31 Aug 2011

Marketing Your Business

People always ask me for tips when they are starting out their craft business, and a few times I've met people for coffee to give them a detailed idea of what I do and to  how about going about it. A lot of the time people find the social networking  and branding side very difficult as it's not something they are used to. Many crafters that I know want to make pretty things all day long, but don't know where to start when it comes to marketing themselves.

About a year ago a met a lovely woman Eva Birdthistle through the market, as we got chatting at the stall she told me about her marketing and branding business. She mostly works with small companies and more often than not with artists and crafters. I asked her to send me on some info about her business so I could post it here. I figured that a lot of my readers are in the creative industry and might want some guidance when it comes to marketing/branding and creating a web presence:

MandPh is an outsourced marketing and photography service tailored to our customer’s needs. We look after a number of marketing services for clients such as:
·         Brand development & optimisation
·         Website production & management
·         Electronic direct mail production & reporting
·         Marketing literature design & production
·         Campaign management
On the photography side we provide high quality images suitable for brochures, websites, marketing literature and all your image requirements.
Our customers are mainly in the arts, theatre, crafts and leisure industries such as Áine Knitwear, Orchard Theatre Co, Limerick Youth Theatre, Funderland, Castles Limerick, Grow Roots.

Contact Information:
T: 086 3817677

Some of our work:

Images for Áine Knitwear

 Poster, Images and Website for Orchard Theatre Co www.orchardtc.com
 Business cards for ChefBillyBird
 Head shots for Grow Roots
 Poster and Images from Limerick Youth Theatre

30 Aug 2011

Magnet Paper Polaroid Project

I love taking a wander through the pound shops( I still can't make myself call them eurostores!!), and seeing the array of weird and wonderful tat that is for sale. Sadly the glory days of Mary's of Limerick are gone, but we have the €2 Store, and a few other cheap as chips household shops on William St. The other day I stumbled upon this great magnetic paper. You get 2 sheets for €2, which is a pretty good deal if what your printing is small.
Ages ago I saw a link to a tutorial on how to make little wooden polaroid magnets, I loved them but I knew I would never go through all that work. When I found these sheets that project popped back into my head. I googled the dimensions of a polaroid and set up my template on photoshop. I added an outline of shadow around the edge that would go over the images. I looked up some kitsch and quirky images on Getty Images and within an hour I came up with this nice selection of pictures. I used the paper in my domestic printer, and then chopped them up with my scissors. I love the results! They are not a very strong magnet though so I don't think I'll be selling them. I may include them free with my online orders....or just stick all of them on my fridge and then smile! John came up with a good idea of somehow incorporating them into my handmade cards, that people get a card, but then a magnet that they can put on their fridge too...interesting, I'll have to figure it out.

26 Aug 2011

Bar-Bootsale in Bakers

I love being friends with proactive people who do something positive rather than moaning about how crap/boring their life/city is. My friend Nora is one such person, she is always busy organising something or other. One of her more recent projects is the Bar-Bootsale, a carbootsale without the cars and with a bar instead. Where poor cool people go to sell their stuff to other poor people who like to buy cool stuff, it works out well for everyone!

My friend Peter spinning some choons
This time the event will be taking place tomorrow in Bakers Place (Limerick), 1pm-6pm. I'm hoping I can make it in after the market to have a bit of a gander around. Last time I picked up a great dress for only a fiver and there was tonnes of other great stuff too. I like the idea of having a beer while shopping, although I'm still on the dry so I won't be partaking this time.

Also graffiti artist Square Bear will be sell some hand drawn badges there (made by your truly, so buy 'em up so her orders more!!), and also Dish Pig will be selling some of his graffiti art too, hopefully it won't be sold out by the time I get there as I want to get a few for myself.
Square Bear
Dish Pig

25 Aug 2011

Custom Orders

I've been doing a few custom orders recently for badges and mirrors.
Pocket Art Mirror - Shoe Collection -

Mandi Cromer from Design Birdie used her wonderful illustrations for some mirrors which she now sells in her etsy shop. I've been a fan of her work for ages, and it was really nice to eventually meet her at the Horse Show in the RDS.

Artist Harriet Myfanwy Nia Tahany is preparing for her upcoming exhibition in Belfast, and she will be selling pocket mirror versions of her art at the opening for people who want to take home some of her work at a more affordable price, what a great idea! The show is on Sept 1st in 'Frame of Mind, Ormeau Rd, Belfast at 7.30pm if any of you are in the area.

I also made up these comic book style magnets for my friend Claire from Ecobrats, they are for her sons bedroom as she is in the process of doing it all up in comic book style. I loved doing this commission and I'm now going to be selling this set in my etsy shop. You can get the 6 magnets in a set for just €10. They are perfect for using on your fridge, or in your work space.

If you are interested in ordering any magnets, badges, pocket mirrors or bottle openers with the image of your choice on them please click here for more details or email me at ruthcrean@yahoo.ie.

24 Aug 2011

Mad Men Party

Mad Men

Mad Men by nicedaydesigns 


I went to a Mad Men themed party at the weekend to celebrate a joint 30th Birthday of some friends of mine.  I seen a few episodes of the show and love it, but I haven't watched it from the start, in one of those series I'll be treating myself to soon. I love the clothes of coarse, and the women look amazingly glamorous without having to look stick thin. Along with the rest of the world I'm in love with Joan, but I also think some of Peggy's outfits are pretty darned cute.
To get the desired look for the party myself and John went on a trek around all the charity shops look for dead mans suits for John. I had a couple of dresses that would have done for the occasion but I wasn't quite happy with them so I had my eye out for something new. We ended up getting a lovely tweed jacket for John which I added some leather patches to, and he wore a cream shirt, brown paisley tie, a brown straw hat, some vintage braces, and olive green trousers. He also had a leather briefcase I gave to him which finished off the whole look. I had bought it years ago in Florence for stupid amounts of money but never used it, I passed it onto John when he started his archaeology Masters this year. I picked up a leopard print shift dress in a charity shop for only €6, a black Jacket I got for €3 in the Friday Flea Market, and some mustard tights and handbag from Pennys. I then watched this tutorial on how to do my hair, a bit of glam make-up and I was done!

