It’s snow heels for me today!

The Beatles in the snowWhat is going on with the weather?

This time last year, I’m sure we were having a little mini heat wave.

Only a few weeks ago it really looked like spring was starting. The bulbs in my garden were poking out of the ground and giving a lovely splash of colour and the trees in the street were starting to get their blossom.

Quirky Purple TARDIS hot water bottleQuirky Purple zombie hot water bottleThen boom – people have started ordering my hot water bottles! These two particular bad boys have been flying around the world!

I’ve also taken UK orders this week for a bee and a purple flower design.

I thought I’d be packing these away until winter!

I know show evokes all the childhood memories of how excited you were when you woke up and the world was suddenly white. You could throw the stuff, build with it and slide on it. What could be a better toy?

Audrey Hepburn in the snowWhen you’re an adult, snow very often becomes a bit of a pest. It appears and finds a way to stop you doing things. Something that might seem a good thing is when you can’t get into work so you can have snow day. At the weekend it’s going to be a pain for vintage and handmade sellers, as even if they themselves can make it to the fair or markets, the chances are, their potential customers won’t be able to.

For me today, the snow if stopping me wearing heels! I’m meeting friends for a shop (I’m playing personal shopper again) and then some lunch. I was going to wear heels but when I looked out fo the window I decided that I didn’t really want to see the inside of casualty later so it will be some chunky boots!

Quirky Purple wrist warmers and head warmerOn the plus side, at least I get to wear the alpaca and cotton wrist warmers and head warmer that I made myself just before Christmas!

And a big bonus – I found some of the purple alpaca and cotton on sale this week so grabbed some to make myself a set to go with my purple coat 🙂

Etsy Nottingham meet

On the 8th March I popped into town to meet up withe some local sellers. It was a lovely day, meeting lots of people making and selling all sorts of things.

When you have an online shop, you are generally working on your own quite a bit, especially if you are crafting. I think some things like vintage get you out and about a bit more as you ae sourcing goodies. That’s why I try to vary my days a little. Some days I do handmade and remade, then other days I’ll go out and about sourcing vintage in my favorite places.

So it was nice to meet up with such and eclectic bunch and swap stories and ideas. Here’s a group piccie of us all:

Etsy Nottm MeetThe picture is courtesy of the Lazy Pineapple who took some amazing pictures!

I wish we’d taken some individual piccies of us holding our business cards as I’m terrible at remembering names and faces. Anyway. here are some of the lovelies that were there – I know as I picked up their business cards and spoke to most bods. Sorry if I’ve missed you. Drop me a note and say hi 🙂

We’re also in the weekend Nottingham post (Saturday 16th March). Here’s a piccie of the article.

Nottingham Post articleNot my best side…. 🙂

Leftlion were also there chatting to people and doing interviews to find out how people find time to make things and how they became Etsy sellers. Can’t wait to see the article as there were some interesting stories that I overheard.

Hopefully we’ll get something similar organised again!

What’s in a name? Playsuits, culottes and jumpsuits!

70s jumpsuit from Quirky PurpleIn 1977 the Queen came to visit my local town of Mansfield. It was the Silver Jubilee and if I remember correctly, she had come to open the new library.

When we were kids we only used to get new clothes at certain times of the year, like Whitsun or summer holidays. Well I was getting old enough that I could choose what I wanted, obviously within a pretty strict budget, and this particular time I chose a jumpsuit and a blue nylon bomber jacket.

The jumpsuit was fabulous! I was in a khaki brown colour, full arms and legs and had patches on it like an American car mechanic overalls. I was rocking it. I was so enamoured with it I wore it to see the Queen. People like Charlie’s Angles were the sort of girls that wore jumpsuits…

See how I called it a jumpsuit?

Jumpsuits were quite new, modern things as in the 60s the word ‘catsuit’ was used to describe an all in one. Think Cat Woman in the old Batman series, which incidentally was my favorite thing on the telly when I was 18 months old (and I have pictures from the local paper to prove t).

80s playsuit from Quirky PurpleRoll on a bit to the 80s and something similar crops up. In the 80s there were a lot of culottes. These could be skirts or dresses, the dress was usually being the button front style and not really being noticeable as being culottes rather than a dress. Calling them jumpsuits would have seemed old-fashioned.

In the 90s I remember dungarees being the closest to jumpsuits or culottes, but I’ve got to say, I wouldn’t have been seen dead in them…

So moving forward again we seem to have had a little resurgence of these similar styles. This time around they are called playsuits. They look a little like the 80s culottes but more suited to the beach or a night out

80s playsuit from Quirky PurpleIt’s actually been very interesting from a vintage point of view as 80s culottes have been very popular again and I’ve been sending them all around the world. I guess they are very wearable and can look smart enough for work, or dressy enough for a night out. Some are really lovely takes on 40s style tea dresses.

There’s one thing I’ve omitted to mention so far. Rompers. Hmm, to me these are something that a child would wear, or maybe one of those adults that like to dress as babies. Clearly I haven’t got the full picture as I discovered last year that this is what some other countries call our culottes.

