Monday, 28 December 2009

The Big Fat Blog Of The Year

It's been a big old year for me over at the Felt Menagerie both professionally and personally so, as is traditional this time of year, I decided it would be a good thing to reflect on all the things I have achieved this year.

Was mostly filled with being loved up in a new relationship and recovering from Christmas!
Celebrating my first 100 sales

Saw the first felt giveaway and the Menagerie's first birthday, the first of the real bird tweets, the Cardinal was created and the great escape from the world's coldest flat was planned!

A time for mad Hare's and moving house, the great bunny giveaway, John's bringing creative input to the menagerie by demanding Feltathulhu's and the invention of the emo tweet. Not to mention a wedding cake topper frenzy where I felted my fingers to the bone with custom orders!

April saw our most ambitious giveaway/ competition, the Have It Your Way Giveaway where I asked you to design your own tweet... this was the most fun and the most hard work. Big Blue Bed's canary design won the day!

I opened my 3rd shop the Feltanomicon... mostly to play with crazy characters and have a bit of fun. Mythosian designs, aliens and dead bunnies followed. Just wait till you see what the Feltanomicon has in store for 2010

Feltmeupdesigns wedding cake topper came 2nd in the etsy voter poll and another birthday giveaway of teeny tweets.
I turned 30... eep.... don't tell anyone and turned down a fulltime job because I prefer the felt to the bookshop!
UK retreat... amazing fun! Met the most amazing people, Learned to gocc from Fabricnation, marvelled at Alibali's capacity for wine (kidding) admired Debsmuddle's tweet making skills and tasted Marmalady's nommy marmalade! Split my jeans (whoops!) and modelled T'shirts for the lovely tinyisland aka Debbie in unsplit jeans thanks to Debbie for the lift to tescos on an emergency jeans run!
Hit 300 sales and bought a gocco and opened Inkmeup... that's shop number 4 if you are counting!

Introduced the real bird tweets to the menagerie and gocco'd till the cows came home!

Made Tweets for South Street Gallery, held a twitter competiton which nearly drove me mad! Crowned John postmaster general and wrapped many dozens of parcels.

Featured in christmas voter and the etsy finds email, plus a cheeky bonus in the form of a Christmas day front page feature. Which about brings us up to date...

So often when you work for yourself you forget to look back and reflect on your own achievements and give yourself a big old pat on the back. Instead of making resolutions I am writing a business plan... watch out 2010 the Felt Empire is on the march!

Happy new year peeps, don't forget to give yourself a big old pat on the back from me and celebrate your achievements. And if you do make resolutions try and keep them achievable... and as I have done, throw out the size 10's and be happy with your big bum!


Saturday, 19 December 2009

A very Merry Felty Christmas

This post was going to be a big rambley review of the year but I am far too tired my friends. Ah yes I am worn out from too much feltyness!

All that remains to say is thankyou to all the people who have supported me this year and have a very merry christmasOr as we say in my house Merry Cthulhumas!


Thursday, 10 December 2009

Leggy's Surprise


I am leggy, I work with Mel, I help her by putting all her fleece into colour coordinating piles. Often while she is out and I don't tell her so when she comes home it is a big surprise!

She is very very busy but I know she appreciates me because she just bought me a present from Kittypinkstars, the person who made me for Mel to adopt!

Look it's a new friend!

And a nifty little Christmas ensemble!

Thanks Kitty and Mel


¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)

(¸.•´ (¸.•´

xx leggy

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Little Red Door

Now I don't often do swaps with people but when Thelittlereddoor made me a proposition how could I refuse?

I love these adorable little houses and have wanted one for ages so I was so happy to get a wee goody bag thru the post. The tweets investigated immediately and now are demanding a whole village to play with so they can pretend to be Godzilla! Really I can't blame them, they are so well made and one looks so lonely by itself!

Visit The Little Red Door at etsy and get a village for your home today!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Inkmeup... my other self

As you may or may not know I cultivate several etsy shops and have had a few changes in directions Since I started this etsy malarky. I felt it well past due the time to have a blog about my latest venture Inkmeup.

