It’s all change this Christmas

Toddler snowman hat

I’ve been making things as Quirky Purple for ages and ages now.

I am always trying out new things based on an idea that’s popped in my head 🙂 I like to try and make up a new pattern and see if I can actually make it look like the image I had in my head. This means that the list of things I make has got bigger and bigger. The upshot of this is that at busy times, like Christmas, I struggle to keep on top of things.

Union Jack tablet coverI’ve been meaning to review my makes and see if I can just reduce it a bit to make it a little bit more manageable. I might manage to get my Christmas prep and Christmas shopping done too :)

Anyway, my ‘issue’ is being pushed a little more strongly now. I’m about to start a course, so I know I won’t have as much time as usual to crack on with Christmas orders. Yep, I’ve had to bite the bullet!

In my Etsy Shop, I’ve created a section called Pre-Christmas Sale. I’ve popped lots of goodies in there at some pretty good discounts. These are all available for immediate worldwide shipping as I have them all made up and ready to ship. These are items that I won’t be making anymore as I just won’t have the time 😦  Over the next couple of weeks I will be adding in a few more items – if I can bear it!

Above are some of the items, including baby sets (newborn hats and blankets), quirky tea cosies, cafetiere covers, vintage crochet bags, gadget covers, retro cushions etc, etc

Please take a look as there are some really quirky little gifts there for Christmas. Thanks!

 

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Quirky Christmas toilet roll holders

Now that Halloween is finished, I think I can start to talk about Christmas…

I make a lot of quirky crochet items, but there’s one thing that I really enjoy doing – that’s the toilet roll dolls and toilet roll holders. I really enjoy the challenge of coming up with ways to crochet things based around the bog standard toilet roll.

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How about this little fella?

It’s a Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer toilet roll cover. Oh course, you could see that already!

So, he’s the first of my Christmas toilet roll covers. I think he will look fantastic hiding away that spare toilet roll over the Christmas period. He’ll add a little bit of quirky Christmas cheer to the smallest room in the house 🙂

I’m guessing a Santa toilet roll cover and a snowman toilet roll cover will be next on my Christmas crochet list 🙂

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!