Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Counting down the sleeps...

We are now two sleeps away from the first Handmade Craft Market for 2014.

I am so excited I can barely contain myself!

This time we are at a new venue and a new venue adds an extra element to a market.

There’ll be such a buzz on Sunday morning when all of us stallholders rock up ready to set up. As we locate our new positions and suss out who’s next to us or behind us there will be an air of expectancy – we will set up with bated breath knowing that the customers love a new venue, that market day will be different and that it will be an exciting day with new faces, old friends and sales while we get ready to celebrate Easter.

Stallholders are finishing items this week; packing all that storage I spoke about last week and resting up for Sunday.

We can’t wait to see you, show you some amazing handmade, handcrafted and crafting supplies.

Come down and say hi and don’t forget to drop your gold coin in the collection at the front door, this market’s entry money will go to Care for the Coast.

Care for the Coast –
Care for the Coast are community members on a quest to help struggling families on the Central Coast. Their Facebook page is for people that want to join them in the cause, give them some feedback, or that just want to follow their progress. With the main priority being ease the financial burden of families on the Coast, but also wishing to unite the Coast in their cause by supporting and promoting community events.

See you there!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

For your first market...

There are so many little details that can escape you on market day. Even as an experienced stall holder things can slip your mind so I've asked all the ladies from the Handmade Craft Market what advice they would give to new stall holders and those starting out in a small, handmade business.

They are in no particular order, cover a range of things and help you plan your stall. 

Practice setting up your display before market day, make sure it is visually appealing, with neat, attractive table coverings. Interact with people, speaking to them, greeting them - don't sit there reading or playing with your phone. Talk to other stall holders - make new friends and enjoy the market day.

Make sure everything is priced clearly and decide ahead of time if you accept haggling or not. It's rare, but people will try it sometimes. Have a good cash float and don't leave sorting it out until the last minute. If all your prices are rounded to neat dollars you won't need silver coins. If everything is rounded to 5 or 0 endings you won't need any gold coins.

Make the most of your space. Visit lots of different markets and look at how other stalls are set up and how they display their products, talk to the stall holders as well. Get family and friends to road test your goods and get their feedback.

Be nice to the market organiser. They are doing their best and your support will go a long way.

If there is no marketing there is no business. Use the market as a marketing opportunity to reach potential customers. They may not purchase from you on the day but they may go home, think about it and tell their friends. So collaborating with the market organiser to get the word out will be a great step in promoting our wares to the local community - so share, share, share!

Respect your fellow stallholders. Be nice to them, lend a hand if needed (toilet breaks etc), we all work hard at our crafts and we all deserve to be treated with courtesy.

Be passionate about what you sell. Customers can tell if you believe in your product.

Keep any negative comments or experiences about anything for the trip home. Stall holders pick up on any negative vibe.  

Make a list and check things off as you pack and unpack. Keep a list of what you sell as well that way you can match up your lists and check for things like stolen goods - not a nice thought but it can happen.

Think about cool/cheap ways to give a little height or dimension to your stall - try and think of your market table as a shop window - it's never flat, they always have interesting pieces to give dimension.

If you have access to a laminator, print signs and laminate them as it saves you having to re-do them or signs becoming tacky from tape going market to market.

Have a draw card product or something that's specially priced. People may be drawn in by a 'Market Special' sign and then once they are at your stall you have the opportunity to interact with them.

If you are planning on attending lots of markets an eftpos machine is highly recommended. For the outlay of the machine each month it pays for itself - especially around Christmas time - when people say they are going out to an ATM they may not return and you've lost a sale.

Try not to put little pieces towards the front of the stand where little fingers are going to pick them up constantly. The last thing Mums want to be doing all day while they're trying to enjoy the market is telling littlies to put it down or don't touch, or feeling embarrassed when a stall holder gets up tight because the kids have touched something. If you don't want kids touching it, don't put it at their eye level and within their grasp.

Have your bags ready with your business cards included. Sometimes its easy to get flustered if you have a few customers at one time, so try and streamline your sales process by having things ready and within reach.

Print off some thank you notes with a small discount or free shipping etc for customers that purchase from you. When you are thanking them for their purchase tell them you have an online store, can be found on Facebook etc and that you have included a voucher for them to use. They have purchased from you because they love your goods, so try and keep them as a regular customer with a little incentive to visit your online store after the market.

I can't wait to see you at the market on Sunday, especially at the new venue. Counting down the sleeps now!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


We are only a couple of weeks out from the Handmade Craft Market’s first 2014 market and at a brand new venue to boot!

This post I’d like to talk to you about storage.

We all use a variety of storage – at home, in the car, at work and at the markets – but how often do you lament its lack?

Storage is one of those things that many of us have a love/hate relationship with, often flitting between the two extremes in an effort to gain some control over our ‘stuff’.

Market stock is no exception.

If you were to be a fly on the wall on market set up day you would see the stallholders in a steady stream unloading bags, boxes, tubs and stands so we can all look beautifully set up for you – the customers – those storage containers that we carefully pack, label and trundle into our cars the night before are the single most important thing behind our products.

I personally use a variety of tubs and bags because my goods are a mix of soft and hard items. Quilts are better rolled up (not folded as that leaves wear marks) and popped in a bag, along with my tablecloths and anything soft and bulky. Tubs are reserved for books and magazines, pre-packaged items like kits and fabric bundles, small haberdashery items (mainly so they don’t get lost) and my small stands that I can fold up (this keeps them from poking holes in the bags).

