provide, but to be honest a part of me was concerned that it would be dark and gloomy. But I was delighted to see today how light and airy the space feels, and the canopy nearly adds a glowing white light to the space...very serene and stat treky looking.

The dates for the opening are slightly different than what I had thought initially. Tomorrow will be my last Suday at the Bedford Row market, and we will be taking a break for one week, and then we will commence trading on Sunday 20th of June. A small part of me will be a little sad to leave Bedford Row after 3 years of trading there every week, but what we are getting in exchange far out weighs that.

4 Jun 2010

Vintage Supplies Arrive

At long last my second delivery of vintage supplies arrived this week. I got hundreds of knitting needles, thimbles, circular knitting needles, and loads more buttons. It's not quite the same amount as I got the first time round but it was still very exciting to root through all the boxes. I'm not a knitter so to be honest some of the more esoteric tools confounded me, but after some googling and asking people on facebook I found out what they are for and how to price them. I did discover that a circular needle is practically impossible to make look pretty in a photograph. I'll have to try to shoot them again because I'm really not happy with these pics that I took. I've a fair bit of sorting to do, but I have listed a few of the needles in my shop already.
Also this week some of my novelty buttons arrived, that means that my Hello Kitty buttons have returned to my shop, and I now have rabbit, and teddy bear buttons too.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...