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Folksy finds

I treated myself to a print I've been eyeing up on Folksy, seeing as Christmas has been so profitable. It made me laugh every time I saw it, so eventually I gave in and purchased. Less money for shoes - damn. It's by Dan Jackson, who is from Warrington, and whose Folksy shop can be found here.


"Go away, I'm reading" - £8 from http://www.folksy.com/shops/DanJackson

There are loads of other things I've got my eye on, although a lot of them I can't afford (go shop people! Let's beat the credit crunch together!) Here are just a few:





"The Tea Room no. 2" - £120 from http://www.folksy.com/shops/bridgetdavies
"Barnaby" Dog on Wheels greeting card, £2.50 from http://www.folksy.com/shops/Foreverfoxed
Amethyst and green appetite earrings - £30 from http://www.folksy.com/shops/ChristineWalsh



In the mood for love

All my pieces seem to have become a lot brighter recently - maybe it's because the shortest day's been and gone and now spring's nearly here. Or maybe it's just my generally cheerful mood. I've had some pink chain stashed away for ages that I haven't used, so today I dug it out and made something new...




I've also had this vintage cameo brooch in a drawer for months, but I got some gorgeous green Swarovski AP crystals, so I thought the time was right to dust it off...

Exciting news!

My stuff is in an actual shop! Yep, jewellery lovers in Bolton and around can now pop in to the lovely Wench and Trinkets on Churchgate and buy Made With Love items made exclusively for the shop, and not available on the website.

Woo!

Photographic adventures

I've been taking some new photos of items on different backgrounds and using some props. Do you like them? Which ones do you think work? Which ones don't you like?








Something wicked this way comes

On Tuesday I published some images and thoughts about Frances Hodgson Burnett's book The Secret Garden and Englishness.
I keep meaning to post some photographs of the notebooks that I keep all my ideas and inspiration in, but it occured to me that I also save a lot of pictures that I find onto my computer.
Here's just a selection that I think illustrate what's going on in my head at the moment and might give you some hints what the new jewellery's going to look like...




Clockwise from top left: swallow and flower sillhouettes, Victorian carnival poster, black and white photograph of Tom Waits by Anton Corbijn, Brian Dettmer book autopsy, image from The Wizard Of Oz, Image from Opera North's production of Mercy and Grand, a Venetian masked ball, image from Alice In Wonderland, promotional image for The Lowry's production of Something Wicked This Way Comes.

On another note, I had my fastest sale ever this week - I completed a matching necklace and bracelet based aroun…

Literary inspiration

As well as fairytales (see the entry "You shall go to the ball!"), when I was little I loved books with secret worlds like The Sceret Garden and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by nature - there were woods on my school property, we had a lovely garden and my best friend had huge sprawls of lawns, bushes and woods. "The Secret Garden" was a favourite game.

Now I'm making jewellery, images from those books keep popping back into my head. The colour combinations, the tiny brass swallows (which I get from New York - I can't for the life of me find any in England) and the use of antique keys all spring from my own idea of "the secret garden".

I think part of the appeal of these stories is that they tie in with my own romanticised idea of England - if I could ever find a tea shop in Lancashire where the fondant fancies are served on three-tier cake stands I'd be a happy girl indeed. I hope that my necklace…

Brand new items!

Oooh so excited by the new items - here are some pics...



Buy it here!

Buy it here!

Brighten up!

I love Paisley Chainsaw's shop on Folksy, it's really bright and just what we need to cheer us up on grey winter days. Plus it's a reminder that arty people don't have to take themselves too seriously. My favourite item right now? The aptly-named "An Alligator Ate My Robot" necklace:

You shall go to the ball

I love fairytales. In fact, I love fairytales so much that I studied an entire module on them as part of my English degree - Romance, Ballad and Fairytale. And when I'm designing new pieces often themes and ideas from those stories come through. There could be complex cultural reasons for this, to do with storytelling traditions and deep-seated human needs, but mostly I think it's the mixture of princesses and magic that does it for me.