Most other stallholders use a similar sort of combination tailoring it to their products – many adding packaging like bubble wrap for delicate items like candles, soap, glassware and jewellery – and we’ve all been doing markets for a while now so we’ve got it down pat.

When it comes to storage, trolleys go hand-in-hand with the whole process as none of us wants to over do it, straining muscles and backs. So along with the plethora of bags, tubs and tables you’ll see us all wheeling trolleys and stands into the building on market day.

I can’t speak for other stallholders on how they store their stock when not at markets but for myself – it all goes back onto its proper shelves in my studio ready for the next mail order.  I like to be able to see everything, be able to keep an eye on stock levels and know exactly what is where and that it’s within easy reach when needed.

Storage is important for everyone, but it takes time to get the balance right.

My top tips for storage:

1.     Do your research before purchasing.
2. Calculate the quantity you will need – measure your items (weigh them if needed) and use a volume   equation to work it out.
3. Buy quality storage items – the cheap stuff will give up on you when you least expect it.
4. Keep your storage consistent, as this will allow you to store your storage more efficiently (stacking tubs etc).
5. Return items to their correct storage, don’t use your tubs as a dumping zone as you will create more work for yourself later with a de-clutter session.

Pop back soon for more interesting bits and pieces as we head towards the Handmade Craft Market.

See you next time!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Only 2 more weeks!

Yes that is right, only two more weeks until the first Handmade Craft Market of 2014 at our new location, Terrigal High School, Charles Kay Drive, Terrigal. Sunday, 30th March from 9.30am - 2.30pm. We will have loads of handmade, home grown, hand crafted stalls including; clothing, accessories, homewares, handbags, jewellery, delicious take home delicacies and yummy hot food. There will be activities for the kids, including Zorb balls and the opportunity to create their own rainbow clothing. There is a gold coin entry donation to Care for the Coast. Hope you can join us at the Central Coast's only handmade market!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Joy of Crafting...

As the stall holders for the Handmade Craft Market are in the final stages of preparing for the Christmas market I thought now would be the time to ask why there are so many of us who craft.

Having a hobby is a great way to relieve stress, relax, enjoy some alone time, create, learn and teach. Many of the HCM stall holders indulged in their hobby turning it into a business, they've taken an extra step in the process, bringing the joy they take in their hobby to the public and sharing the wonderful feelings that only true handmade can do.

For many of us though crafting can be a kind of therapy - when times get hard, such as depression or grief the simple act of making something with your hands can be a kind of release for your emotions, allowing your brain and your heart a bit of a time out as you focus on your creation. 

Here are some of the reasons our stall holders create - 

"I have always enjoyed doing things with my hands that also requires using my head to calculate, and intuition to know what will work, whether it be hand crafts, cooking or repairing things. Knowing that I can create something worthwhile that is needed has always been a joy to me. Soap and balm making was a craft I took up out of desperate necessity - my children and I reacted to too many ingredients in commercial products, and we were running out of options. Being a crafty person it was only natural that I would try make what we needed. Moving on to selling my products was partly out of my need to do something with all my 'extras' and partly out of wanting to help others. Seeing customers being able to relax in the knowledge that someone has done all the research and thinking to cater to their needs gives me even more fulfilment than just crafting for my home." - Kaylene, Naked Eden

"I create because my quilting is my oxygen. It keeps me sane, grounded and gives me purpose. It brings me joy when I see peoples faces when they receive something that I've made - whether it's directly from me or as a gift that someone has purchased from me for them." - Marni, Frankenstein's Fabrics

"I craft because as a creative person it is a way to restore my sense of self in the crazy world I live in. I love to create things for other people as its a wonderful way to spread some love." Julie, Merry go Round Crafts

"Creating is a compulsion for me ... I get twitchy if I'm not making something. I LOVE to figure out the easiest, most efficient and cost effective way of doing any given craft. And most of all I love to teach, because creativity is in all of us, and seeing lightbulbs go on when someone finds their "thing" is divine." Dawn, DawnLewis/Hello Dollies

"I bake and decorate cookies because these little pieces of edible art satisfy my creative spirit and because I believe life should be sweet." Rhian, Flyawaypineapple

"Creating gives me a break from being mum, I get to do something for myself and escape for five minutes (until the screams start)." Natalie, Quirky Designs for Kids

The joys of crafting can be shared - simply by purchasing handmade products as gifts for friends and family you too can participate in the cycle of spreading such wonderfully uplifting items.

If you would like to learn some crafting don't forget we are running some special classes at the Christmas market. Click here for more information.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Shop Handmade this festive season...

With Christmas now only 48 days away its time to get organised!

And this year let’s make being organised by buying handmade!

Every single day of the year the stall holders of the HCM are working tirelessly towards their goals of creating handmade items – whether it be clothes, bags, quilts, soap, candles or food – to sell at local markets around the coast and beyond.

Those stall holders invest their time and money into websites, Facebook and other social media, marketing strategies, photography and that always loved of duties – paperwork – to get the job done. These stall holders are usually a one-person operation with items being designed and cut out in the dark of night when small children are in bed, hand-sewn while waiting for school pick ups and displayed beautifully every market.

This Christmas Market is also a great chance for you to learn some new crafting skills that you could put to use in making your own handmade goodies for gifts.
You could learn to make a set of stylish cards, learn all about Copic markers or even how to use that poor, old ugly fabric that’s hiding in your stash. Our teachers are knowledgeable, friendly and ready to help you create!

For all the information on classes including how to book check out the previous blog post here.

Make a choice this Christmas and support the Central Coast’s crafting community.

Hope to see you there!