Monday, 28 October 2013

what's in a name?....

People often ask me how I came up with the name fizzi~jayne makes....   So let me tell you ~ Fizz was my nickname at school (and a name that my Dad still calls me).  Jayne is my middle name and I make things!

I added the "...." as the plan was always to add more variety of products to my range and be more than cards, it is a kind of watch this space/ fill in the gaps style of approach.  I kept the name all lower case just to be different and rebel against the grammar rules, apologies to my English teacher and all those who are sticklers for grammatical correctness, I just like to break the rules. 

I googled various options of spelling of the name and agonised over it and the ease of spelling for far too long. I asked work colleagues and friends for their thoughts and so that is how I reached fizzi~jayne makes....

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Berkhamsted Artisans Art & Crafts Market....

I had my first stall at the Berkhamsted Artisans Art & Crafts Market last Sunday, there were other newbies there which was nice and there was a great camaraderie feel about it. 

There wasn't much footfall, it was thunder, lightning and generally a miserable wet day (thankfully it was an indoor market, I felt for the farmer's market that was outside!).  It was the sort of day if I didn't have to leave my house I wouldn't have so I can imagine a lot of people stayed in the dry and who can blame them!  The good news is everyone was in the same boat so although sales were low, it wasn't just me.

All set up and ready to go

Me and my stall

I produced a flyer with an exclusive 10% off promo code to use in my Etsy shop so I can track how many customers have visited my shop and bought my cards since seeing my stall.  It is a shame Folksy don't do promotional codes yet, there are lots of requests on the forums so hopefully they will get this sorted soon as is a great way to track success of any kind of marketing and in this instance the craft market.

Free sweets!

I need to improve my sales technique, which is odd seeing as my career has been in marketing and most recently I spent my day writing features and benefits for toilets, yep toilets! The trouble is it is now personal and I find it hard to big myself up but the more I do it the more I will improve. One of my strengths has always been my people skills, so I need to get a grip and just talk to potential customers like I would anybody else and let my bubbly self shine!

Sales = 2 :-(
Business cards/ promo leaflet taken = lots, I lost count but I certainly am reassured that they were interested in my cards and with the promo code I can track how true this is.
New ideas for my display = 7

My next one is 17th November, with it being closer to Christmas I hope it will be more successful, plus I am working on some exciting new products and displays, watch this space....

Who else has recently had a stall at a craft fair?  Was it a success? I would love to hear about it....

Monday, 21 October 2013

A week of food and goodbyes....

Last week was an emotional one, it was my last week at the 9-5.  I didn't enjoy the goodbyes but I am so excited to be able to focus on my passion and get on with all the exciting ideas I have.  I have made some good friends at work so a lot of the goodbyes will be "see ya later". Being my last week it was a week of eating lunch out a lot and since starting this blog I am now one of those people that now takes pictures of everything, EVERYTHING including my food.

One of many indulgencies this week, yummy!

and of course there were leaving drinks, everyone kept buying me drinks! which explains the fuzzy pic (The Guinness is not mine!)

I got lovely leaving gifts from work....

A tea pot, we have tea ladies (not the cliché tea lady you might have in mind but staff from the local sandwich shop) that come round with a tea trolley twice a day, who were the highlight of my day, I have often said I am going to miss them as I now have to make my own, I know, disgraceful! (I wonder if they would do house visits?!).  I also got a book, Handmade Marketplace, which looks really interesting and useful.  I can't wait to read it and then tell you all about it.  Plus Cath Kidston Scrapbook and stationery plus a friend bought me a scarf which is sooooo me....

Oo and chocolates, so I was very spoilt. 

Now for the next chapter of my life and being my own boss, yay!


Saturday, 19 October 2013

My main thought this week has been....

What is my niche? 
In an earlier post, Why do I need a plan?,asked myself the questions, what am I going to sell to hit those sales numbers? What is my niche? 

Online is a huge marketplace, if I only look at Folksy and Etsy, the amount of talented makers & sellers are impressive. 