When I was little I used to play at being Cinderella - and a scene in the Disney film that I particularly loved was when all the woodland creatures were making her dress for her:
So when I was making some new necklaces with adorable tiny bird charms, something subliminal must have triggered my own desire to go to the ball. Look what I made!








They're for sale now in my Etsy shop

Shopping spree!

Oh my God how am I going to make any profit?

I've spent a phenomenal amount (well it's up into three figures) on stuff, and so far made eighty quid.

Pinning my hopes on things that are winging their way to me as we speak - including more vintage brooches, vintage chandelier drops, swallow charms, Swarovski crystals and pearls, amethyst beads, Georgian antique keys and I can barely remember what else. Three decent sales and I'll be in profit, but it's a nerve-wracking time. Christmas is just round the corner - at least if worst comes to worst my friends will be receiving some very nice Christmas presents indeed...

I (heart) thelittlebrownwren

Selling on Etsy is really just an excuse to be constantly window shopping, and every now and then I come across a piece I just adore - like this cute deer necklace by thelittlebrownwren

Bidding war!

My most popular piece to date - the key necklace. Within a couple of hours of posting the pictures on Facebook, I've had two peope both ask if they can buy this particular item. What a conundrum! Currently desperately trying to get hold of another nice antique key so neither of them are disappointed.
The piece in question? Look -

Proud as a peacock!

The first item from my new collection is onsale in my Etsy shop now!.

I'm making as fast as I can, after all the first collection went to Liverpool.

Sneak preview pics here:







Empty shop!

Well that's it... everything I've made so far is over at the Bridewell Gallery for their Christmas exhibition which opens on Saturday. Everything will be for sale, and the gallery is in a brilliantly spooky old police building so if you get the chance pop over for a nosy - there's loads of other stuff on sale too so it's the perfect place to pick up some quirky Christmas presents.

Lots of bits and bobs building up to make more, though - that'll probably be tonight's job if I'm not busy making the poorly boyfriend mugs of Lemsip.

Also currently working on a necklace for a friend who is going to a Bond themed party - results will be posted soon.

x

First sales!

I made my first two sales today! The "Sparkle" and "Autumn" necklaces have both gone - one as a Christmas gift for some lucky, lucky person. Most of the other stuff from the current collection will be going over to Liverpool on Thursday, but I will be starting work on more items this week. There will be a romantic theme - the perfect way to show someone you love them this Christmas, non?

Today I am wearing...




Thrilling news!

Fabulous news came via email today - a gallery in Liverpool wants to stock my jewellery in the run up to Christmas...
Hi Kat,
My name is Jo Moore; I'm the Gallery Coordinator at the Bridewell Gallery in Liverpool. I found your work through my friend Dan (he joined your group on Facebook). I'm currently putting together our successful annual Christmas show and have been desperately seeking high quality jewellery to include.
I really like your work, and I wondered if you might be interested in participating? The exhibition itself runs from 6th - 19th
December, opening on the 6th with a Christmas market. All pieces are for sale, and there is no charge for participation (although we do take 25%
commission on sales).
Let me know asap if you're interested. We're
scheduling drop-offs for early next week, although there is some flexibility to that.
Thanks,
Jo Moore
Gallery Coordinator,
The Bridewell Gallery
Very excited, now I'm just waiting to hear back about more details. Any adv…

Guerrilla marketing

Review: Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson (Piatkus Books: Fourth Edition), £10.99


Jay Levinson is a marketing hero. His guerrilla marketing books and website have become a must-read for any small business owner hoping to boost sales. The latest edition of his classic guide is no different - the new section on e-marketing is particularly useful for anyone with a budget of zero pennies.

The book is broken up into easy to understand sections, provides practical tips, and avoids that irritating "motivational" talk that mars so many business books.

Whether you intend to read it cover-to-cover or just use it to dip in when you're boosting a particular area of your marketing strategy, the new edition of Guerrilla Marketing will maintain Levinson's reputation for some time to come.

