Saturday, 12 February 2011

First fair of 2011 this time next week

This time next week I will be attending my first fair of 2011 and I am really looking forward to it.

The last fair I did was a couple of weeks before Christmas and I had booked in and attended so many during 2010 I was really getting to saturation point, but after taking a much needed break from them, I am now raring to go.

I love everything about them even if I don't make any sales! I enjoy chatting to other crafters about what they do and looking through their creations (as well as buying some I might add). Nine times out of ten the atmosphere at these events is fantastic with everybody supporting one another and exchanging ideas and contacts - in fact I can honestly say crafters are some of the nicest people you could ever meet.

I also enjoy talking to the people who come for a browse - some of the stories I hear are so interesting and I always take on board any feedback or opinions offered.

Because I was just starting my nappy cake business up beginning of last year, I booked to attend fairs/events/shows pretty much every weekend and as I was also working full-time it didn't leave me much time for anything else, so, at my family's insistence, this year I decided to only attend the ones that I felt were beneficial to me (money-wise as well as getting enough footfall to hand out loads of leaflets for future orders), and I did start off with the best of intentions honest!

My plan was just to do one event per month but that seems to have progressed to two a month and sometimes three - oops! Still, I keep telling myself its all for the greater good - just don't tell my family I won't be at home again at weekends for the foreseeable future!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Photos on Website

I'm sure you will have noticed throughout my recent blogs, the recurring theme of my website and I really hope I'm not boring you all to death with it!

However, I got another order today and rather than it just coming through the website, this lady actually gave me a call to ask me a couple of questions before she placed the order. I was quite happy to take the order over the phone, but unfortunately I'm not geared up to take payments that way. If the purchaser wants the nappy cake delivered to their home and its within 10 miles of where I live, then I offer free delivery anyway and am happy to take a cheque or cash from them when I hand it over.

This lady though wanted it delivered to a friend (albeit one living not too far from me) so I had to ask her to put the order through on the website and I would then take it to her friend tomorrow.

She duly put her request through and paid, but what concerns me is the fact that I often wonder if people think they are getting exactly the same nappy cake as is in the photo on my site. My terms and conditions do state that some items such as outfits and soft toys may change due to stock levels, but I know from experience not many people read the "small print" (I know I certainly don't!). The photos tend to be ones I have taken on making a "cake" up.

To be truthful, I very rarely buy the same item twice (unless its something I really love) as I like to have a wide variety of clothing, blankets etc to use and I am frequently tempted whilst out and about. I love browsing round little boutiques and baby shops seeing what I can find that stands out as different as well as being reasonably priced.

Obviously my craft is not something like jewellery where a piece is made and then offered for sale - I don't make nappy cakes up until they are purchased from my website or requested specifically (otherwise I would have them lying around all over the place and even the mini ones take up a certain amount of room!).

I don't want to have to put a statement on every photo saying "items may be subject to change" but maybe that's what I will have to do. So far nobody has phoned me up and moaned that they haven't got exactly what they saw on the website, but there is bound to be a first time and that does worry me slightly.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


While I was out today collecting yet another storage unit, eldest daughter happened to be home and took a message for me from somebody offering advertising.

All my daughters have been advised to take details and telephone numbers for me if I'm not available to answer the phone and have taken this to the ultimate by writing down everything!

So, after gallavanting down the motorway for an hour and a half, I then had to drop off a 3 tier nappy cake. I had offered to deliver it personally rather than via courier as I knew I could come back via their direction. I had to laugh though when I turned up and advised the gentleman that answered the door that I had brought two with me and would he like to choose one. He looked at me and told me not to make him choose as he would undoubtedly get the wrong one! Anyway, I took pity on him and gave him my favourite but told him if his other half wasn't happy to let me know. Well, I haven't heard anything so I guess it was ok.

I also had another order when I got home so I'll be waiting in for the courier again tomorrow as this one has to go further afield.

