Thursday, October 31, 2013

I did it!

I didn't make any announcements but this month I have been doing Blogtoberfest. Basically the challenge is to blog every day for the month of October. What I have learnt:

I don't want to blog everyday. Funny but I just don't have enough to say. When you are mainly a creative/sewing blogger (which is how I classify myself), it is hard to maintain something interesting every day. Which leads me to ...

I have written some blog posts which I wouldn't usually and you have responded (yay) and I have written others which have fallen flat. As I was writing them, I kinda knew they were fillers. Like I was just writing them to tick that days 'did that' requirement. So now I feel a little more comfortable with sharing more but not everything!

I really admire those bloggers that do write every. single. day. Especially those that are managing a house full of kids too. Honestly I take my hats off to them. 

So consider that challenge complete and I will go back to blogging just a couple of times a week. When I have something exciting to say or share. And you know what? I'm pretty darn happy with that. 

I have a huge market coming up so I'm going to head to my sewing room (lol my bedroom!) and disappear for a while.

I will leave you with this amazing rose photo that I took this morning in our front garden. It looks like they are all ready to burst for Melbourne Cup. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How to engage with your customers during and after your craft market or show

This might be the last of my market series - unless there is more you would like to know! In this series you will find:

In this final post, I thought I would talk about how to engage with your customers at a market and after.
Displaying this amazing award is a fantastic talking point. With thanks to Helen's Kitchen Favourites.

Engage with your customers while they are looking at your products. Be forthcoming and explain how you make your products, your process in creating it or if it is something you uniquely designed. Most people want to hear about what you do (that’s why they are at a craft market, to look at or purchase something unique they can’t get in a department store!).

Stand and talk to your customers. I usually have my table set up so I’m in front not behind it. If you are sitting behind your table reading a book or chatting on your phone, you might miss an opportunity to gain a customer. I do have a chair for having a quick break, no way could I stand all day!

Market your products
If you can wear one of your own products, it will become a great talking point. Since I make children’s clothes and toys, I can’t really do this but I have bought lots from the markets I go to so always try to wear my gorgeous jewellery and recommend other stallholders.

You can just see my little PayPal sign here - needs to be bigger right?
Offer credit card, PayPal or Eftpos
I’m fortunate to have (one of the limited in Australia) PayPal here units. I have a little sign but really should get something bigger. Most people prefer to pay via credit card and I have often increased my sales from just one item to half a wardrobe! If you offer these options, make sure you have a sign to promote it.

Social media
Encourage people to follow you via social media – Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – and have them available on your business cards.

Mailing list
I have a mailing list on my table for people to leave their email addresses. I also have a sign up on my blog.

I’m going to be really honest here and say that I’m terrible at sending newsletter updates. I’m making a promise here and saying that I will be better (I’m writing one now). I don’t do them often (clearly) and I think once a month to let people know where you will be, what you have been designing or what you have been blogging about (if you have one) is enough. It is a great way to connect with people who aren’t on social media – shock horror, yes there is some out there!

My mailing list sign up on the table in the green folder - easy to do!
Promote yourself via the market organisers
As you know I’m part of a committee of volunteers who run a market. Being in charge of marketing and public relations, I write the blog, organise the newsletters, run the Facebook page and so on. We offer so many opportunities for people to promote themselves but often struggle for content. If you get the chance – go for it. The few minutes it takes to write a profile or send a photo, might mean someone stopping by your table when you are at the market.

I’ve said it before – smile!! I have the same rule in retail stores, if people are grumpy and uninterested then I’m not going to give them my money. If you aren’t in a happy mood, stuck it up and put a fake smile on your face!

If there is anything else you need help with - please leave a comment. I'm happy to help.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kids Clothes Week - my favourites

I still have to blog a couple more creations from last week (is it bad that I'm currently looking outside at the first sunshine in days thinking I can race home from work, rip off my daughters clothes, throw on an outfit and grab a couple of photos in the dying light? Nope, completely normal right!).

I thought I would share a few favourites I have found across the WWW!

I created a Pinterest board here (although I still need to add more - should have done this at the beginning of the week!).

Source Homemade by Jill - everything. I love the hand printed fox shirt (inspired!), the Banyan tee and the Bimaa top

Source A simple and beautiful knit peasant dress.
Source Sewpony such a simple concept but made amazing with the little ribbon and button and the sequin frill. Sigh

Source While she was sleeping created this sweet little dress - love the buttons
 Oh and every single one of the 32 (yes 32!!) items that Rachael from ImagineGnats created.


