Sunday, 7 February 2016

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to February...

 
Ok I'm breaking some of my rules here, first off I'm talking about my health and secondly I'm probably going to whine a little which breaks my "don't be negative on your social media rule" and my "don't talk about your health it has no place in business rule" but the last 8 weeks have been kicking my little felted but so I have to! I've almost written this so many times but chickened out because of "the rules" but I've been reading a lot lately and am beginning to think my rules are stoopid!

So a funny thing happened earlier this year, I'd closed all my shops for Christmas and reopened them in the New Year but I just couldn't get going. Over Christmas I had been hit with a virus that left me passed out on a friends sofa on Christmas day with a temperature, a hot water bottle and some fluffy slippers (Thanks Eva). I'm not going to lie Christmas was BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!!! To this day I have presents that were opened in a daze that I have no idea where they came from, who lovingly wrapped them or if they belong to me or Mr Felt (we share pretty much everything anyway so no biggie!) The tree came down early and I put off reopening my shops as long as possible.

I did reopen my shops and every order, every stab of the needle felt like a gargantuan effort, my arms felt like lead, my needles felt blunt... I felt blunt! I began to panic... Did this mean I didn't want to do my job anymore? I started reading blogs, books, everything about how to beat burn out, how to find your creative mojo, I bought a new planner and workbook for the year, I tried meditation (I can meditate... but I get bored and I can't breath thru my nose so I spend a great deal of time worrying that I can't breathe thru my nose) I tried everything I could think of... and then I went on holiday and realised that I can't holiday... I'm not good at it.

I'm failing at life... I can't even holiday properly! (My crazy brain wailed!)

Getting home feeling a bit more refreshed but still despondent at not being capable of relaxing I spent a day doing absolutely nothing, not beating myself up about it, just doing nothing except faffing on facebook, playing ridiculously repetitive games, watching videos of otters and eating homemade macaroni cheese with way too much cheese in it followed by eating too much fudge and singing out of tune in the bath... while Mr Felt went out with pals (he's social he needs people, I like people but in short controlled bursts and I like being able to take my bra off which I can't do in polite company)

And then I woke up today and thought "I know what I am doing wrong!" I realised I was trying to fix something by using new methods and neglecting the things I knew worked so I got out the giant pad and sharpies and hashed out a plan for the next month.

And I thought about it... I do feel better, but I'm not ok... and pressuring myself to get better isn't going to help. So I'm not going to... the next month will be taken at a different pace. I'll be looking after myself and maybe the business will just have to wait... or maybe not... these things have a way of working themselves out when you aren't looking.

Lets see what happens eh?

Any advice on beating burnout I'd appreciate it... I'll try anything!

(Oh and check out the only birds I managed to make in January! These are Eclectus Parrots, Male and Female)
xx
mel





Monday, 11 January 2016

Hello 2016... Buh Bye 2015

So here we are in 2016... In many ways I feel like it took me a long time to get here... I mean it's already into the 2nd full week in January and here I am only just doing my blog post but 2015 was so jam packed with stuff I can hardly remember it all!

So I suppose it's time to think about last year and give you a big fat review of the year! 2015 was a big year for me... I can't tell you what I did for the first few months ( I inexplicably stopped blogging for a while!) ... too much has been going on and I can't remember it all, there were new designs with Chaffinches becoming my new favorite thing to make.

The I did a little Kickstarter project which went crazy and and made me a little crazy... all I wanted to do was make some tea towels but I ended up adding mugs and totebags to my product line and being very silly for a while!


And then off the back of that I go my very own studio!

And I made Penguins! (somehow in all the craziness and before Christmas too!)

And then Christmas happened... it was my best Christmas yet business wise... penguins vs robins happened (robins won out in the end but only just!) I also introduced some new hanging decorations... which did very well over Christmas and looked cute on the tree!


I spent the first part of January struggling to shrug off a virus I picked up over Christmas, it took me longer to get over it than it should have which is probably down to working like a maniac for the last few months and not giving myself a break. Something which I aim not to do this year!!! Also the studio sprung a leak... then it sprung another leak and I'm stuck waiting for other people to do things so I can do things. It's hard to work to the sound of dripping no matter how high you crank up the music!

So once that's fixed and I can finish decorating the studio I plan on making some new designs, bigger birds and more exciting things! At the moment I'm busy planning, researching and looking into being more organised this year!

xx
mel

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

A very merry Christmas to you all!

