Handmade Haven, Sylvan Stories, Pyrography, ivy leaves painted with dot work pyrography

Supporting Other Creative Artisans – Sylvan Stories

Handmade Haven, Sylvan Stories Pyrographer, Hogwarts Crest, paint and dot work pyrographyI first met Claire at the school gate, when our boys went to the same school.  I love the style she uses…dot work…as it’s different to the normal pyrography you see.  The above was a gift for my 40th birthday a few years ago as she knows about my love for Harry Potter.  Then I’ve bought the House Stark plaque, the reindeer decoration, the flower plate and the absolutely gorgeous ivy bowl.

It seemed only natural that I would ask her if she’d like to collaborate on something for my business, so last year these gorgeous little wooden decorations were finished, and they now appear on the large gift sets.  The wood she used for these ones came from fallen branches and some re-purposed table legs.  Perfect!  Claire is still on maternity leave at the minute but if you’d like to take a look at her other work, you can find her here and here.

Handmade Haven, Sylvan Stories Pyrographer, Gift Set Decorations, Pamper Gift SetHandmade Haven, Sylvan Stories Pyrographer, Gift Set Decorations, zero waste decorations

Handmade Haven, Sylvan Stories Pyrographer, Gift Set Decorations, Pamper Gift Set, natural gift sets, zero waste decorations

Handmade Haven erank login

Help with your Etsy Shop – eRank

Following on from my previous post about my Etsy shop I wanted to talk about this fab website that helps all Etsy sellers with their listings.  Etsy’s algorithm is complicated, so they release guidelines in the Etsy Sellers Handbook, which, let’s be honest, most people ignore and go on hearsay 😉 but eRank uses those guidelines to create a variety of tools so we can sort out our SEO.

There’s a free version, but I subscribe to the pro version.  It gives you so many tools so you can help yourself, but I haven’t managed to use at least half of them yet!  I’m currently working my way through the listing audits, which assesses everything from your title right through to tags and pictures.  Other tools I find useful at the minute are the keyword finder and the profit calculator.  You can also track up to 30 of your competitors!  That can get a little distracting and you must always remember to keep your eyes on your own lane 😉. Competition is good but not at the expense of your mental health.

eRank have a Facebook page too which has been useful.  I don’t post much but I do read what others have posted.

If you think you need a bit of help with your Etsy shop I’d highly recommend giving it a look.

handmade haven, handmade haven soaps, etsy shop

My Little Etsy Shop

I’ve had my little Etsy shop since 2012, although I wasn’t really brave enough to actually put anything in it until a couple of years later!  I used to sell my soaps and goodies at local craft fairs and through word of mouth.  It was great that you got to speak to the customers in person, talk to them about the ingredients and the process – I maybe talked too much sometimes 😉  Taking that plunge to put my things into the big wide world was a little daunting to say the least, but I’m so glad I did.

A gift set with a sugar face scrub, charcoal soap and reusable makeup remover pads. Face Pampering Gift Set

I do have another Etsy shop (had it far longer than the soap shop) that used to sell wool felt, ribbons and supplies, and still sells a few decorations and things that I’d made.  When you sell things that you’ve made though, rather than supply things for other people to make, that’s what makes it special.  It’s even more special when people come back to you as repeat customers!  Then there’s some happy dancing going on while I’m packing orders 😉

If you’d like to keep up to date with the happenings in my shop, and receive discounts and offers, then you can sign up to my newsletter.  It’ll be monthly-ish, it won’t be too long, nor full of stuff you don’t need.

I’m nearing a big sales milestone – 3000!!!!! – so I may have to throw a little party, or perhaps I can have a give-away…or maybe have some little thank you’s for my customers.  What do you think?  ♥

Organic Cotton Muslin Makeup Remover Pads, Handmade Haven

You’re never too old to learn!

I find that all creatives struggle with the selling side of things, the marketing of themselves and their goods.  I’m definitely no different.  Businesses cannot run on just the ‘making’ unfortunately (pants I know!) so we have to wear many other hats – accountant, salesman, social media expert, marketing expert, blah, blah 😉 …..Since I joined the membership Indie-Roller group on Facebook, I’ve had to force myself out of my comfort zone so many times, had to force myself to get better at all these things.  Even show myself!  Afterwards I’ve always been so surprised at myself, that I could actually do whatever it was.

