Thursday, 30 September 2010

Shop by Colour

Using stumble I um, well just stumbled across this Etsy feature allowing you to shop by colour.  Now for all you regular Etsy shoppers this may have been around for a while, but I have only just come across it and was impressed I must say.  

Check it out at, it's easier to take a look rather than me describing it!    

I think the idea is brilliant, and quite a lot of fun just swirling the mouse over the colour palate.  Once you have chosen a colour only a few products are shown, however this could be due to it being a new feature and therefore may need time to organically grow.  It certainly is a novelty and a great way to come across new items that you hadn't necessarily been looking for.  

Sticking to the subject of shopping by colour, I came across this lovely online shop the other day called Red Candy.  The whole shop is dedicated to selling red home furnishings and modern interior accessories.  Some of my favourites items include a red rubber washing up bowl, a clever kitchen sponge holder, luxurious red toilet paper and a beautiful butterfly clock.


Take a look at the website for lots of other stylish and quirky items and let us know if you have come across anything similar!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

This months Featured Seller - Dig The Earth

Kevin Connell is the talent behind Dig The Earth, a fabulous collection of affordable bold and colourful prints that would brighten up any home.  Come and find out what makes Kevin tick, how he got started and his plans for the future, in this 10 minute interview. Also why not take a look at his brilliant collection on Ugly Be Gone

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

National Cupcake Week 13-19th September

The popularity of the Cupcake has gone from strength to strength in recent years.  Especially since we witnessed Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda enjoying a Cupcake or two from the now famous Magnolia Bakery in New York.

In order to celebrate the mighty Cupcake we are giving you the chance to win a Cupcake kit; including fillings and handmade decorations so that you can make your own creations at home.   We will also send  the winner 12 delicious handmade cake pops for you to share or nibble on whilst creating your Cupcake masterpiece.

All prizes are donated by the talented B Cake Studio who, we are happy to announce, will be selling personalised buscuits and cake pops on Ugly Be Gone very soon.  Make sure you keep an eye out for them. 

To enter simply join our facebook group and write on our wall what your ultimate Cupcake would be.

Good luck! 

Monday, 13 September 2010

Afternoon tea anyone?

There is nothing more delightful and quintessentially British institution than afternoon tea, and where better to enjoy it than in the elegant surroundings of Merlins at The Celtic Manor Resort.  
And that's exactly what I did last Saturday at my friend Sara's surprise baby-shower!  Relaxing on comfy sofas on a sunny afternoon, cakes, scones, sandwiches, a never ending supply of tea, and great company; what more could you ask for?

   Where to start...

Here's Sara opening one of her many gifts, I think baby Davies already needs an upgrade to a walk-in wardrobe!! 

Not only was Sara spoilt but each guest had a lovingly wrapped bar of Green and Blacks chocolate to take away, courtesy of the grandmother to be.  

We're now all anxiously awaiting the arrival of baby Davies and another excuse to celebrate.  All the best to Sara and Ryan, we can't wait to meet the new addition!!  xxx    

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Fun alternative to wrapping paper!

Great little video on how to re-use unwanted material as wrapping paper and impress your friends.  Watch to the end to see a clever and easy way to make an over the shoulder bag.  A great trick if you want an easy to make bag in a specific material/colour!

10% off Becca Williams Jewellery

Wirksworth FestivalMakers Market
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September

Becca's taking her work on the road this weekend to the lovely Wirksworth Festival in Derbyshire. She'll be in the Town Hall as part of the Maker's Market, a fair of contemporary craft with everything from jewellery to ceramics via handbags and cards. It's a super event and to celebrate Becca's giving you all the chance to get 10%* off a jewellery purchase from her stand! Just print out this voucher and come shopping!  Have a look at the full Festival programme on the Festival website here, with craft, Open Studios, music, street theatre and comedy it's a fun weekend out and a shopping opportunity not to be missed! Don't forget to print your voucher and pop by Becca's stand to say hi!

Visit the website for further information.

