Slipper Pin Cushion
I was excited to receive my copy of the upcoming craft fair magazine particularly as this is the first time in years it hasn't coincided with the Gold Coast 600.
As I flicked through the magazine I noticed most of the classes had been done. I've been crafting for a lot of years and I know that there are new products and new customers who want to learn so I'm not criticising. It is just another example of why I say that there is rarely anything new, just another spin.
Another example is the slipper pincushion class. I've been making these for at least the last 5 years and have blogged about them on at least 2 occasions.
Pricing Handmade Products
At a recent BrisStyle Creative Development Session there were a couple of questions about pricing.
This is an excerpt from my book “How to Teach Art & Craft”. The info is as true for pricing products as it is for classes.
As usual, be sure to ask yourself “is this right for me now, right now”.
Pricing classes is one of the hardest aspects of teaching. As a novice Teacher you have self-doubts about whether you are worth $x, you also don’t want to be too cheap. It’s a fine line. Let’s take a look at some of the costs you may incur when teaching a craft.
The Cost of All Materials:
You need to keep an accurate tally of the costs of materials which go into each kit you prepare PLUS
the costs of the materials you use in your sample or portfolio pieces PLUS the costs of the materials
in your step by step pieces.
You also need to include the cost of equipment you will be using. You’re probably thinking, “I’ve
already got that”. Have you enough for a class? Do you need to purchase extras? Even if you don’t need to buy any additional equipment you will eventually need replacement items. You need to
allow for this in your calculations.
Now let’s look at office supplies. Photocopy paper, printer inks, plastic bags for packaging, business
cards, advertising, magazines journal etc, which keep you up to date. It is very easy to overlook these
The Cost of Pre-Class Preparation.
When you first start preparing for your class you need to get out your pen and paper. You are going to start keeping an accurate tally of your time. Don’t just take a bit of a guess based on you doing the craft on your own. Work it out.
Sourcing materials for kits/class work. Whether it’s online, on the phone or driving around from store to store time slips away.
Follow up phone calls to Venue Organizers, Shop Owners; Class Participants all need to be included.
I’m sure the dollars are starting to add up. But we haven’t finished yet.
Cost of Travel
Cost of Travel can be broken up into 2 sub categories. Travel time and actual cost of the travel.
The actual Cost of Travel appears quite easy especially if you are traveling by train or plane. They
have set costs you can research readily. If you are driving it can be a bit trickier. The Tax Office
provides a dollar amount you can claim per kilometer/mile you travel.
Cost of Travel Time is a difficult one for most people to get their heads around. If I travel to work
everyday my Employer doesn’t start paying me from the time I leave home nor do they pay for my train ticket. And I’m not advocating they do. However, as an Art and Craft Teacher with lots of satisfied Participants you will start to find yourself in demand. It is not uncommon to find yourself driving 2-3 hours/ 100’s of kilometers away for a 2hour class. If you have worked out a hourly rate of $30 per hour you have just spent more filling your 4wd to get there than you earn.
Costs of Insurances and Taxes
All insurances. Public Liability, Product Liability, Health insurances, Travel insurances, Occupational
Insurances, Workplace Safety Insurances. Business Registration Fees, Professional Fees, Memberships
etc. These may be mandatory depending on your City, State or Country. Some may be beneficial to your credibility, or professional status.
Professional fees payable to Accountants, Finance Managers, Staff.
And the list goes on.
Once Craft Teachers see a list like this they have no trouble understanding how to price their materials and overheads. What many continue to have difficulty with is the intangibles such as your Artistic Skill, Experience and Reputation. When you are a starting out as a Craft Teacher you may not need to take any of these into consideration. It won’t be long before you will need to readjust your pricing structure to accommodate your burgeoning artistic reputation.
There are three mores factor I’d like you to consider when setting your pricing.
Pricing your class well influences how potential Participants evaluate the value of the class and you as
a Teacher. Pricing too low may set an expectation of an unimaginative class. Raising your prices a little
can boost demand and participation.
Do not set your prices just to maintain your hobby. When you first start running classes you may be
happy just earning a little extra to cover your costs of doing a craft you love. Life circumstances have a way of changing on us. It is almost impossible to change your pricing structure down the track
so do it right the first time.
While you may need to have different pricing structure for different types of classes try to resist changing your prices too often. Regular Participants will not understand why they are paying $y at this venue and 2 x $y at another.
I have tried to keep this brief, the book contains much more information which will benefit many crafters even if they never teach.How to Teach Art & Craft is available as a hardcopy, download or through Apple iTunes.
