Wednesday, 19 August 2015

New Studio Update

News Flash... moving studios is hard work, who knew? Well... yeah, ok, everyone who has ever had a studio will know that even a minor change means a whole military operation to get it done! Couple the stress of moving with the fact that I can't close my shops as I really do need to pay the rent this month and this felt maker has turned into something resembling a brain dead lump of jelly! But hey, it's all gonna be worth it!

So this it's what's happened, the back of the studio has had a coat of white paint to be better for taking photos (cue feltmaker getting over excited and wanting to paint everything!) I fitted a carpet... well kind of,  I threw down a bit of carpet and hacked at it with a stanley knife until it kinda sorta almost fit and some stuff has arrived.

The big shelves are in, ready to be filled with box mountain and all my packaging. I've also made a display area in case I have visitors, the red dresser/sideboard thingy is acting as my display area for my stock (of which I have very little!)  and dad will be nailing (doing something complex involving all the screws in the world and 12 drill bits!) a rather nice dresser top to the wall next week so I can have a bit of height to display birds and stuff on.

I have a nice little sofa, coffee making facilites and have even made my first bird in the studio and got the gocco out to make some Inky cate notebooks... I do like my little space, especially now it smells inky!

In between all this I managed to list my penguins in the webshop... I'm only listing what I have in stock at the moment but once things settle down there will be more penguin shenanigans!

I also managed to grab some pictures of my totes, which I am adding to the website today... all this activity is kinda of burning me out so tomorrow and Friday are days off (in which I will catch up with admin!) I will be in the studio on Saturday from 10-4 and the door will be open but if you do decide to visit please bear in mind I'm not ready yet so don't expect lots of birdies!

The studio is located in the first building on the West Pier in Scarborough, on the balcony in the building with the clock on (right opposite the Harbor bar!) come up the stairs and say hello if you're out and about!

Yours Tiredly
Mel
x


Friday, 14 August 2015

News From Felt Towers... A Studio!!! A Studio!!!

If you are here expecting part 2 of the Kickstarter advice sorry but...



I GOT A STUDIO...WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

ahem!

It's been a funny couple of months, kickstarter ended and then before I could sit down and process everything I managed to get my mitts on a new work space. I'm just sprucing it up a bit and moving all my stuff in slowly but I'm hoping to have a grand opening in a couple of weeks.

The studio itself is on the balcony of a Grade 2 listed, Victorian building on the West Pier in Scarborough. It's a bit bigger then my current space at home and has amazing sea views! I'll keep you posted on the progress as me and Mr Felt work on getting all the junk... er... necessary crafting and packing stuff situated.

 We do already have all the essentials tho!


Squeeeeee... can't wait to get in there and get making! I'm so tired right now, I'm going to crawl into my massive hamper and have a nap!

xx
mel

Saturday, 8 August 2015

My Kickstarter Advice - Part 1 Before You Start


A lot of people have been asking me about Kickstarter for their projects... so I thought I would get my thoughts down in blog form so I am not repeating myself. I should say this is just my experience, this is by no means how you should run a kickstarter and it's not a guaranteed win. This blog I'm going to talk about things you'll need to think about before you start a Kickstarter campaign, the next one I'll talk about the actual running of the campaign.

Before You Start

First off you need to decide if  Kickstarter is for you... read the gubbins on their site, at the bottom in the creator section here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/

The Creator Handbook and FAQS will answer most of your questions... and those they don't there are a million blog posts out there which will.


I feel like I had Kickstarter coming out of my ears after all the research I did! Mostly I would say research, research,research because about 50% of Kickstarters fail... what I did was look up the projects similar to mine (there were 8) half succeeded and half failed and I analysed what I thought the successes did right and what the failures did wrong.

It's also worth backing a couple of projects if you never have before just to get a feel for how the site works and so you can talk potential backers thru the process if they struggle. 

Ask yourself what you want to get out of Kickstarter. Do you want to get rich and move to a hot country and drink cocktails on the beach? Well you need a millionaire boyfriend not a Kickstarter! Do you want to produce a new range of products? Fund a new studio? Get a book printed? That's more reasonable... you can't just shout "FUND MY DREAM" and expect people to be queuing up to  give you cash (hey it might happen if you have a 100 or so people who love you deeply and want to fund your dream but that's the exception, not the rule)

You need to give people something in return... something they will want, it doesn't need to be a psychical object, it can be a download (music, video, ebooks, PDFs) or an experience (a VIP invite to your gallery opening, a class in your new studio, a plaque on the wall of your new amazing what ever that you built with their name on it)

I would say do a small project first to test the waters and see if you have an audience out there who will back you but mine got a bit out of control and ceased to be small after the first 48 hours... I was lucky! If I had been smarter I would have done something even smaller to test the process, I made a lot of mistakes which cost me but I came out on top in the end and I learned a lot from the experience which I can apply to my next project.