I opened the shop at the end of September, listing a few little wren prints, thinking Hey Ho this will never catch on and as a result didn't really have a proper opening celebration. 50 sales later I may have to put my hands up and say whoops I was wrong!

Inkmeup came about mostly because I bought a gocco... for those who don't know what it is the best way to describe it is a miniaturised Japanese screen printing system... and then I had to pay for it, which was problematic being a poor bookslave and feltmaker! Well I am also a frustrated artist too... I work in pen and ink mostly and spend hours on tiny details and then can't sell my work cos I spent hours on tiny details and the price gets too high! The gocco machine seemed a reasonably cheap and effective way of reproducing these drawings in a repeatable and affordable format. It's such an effective little printy machine that often my flat is covered completely in inky little prints which my boyfriend has started referring to as Inksplosions!

Inksplosion in progress!

I've also started introducing some of my sketches to the shop... I have to admit Ink has been great fun so far and I find myself sitting at home trying to decide between ink and felt quite often as there are not enough hours in the day to do both!

I've been so surprised how sucessful this venture has turned out to be... I was just hoping to pay for my equipment! I am especially taken by printing on moleys (moleskine journal covers to the uninitiated) I love prettying them up with some ribbon for packaging as gifts!

So pop by and visit the ink mice at Inkmeup, let me know what you think my ext inkventure should be!

Monday, 23 November 2009

And The Winner Is...

Phew... what a weekend!

The winner is @VickiBrown

She also has the cutest etsy shop so head over there and buy some ninjas... and while your at it get one for me!

Congratulations! You shall be getting a robin and a wee goody bag in the post as soon as I have your details! This has been so much fun! Why not pop over and congratulate the winner at their Twitter?
As a special thank you to all my twitterers and tweeters I am offering a special twitter deal at my shops... all of 3 them so if you buy from Feltmeupdesigns, The Feltanomicon or Inkmeup in the next 5 days (ends friday 27th Nov) you'll get free posting. Make sure when you purchase you put "Twitter" in the notes to seller section.

Both Inkmeup and Feltmeupdesigns have had christmas make overs so pop by and let me know what you think of my new banners and avs! Big thanks to everyone who took part.

mel x

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Giveaway Time. Twitter Competition

Last night I hit 300 positive feed backs at Feltmeup designs so to celebrate I have decided to have a giveaway. This is also a thankyou to my followers for all your retweets, feedback, witty comments and John Barrowman clips.


To win a Feltmeupdesigns real bird Robin it's simple. Twitter this short message:

Win a Robin retweet to enter 500th tweet wins, only 1 retweet per hour. See Blog for full details

Please limit your tweets to 1 per hour even if you really really want to win, I'll only be counting the first one you do each hour anyway!

The winner will be the 500th tweet... will try and keep you updated with stats as the competiton continues. Good luck... get tweeting!

Big thanks to HautTotes for the idea... keep up the goodwork!

Littlewaltz asked how i was keeping track of this, little waltz... a good question, I have a saved search which I am counting the tweets in rather than @feltmeupdesigns, especially since I am getting lots of lovely messages from people too, the search is "Win a robin 500th" which is why it is important to retweet the exact message so I can find them all!


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Have You Missed Me?

Well you may have been wondering where I have been since I haven't been around for the last couple of weeks.

My poor little fingers have been felted to the bone getting some birds read for our first gallery show and the hard work has paid off, the tweets are all ready for their trip to South Street Gallery, Scarborough. I am all felted out now but keep tuned this weekend for a special giveaway and more news from the gallery.

Anyone near Scarborough who wants to visit the tweets in South Street can do from the 27th November.

Thurs/Fri & Sat
12 – 5pm
Sunday 11-4pm

And you can find the gallery details here


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Big Knit... adventures in shopping part 1

What's that!

I paid a visit to the shops today for my weekly shop and fancied one of my favorite smoothies and look what I found on top of it!

I'm having this!

This little hat is part of Sainsbury's and Innocent's charity campaign to support Help the Aged and Age Concern 35p of the price of your Innocent product will go to these charities and you can only get them in Sainsburys. So get yourself down there and buy a tweet hat... I mean innocent smoothie!
And I shall be the envy of all my friends!