So, it just brings me round to, what’s in a name?

Foreign fleas!

Athens' Flea MarketI’ve just come back from a little trip to Athens. I’ve been to quite a few Greek islands but never actually been to the capital.

One of the things that surprised me a little was that they have a Flea Market. Lots of lovely little shops selling all sorts of handmade items (and some tat from China too, but I could ignore that). It was really nice walking through all of these on our way to the Acropolis. There were lots of cool things made from olive tree wood which I really liked. Quite a few artists and various clothes.

Athens' Flea Market StreetAs we got nearer to the Acropolis the shops gave way to a sort of car boot sale without the cars. Lots of locals selling all sorts of things.Some really nice bits and pieces there. Lots of books stalls too which I usually like to browse, but these ones were all Greek to me 🙂

There were lots of nick-nacks that I wanted to get but we’d only traveled with hand luggage – otherwise I’d have grabbed lots of stuff!

I wished I’d taken a few more photos now, but we were short of time and supposed to be concentrating on making our way to the Acropolis so this was really a bit of a whistle stop trip through the streets…

I spotted a mod on TV today…

As any of you who know me or just read my blog, once a mod, always a mod. Anything 60s tends to catch my eye…

I’d got the TV on in the background whilst I was updating this website and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a beehive. It caught my attention.

Stacie StewartThe TV programme was just moving onto a cookery slot and a lady called Stacie Stewart was cooking a pie. She had a fab beehive! Once the TV had caught my attention properly I also saw she had a really cool 60s dress on as well.

So, I thought I’d better look up this lady. She actually describes herself as a mod and recognises that she dresses to blend in her love of the 60s and mod, so not a classic mod style. I like that. I think a lot of us do that to a certain degree. I can’t believe I haven’t come across Stacie before. Here’s a link to her website, Stacie Stewart Website, where she talks about how she became hooked on the 60s and mod.

Of course everyone knows these days that Bradley Wiggins is some new styled ‘King of the Mods’, in fact the BBC even wrote an article about mods during the summer olympics – Bradley Wiggins – what is a mod – so I guess it’s a little bit back out there in the media….

Is mod starting to return more strongly? I’m not just thinking about the more high-profile advocates like Mr Wiggins, but there seem to be more soul and 60s nights promoted near me. There’s one of the Quadrophenia Nights in Nottingham in a couple of weeks. Or is it just that I’m primed to notice these?

Anyway, this article from Mod Culture always makes me laugh – 10 varieties of mod. Which type are you? Do you recognise any mates there?

Oh and it’s the perfect opportunity for a gratuitous Quadrophenia picce 🙂

Quadrophenia

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook – Quirky Purple Facebook page.

Hurrah – we’ve started doing men’s vintage!

Well quite exciting news, or what?

We’ve started to stock some items of men’s vintage. I’ve just been photographing the first batch and getting them ready to go on the online shop.

This first batch are mainly men’s vintage tops, including Lacoste, Polo and some cool collared mod tops.

Here’s a sneaky peek at what will be going online this afternoon –

Men's vintage tops

I’ve got a few more items to sort through yet, but I’ve been a little way laid with sorting out some lovely vintage wedding frocks that I picked up a couple of weeks ago…

You can find our Men’s Vintage section here. I’ll be adding more as I sort through!

Vintage valentines…

Vintage ValentineThere were lots of Christian martyrs named Valentine so there isn’t a definitive Saint Valentine associated with our celebration of St Valentine’s Day. As with a number of other similar Christian celebrations, there was also a pagan festival around the middle of February.

Over the centuries this date has been a celebration for lovers and would be lovers.

Since the days of Chaucer there are valentine poems and verses. In the 18th century, ‘off the shelf’ poems and verses became more available and more popular. By the 19th century, those handwritten notes had started to give way to mass produced cards. By the time we get to the mid-20th century, the exchange of cards had extended to exchanging gifts too.

Now, in the 21st century, Valentine’s Day seems more and more like a day created by the greeting card industry. It’s so mass-produced and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a High Street shop or online shop that doesn’t have a Valentine range. You even find vintage and craft markets geared towards Valentine’s gifts.

I thought I’d share a few of the vintage cards so that we might take a few moments to pull away from the mass-produced bulldozer that is Valentine’s Day!

I also love these Hollywood pin up style and homespun images –

Will you be buying vintage for Valentine’s Day, or will you be looking to make something yourself and make that card or gift extra special?

Getting ready for Walking Dead Day, ooops I mean Valentine’s Day!

Well on one of my last posts of last year, Christmas Countdown, I mentioned that this year I would get a proper schedule together so I can focus on making things for  markets, fairs and events. So, Valentine’s Day is the next big day on my planner…

February_Walking_DeadAlthough I saw this and it made me laugh, I do already have quite a lot of zombie items on the Quirky Purple online shop here, so I thought I might try to make a few things that would make nice Valentine’s Day presents. Of course, I think zombie items would make very nice Valentine’s Day pressies!