This week is no different!  Leona organized accountability groups to keep us on track with the goals that we need to achieve.  We had our first zoom meeting (online with webcams/phones) so we could all meet and tell the group members our goals for the coming month.  We then chat once a week to keep each other going – our own cheerleaders who will kick us up the bum (or help us) if we need it. Yay…it was amazing.

My goal for the month was to set up a newsletter through mail chimp.  It’s been running round in my head for the past month, as I know I needed to get it done.  After the meet up on Monday I was absolutely buzzing, so Tuesday I spent the afternoon sorting it out, learning, testing, sending out test emails, etc, and ItS OnLy BlOoMiNg ReAdY!!

So..if you’d like to sign up to my very first mailing list, you’ll make me very happy (plus you’ll receive a discount code to use in my Etsy shop 😉 )

Handmade Haven Draining Soap Bowl. Handmade, Stoneware.

Supporting Other Creative Artisans – Sessa Ceramics

It’s hard work running your own little business, especially when you have a family and you make everything yourself, but it does make me incredibly proud (if a little grey-er sometimes!).  The one thing that I commission someone else to make are my gorgeous soap bowls.  I met Kjersti at a local craft fair a few years ago, where I’d been admiring the goodies on her stall.

Handmade Haven Shaving Bowl Pale Blue

She made a sample for me, we’ve tweaked it a couple of times in between, but she’s been supplying my shop ever since.  I love that as self-employed business women we are able to support each other in this way.  When you hear of so many small businesses struggling it is very heartening.

Handmade Haven, draining stoneware soap bowl.

She makes the cutest little animals…Pop over and say hello to her on her Facebook page.  She’s attends many local events in and around Hull if you’re ever about.

Rollercoaster Make it Happen membership group

Community – The Rollercoaster : Make It Happen

A few weeks ago I talked about The Indie Rollercoaster group on Facebook, and I mentioned that I’d just joined the membership group run by the lovely Leona Thrift-ola. It’s been such an amazing week, so I thought I’d shout about it here 😁.

Each week we focus on something different, with Leona bringing in a guest to do a live chat. We have workbooks to go through, which makes us think seriously about what we’d like from our business and where we’d like our business to go. We’ve covered things like business plans, our own version of success, finances, copyright, social media, visibility and community. We work on the good bits and the bits that make us feel uncomfortable. This past week we were set a few challenges. We could work through these by writing a post, by making a video or going live in the group if we felt we could. I felt sick thinking about the latter two…I hate anything like that. But…by the end of the week I’d done three videos and I went live for the last challenge! I felt awesome!

I have learnt so much from this group..from the other members too. It’s like having your own cheer leading team, that is made up of knowledgeable, awesome peeps that are happy to share, hold and support each other. Each of us are on a slightly different part of the path, but we can see each other and reach out if we need to.

If you are looking to find some awesome support then I wouldn’t hesitate in joining the main group – The Rollercoaster of Running an Indie Business.  Leona is also opening up the membership group to new members in a few weeks, so if you want to push yourself that bit further (for your and your biz) I would wholeheartedly recommend that too.  Honestly, it’s the best thing I’ve done to help my business this year.

Blogtacular entry band

Brain-Melting Blogtacular!

Blogtacular 2018 Kat Molesworth Hello

Wow!  My first Blogtacular!  What an absolutely amazing experience.  This was my first ever business conference and what a conference it was.

Handmade Haven at Blogtacular 2018

There was the opening Keynote speech by Tiffany Han then three workshops (I chose SEO, Pinterest then Instagram Stories) and then the closing keynote by Anthony Burrill.  By the end I felt completely exhausted but inspired.  The room was full of awesome business women – and a couple of men – who were all there to learn from and support each other.

 

 

When I got back to the hotel I felt overwhelmed so I  went for a walk round London for a couple of hours, then slept the whole night!  My brain has been whirring since…I’ve got loads of notes, loads more to add to my to-do list, loads of new things to learn, but I’m so looking forward to working through them.  Tuesday was the first day I felt normal again (sorry to anyone who saw me on the Monday on the plummet down!)

Blogtacular 2018, event photos

Blogtacular 2018 © Will Ireland