A few weeks ago, I decided to take the plunge of manning a stall run by Brisbane Hustlin' Women whose next market will be close to Christmas on December 10. Markets have always scared me just a little bit because of the amount of stock needed which of course means lots of stitching and which all stitchers know is quite time-consuming. Throw pricing, table display, branding and marketing techniques into the equation and it's all enough for me to throw my hands in the air and claim that it's all too hard particularly when there's no guarantee of making any sales or a profit on the day. However, the thought of spending a day with other creative ladies and coming face-to-face with prospective customers sends a certain thrill through me so with my family's encouragement, I've been beavering away and stitching like a mad lady to meet a personal schedule that I believe is doable (hopefully) without putting too much stress on myself.
I kind of figured that the items already in my Etsy shop ie. cards, magnets, keychains, bookmarks and needlebooks would all be great starters as well as selling charts but I've decided to add a couple of other items also. Spectacle cases are something I have always thought would look special using my designs and will also be included in my Etsy shop. But I have also decided to try something a little different by framing just a couple of designs and seeing how well they are received at the markets before deciding whether to include them in the Etsy shop.
My worktable at the moment contain works in progress -
The box on the right contains six finished designs all ready for framing -
The frames have been prepared by way of filling gaps with putty and sanding smooth - I can thank by husband and son for working on these. It's now up to me to undercoat, paint in an appropriate contrast colour and clear varnish seal for each design before attaching the fabric, a protective sheeting over top and a hanging hook.
Below is the first of the spectacle cases - the Superb Fairy Wren - which is stitched on evenweave fabric in the colour Stone (really a fawn colour) which highlights the design beautifully. I've loved working with this beautiful fabric and with seven other cases to make am really looking forward to seeing how they all turn out. I plan to use a contrast fabric (much like the needlebooks) to line and bind the case and as this is the first spectacle case worked, I think I'll sew and finish it first to iron out any little problems before stitching the others first. Sound like a plan??
As well as all the stitching, I've also been gradually printing out and packaging charts of all my designs. Yes I could do it all at once, but thought it would become very monotonous so I've just been doing a set few (or 10) each day or so. That strategy also means that I'll get stitching in each day and my fingers won't suffer from 'itch to stitch' syndrome.
In the top photo on the right you'll also see my schedule listing of what needs to be stitched and crossed off as it's done. No I don't suffer from OCD, but have found it really helpful to keep me on track and knowing that there won't be a mad rush closer to market date when there's still so much to do. Also I'll be out of town a couple of times between now and December so I've had to factor that into my timeline as well.
The next big test will be a display table practice. I have no real skills in this area but a wishy-washy idea in my head of how I think I want it to look. My husband has kindly offered to make a couple of wooden display stands for the cards and frames so there's another job to do. I am feeling rather confident at this stage that all will come together and be a success but for the moment it's head down and stitch, stitch, stitch.
'Live daringly, boldly and fearlessly. Put forth the best within you.' - Henry Kaiser