Hello from the new creative central hub of Falcieri Designs. I’ve been settling nicely into my new work routine. Working from home again feels very cosy and I’m more inspired than I have been in quite some time.
I’ve made a number of items including finally focusing on two long simmering projects. Firstly, upcycle bags. Here are a few photos if you weren’t sure where that was going. The fabrics are either garments I no longer wear or vintage off-cuts that I have acquired over time and aren’t big enough to use anywhere else. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this project as creatively it’s very freeing to be able to design in this way and it has given me the kick start I needed. They are also relatively quick and easy to make, and small variations are easy to include if you are a hoarder of buttons and buckles like me. They look great on these sorts of projects but don’t sit so well on my dress creations.
I hve also been working on a 1950s wrap top that appeared in Life Magazine as a DIY ‘make it yourself’ project. It’s not a kept secret or under any copyright but there don’t seem to be too many out in the world. As they use minimal fabric, they are also perfect for using up smaller lengths of fabric and unwanted clothing items that deserve a second chance.
I have been truly inspired back into a productive work pattern and it’s been a while since I’ve felt like this. My new environment hasn’t been a hindrance, and, in fact, I’d forgotten how much I like being home-based.
As well as these creations which are now in my Etsy store and swelling the numbers, I have added a vast number of other items to my store, mostly garments that have been in my draft box for a while, and a number of sundries that I am unlikely to use in my work. Space is at a premium now. My studio is less than half the size it used to be. Before, when I had room, it was easy to put things into a corner to sort on a rainy day which never came. If you have the space you will fill it, afterall. This is a priviledge I no longer have, but at least it means I have no room for unnecessary hoarding. I know exactly what is in my studio and why it is there. It’s a good feeling when creativity can be so messy and uncoordinated at times.
One of the biggest challenges I now face is my lack of affordable photo space (Progress Centre scrapped the photo studio they had to rent long before I left). I am already reduced to photographing smaller items up against the only blank wall I have in my flat that is large enough for a mannequin, and I am using my mobile phone. It is far from adequate, but I have some serious logistical and financial issues now when it comes to photographing garments. I haven’t found a solution to this yet and for larger items, I’m not sure how to approach the problem. The weather is deteriorating so days for outside shoots are few and far between and coordinating perfect weather with other people who may not have such a flexible work arrangement as me, is far from easy.
On another note, Etsy is doing well. It’s been three months since I last updated my Etsy stats (23rd June) and there has been a lot going on. Moving, which has injected new life into my creativity, is reflected in the number of listings I now have on Etsy – 170. This is largely thanks to all the sundries I have been listing. However, this serves its own purpose as you will see. Increasing the number of items in my store has been an important aim of mine for quite a while. The larger your store, the more hits you get. As your store grows it is found by more people. Whether that is Etsy algorithms at work, or simply that better populated stores are more attractive to customers, I am not sure. Either way, sales are paramount to my survival now, so I have to become that sales person, as much as the manufacturer and that is why quicker, simpler projects have been important this last month.
Christmas is just around the corner now, and it would be remiss of any Etsy store owner not to make the most of people’s spending power. I have been reevaluating my scheduled posts on Hootsuite and the tag words in my listings on Etsy to try and harness some of the most useful words to be found by customers as the festivities approach. It’s a learning curve and not something I have ever truly mastered or get especially enthusiastic about. The advice all depends on your business too. What works for one seller won’t necessarily work for another. Specific hashtags might not get you found, but if your product is very specific or niche market and you use a few key words that the shopper on the street would have in mind, it might be all you need to make those important sales.
I have broken up the images below into months as I always do, so you can see the difference as I went from my old studio, to a month of moving and not working, to being settled in my new studio and populating my Etsy store. These months all work from the 24th of one month, to the 23rd of the next. I think you will agree that there have been some noticeable changes. According to the stats on Etsy, Instagram, Google and Hootsuite have the most pulling power externally, bringing potential new customers to my shop.
Instagram works far better on a knee jerk reaction for me. I have stopped advertising products on it, noone goes to Insta for that, and I have gone back to my old style of posting ‘manufacture in process’ and other close up details and curios which my followers clearly prefer and which is what I would want to see there too. These images are the behind the scenes that inspire shoppers and the upcycle community to look further into what I do, because what I do is only made by me in my own studio. I am sure it’s the same for other creative businesses injecting the human element into their work.
July – August
August / September
September / October
It’s one thing filling a store of course, but it’s quite another selling things from it. That is something for another blog entry. I do make sales and in this last month I have made more sales than I usually do, but they are small items. Financially it is nothing worth reporting – for now. But I am sure that will follow if I keep up the momentum.
A variety of items, a dependability of style (don’t try and stock everything for everybody) and a healthy and interesting diversity within those styles will draw the right people in. Then it’s simply a case of keep going. The fact is that what I make (and what you make) will not appeal to everyone. That is not how it works. It’s a case of finding YOUR customer, not everyone elses and it takes time to develop that kind of following and achieve the sales you want. Never expect miracles. There is no such thing as an overnight success.
Watch this space.