Monday, October 28, 2013

What crafting means to me

Did you see my little interview over at 'And Sew we Craft'? They have had a wonderful series of bloggers talking about what crafting means to them. I have loved reading everyone's inspiration. 

Next up is 'Where we craft'. Not sure I'm prepared to show my crafting space aka my bedroom aka sewing cabinet is now my bedside table!! Especially at the moment when I'm preparing for a huge market and it is starting to take over!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Words of wisdom

"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together." Vincent Van Gogh, 1853-1890, Dutch Painter

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Market preparations

Some days you just have to sew at the pool watching swimming lessons. Right? I mean everyone does. Don't they? (Perhaps not. Explains the strange looks I got!). 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pin it Friday

Christmas is just around the corner! I know, I know it is hard to think about it but if I want to make anything handmade, I need to start planning early and make a little at a time. Actually I probably should have started in July.

Here is a little inspiration from what I've been pinning on my Christmas Board.

A cute little applique.
I bake. A lot. These would be a cute addition for a Christmas gift.

A lovely homemade gift idea.
I love love love these cute little cards (the link no longer works to the Etsy seller so no source. Below is an alternative).


Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's all about me!

I asked a question today on my Facebook page - what would you like to know about me. Sure you could take a look at my 'About me' page here on my blog but I was really curious to see what others actually wanted to know.

So I thought I would answer a few questions and see if other bloggers wanted to join in. 

All you need to do is send me an email (lilpipdesigns (at) gmail (dot) com) and I will send you a few questions. Not suppose to be hard, I just want a few quick answers and a photo! So who is in? Depending on interest we can do this once a week? Oh who knows, I'm making this up on the fly!

I will start.

How do you motivate yourself?
I guess with this one it helps that I love to create. It isn't hard to motivate myself to make something for my children - they love wearing what I make. The joy and smiles is enough to make you want to do it again. I don't like deadlines so I don't take any orders so everything I create is when and what I want to be ready for the next market.


Where do you draw your inspiration? Or what inspires you?
This one is easy - I love fabric so often I look at something and it just draws me to make a pretty dress or skirt or shirt or whatever. I would like to think I have a particular aesthetic.


How you find time to make/create/sew/cook – or just be creative?
Now this one is a great question - it isn't easy! I'm very very lucky to have a supportive husband and very understanding children. They are at an age they play together or amuse themselves (no longer attention demanding babies). I do a lot of preparation during the week or at night and sew lots on weekends when daddy is around.


How do you balance everything you do?
Another great question. Sometimes I think I don't balance. It is hard to be a mum, a wife, a blogger, a business owner, a volunteer (in the market I work with) and add to that having a professional job in marketing. I honestly don't know the answer to it. I just juggle everything and hope for the best! Oh and I do occasionally say no.

Lil Pip Designs

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Make the Basics

This week I have been inspired by Toni from SewJereli who posted back in June about ‘Make the Basics’. 
Too often I think it is just easier to buy a $4-$10 {insert shirt or shorts or skirt or leggings etc} from a department store (plenty of options to choose from here in Melbourne) than it is to make the same item. Particularly when I know that Miss 4 will wear it to daycare or kinder and it will come home smothered in paint. All that work and it is ruined (not for her mind you!).

But then you see the tragedy that happened in Bangladesh earlier this year killing 1,000 people and the 'cheap' tshirt doesn't seem so worthwhile. 

Add the pure joy on the faces of my children when mummy makes them something, especially for my daughter when it is something she can wear to 'school' and I need to rethink my opinion.

So I'm joining Toni in the quest to make more 'basics' for my children. This week I have made:

  • Vintage V Neck Tshirt by Blank Slate Patterns for Master 7
  • The Tumble Tee by Imagine Gnats as a shirt for Miss 4
  • Two Tumble Tee's as little dresses for Miss 4 - will share photos if I can manage to take photos when it is daylight and not raining outside!
I hope to make the following in the next couple of weeks:
  • Vintage V Neck for Miss 4 - by request!
  • Figgy's Banyan pants (long short length) for Master 7 - another request!
  • Some pjs for both of them
  • Perhaps some undies
  • Perhaps another dress for Miss 4
 So who is joining me in - making basics?

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