Product ranges

It’s too easy to get distracted by new ideas. In one of my other existences I’m a writer (for fun not profit) and it’s the same thing there. I run after the shiny new idea and abandon the old one, which was once itself shiny and new.

I want to talk about product ranges. Are you the sort of crafter who learns how to make one thing really well, that sells well, and then sticks with it, developing it into different colours and possibly materials but essentially making the same product? For small designer-makers, this is the most logical way to go. You find a niche and stick with it. Some of those niches can be pretty successful too. Tinymeat for example, which makes wallets and passport holders. It has a small product range of 5 different items. But it has something like 200 different variations of these in its shop. And they sell. It’s offering a product it knows sells well, and with a huge choice for customers.

In the last couple of months I’ve experimented with jewellery, with not huge amounts of success. I’ve also added more garlands and paper ornaments, more literary quote badges, bookmarks, notebooks and gift tags to the neglect of my core product, the book bags. I get distracted by new ideas and rush into making things. I mean, it’s important to develop your product and make it as good as you can, but that’s different. Developing new ideas takes time away from me making things that I know people love, and that sell well. I could set specific time aside for product development – that is a possible solution…  except when I think about it sensibly like that I always decide I should be making stuff to sell straight away. Sigh.

So, my goal for the next three months is to build up my original product range, focusing on my bags and wallets, and also developing the design of them.  I’m going to try as much as possible to not get distracted by new pretty things I could make. I mean it!

I’d be interested to know other people’s thoughts on this, ie, how to fight the distraction of going off on a tangent?

Lastly, for your edification and because a post isn’t complete without a picture, here’s a hilarious clock I made this week.

A Time to Die by Wilbur Smith. Black metal hands on a black cover. £25.99 on Folksy


New Year, new post

I’ve been meaning to update this thing for weeks. I’m halfway through making a bag at the moment from an old copy of Pride and Prejudice. It’s for a nice bloke I met at a Christmas party. Well, it’s not for him, it’s for his sister. But there I was sipping eggnog when suddenly a commission fell in my lap. Not literally. No one was that drunk, yet. But I was really pleased, and he was like the best customer ever; very determined and sure about it.  What’s more, he even remembered the next day and got in touch. When you’re self employed, you never know where your next bit of work is going to come from so this made the party extra good.

Anyway, the bag is looking good. It’s sort of a mouse grey with a 1950s lime green print inside, and clear resin handles. I’ll take a picture and post it later on. I can’t think why I stopped at the point I did. I should probably stop letting myself get distracted.Oh, maybe it was to make tea? Maybe it was to get dressed? These things tend to get away from me when I’m at my workbench.

This made me giggle. A truly magical, wonderful, amazingly great and beautiful thing:

Update on life

It’s been a busy week or two, hence the lack of posting.  I’ve been making up a wholesale order for a real live bookshop who are trialing some products, so yay! I really hope that works, it would be very cool if it did.

I’m also working hard to get stock ready for a show! My first one, so I’m nervous. It’s called Reveal Showcase 09, it’s taking place in Henley on the 3-6 of December, and it looks completely awesome! Hopefully I won’t lower the tone. But I need to get some stock built up before then, and it’s not far away.

Here’s the link for the show – If you live in and around Berkshire or Oxfordshire, I’d recommend a day out Christmas shopping there:

Reveal Showcase 09 and a gallery of images here

So, that’s the next two weeks for me booked up. Oh, and I have a commission to be ready next week. It feels good to be busy, although the consequences sometimes are that I don’t manage to wash for a couple of days. I know, that’s slightly disgusting but by the time it gets to 4pm I think, well, I’ll just leave it now and wait till tomorrow.

I’m usually quite clean though!

How did I get on to bathing habits?

So, anyway. I also have a new item or two. Here’s a couple of awesome badges I made yesterday, now for sale on my shop.

Work log

I’ve decided–literally right now– to record what I do each day as an attempt at making my working practices less chaotic. I have a plan, most days, but it’s easy to lose focus when a new and shiny idea comes along, or Dani calls and says ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could make such-and-such’.

Today I did repairs on a bag that was an early attempt. Its now stronger and holds its shape better.

I glued the lining into the DoD book and left it to dry. Fiddled with handles of same.  Finished tomorrow.

I cut out, stitched and glued in the side pieces of the Dahl book. It should be ready to finish tomorrow.

Bought and tested stamps and inkpads for my planned Shakespeare cards. These are only planned as in ‘there are going to be some Shakespeare cards at some point’.

Pratted about in the rain fetching stuff.

Spent a while examining design of cardholders in TK Maxx. I’m gonna make a prototype.

Did my ebay mail.

Renewed something on etsy.

To do: mark and cut out pieces for TB.

Also to do – find a cardholder free pattern.