Anyway, back to the advertising - I duly phoned the lady back and she said she had been given one of my leaflets and would love for my nappy cakes to appear in her magazine which goes out to over 15,000 school children quarterly. She is going to send me some information to look at (I never agree to anything over the phone) and I'm going to see what I think.

However, I have paid for advertising in another magazine which goes out nationally 4 times a year and have never had any orders from it. It got me wondering how much use advertising actually is and whether people are now so reliant on the world wide web that they don't really bother to read anything that drops through their letterbox (or in this case comes home in their child's book bag).

I don't mind paying out for things that will (hopefully) get me some business but sometimes it feels a bit like throwing money into the wind. I'm determined to get my nappy cake business up and running and making a profit and know I will have to put a lot of effort into it, but just wish sometimes things were a little bit easier!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Lovely Day

It always helps when the sun is shining doesn't it, especially after the last few days of howling wind. Today was just glorious and I found myself taking my coat off when I was out and about this afternoon. Okay, its only February but it seemed like just a hint of things to come with the better weather.

I spent a good deal of the morning catching up with various bits and pieces that needed doing round the house and then this afternoon I ventured out and left some of my leaflets at various places around my local city. Not sure whether it will drum up any business but its got to be worth a try hasn't it?

I also took delivery of some new items for my nappy cakes. There are some absolutely gorgeous things out there for babies now and I really enjoy picking them out and imagining which cake I will put them in.

Its very satisfying planning what items you are going to use when somebody orders a nappy cake and then putting the final touches on to make sure it is exactly right. I've got an order to make up this evening so will try and remember to take a photo and post it on here when I next blog for you to see.

In the meantime don't forget where I am if you need to buy a gift for a newborn!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Worrying Addiction!

Don't worry, I'm not talking any sort of addiction that I will need hospitalisation for! My addiction seems to be with storage units (weird huh).

After complaining bitterly to my OH since Christmas about the fact that he promised me storage units only to then inform me I'd have to wait up to 6 months for them, I decided to take matters into my own hands. It took me a while, but I finally decided on some from Ikea. They are actually for toys but I didn't see why they couldn't work just as well for all my bits and pieces.

Now comes the addiction bit - I managed to buy a grand total of four last week and drove around and about picking them all up - one took me over an hour and a half to get to although it was free so definitely worth it. I spent a happy afternoon sorting things out and placing them just where I wanted them and you would think that would be the end of that, but no .... I found myself checking out various websites to see what else was available (they come in all shapes and sizes you know) and before my brain managed to engage fully my finger was pressing the "buy it now" button and I'm off for another jaunt this Wednesday to pick up yet another unit.

So, there you have it - my name is Laura, I'm a crafter and I'm addicted to ..... storage units. My excuse if this is the start of my fourth week off work and I am now climbing the walls and to keep myself vaguely sane I have taken to buying pieces of furniture.

Got to wait in for the courier again tomorrow to pick up a nappy cake which was ordered from my website so am going to keep away from the computer so I'm not tempted. Besides which I'm running out of room for any more!

That's it from me for today - I'm off to admire my storage :0)

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Website Woes

After speaking to a friend last night, I decided I really needed to get to grips with my website.

I'm pretty good with a computer, but I am also very picky and it doesn't seem to matter what I do with my website (which I hasten to add I designed myself completely from scratch), I don't ever feel like its quite right.

So, I sat and wrote myself a list of what I thought I could do to improve things and what needed adding etc and then first thing this morning I made a start. Bearing in mind I had to use our laptop which has seen better days, it has taken me most of today and I'm still not happy!

You know how it is - nothing leaps out at you as being wrong, but you just know something's off and for the life of me I can't put my finger on it, so the best thing is going to be to step away from it for the rest of this evening and go back to it fresh tomorrow.

On the plus side, two nappy cakes sold today and I have another one to make up for delivery on Wednesday. I'm really hoping that upgrading and improving my website will encourage more people to buy, but if you have any thoughts on what I can do to make things better please drop me a line and let me know before I drive myself completely out of my mind!