Looking back over the year, I think it’s been overall quite a good one – here are a few of the 1st Unique Gifts highlights of 2012:
official photo with Theo Paphitis
I think possibly the number one highlight was meeting Theo Paphitis at the event he organised for #SBS winners. #SBS is a Twitter hashtag, and stands for Small Business Sunday. It’s something Theo set up with the aim of helping to promote small businesses. Each week he picks six small businesses (who have tweeted him) and he retweets them. It sounds such a small thing (and probably was when he very first started doing it!) but it has grown and grown. It now has its own website, and the event he hosted was just amazing. Inspiring, generous and fun. If you want more info, you’ll find it at the official Theo Paphitis SBS website.
It was a fabulous bonus that I also got to meet people who I had previously only known online. Charlotte was one of many who I felt privileged to chat to! A real pleasure and delight.
me with charlotte hupfield
2012 saw me starting a new blog at Handmade Harbour. I also transferred Handmade Monday over there, as it seemed to make more sense.
I’ve also tried to branch out a little into doing different things in 2012 – writing for magazines, designing, sewing, because (although I love painting plaques) I felt I needed to do more designing and less repetition (some of my painted designs are more popular than others, and sometime I feel like a one-woman-ten-paintbrush production line!).
I think branching out has helped me to find more balance in my working day (there’s more of what I’ve been doing on the Handmade Harbour blog).
I decided to stop taking part in fairs in 2012. That may sound a little negative, but it was for all the right reasons, I think. It was a simple time issue, and giving up fairs freed up a lot of time for doing other things.
some of my painted plaques at a craft fair
Anyone who does fairs will know they are time-consuming, especially when you consider the relatively small financial gain you get from them. When you consider the time spent making, packaging, travelling, putting a stall together, standing and talking to the public (or waiting for the pubic to arrive!), packing up the stall, fastening down gazebos, fighting off flying gazebos – well, you get the picture: selling online can be a much better option (and you know the loos at home will at least be clean and queue-free, without a muddy field between them and you).
If you are at the beginning of a handmade selling journey, don’t let me put you off the idea of craft fairs: yes, when you work out your hourly rate of pay it may be low – possibly even below the minimum wage – but the interaction with customers, the building of your business and the marketing you do is more than worthwhile. Even without the fabulous camaraderie with other stallholders and the making of new like-minded friends, I would recommend them. It’s just that there’s probably a time to leave them behind too. I’ll miss them, though, and at some point may even decide to go back and do the odd one or two favourites…
sunflower craft fest 2012
I think maybe 2013 will be about making room for everything I want to be part of my life. Balance is a wonderful thing, but it takes a lot of work to make it look effortless, I think.
I hope 2012 has been kind to you and 2013 will be even kinder! Happy New Year!