Anyway, here are a few things that I have made that are now in stock and ready to purchase. I’ve been making things that have a nice retro twist, that you won’t find on the High Street, so you can be sure that you will be giving something special. I’m making more, so it’s worth checking out the Valentine’s Day section of the online shop as I’ll add them as I go along.

Baby rabbit with heart

Baby rabbit with heart

Pink hot water bottle

Pink hot water bottle

Pink mug cosy

Pink mug cosy

Purple flower mug cosy

Purple flower mug cosy

Red heart bag charm

Red heart bag charm

Pinl mobile phone cover

Pink mobile phone cover

Pink padded heart

Pink padded heart

Amigurumi panda

Amigurumi panda

Don’t forget we make to order too, so just give us a shout with your ideas and requirements.

follow-me-on-pinterest-button

Christmas countdown… finally!

Quirky Purple ChristmasWell, like most businesses, this has been the busiest time of the year for me so far. Having only been a fully functioning business since the 1st September 2012, this is our first experience of the Christmas rush. I’ve finished all my handmade orders now so just fulfilling ready made items. So, it’s just Etsy and eBay and The Pop Up Boutique at the moment.

So, I’ve finally had a bit of time to buy the final pressies and put the tree up!

In between ‘normal’ Christmas activities, I’ve been reflecting a little bit on the first 2-3 months of trading and what worked well and what’s maybe a ‘development opportunity’ (to quote an old company of mine that didn’t like to mention negatives).

GOOD – Clearly setting up this website and the eBay site has brought in business. I’m also starting to see repeat business on eBay, which means people must be liking what they buy! Also, I managed to set up the shebang on a shoestring…

GOODEtsy has been cheaper to maintain but has been a bit of a slow burner and not brought in as many sales. But, it’s a great community and I’ve connected with a lot of like-minded people. That’s a good success in my books!

GOOD – Doing a few markets has been great. It’s been interesting seeing what people picking up and liking in person and the questions that they ask. The Sunday markets at Barton’s have brought in quite a few orders for me. It’s been a really nice atmosphere there too and I’ve been able to meet and network with a lot of other stallholders.

GOOD – I’ve also took park in my first pop up boutique. This has been another interesting experience. Sales there have not been as high as I would have hoped but the learning experience and the ability to meet and network with other people in the same industries has been invaluable!

MIXED – Google Adwords hasn’t driven the right traffic to me and I stopped the experiment quite quickly. Facebook ads have driven up my ‘likes’ but how do I know it’s driving any real traffic to my shops and ultimately converting that traffic into sales? So, a bit more experimenting is needed here on what works for Quirky Purple and what doesn’t. Just because something has worked for one brand/company doesn’t mean it works the same for all…

BAD – At first I focussed on eBay auctions. This was actually an expensive option for me and drove traffic that wanted something cheap, rather than a quality item. I’ve moved over to mainly fixed price listing now.

BAD – I’ve struggled a bit with getting stuff together for the Christmas rush as I should have been planning, buying and making things a lot earlier.

So, this has led me to start to focus on what I want to do next year to try to build on success:

  1. Look to take part in more events – markets, fairs, pop ups. Get a good set of events listed.
  2. Get networking and collaborating more.
  3. Get a calendar together so that I can plan ahead and make sure I have enough stock and variety in place for certain events such as markets or Valentine’s Day etc.
  4. Get a new base so that I don’t keep filling up the spare room and the dining room!

Also in the New Year I’ll be starting up a sister business to set up websites and social media for small businesses. This will see me actually using some of the skills I’ve gained over 15 or so years, in doing similar things for large businesses such as Capital One, Alliance & Leicester, Punch Taverns and Nottingham Trent University. These joined up online places will be easy to maintain and won’t cost a fortune!

P.S. Just realised that I haven’t really finished my orders as I still have a couple of things to make for family….

Not available on the High Street – Christmas fairs, markets and pop up boutiques

We’re pretty excited here at Quirky Purple!

We’re off today to set up our area in our first ever pop up boutique collaboration!

I would imagine that anyone involved in vintage, handmade and remade are pretty busy at the moment. What with online sales, Christmas markets and the like, it keeps us all busy. Not just in appearing at market, but also making things for the market.

Last week, it was getting to the stage that every time I made a zombie kindle cover or tea cosy, I sold it. I was on a zombie treadmill for a few days!

Anyway, back to the pop up boutique. We’ve run a couple of stalls at Bartons over the last few months and this first pop up boutique for Nottingham is a collaboration between Bartons and Bluebird Tea Co.

Pop Up Boutique details

Pop Up Boutique details

We’ll admit to being a little bit excited! It starts on Wednesday 5th December at 12pm and runs through until Christmas eve. There’s also a launch night at 7pm on Wednesday 5th December with mulled wine and mince pies (and I think there are also some other lovely goodies). Opening hours are on our Events page.

I hope we see a few of you there. Remember, this boutique has things that are not available on the High Street. You don’t want to buy the same as everyone else. Buy something different, original and maybe a one off!