Making Money From Your Blog
No, I’m not going to talk about Adwords, Sponsors etc. I know they work for some. They have even worked for me in the past.
I choose not to sell space on my blog anymore for a couple of reasons. First of all I personally don’t like looking at cluttered pages. Secondly, I have never clicked on an ad on anybody else’s site so why should I expect others to do that on my site.
Having said that it is still possible to make money from your blog.
A Lesson I’ve Learnt is that you may don’t have to have lots of people commenting on your blog posts or even lots of people visiting your site to make money from your blog. You just have to have the right
This post was first published here on 19/09/11
Advertising vs Promotion
My thoughts on this subject form part of the Guest Lecture “ Crafting a Small Business” I deliver to Business Students at Qld University. It has been abbreviated. As with all the posts in this category my thoughts are based on Lessons I’ve Learnt and what is right for our business.
Paying for advertising can be costly for small businesses. It is a cost that quickly adds up. Before you place an advert ask yourself “Who am I trying to impress?” Are you trying to create some hype or increase sales? Are you advertising to retail customers or business to business? There is nothing wrong
with trying to create a bit of a buzz but just be clear about your purpose.
Another point to remember about advertising is that it is usually associated to a product or a limited range of products. Rarely do you see advertisements promoting a brand. Kellogg has a different advert for each of their breakfast cereals. They don’t advertise the brand.
One more point on advertising. It is always profitable. Always for the person selling the space,
not always for you.
Promotion is a less expensive option. There is still a cost though it tends to involve less real $$$$. It will involve a lot of time and in small business time = $$$$
In the customer’s eye Promotion is not selling therefore message is more honest/real. I have found that targeted promotion is more effective in the long term. It is linked to your brand, name and what you stand for.
When I published my book I wrote Press Release and sent it off to a local paper. They printed a photo on the front page with the story and another photo on page three. This story and different photos was published in six of their sister publications. I sold a heap of books off the back of this one Press
Release or Promotional activity. Imagine how much it would have cost me to have bought the same space.
This is the main Lesson I’ve Learnt about Advertising and Promotion. Did we get a return for our investment? If it costs us money, or if all we do is break even then it hasn’t worked for us. After all I could
leave the money in the bank and get interest.
This post was first published here on 30/08/11
Is There a Right Way to Blog?
Many people would have you believe that there is only one way to blog. I’m not so sure. I’ve been blogging since Blogger was still in beta and have seen lots of changes in not just the technology but the types of people who blog, their reasons and the ‘rules’.
I’ve never been big on rules. Okay, safety rules are one thing but rules for the sake of it are just plain limiting. If there is one Lesson I’ve Learnt it is that what is right in social media today is likely to be old hat next year, next month or even next week.
Don’t get too caught up in the numbers of followers. Numbers lie. Or to be more accurate the numbers aren’t always accurate. I read the so-called experts telling the inexperienced that their analytics are the best reflection of how many people read your posts. This may have been an absolute in recent
times however I don’t believe it to be true now.
In the last year I found my site visits, page views etc. had dropped significantly. I was puzzled.
My ego couldn’t believe that my posts had suddenly become uninteresting. I did consider it for a fleeting moment but no, that couldn’t be, could it? lol
I did some research. The drop coincided with some changes I made to my Blog. Actually they were additions rather than changes. I joined Networked Blogs. This tool allows your blog post to be automatically posted to your twitter and facebook accounts. I also joined a number of forums where my Blog posts are automatically posted. This meant the people were not accessing google to read my blog, they could do it from the comfort of the facebook wall. Because they are not visiting via google they aren’t showing up in my analytics and aren’t reflected in my page rank.
It's only a matter of time before somebody works out how to gather all that information from different sites. Hey, maybe somebody already has. That is just my point. The rules around social media
are changing as fast as the technology. Blogs (and blogging) are not set in concrete. It is alright to experiment. In fact many of the platforms encourage you to experiment by providing you with different templates, font and colour choices.
If you are thinking about starting a blog or are stressing about your next post stop and have a little think about what is right for you right now. Let that be your guide.
This post was first published here on 02/07/11
Are We Having Fun Yet?
Ask a stall holder at any market, “Are you having a good day?”, many will answer, “no'”, “not really”, “be better if people were spending” etc.
A Lesson I’ve Learnt is not to evaluate the value of my day by other peoples actions. I can’t control other people’s moods, tastes, spending habits, manners and attitudes.
