Thursday, 26 February 2015

6 Top Tips: Applying To Craft Fairs

You might have seen from my posts that I have been organising a Craft Fair as part of a local fundraising event at our local Rugby Club. I've also attended quite a few fairs over the years and organised my first fair for other sellers in 2014. Along the way I've learnt a few things about applications, which fairs to apply to and what makes an applicant stand out...

Not all fairs are made equal. Some events (such as my favourite, Crafty Fox Market) hand pick an array of design-led, modern handmade sellers for their bustling creative events. This market is going to be completely different to one organised by your local Church. A bit of research will help you find out which ones will best suit your products and give you a better chance of securing a stall - plus you will know where you will be most likely to find your target customer, ensuring more sales!

A well-established fair in a busy city can command high table fees as the footfall is almost guaranteed to be worth the costs. A smaller, less well advertised fair at the same price is not going to give you the same return on your investment. Factor this in along with any travel costs, additional display outlay etc before you commit to an event. High cost fairs tend to attract sellers with more established businesses and elaborate displays so think this through before you get your application form.

When you are filling out an application form be sure to include all the information the organisers ask for. The number of applications I received with no website details, product photographs or full product descriptions was crazy! Most fair organisers won't have time to chase you up on these things, or to seek your business out online without your web info, so if you want to avoid a rejection email make sure you've covered all the basic requirements!

When you've filled in the obvious points then is the time to make sure your products stand out. Tailor your application to suit the fair you are applying for, highlighting your most relevant products for each fair. And definitely make sure your website or internet page is up to date and your product photography is looking good, these first impressions could make or break your stallholder success.

Once the application deadline has passed even the best applicants can be turned away. It's a lot of work organising a fair so late applications or delayed payments can mean that you miss out on what would have been a fabulous opportunity!

You can be instrumental to your own success at these events with a little bit of good PR.
If two people have very similar products but only one has a well presented web presence, regularly updates their customers on events they attend, and has shown a willingness to promote and share Craft Fair info, they are going to edge ahead of their competitor every time. Plus it's just good business to do these things anyway so everyone's a winner!!

Hope these help! If you want to come along to the event I am organising you can find out more details here, it's happening on Sunday 26th April in St Neots and has lots of great stalls.

I've also written some handy reviews of Craft Fairs as well as some other tips and tricks, you can see those posts here.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Recipe: Nutella Cupcakes

This Sunday my littlest nephew Bertie turned one (I'm not entirely sure where the time went as it seems like only a few weeks ago I was watching him be born). His big brother Teddy also turns three on Thursday and Mummy Swift had her birthday on Valentine's Day - February is a very busy time for birthdays in my family!!

All these celebrations called for a bit of baking... so I did what any good Auntie would do - baked three different birthday cakes and threw my nephews a tea party with enough cake, crisps and sweets to fill them up until this time next year :)

One of the recipes I tried for the first time was these Nutella Cupcakes... they're fab. Chocolate spread is a million times easier to decorate with than icing, plus the cakes all rose neatly and evenly which is something I usually struggle with!

Here's what you will need:
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g sugar (I used caster sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g butter
  • 100ml milk
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • grated peel + juice of one lemon
  • Nutella
  • sugar sprinkles

This will make about 12 cupcakes:

  1. Pop your oven on to 175C. While it's warming up put your eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until they are pale and fluffy
  2. Melt the butter and combine with the milk then add this into your egg mixture and combine
  3. Mix your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) and fold these carefully into the other ingredients
  4. Finally add in the lemon juice and peel and then spoon your cake mix into cases and put in the oven
  5. Bake for around 15 minutes and then leave to cool
  6. Spread lots of Nutella on top and decorate with sprinkles

Delicious! These (and the other two cakes) definitely got the seal of approval from the birthday boy too!


Recipe from 'Hello Cupcake!' book by Leila Lindholm

Monday, 23 February 2015

New Cards: Mothers Day 2015

Don't forget Mothers Day on Sunday 15th March - these occasions tend to creep up out of nowhere!