*Please Note:
Vouchers are only valid on purchases from Becca Williams at Wirksworth Festival 2010
Vouchers are not valid online and do not apply to any other sellers at the event

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Selling Handmade Products Online - How to Stand Out From the Crowd

Over the last few weeks there has been a growing focus on a new breed of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs who run their businesses around full time employment earning them the title of the 5-9'ers.
Through technology development and the increasing ease of creating online ecommerce websites, setting up a business to generate a supplementary income has never been so popular. Especially in these turbulent economic times and with wide spread uncertainty in the jobs market.
Emma Jones founder of Enterprise Nation (an online resource for home workers in the UK), states that over 5 million people are now generating some sort of income from home run businesses, and this figure is likely to grow over the next few years.
One particular area that has been popular amongst 5-9'ers is the handmade market, where people are using forgotten hobbies and skills to make money. The handmade market has grown due to customers' increasing demand for value for money, alternatives to mass-produced goods, concerns over environmental issues and people's desire to support local British businesses. Handmade jewellery, homeware, and the handmade gift market has certainly seen an increase in demand, but as demand rises so does the competition to supply these items.
So if you're a 5-9'er in the handmade industry, what should you do to make your products stand out?
Image Is Everything!
To sell your products successfully on line you need to ensure that every product image is of a very high standard. Do they say 'buy me' to the customer? If not it's likely that you will lose that potential sale. Images need to be crisp, clear and in focus, with the use of good lighting limiting shadows. Remember the customer can't see or feel the quality of the product so they really need to get a feel for the item from the image.
Also think of the background you use, if your hoping to get your products in quality press they will often require your items to be photographed on a plain white background. Getting your products professionally photographed is the ideal option, but for many small businesses this is a luxury they just can't afford. There are some great on-line guides available, and with a little hard work and patience you can get some great product shots from an ordinary digital camera. Image editing software is also recommended to get that professional finish.
Know Your Market
It's a good idea to get a feel for who your target audience is likely to be, once your clear on this you can then tailor your communications, image, website etc accordingly. Think about the channels you sell through, do they reflect your business values and target the right customers for your product offering? There are many great websites out there that help small business promote and sell their products, however you need to pick the right site(s) for you.
For example: - Ebay provides a great marketplace to sell pretty much anything, whether you're a skilled designer selling quality items, or someone who has created something just for fun or as a hobby. Alternatively you have sites such as Ugly Be Gone whose ethos is more handmade than homemade. Sellers have to apply to sell through the site so the product offering is much more targeted. Think about what's right for your products and concentrate on the sites that you think are a good fit.
Market Trends
Keep an eye on changing trends, fashion and interests and use this to your advantage. Smaller businesses can be much more flexible in adapting products to reflect emerging trends compared to large companies who usually have to plan months or even years ahead.
Accurate Product Descriptions 
In addition to clear product images you should always provide a customer with accurate product descriptions e.g. colour, size, material, special features and anything else that is relevant to the item.
Added Value
Clearly communicate the added value of a handmade item. Tell the customer about the background of the products, any distinguishing features, where the product is made, the materials used etc. When a customer is buying handmade they are also buying the products story, your story!
Many people like to purchase from small businesses as they feel they receive a more personalised service. Ensure that you maintain and exceed this expectation by adding personal touches such as a thank you note, free gift wrap, professional and prompt customer service etc.
I think it's safe to assume that most customers who purchase handmade items expect to pay a premium, compared to the mass-produced goods you can find on the high street. However customers are still looking for value for money and getting the price right can be the difference between your business becoming profitable or not quite making it. Mary Portas (Queen of Shops) highlighted this point in her recent response to UK Handmades 'Mary Portas Handmade needs you' campaign. You need to strike a balance, you don't want to undervalue your products (you need to factor in the costs of supplies, materials and your time), on the other hand you don't want to price yourself out of the market either. Is your item realistically priced compared to others in the market? If a customer feels that your price is over inflated, or doesn't recognise the 'added value', then you will find it difficult to sell your item no matter how well it's presented.
Do a little research into how much the item would cost to purchase on the high street? How much are other handmade suppliers charging? Attend exhibitions and fairs and use them as a good opportunity to ask for real and honest feedback. Use this feedback to position your product appropriately, and as mentioned above ensure that you clearly communicate the product's 'story'.
Use social networking sites to promote yourself and your products. Whether your selling through your own website, through other websites or both, make sure you create awareness of your products and the places they are available. Update your networks when you add new products, are offering discounts, or to simply remind people that your are still there. Participate in community discussions/blogs and where possible include links to your shop(s).
Although there is a lot of competition in the handmade market, it is also a lucrative market for those who get their offering right!