What I can control is how I react to it. If you were to ask me if I was having a good day you will hear “Yes”. A good day to me is; if I meet somebody new, have laugh, chat to the stall holder next door, learn something, teach something and the list goes on.
Customers are attracted to people who are relaxed and happy. Conversely they sense who is in a Grumpy Gus mood and avoid them. So the next time somebody asks how your day is going, put a smile on your face and say SPECTACULAR. It will change your mood and the customers immediately.
This post was first published here on 16/05/11
More Market Hints
"These are such excellent and practical tips Trish. I can't bring my sewing
When I first started doing Markets I approached it like most people; set up a stall and see what happens. Over the years I learnt how to sell more by watching what others did and trial and error. By the time Alan & I started doing markets together my attitude had changed from one of a ‘nice way to spend a day’
to ‘ we are in business’.
Here are a few more Lessons I’ve Learnt
1. Don’t sit passively reading while you wait for customers. Reading keeps you occupied but does not entice customers. You are disengaged from your customers. Do something constructive. This brings me to my next point.
2. Demonstrate. Demonstrating your craft allows you to start a conversation with your customers. You need to think about this when you are setting up your site. You need to be where your customers can see you. Don’t sit at the back of your stall stitching. They can’t see what you are doing. If at all possible, stand up. The customer has a better vantage point and you have better access to your product.
3. Leave the kids at home. Do you take your kids into work with you? Of course you don’t. Think of your stall as your workplace. Kids have short attention spans and you will spend your time entertaining them instead of selling to customers. They will also cost you more money than you will make buying lunch, drinks, that new toy etc.
4. Leave your wallet at home. You’re not shopping you are selling. In over 20 years of marketing I have made one impromptu purchase, a vintage kimono. Again I have seen stallholders spend more than they make.
5. Don’t treat your float as your wallet. Don’t shop/ buy lunch etc and pay for it out of your float. This is bad business practice.
6. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to pack up. Lingering customers often make last minute purchases. If everyone else has packed up guess who will make the sale?
7. Vary your display. This is especially important if you are doing a regular market. You don’t want customers to think ‘its the same old stuff’. Change the products you put out the front, maybe highlight a
different colour. Boutiques and Department stores change their windows regularly to keep customers interested.
8. Have an oooh aaahhh piece. One piece that is jaw dropping, stopping people in their tracks is one of the best marketing tools you can get. I know a Mosaic Artist who has a life size cement base mosaic
surfboard that he lugged around to every market. It was very expensive. The amount of people who stopped and admired this was incredible, people who probably weren’t likely to stop otherwise. Looking at the surfboard then lead them to look and admire other items which invariably lead to sales. The
Artist didn’t make the piece to sell, he made it to sell off.
Please leave comments on any other hints that may make a new stallholders marketing experience more successful.
"Trish this is super helpful. I'd like to add wear comfy shoes and a smile,
This post was first published here on 21/02/11
When Mum first started having multiple hospital stays my sister and I spent many hours recalling what we had Mum had taught us. Mum laughed with us as we remembered these 'lessons'.
I shared these lessons at Mum's funeral;
There is always room for one more at the table.
Lemon juice removes mulberry stains.
Blue & green should never been seen together yet orange lipstick goes with everything.
They don’t make wooden spoons like they use to.
Better to be a snob than a slob.
To eat the tripe at dinner time cause it didn’t taste any better at breakfast.
Doesn’t matter if you live on the best street in town or on the streets we are all the same.
Family is way more than blood.
Make do, make over, mend, dolly up and recycle.
Walking is fun.
Respect is given not earned.
Never wear white shoes after dark.
There is always plenty of water in the tap.
How to keep our own counsel.
Never let anybody else define your worth.
You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to share it.
The rules of our childhood did not apply to the next generation.
Please and thank you cost nothing.
How to use a fish knife.
How to stand up for ourselves but also to pick our battles.
School bags fly on Friday afternoons.
Never leave the house without eating breaky.
If we weren’t getting into trouble we were coming out of it.
Never walk on the just washed lino.
No is a complete sentence.
Easter bunny did deliver winter pj's as well as the easter eggs.
Hard work never hurt anybody.
Whingeing about looking like nerds for wearing shirts while we were swimming didn’t get us anywhere.
And Mum was you were right about the fact that one day we would thank you for that.
Thank you for that and so much more.
Market Stall Set Up & Display
Go to any market and a lot of the stall holders will have set up their display like this. I have airbrushed their faces and identifying signs to protect the inexperienced.