There may be a lot of tweets with little hats this year and I intend to dust off my needles in time for next years knit-a-thon! So much fun... and it's very very cute!

Innocent's blog

The Big Knit

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Keeping it real...

Well last weeks mammoth post kinda knocked me out so if you are waiting for part 2 of Tips I'm afraid this isn't it! But worry ye not there will be another tips soon... when I have recovered. In the mean times I thought I'd share my real bird tweets with you.

The punks all wanted to be photographed together so puffin posed with blackbird and magpie so they didn't feel left out!

And my brand new kingfisher demanded a close up too!

We're heading down to a gallery today to see if the nice people there would like to stock them and just in cases I thought a family portrait might be in order. The tweets will be in the shop as usual and we'll see what the real world makes of my real bird tweets!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tips and Tricks for Playing The Etsy Game

As you may or may not know I recently hit 300 sales and had a big party to celebrate (I made a cuppa and had some cake!) While touting my celebration giveaway BenMcfuzzylugs of the NFEST needlefelters team suggested I do a blog post with a little advice on how to get 300 sales. I can't pretend I am an expert, I'm more a trial and error person than a make a plan and stick to it gal but I shall have a go anyway.
Please remember that I am NOT an expert and my advice and tips are opinion, not necessarily fact but I can tell you what worked for me and the best advice I have been given. So here goes:

Getting Started
It can be quite hard getting those first few sales, if you haven't done it already pay a visit to the Storque and check out the seller handbook this is always my first stop before posting in forums with queries it saves a lot of time and you'll probably just get linked back there anyway.

It's worth visting the storque on a weekly basis, subscribing to etsy mails and keeping tabs with what's happening in Etsy's world... and it's fun!

Don't... get involved ina B&R (buy and replace) unless you are doing it for fun. B&R's can be fun you buy something and your name is added to a list in place of the shop you bought from, it's not a garenteed sale tho. Although it is useful for newbies trying to get a bit of feedback on their profile.

Join a Forum, Join a TeamThe hardest thing I have found being a lonely craftsperson is the isolation, when you find yourself talking to the kettle it's time to join a team. Etsy's Teams Homepage is your first stop where you'll find lots of teams worth joining. I'm a member of NFEST with my felt shops, it's good to touch base, find out what your peers are up to and find items for themed treasuries. It's also important to realise you're not alone, we all have off days and need support.

I also spend a large amount of time in the UK forum for cake chat, UK treasuries, sillyness and generally lovely people who help keep me sane. I occassionally venture into the other forums, etc for sillyness and promos for promotional opportunities. I may not post an awful lot but I do lurk around Site Help for interesting topics.

The Best Advertising is Free Advertising
(but cheap advertising is good too!)

The best promotional opportunities are the free ones, and the cheap ones... and there are plenty about. A front page, gift guide or storque feature can send your veiws thru the roof and also accumulate a few of those pesky sales. getting featured is a tricky business, I was lucky enough to be in Voter (I came 2nd to House of Mouse in the Wedding cake topper vote) which really boosted my sales and my confidence. See the storque for info on votes, you can nominate people on storque whenever the call for nominations is up. Only nominate yourself if it's appropriate tho if not nominate one of your favorites, share the love!

Treasury and T'west are member curated and you get the opportunity to be on front page if the Etsy Admins deem the treasury to be of high enough quality. The best way to get featured is to make sure your photos are of good quality, invest in a decent photo editing suite (I use photoshop elements, it's easy to use and relatively cheap), crop your images square. This is where your team helps too, teams are lovely people and will feature you in treasuries if you are lucky!
Project wonderful is something I was introduced to by AliBali, it's well worth checking out and you can find good places to advertise for a small fee. Make you ad and bid on advertising boxes on othe people blogs. I'm just finding my feet with this one so I'll let you know how it goes.

Pimp yourself, if not you who else? And Big up your friends, mention them on your blog... not got a blog get a blog and mention them there, rave to complete strangers about how great etsy is. Rave about how great you are, cos you are!

