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

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...



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!


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:

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:

Or check out the original campaign page here:

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