Their thinking is that as customers walk by they can see everything. Seems logical, Right? Lets go back and re-look at the phrase “as customers walk by”. That’s right, by setting up your site like this you are making it too easy for your customers to keep walking. And I didn’t set up this image. I literally
walked outside my door and took this straight away, no waiting for people to walk past.
Another reason I don’t particularly like this set up is that the table has created a barrier between you and the customers. Its very difficult for you to get around and provide assistance, to make the experience personal for them, to engage with the customer.
The product is well packaged but displayed poorly. Having all your products sitting flat on the table provides no visual stimulus, there is nothing to catch the eye. The food is also directly in the sun.
If you have no choice due to site position then you need have an attention getter, something that will stop people in their tracks for a better look. That few seconds pause in their step could be all that is between you and a sale.
Not all sites and conditions are equal so your set up strategy will need to be flexible. Sue from Spoil & Indulge has mastered this.
This is the stall set up Sue uses in wet weather and at busy Event Days. Being able to step in allows the customer to stay dry in the rain. At Event Days it easy for the crowds to be so big that it is difficult for a customer to stop without being trampled to death. Allowing the customer an opportunity to step
away from the crowd and browse in peace will increase your sales.
Note that Sue has set up the site to entice the customer in. The placement of the 4 tiered stand catches the customers eye inviting them in a little further.The L-shape with the short end at the entrance is another successful ploy.
Here is another of Sue’s setups. Here Sue has no immediate neighbours. To the right of the photo is a pathway down to the building behind. To the left is a park bench. Customers can walk around the entire site.
Yes, I know not the best angle but the best I could do to demonstrate this next point. Even though the weather was fine Sue has still set up the tables back a little so her customers can step out of the sun while looking. Customers linger longer when they are not melting away. Both of Sue’s displays utilize risers to vary the height of the display providing visual variation.
Setting up your site is akin to setting up a shop. Large Department Stores,Boutiques etc spend a lot of time & effort on Visual Merchandising. Why? Because it increases their sales. Have a look around the next time you are a market at how more experienced stallholders set up their sites. Experiment and
note how changes affect your sales.
You’re not likely to get it right first time but with a little perseverance you will learn the best setup for you and your product.
This post was first published here on 14/02/11
Do you Need a Mentor?
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve explored the concepts of Muse and Role Model. Most Creatives can say that at some stage they have had both a Muse and a Role Model. Often the Muse or Role Model have absolutely no idea what impact they are having on your life. Today we will finish this series by exploring the concept/term of Mentor.
Mentoring is not new, in fact it has been around since the Ancient Greeks, there was actually somebody called Mentor. Mentoring is about one person helping another to achieve something important to them. It is a personal development relationship where the experienced person guides the less experienced.
Mentoring can fall under 2 categories; informal and formal. Both can be beneficial. Informal mentoring develops on its own without either party seeking their role. In this situation it is very easy for the Mentor to try to duplicate their own skills and values in the Protégé.
A Formal Mentoring Relationship is more structured with agreed goals, timeframes and review periods. Many Creatives feel uncomfortable with structure believing their artistic flair will be stifled. But what if your are not seeking a mentoring relationship for your art practice? What if it was to develop and
grow your business? These are all things that will help you achieve your dreams.
A good Mentor will:
Challenge? But I thought this was all touchy feely? No. Are you seeking a Mentor to validate what you are already doing? If so save your money. You’ve heard the quote, ”keep doing what you’ve always done and you will keep getting what you’ve always got.” You want your Mentor to challenge your thoughts and
actions. This will help clarify your goals.
Many people seek out a Mentor in the same field that they are in. Not a bad point to start. Here is a Lesson I Learnt. I found that too often unpaid Mentors in the same field were only willing to assist to a point. They were often conscious of protecting their patch. To overcome this dilemma either be prepared to pay somebody to mentor you or go outside of your field.
I have done both. When paying for the relationship I looked for a Mentor who understood the concept of Reap and Sow. Personally I found that Mentors outside of my field have been the most beneficial. They had absolutely no idea about art or craft but they all knew how to be successful in business. With their guidance I have been able to move away from duplicating exactly what everybody else has done, carving out my own path. In fact now others are duplicating me. Time for a new Mentor.
This brings me to my last point. It is unlikely that the Mentor you choose today will still be your Mentor in 2 years time. Times and your life change. A good Mentor should identify when it is time for you to move on. Most people choose to have a Mentor to move themselves out of a rut. Be careful you don’t
develop a mentoring rut.
This post was first published here on 14th April, 2011.