Twitter, Facebook, Blogs

Are all free and if you play the game right a good source of advertising. My personal facebook is just for friends but I do have a fan page here. Twitter has been a surprising source of advertising and sales for me so here are a few tips which I have found helpful:

Be Nice - reply to your twitter friends if they retweet/mention/follow friday you
Twitter Lots and Often- and not just links to your shop! Twitter other people's work, things you like, blog posts, interesting and funny stuff. There's nothing more boring than opening twitter to find you twitter stream full of links to the same thing.

Tag your links - #myetsy, you might get a gift guide feature, but use it wisely. I'm sure if you do that with your entire inventory the etsy gods will not smile favorably on you!

Unfollow the spammers!- Just cos you have 10million followers doesn't mean you'll get sales, I don't need to get breast implants, lose weight on the wonder plan or see celebrities in the buff! 1 genuine follower is worth more that 1 million spammers. And you twitter stream looks prettier for it!
Do follow other etsians, crafters, comedians, people who interest you. I took some advice when I first started twitter and joined a follow back scheme. All I got was boring spam. Yawn! Your twittering should be targeted... a guy who sells unicycle insurance isn't gonna be interested in my birds why should I be interested in him?
Advertise your Twitter- I have links to my twitter on my blog, just one click away from here!

Again, remember this is just my opinion but I feel these are social networking sites, so be social. I enquired on a forum thread about Twitter if I should have a personal one to follow my favorite comedians, actors, tv shows etc... the reply was "Don't, I am far too busy to follow socially!"... too busy to read 140 letters from Stephen Fry... Never!

The Best Piece of Advice I was Ever given

Change the Product!!!

This piece of advice is brought to you by the film KinkyBoots and the book Craft and Art: The Business. I started out making bags and purses, I sold a few but after a while I stopped enjoying it, it wasn't fun and it showed in my work and my shop. I was playing with needlefelt but didn't think it was good enough but i loved it so I thought what the heck... I opened The Felt Menagerie in February 2008 and it has been very very good to me...

Of course it's not an easy decision to make but I sat down and analysed why I wasn't selling... I was active in forums, listing regularly but I was working in a market that was already flooded with similar items for cheaper prices. I wasn't willing to drop my prices so I set out to find a more unique product and developed Tweets, they have changed and evolved over the last 18 months but these little birdies have been a great success!

My Top Tips
List Often and Lots
Join a forum, join a team
UK sellers stay up and list after midnight to better catch the US crowd
Twitter It!

Facebook It
Analyse What You are doing (there will be a future blog post about this)
Make a business plan but keep it fluid, things change, plans change and a rigid plan is a hinderance rather than a boon
Have fun
Love What you do

I hope this post has at least given someone somewhere one idea or inspiration, as a final thought remember it's your passion that drives your business so use it, love what you do.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

It's here!!! Brand new shop!

So a whole day of photographing and scanning and tearing my hair out and it's finally done. Inkmeup has arrived, I'm off to curl up with a brandy now! But I'll leave you with a few samples of what's to come.

The shops a little empty but I shall be filling it slowly but surely over the next few weeks, keep an eye out for opening bargains and all items have free secondary postage which means if you buy 2 or more items you only pay postage on one.

I had my first sale already which elicited a rather uncalled for swear word from my surprised mouth! So that's made me happy today, hopefully things will continue in the same vein!

Also I got my first etsy treasury for a very long time which I have named Inked in honour of my new shiney shop.

A Little Scanning Madness!

Big thanks to Stargazy for her suggestion of Inkmeup as a shop name, I love it!

Well the preparations for Inkmeup are continuing, the shop is in place, the policies are all completed, banner, avatar and profile are done... now all I need is stock! Today is a frenzy of scanning, photographing and generally going a bit nuts figuring out postal cost and what to charge for prints!Here are a few teaser pics to wet your appetite... now where did I put that camera again?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Things to do while etsy sleeps...

Waiting for etsy to come back on today so I could answer my convos from last night I did quite a lot! I went to the post office, cleaned the kitchen, photographed some stuff, installed a printer...

...and made cheese scones!
These are from my trusty bero book which I have had for years and my granny swore by, here's the recipe, it works really well with a nice mature chedder!