Two in one day hey! Well, I've been thinking a lot recently about how I can possibly turn this all into a bona fide business. It's something I've longed to do, meant to do, been preparing to do, for a very long time, but I never seem to get the time to make it all gel in one go. I know it's unrealistic to expect things to actually gel, but it's the way my mind works- if I can't work on something continuously until it's finished, I lose my way, and ultimately, my interest. So, in no particular order, my thoughts on this chaos:
Website: I need a website. There's no escaping it! I've had a friend offer to build me a site, but he seems to want to do it his own way with little regard to my style and the vision I have in my head for it. And that's the point really, isn't it? I have the vision in my head, and I'm notoriously bad at explaining what I want! I think what I really need to do is something of a collaboration with a graphic artist to design some of the things that I can't do myself, and then put it all together myself. To be honest, I used to be good at it and it'd only take a little time to resurrect the skill that I once had. It doesn't even need to be that complex really, but I'm worried over payment- do I take payment on the site, do I ask for e-mails? Asking for someone to send me an e-mail might put them off, but integrating paypal to a website might be too complex. I need to know if there's a simple way to do it without resorting to Mr Site, which I'm loath to do as the maintenance fee is so steep.
Tax: I need to register as self employed! I'm a little bit confused as to the national insurance regulations to be honest, but I think I'd just choose to pay them all at the end of the year if it turns out I do owe them. I'm also worried about keeping accounts- I'm fairly bad at keeping a record of things, although I really don't sell that much in the grand scheme. I do most of my work on commission now, and rarely buy in beads just because they're pretty (such a shame! I used to love doing that!) so on a general basis as soon as the beads land in my bead box they're gone again. Does this make it easier? Who knows. I need to talk to an actual accountant here, as the opening stock confuses me. I have so much stock stashed away in boxes that it's really rather overwhelming at times. Which leads on nicely to my next point...
Stock: So much stock! Everywhere! I need to sit down and catalogue it all, which could take hours. Although I guess it will allow me to root out the pieces I now don't think are up to scratch, which judging by my current standards will be quite a lot! I feel like going to a craft fair and having a sale just to get rid of some of it. I used to love all my pieces like they were my babies, but I've become so tired of lugging it all to craft fairs and carting it all home again. I feel almost like they're stifling my creativity somewhat- like if I have too much stock on hand I worry too much about the value of it just sitting there, and need to get some of it away so I can feel good about making yet more stock! I think to be fair the money I used to buy the beads to make them was out of my bank account and long replaced by earnings, so I don't really feel so bad about selling most of it off cheaply, in fact it would just be nice to see some money trickling in from sales. After registering as self-employed of course ;)
Marketing: So, what route do you go down here? I have many friends who are rabid about promoting me. My boyfriend always wears the chain I made him with pride and is the first person to tell people that I made it, and that I'm a jewellery designer. I keep tossing around the idea of making small catalogues, with details about myself, and my jewellery, and photographs of examples I've made so far. If they were small enough I could send Michelle off with one, my mother, leave one at work, etc...it seems like a fantastic idea to me but is it too much work for too little return? I always try to suggest to men that I can make them jewellery as presents for wives, girlfriends, sisters, etc, and that seems to prove a good return for the effort I put it. It shows how good actually getting out there and showing yourself off is! I not really very good at marketing myself, I'm very shy and I find it difficult to get myself out there and talk to people. Do I also need to consider posters, flyers, leaflets? I know I need business cards, but would a leaflet with a money off voucher work well? So many questions that go unanswered here!
Craft fairs and display: Craft fairs. The bane of my life, and all at once a joyous occasion, so long as the person selling bought in "handmade" jewellery isn't sniffing around my stall. I need to get some actual, professional looking display items sorted out! It's getting desparate now, I think one of the contributing factors to having done poorly at craft fairs before was the shoddiness of my display- forgetting table coverings is a favourite of mine. I need to have the stall planned out, know exactly what I'm doing and have it all packed into a big so when I go to a fair I can just pick up and go, not worrying about whether I've forgotten something or left something out. I haven't been involved in a craft fair since 2007, so I really need to get back into it, and use what I've learned about targeting my stock to the desired audience. Going to a school craft fair and taking lots of stock to sell in the £10-20 bracket isn't going to work. Going to a school craft fair and taking lots of children's jewellery that I can sell for under £5 *is* a good idea. To be honest it's pretty fun and relaxing sitting with a bowl of beads and making children's jewellery so I don't mind that aspect of it. I need to contact the place I get my boxes from to see if I can negotiate a deal too!
Last but not least... I may actually be able to get my jewellery into a shop! I decided I'd take the leap and make some basic enquiries, and they think it's a really good idea! It's in a holiday resort, so now isn't the best time for gift shops, but when the Spring and Summer finally drag their heels onto the scene, I think a sale or return basis could work out to be very profitable for both of us.
Anyway, I'm sure there was more I wanted to talk about but this post is now so much longer than I anticipated, so I'll sign off.
Thanks for reading,