It's been one crazy year, I have shut my shops for a few days just to give myself time to recover in time for Christmas and do the things normal people are supposed to do at Christmas like buy presents, eat too much and partake of the occasional Christmas tipple!

As is traditional the Christmas shut down has been followed by the full body meltdown which come from working too hard for too long and not sleeping which is why I'm closed a little early this year... I'd like to be able to enjoy myself!

I'll be back in 2016 with exciting new projects... top secret!
Thanks for all your support and encouragement in 2015... It has been a wild ride, I'll be doing the Big Fat Felty Review of the year soon!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year

xx
mel

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Black Friday vs Bright Friday!!!

Give Back... visit the Bright Friday Website for more
So I had what I thought was an awesome idea... instead of Black Friday I decided I was going to do a BRIGHT FRIDAY promotion. All my Rainbow Doodle Birds Goodies are offered at a discount price from now until December 1st. "Yay... I'm so smart... let's see if anyone else has had the idea" I thought, and hit google.
Rainbow Doodle Birds Bundles
Then I discovered Papermash and this amazing thing they (and other independent retailers) were doing giving 15% of their black Friday sales to Doctors of the World UK, a charity which offers healthcare to refugees across Europe. I was humbled and a little taken aback... this time of year is so driven by sales and consumerism that it's easy to forget that there are other things happening out there in the world and that people are struggling daily just to get by. So please check out the site to see who is taking part, it's a great way to get your Christmas shopping done and support a worthy cause!


So here is my promise...for every sale I have on Black Friday, sorry I mean BRIGHT FRIDAY, no matter which shop it comes from, I will donate £1 to Doctors of the World UK.
Let's all have a Bright Friday and do something good for someone... give something to charity, help out a neighbor, make someone smile.

Happy Bright Friday!

P.S Rainbow doodle birds goodies are now on sale with up to 50% off in all my shops!

 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Christmas AAAAAAAAGHHHHHH!!!!

Hello!

To those of you who follow me on facebook you'll have noticed lately I haven't been my usual chipper self. Follow a totally amazing and crazy year I was feeling a bit burnt out (and it's not even Christmas yet!) Many of you who are crafters yourself will be familiar with this feeling, so me and Mr Felt had a discussion about what would make life a little bit easier for me and decided that the studio needed the interwebs!

We've been connected for a mere 2 days and already I feel a world of difference! I've been able to get about 50% of my Christmas set up sorted (yep I'm behind!) and sitting next to a little heater supplied by the lovely Eva and staring at the boats while I work has made a world of difference... it's a little thing but to me it's the difference between feeling isolated and feeling connected!

So Christmas this year, new designs have been made in the form of some owl and wild bird decorations, not to mention penguins (which you can chose to have with or without hanging ribbons!) these are available across all my shops now.

I have limited early bird Rainbow Doodle Bird Gift Bundles in the webshop at a bargain price of just £30 for a tea towel, tote, mug, notebook and print. Grab em while you can they won't be around for long!



I'm getting my wreaths all geared up to rephotograph too... hopefully they will be sorted by next week and then all I have to do is panic wildly until December 20th (my last posting day) and it'll all be fine...

Phew!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Kickstarter Advice Part 2 - Building Your Campaign

Hi Guys! Sorry it's been so long... it was my intention to write this a month ago but apparently my body said no and decided to shut down for a few weeks after sorting out the studio! But I'm back yay!

 In part 2 of my Kickstarter advice I want to talk about building your campaign, this means writing your Kickstarter proposal, making your video and the things to do before you go live!

Writing your Kickstarter Blurb
Before I wrote my Kickstarter proposal I spent a lot of time reading other people's blurbs and thinking about what I liked about them, what I didn't like, what made me back one project and not another so this is what I found.