 Getting down to the nitty gritty... The Money Bit

So you've decided it's for you, let's get serious... a lot of people have looked at what I made on kickstarter and said "wow you've made 3 grand!" well yep... I have but this included postage (about £600 of postage if your asking) packaging, producing the tea towels, prints, mugs and stickers. I didn't come out of this with a lot of profit... but I do have a new product line and the stock which will turn in to profit over the coming months...which was the point.

Do your costing first, then do them again then get a pal to check them... I screwed up on postage on somethings (kickstarter includes postage in your target which I didn't realise) but it evened out in the end. Include about 15% for kickstarter and credit charge fees and backers who drop out at the last minute (it happens, don't worry too much about it... if you work it into your budget it's not the end of the world).

Even consider doing your costing by working out a unit price for every single item and adding them up... and don't forget to add tax on... chances are most or all of your funds will be used to produce your project (if you're reading this you are probaly doing a crafty project right?) but if you do have profit then it will be counted as income and taxed (oh yay government!)

So what's the minimum you need to make to fund the thing you want to do, add 15% then add 20% for tax then add a safety net for any unseen/missed expenses... an oh yeah... profit! You may want to make some of that at some point weather it's future profit in the form of stock or actual profit at the end of your Kickstarter... this is work people! You want to get paid!

(This is getting a bit long so I will do a separate blog about creating your project)

Building the Buzz 


The best bit of advice I got is that Kickstarter is all about your mailing list/facebook fans/social media contacts/fans/friends/ family... these are the people who will get you to your initial target and help spread the word so don't be bashful about contacting them and asking them to share you project/back you.

If you don't have an audience already (look at your facebook, twitter, instagram etc do you have a lot of screaming fans or is it just your mum and your Auntie Ethel) the you need to start building it. Do you have a mailing list for your business? Have you repeat customers you can contact who might be interested.

Start a press list of blogs you want to contact, paper press, local news etc... you might want to contact these people before you go live as they are busy people... lots of blogs have a schedule worked out in advance so you may need to contact them early.

If you can build a bit of a buzz before you even launch reaching your target will be made easier as you may even have people waiting for your project to go live... wouldn't that be awesome?

You can read my Kickstarter story on my website here:
http://www.feltmeupdesigns.com/Kickstarter.php

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

Next week I'll fit in a blog about writing and planing your campaign. Watch this space!
x
mel

 


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

That's All Folks!

Kickstarter Rewards Posted Out

 Well that's it then! I've spent a hectic few days working hard and packing like a demon and it's all over and done with! We've taken 8 MASSIVE bags to the post office, used 6 rolls of tape and more than 300 various stickers.

Every single last reward has been posted (except 1 address I'm still waiting on) and I can see the floor in the studio again.


All that's left to do is say one final huge thank you to everyone who supported, pledged, backed and cheered me on!

Special Thanks to Mr Felt for putting up with my crazy for the last couple of months, Eva for cutting out a few hundred stickers, Tina, Karen and Rich my Kickstarter support team buddies and Iona for putting the idea in my head in the first place! (I put "those suckers" on a tea towel!)


I've been blown away by the response to this project and I'll be back next year with another exciting project! You can follow my day to day adventure over at Facebook or if you don't want to miss out on the news then pop over to my website , scroll down, sign up for my mailing list with the box on the bottom right of the screen. (or follow this blog!)

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Tea Towels Ahoy!

Life at Felt Towers has taken on a distinctly tea towelly quality lately! I have become a total bore and it's all I talk about! Yep! I'm a tea towelaholic!

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut!

Tea Towels Ahoy!!!

THEY'VE ARRIVED!!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!

 It's really nice to see all this hard work turned into something physical, The Clever Baggers were super fast and super helpful in getting them all printed in double quick time. I spent most of this week and last week making the no tea towels rewards and getting them sent out. Which was fun... and now people are beginning to tell me they have arrived and posting pictures on facebook, which is lovely!


 Tea Towel mountain was a bit overwhelming when it arrived yesterday but I dived straight in (or should that be I strapped on my safety harness and started to climb!)

 The first bag of things went to the post office today... I'll be taking more later when I've filled in a massive pile of customs labels.

 This picture represents about a quarter of the parcels I need to wrap... it's pretty massive!

 But luckily I have a big bag of malteasers and a lot of coffee to keep me going. I also just got word that mugs will be arriving tomorrow so I'd better get my butt in gear and start clearing some space cos I have no idea where they are going!