It was so nice to see all the men dressed up in suits, normally all my friends are t-shirt and jeans kind of guys. I also made me want to dress up that much all the time, except for the crazy amount of effort it takes!

23 Aug 2011

New Fabric from The Limerick Quilt Centre

In my mad busy stage that I just went through I didn't get to show and tell all the lovely supplies that I bought in the Limerick Quilting Centre. I've known about this place for a few years but I've always avoided going knowing that I would spend a fortune the day I warily put my foot inside the door. I meant it to be a flying visit to pick up some horse fabric that my friend Toni had told me about, but and hour and a bit later I walked out with an empty wallet and a bag full of goodies.

I really thought I had been restraining myself and only buying what i really needed. I think the key is to walk in with an idea in mind or else the shopping list would get as long as my arm!!As you can see I got my intended equestrian fabrics,and also some thread, die cut hearts, bicycle fat quarters, scissors fabric,  and some really yummy floral prints. The shop is pretty amazing when you consider all we have here in Limerick is Hickeys which is over priced and under inspired. At first when I went in all I saw was very traditional quilting fabrics but after a few minutes I spotted dozens of fabrics I adored. It was really hard to leave the shop, but a tight fiscal and time budget meant that i came away without selling my soul for fabric.

I also got some amazing trimmings from Hilary at the Friday market but I used them the day that i bought them and didn't have any time to photograph them before going to the show in Dublin. She sells her haberdashery supplies on Fridays and some Saturdays at the Milk Market. She has wonderful neck pieces and trimmings that are ideal for customising evening wear. I'm a regular customer at Hilarys stall, often buying fabric and trimmings off her for my clothes that I sell in Avaluk. She has a facebook page, but mostly I would recommend going in on a Friday and having a good root around.

22 Aug 2011

Limerick Horse Show and New Cushions

As I mentioned before I was at the Dublin RDS horse show, but sadly I didn't do so well. This weekend though I'll be selling at the Limerick Horse Show with Fondelifair, an Irish based handmade ecommerce site. They got in touch with me last week about this opportunity and I was delighted as it might be a chance to sell some of my horse themed items that I had made for the Dublin show.
I made a range of the equestrian cushions, using fabric that I got especially in the Limerick Quilting Centre. I also have a selection of horsey badges and pocket mirrors which would be fun for the kids going to the show. On Sunday I will be bringing my badge maker so that kids will be able to draw pictures and make their own badges, and I'll be running a competition for the best badge too!

I had loads of fun making these cushions and I really want to make more of them for myself and I might try to sell some at the stall too( in different fabrics!). I also made some larger ones for some friends of mine as a house warming present and they adored them. Cushions are such a great way to brighten up a room, I gonna make a few for the front room in the very near future. They are a simple envelope closure on the back which saves messing around with annoying zips/buttons.

19 Aug 2011

Lamhanna on RTE Nationwide

My friends Branden and Mary-Rose were featured on Nationwide the other night and you can watch their '15 minutes' above. They are a fantastic couple who I met about a year ago, Branden was selling his handmade silver jewellery on my friend Noreens stall, and soon afterwards he got his own pitch at the Milk Market. We shared a Saturday pitch for about 6 months and the two of them kept me sane and still laughing through the really cold Winter months at the market. Sadly things didn't work out for them having a weekly stall and they decided to give it a break for a while, but you can still buy their amazing pieces through their etsy shop, and they also have a facebook page here.
Also since filming this piece they got engaged, congratulations to them both!!

Irish 10 Pence Coin Cuff links

Irish Fifty Pence Harp Coin Brooch

Large Abstract Sterling Silver Pendant

18 Aug 2011

Rock Icons: New Badges

As a lot of you probably already know the Friday market has gone through a bit of an overhaul during the past few months. It's now a mix of crafts and flea market stalls. One of the new additions is Doc who used to own Black Spot Records on Wickham St. He sells a large selection of vinyl from classic rock, pop, soul, trad, etc etc.
Last week I approached him with the idea of making music badges to sell at his stall. Obviously his records attract a different kind of customer to the ones who come to my own stall, so it made sense to cash in on that. So as of tomorrow and every Friday after that the new selection of badges will be for sale at Docs stall, they are €3 each.

To see a full gallery of images just click here.

...In no particular order...
So far I have the following artists( but I'm open to requests and suggestions):
Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Bob Marley, Iggy Pop, Elvis, Blondie, Pearl Jam, Thom Yorke, Bjork, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Manson, Nick Cave, Neil Young, U2, Ray Charles, Muddy waters, Aretha Franklin, Edith Piaf, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, The Pogues, Rory Gallagher, Talking Heads, Sousisoux, Ramones, Nirvana, Phil Lynott, Johnny Cash, Joan Jett, Lemon Jelly, Patti Smith, Miles Davis, Sex Pistols, The Beatles, The Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Rage Against The machine, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Rolling Stones, Green Day, Queen, Primal Scream, Joy Division, Michael Jackson, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Motorhead, Slayer, Metallica, Kiss,Sub Pop, Frank Zappa, Guns and Roses, Joni Mitchel, Howlin Wolf, Buddy Holly, Elvis Costello, and Black Sabbath

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