If you've yet to buy your Mum a nice card, panic not! I have some new designs in my shop perfect for such a special day - and you won't even have to leave the house - giving your more time to make your mum a nice cake or something ;)

To My Beautiful Mum Card

MUM Bunting + Birds Card

Mum Bluebird Card
Mum Dog Card


Friday, 20 February 2015

Six Super Small Businesses To Inspire You

There are so many inspiring small business owners online - I thought I would share with you some of my favourite inspiring ladies. You should go and follow them all on instagram / twitter / facebook!

OH NO Rachio!

OH NO Rachio! is run by Rachel, she creates lots of fab products with typographic and illustrative designs. She also blogs regularly about her business, fitness regime and her super cute cat Luna. ONR product photography is always fab too if you need some inspiration for your own business branding.

Nicola Rowlands

Nicola's creates super fun cards, textiles and general illustrated fabulousness. Her designs are always really unique and original and her instagram feed is definitely one to follow (she posts lots of really sweet photos of her new baby girl alongside products too!).

Holly Booth Photography

Holly is an amazing photographer who works with lots of small business owners to give them perfect product shots (among other things). She offers a remote photo service too, you can send her your products and she will photograph them for you without you having to leave the house! Amazing!

 Ladybird Likes

Ladybird Likes has been a favourite of mine since I met Zoe at a craft fair in London many moons ago! Zoe blogs a lot about growing her small business and is a great example of using instagram to grow and promote a small business effectively.

Nancy Straughan

Nancy creates gorgeous printed fabrics crafted into homewares and accessories. Her blog 'Hello Nancy' features lots of great DIYs and details of the workshops she runs - tons of all round loveliness!

Tigerlilly Quinn

Predominantly a blogger over at Tigerlilly Quinn, Fritha also runs an online shop. Her site is a great example of making a business out of blogging and using social media for business.

Hope you found some new small businesses to inspire you. What other creatives do you recommend following?


Monday, 16 February 2015

Cake, Coffee + Crafts

Yesterday I popped along to The Shop At Forty for the first ever Craft Meet. Sunday can be a bit of a dull day so an afternoon with coffee, cake and crafts is always a nice change!

Lilly and I met some really lovely local ladies; I did a bit of drawing but other people had brought along crocheting and knitting projects and even some decoupage too.
It was really nice having a bit of a chat and getting to know local crafters. If you live near St Neots these gatherings will be taking place regularly so do come along and join in.

I'm secretly hoping to learn lots of new crafty skills just by being around talented crafters each month ;)


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Wishlist | Baby Style

One of the best parts of being pregnant is buying baby clothes...I have a bit of an obsession with classic, old fashioned outfits.
Baby Cherry's wardrobe has a strict 'would a French child wear this' policy (I also have a bit of an obsession with France), their little ones are so elegant and look like children from picture books.

Lots of dungarees, bloomers and peter pan collars have crept into my house alongside little embroidered dresses. Plus my Pinterest board is bursting with baby clothes, here's a few items on my wishlist:

Zara Playsuit

Nappy Covers

That's Sew Lilly Flutter Dress

Red Buckle Shoes


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

New: STACIE SWIFT Cushions + Lampshades

...I must admit, that's a little bit of a lie! These homewares have actually been made up for a while, handmade by me using my original STACIE SWIFT fabric designs.

I've just been so out of the loop that I've not had a chance to get them listed in my shops yet. But finally, they're available for sending off to new homes :)

The pom pom cushions measure approximately 26cm square and the little lampshade measures 20cm. I'm really pleased with these STACIE SWIFT homewares and have some new ideas for fabric designs and more products in the pipeline. I think they'd look pretty snazzy in a nursery - but that might just be my obsession with buying baby things talking!

If you'd like to re-home a fancy fox or a bouncing bunny, these items are now available in my Etsy shop.

What animals or colours would fit in with your home?