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Kickstarter Update: Tea Towel and Mug Pre Orders (also Known as 50 ways to photograph a tea towel)

Feltmeupdesigns Rainbow doodle bird tea towel
So this past week I have been basking  in the glow of Kickstarter success and the glorious sunshine here in Blighty!( Sadly I don't tan... or burn... I have Goth genes and am genetically predisposed towards pasty! Still slapping on that sun cream tho melanoma is no joke!)
Feltmeupdesigns Rainbow doodle bird tea towel

If you missed out on the kickstarter you can pre order mugs and tea towels here in my special Rainbow Doodle Birds Shop. Current estimated time of arrival is around the end of July as I can't order any until Kickstarter releases the funds. I'm offering mugs and tea towels at a special introductory price on pre order so grab em now before they go up!

Feltmeupdesigns Rainbow doodle bird tea towel
Kickstarter backers check your inboxes I sent you an exclusive code so you can add on tea towels and mugs and any thing else from my webshop without having to shell out for postage again, you can also find the code in the exclusive backer update on Kickstarter if you deleted the email.

My Packaging table... we're gonna need a bigger table!
I've got a head start on my rewards making the birds for those who selected rewards with birds, getting the art work done and ordering the paper rewards which arrived in a brick of paper 2 days ago. Today I'm going to coerce Mr Felt into helping me sort them into piles and start bagging them up ready for shipping. (I might bribe him with ice cream!)

Rainbow doodle Birds Everwhere!
The piles of Kickstarter rewards are taking over the studio!
The Rewards I've made so far
I've had 3 photoshoots trying to get a decent picture of the tea towel and basically have forgotten everything I ever knew about photography! After photo shoot number 3 I think we got it!
Piles of Post cards, prints and stickers
 Feltemupdesigns.com got a make over new landing page and a brand new Kickstarter Adventure page to freshen it up... because I'm super proud about my Kickstarter! Also because it needed a spruce up!

Quick heads up as soon as the tea towels arrive I'll be shutting ALL my shops for a couple of weeks to process the rewards and then have a break... if you need something and were planning on buying it last week in July/first week in august probably best to buy it now!

xx
mel


Saturday, 27 June 2015

Even More Uses for a Tea Towel - Your Ideas

The Kickstarter is over! Phew! First of all thank you for all your support, especially to all the people who shared, pledged and generally pushed me along, lifted me up and made me laugh on this crazy journey! Here's a great big Thanks for you all! W ebeat our target and are a whopping 378% funded! Eep!

Secondly I know some people had issues with the Kickstarter platform so I have set up a Rainbow Doodle Birds Shop here:

Rainbow Doodle Birds Shop

So anyone who wants can preorder tea towels and mugs and add birds to their orders too. I can't offer the exclusive rewards here unfortunately but if you contact me I'll see what I can do.


 

So I had lots of ideas of how to use a tea towel but my favourite was making the little pocket buddies and lavender bags! I asked for your ideas and you supplied them! Thanks for that! I know I'm a little late with this blog post but I did underestimate how busy the last 2 days would be! Thanks for bearing me!

Lottiepinkarthurblue made by Laura had the idea for make-shift aprons for when you leave the kid's ones at nanna's house. She also suggested that they would make fab cushion covers and
Katie Pinson said " I'd love one to sew into an extra large cushion!"


Sarah Box said "I make them into crafters pinnies great for craft fairs, Bootsales etc holding money or have sold them to hold gardening tools, crotchet hooks and paintbrushes xx" Great Idea!


Melanie Avis said "I would never use them as tea towels, I would cut them and make pretty bags out of them. They are too pretty to get grubby!" Thanks Melanie

Farfield Mill, Sedbergh suggested a tea towel fight! (They didn't specify if they should be wet or dry for this... wet would produce a great snap!

Duncan Gbf Mason had a suggestion along this theme "They make the best emergency pirate bandanas for those impromptu spoon fights in the kitchen waiting for the pasta to boil..." They do... we tried it! They do fit!



Tash 'Orange' Hill suggested  fold into a chicken as a table decoration! So we had a look and you can find lots of napkin folding tutorials on the internet that will work with a tea towel too!



Aleks C ZgliƄska said "mine is fabric for rainbow tweet bunting"! I love this idea

Cristina Cat "tea towel bread "pillow" case to keep the bread safe!" (I meant to this one but I ate all my bread!)

Rachelle Borbely "Comforter" for doll beds! 

Cat McLaughlin said "Sew two together to make a tote bag"


I can't wait to see what you all do with your tea towels! Please feel free to send me your pictures on Facebook when you get your tea towels... at the moment I'm estimating that we should get them mid July and all rewards should be posted out shortly afterwards so people should start getting their tea towels, mugs and Kickstarter rewards late July/ early August!

I'm around to answer questions, take orders and generally post lots of pictures of birds over the next couple of weeks but once the tea towels arrive I'll be shutting down for a couple of weeks to process all the rewards. I'll keep you posted. 

Thanks
Mel