Unfortunately, it means my to do list is significantly longer...



- Make signs for bulletin boards- Opt-in offers for mailing list- Find stuff for newsletter- Consider writing e-zine-Design mem…

PR - a journalist's view

Like a vintage-obsessed Clark Kent, when I'm not indulging my ego as a jewellery-making entrepreneur, I'm a working journalist. Mostly I write about music and the arts, but at Uni I specialised in fashion journalism.
Now I've been on the receiving end of a lot of press releases - good and bad. And now the shop is functioning, this weekend I need to get cracking on the Made With Love releases. But to be helpful, I thought I'd share some dos and dont's when it comes to writing your own press releases - from a journalist's perspective.


This is the most important thing I can tell you - look for a news angle. Your mere existence does not constitute news and does not entitle you to a feature - you have to find a hook.
Being local or new (or, better, local and new) is always a good start, but also look at how you fit in with current fashion trends, consider what makes your product unique or highlight something exciting you've done recently.
Having a sale or special of…

Day three...

Thanks for the lovely comments on Facebook guys (you know who you are). It's heartwarming to see blokes with such good taste in jewellery.

My Etsy shop is now up and running! You can buy the "Autumn" necklace I posted a picture of yesterday, here. All the prices on there are in dollars, which I know is confusing if you're in the UK. The exchange rate today is 1.5 dollars to the pound, so $35 is £22.78.

You can buy the "Sparkle" necklace here.

Anyhow, a couple more wee pics I think, sorry if they're a bit fuzzy...




Coming later: Press releases - a journalist's view

Panic sets in

So it's only day two, and already I'm panicking.

The stuff on Etsy looks so posh. I'm deliberately trying to keep costs down because I think people should be able to buy lovely, unusual things for less than eighty quid, but will the customers think the same?

To add insult to injury, I'm so poor I can't even set up my Etsy seller account until tomorrow.

Time to learn some patience I suppose, damn being part of the MTV generation.

Anyway, in the meantime I'm going to set about drafting a press release for the local media - hopefully they'll be interested in writing something about this little project. Confession time - I do have a head start, being a journalist myself. But will that mean I manage to get any coverage?

Must stop biting my nails.

On the plus side, it's only two and a half days 'til I go to the Christmas market in Manchester...


First look

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness"
Here are a couple of the first necklaces I've made. I've gone for a "patchwork" effect on the chains, something which I intend to make a feature of all the forthcoming collections one way or another. A glance through the marvellous website Etsy suggests that romantic names for each design are smiled upon, so I've named these Sparkle (for obvious reasons) and Autumn (as an homage to the Keats poem). I'm going to be setting up my Etsy shop sometime later today, and adding to it as I get the proper photographs through. According to the marketing advice helpfully provided by Etsy's Storque magazine I need to get people interested in this blog - this is where you come in. It's a simple swap - link to me from your blog and I'll put a link to you on mine. And as a bit of an incentive to go a bit furtehr I'll offer a special 10% discount to anyone who gives me a good-sized mention through a blog, news…

Becoming a businesswoman - how hard can it be?

OK, so last year at the Edinburgh Festival I saw some really, really beautiful bracelets. They were made out of old vintage brooches, beads, pearls and various bits and bobs.

They were also incredibly expensive.

I thought to myself - how hard can it be? I bet I could do that. Then, like most ideas (at the time I also decided it would be a nice idea to write a stageplay, and the sketch show my friend Luke and I keep chatting about never seems to happen), it faded into the background. But there's a recession on, as we keep being told, and the idea of making pretty, unique jewellery as Christmas presents was very tempting. So a year and a half after the initial idea, I finally got hold of some vintage jewellery, dismantled some jewellery of my own, and fashioned a charm bracelet - I'll find a pic as soon as poss.

Then I thought, I wonder if other people would like what I do? I wonder if other people are sick of paying bumped up prices just to have something that you can't buy on…