  • Be clear and conscise (what do you want? what are your offering in return for backing?) too much info and I tend to switch off... sorry, I have a short attention span and if I do chances are other people will too, same with your video keep it short and sweet,
  • Make sure you bullet point your rewards as well as having them in the sidebar, you can go into more detail, include pictures of the rewards
  • Be yourself... I'm nuts, so I kind of went with being a little crazy. Remember you aren't standing in front of the Dragons in Dragon's den, you can talk to people like you would your friends... although probably with less expletives. Oh and try not to go too far the other way... don't be too nuts! I'd like to know what I am paying for, if you are dancing around in a tutu and waving a wand when you want to be selling a new line of greetings cards I'm probably going to cross the metaphorical street and pretend I can't see you. 
  • Don't be negative... even if you are doing it for comic effect, it doesn't always translate. At the end of the Kickstarter page there is a section on risks and challenges. Be honest about the risks but say how you will over come them, emphasise your experience... "I have X years of selling online and 100% perfect feedback scores on Etsy" you can even include a link to your etsy feedback. Let people know you will keep them in the loop.
  • and what was that last thing? Oh yeah ASK FOR SOMETHING!!! I've read dozens of Kickstarters where you get to the end and your not exactly sure what they want from you. It's know as a "call to action", if you feel uncomfortable asking people to back you well get over it... you want their support! You can ask people to share your project on their social media... don't be so blatant as shouting "GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEY!" but you shouldn't be shy about asking for support both you  and your readers know it's what they are there for.
I started by breaking my blurb down into section headings and planning it out that way.

Introduction- who am I? What's the project about?
Why a tea towel - What am I selling? Where did the idea come from?
A product description - Sizes, stats, pictures
Rewards - Break down of the rewards, pictures of all the rewards
Stretch goals - I had a couple worked out but I wish I had planned for a best case scenario instead of the the opposite and had more planned out in advance. This would have helped me stay focused and not blow my budget by screwing up postage adding more things later on!
Call to action - Please back me, please share!
Risks and Challenges

So once it's written check it for spelling mistakes and then get a bunch of other people to check it to make sure it makes sense and check for spelling and grammatical errors.

This advice also stands for making your video... yes... you need one... but no you don't need to put your face in it if you are terminally camera shy. I just made a slide show with a voice over because some days I hate my face and videos are not my thing! (I tried... it was awful! Panda eyes!) Be your self, mine was slightly clumsy but I still thought it was cute and most importantly it was me (despite being unable to say tea towel). Don't ramble on too long... again... my attention span is about 90 seconds long but make sure you say everything you need to say and don't forget to ask for something. (You can flesh it out in your blurb) practice, write it down, edit, re edit, re record... take your time and get it right... or as right as your abilities let you!

Upload your shiny video or slide show.

At this point the pressure to click the big green launch now button will be immense but don't! Live with it for a couple of days so you can edit further, polish it till it shines and decide when to launch. you can ask a member of the Kickstarter team to look it over before it goes live which is worth it just to make sure you aren't breaking any of their rules.

I chose to launch just after a giveaway as lots of people were hanging around my facebook waiting for the winner to be announced so there was a buzz there already. Sunday nights around 6 are a good time as many people go online then too but chose a launch time that is when people will be around online... probably not best to launch at midnight as this means your project will end at midnight too, chose a time that is good for you and that you know you will able to be around when you campaign ends so you can bring in the last few backers (or drive everyone nuts with a count down!)

My Kickstarter campaign looks nothing like it did when I started out. I edited it as things progressed and goals were met. You have to treat it like a living breathing thing and update as things change to keep it fresh and keep the backers you have interested and engaged as well as being able to attract new ones.
So this seems like a good place to stop... next time (hopefully not in a month this time!) I'll talk about what to do during your campaign.

You can read Part 1- Things to do Before you start here:
http://feltmeupdesigns.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/my-kickstarter-advice-part-1-before-you.html


Or check out the original campaign page here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/feltmeupdesigns/feltmeupdesigns-rainbow-doodle-birds-printed-tea-t/description

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

News from the Studio!

Hellooooo... don't worry Part 2 of the Kickstarter Advice Blog is coming soon, once I have recovered from the last few weeks of chaos!

I had my first ever open studio last week, thank you to those who were brave enough to fight their way the bank holiday crowds and the drizzle on monday. It was a wonderful experience but I won't be doing it again for a while! I'm taking most of this week to try and reassemble my brain into something that works and catch up with my first gallery order for Christmas! (Yup it's that time of year again!)
 Her's a view of the studio as it is in kind of sort of finished mode... I'm moving everything around next week to get my packaging table in! There are still a million small jobs that need doing... the door needs a little weather proofing to keep the rain on the correct side of it and I'm still working out where the best place for everything is and half my stuff is still at the flat but we're getting there.

So until my brain works again here's a picture of a teacup full of penguins and head over to face book where I am going to be running a giveaway very soon!

xx
mel