Monday 26 October 2015

Craft Fair: Identity Crisis

I have been awful at posting recently partly because I have been really busy making things for my first craft fair stall.

I am not sure exactly when I decided that I wanted to sell things at the Christmas Craft Fair. It was a notion that grew and took over. It is not that I am desperate to sell things, or even sure that people will buy them, but more that I really want to be a part of what the craft fair is all about.

I have been going for the last few years and it may sound clichéd but the atmosphere is amazing and I started to think that it would be fun to be a part of it. Things I make and send as gifts are always very well received and I get some lovely compliments on the things I make my daughter. This simply means one of two things; either people like them or they are all just being really nice. We will soon see! I also wanted to showcase this blog, as awful as I am at keeping my posts regular I love the thought of people reading it and the idea of somebody seeing something I have made and wanting to make it too is really quite special.

This leaves me in a very odd position that I want to use a stall to promote a blog and not use my blog to promote things to sell. I know this seems the wrong way around but it makes sense to me.

I then needed to decide what to actually sell, which I found quite tough. When making something for a specific person I can make it to fit their personality and needs, but to make for "people" in general I need to make something that appeals to a wide group of people but without it being so mainstream that you can find it in a supermarket.

I needed patterns that I could make to sell, that wouldn't take too much time and that I didn't mind making lots of. The first pattern that fitted these requirements were for children's fleece hats. These plans then grew to include things for adults and babies. I suddenly found myself with an array of things I could imagine buying as small presents and stocking fillers. This was all going well and I had fabric and a clear idea of what I needed to do.

I applied to the Shetland Arts and Crafts Association for my membership and received a form to fill out that asked what my stall would be about. It was then that I started to struggle. I was very tempted to write

"It is.. errr a mix of things that... errr make sense in my head.... I errr... well I dismissed lots of things that didn't fit with a vision that only I understand".

I did worry however that this might not help with getting people to want to see my work! So I took a step back and thought about the words I would choose to describe my products and style. That is when I realised that despite an eclectic range of products they were all held together by my fabric choices. I have opted for bright and fun fabrics. A lot of my products are quirky and different. Most of them have a fun practicality. So I deleted the "errrs" and wrote: "A fun collection of bags, gifts, accessories, toys and children’s hats using brightly coloured fleece and quirky fabrics".

It felt great to have written down where I was and where I was heading. As I said before I wanted to promote my blog and I felt I really needed a business card so this was my next mission. I knew what I didn't want from a business card more than what I did want, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it either as that would force me to put prices up on the things I had made. I also didn't want to have a sewing machine or needles on the card as I felt that I could possibly get mixed up with a tailor. I liked some of the button designs but they just did not sit right. Then I found a wonderfully pretty card with a simple "appliqué effect" flower and I decided that was the one I needed. On a side note the original design of the card is actually for parents to hand out their contact details to other parents! Is this a thing that really happens?!

My business card.

The result of this is I feel like I have a 'brand identity' and a hope of communicating what my crafting is all about. Now all I need is enough stock....