So how do I compete? I need to stand out and have a niche.
I love making cards, it is what I have become known for but it is a saturated marketplace.  What makes me stand out, my USP (Unique Selling Point) in marketing speak.  My intention was always to do more than cards and I now have the time to explore the other areas of craft I love ~ I love constructing 3D designs from paper and card, I sew (my degree is in Fashion), I enjoy cross stitch, photography and I have recently taught myself to make jewellery. 
What is a niche....
A niche = Your specialism + Your target customer
Benefits of a niche....
  • What I become famous for - an expert in that field, making it easier to stand out from the crowd and get noticed
  • Easily defined product
  • Easily defined market.  By knowing who my customer is keeps marketing costs low, customer loyalty high and deeper revenue with those customers
By thinking about the following will help me find my niche....
  • Values - Quality of product and service.  I hate poor service and not getting value for money.  Good quality supplies are important to me, I also aim to buy British where I can and support our economy.  I want to be known for excellent customer service, treat my customers how I like to be treated.
  • Passions - creating, designing, making pretty things that makes someone feel special - so not product specific but a start
  • Talents - I am not very good at blowing my own trumpet but I would say I have a talent in designing, a good eye for colour and I am creative, all of which I hope shows through my products
  • Ideal clients - This is tough as ideally, anyone who buys!  A question posed to me was which customers challenge me and who do I enjoy working with?
So I need to do some more work to find my niche and be able to answer the above, so the plan is....
  • Product - Cards will always have a place in my range but what else can I create to complement them?  I will now have the time to try all the different projects I want to do and test different markets, not only what sells but what I love doing.  The way I am going to do this is make products relating to a theme and have a "collection" for example Christmas is a great theme to create a range of products.
  • Online sales - Both Etsy and Folksy provide stats for my page and I also use Google Analytics which is free. By looking at these I can see what has been viewed and purchased.  The disadvantage of online is you can see what products are looked at but you don't know why they didn't buy
  • Craft fairs - This will fill in the gaps that online stats don't answer.  Craft fairs and markets are great for free market research, I'm going to speak to people to find my ideal customer, what they like about my products, what they buy and who buys them and what turns them off. 
I have a stall at Berkhamsted Town Hall tomorrow, it is my first time at the Berkhamsted Artisans Art & Craft Market, I am really looking forward to it and if you can come along it would be great to see you but if you can't make it don't worry, I will be posting pictures on my Facebook page and on Twitter during the day and you can be sure to read all about it here in a future post....
Berkhamsted Town Hall Postcode is HP4 3AP


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Something I just have to share....

If you have been reading my blog you may have noticed I have been playing with the layout.  I have been learning how to make improvements through Googling and I came across this blog post by diy Design Fanatic who made it so easy to get the social media icons that link to my pages without HTML writing!  There is a video tutorial from Blogaholic Designs on the post as well as a link to craftiments where I got the icons.

Thank you Pam for doing all the hard work for me I am so pleased I found this and successfully did it so I had to share it.

What do you think of the tweaks I have made?

Sunday, 6 October 2013

So I've quit the 9-5...

Eeeek!! I wasn't planning this so soon!  My full time job is too intense to be able to focus as much time on fizzi~jayne as I need to if I want to make a proper go of it as a credible business.  I only really have the weekend, I don't want to sound "o poor me",  I just reached a point where I can't do any more and grow fizzi~jayne into a proper business unless I don't sleep and I am the kind of girl that needs her 8 hours. I also want to be able to spend time with friends and family instead of feeling selfish and feeling that I have neglected them.

The final straw was when we had a restructure 4 months ago and everything I liked about my job changed and other events started pointing me towards making this decision.  I have so many ideas that I never have the time to do, so I have made the difficult life decision to quit my stressful job to be able to focus on my passion.  I will be poor but I hope to be balanced and happy. 

Great news, hey?!?

Let me introduce you to my view from my new office....

A view from my craft den.  The farmer has ploughed the field, so not as pretty as it can be but I will share pics over the seasons
What I am looking forward to:
  • I get to do what I love everyday, woo~hoo!
  • Being my own boss
  • I can dance in my office if I want to!
  • I'll have a 60 second commute
  • Having the time to network with like~minded, creative people
  • Starting all the projects I have wanted to do and test different markets
  • Going to work in my tracksuit bottoms and an old Bon Jovi T-Shirt
  • I will have an amazing view from my desk which will constantly change with the seasons and depending on what the farmer plants next.
  • Working the hours I choose
  • I won't miss the office politics
  • Now my hobby is officially a form of income (hopefully) I can read all the books I have been meaning to for ages and only get to read on holiday.
  • Most importantly feeling happier, healthier and more balanced.
I want to thank everyone who has supported me and convinced me to follow my dream, without great friends and family this would have been an impossible decision to make.

Who else is burning out?  What have you done to get balance in your life? Or are you just working every hour you physically can?  I would love to hear from you.

If I can offer any reassurance, all the hard work and stress will be worth it when the day comes that you can earn money from what you love. There comes a point when you need to decide when to get serious. There are only so many hours in the day/week/year and you will know when that is and it is a difficult decision to make. 

fizzi~jayne x