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?  ♥

Bulk buying nuts, suma wholesale, Handmade Haven

Home Life – Bulk Buying

Bulk buying from suma wholesale, 1kg, seeds, Handmade Haven

We make our own seed mix

 

Years ago we used to have a regular delivery from Suma Wholesale, where we would bulk buy things like nuts, seeds, shower gel, spices, loo rolls etc.  This month I’ve resurrected the delivery…whoop!  I don’t need to get the loo rolls anymore as I use Who Gives a Crap, but I can get all the other things I’ve missed.  I love that I can buy in bigger quantities, meaning there is a little less packaging to try and get rid of, and I can reuse the boxes for sending out my own customers orders.  I also love that I’m supporting smaller, more ethical businesses with my choices.

Doves farm digestives, Handmade Haven

Hubby’s favourite biscuits 😉

Having bulk deliveries means that you need to have an extra bit of space to store everything.  It also means that some things are cheaper than buying in a supermarket.  If you don’t need 6 or 12 packs of something, or you just don’t have the space to store everything, maybe you can start a local group, then you can share the benefits.  If the order is big enough there’s free delivery too.

Bulk buying, suma wholesale, cinnamon sticks, handmade Haven gift set decorations

Gift box decorations 😀

If you care sandwich bags from suma wholesale. Handmade Haven

 

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 😉 )

Art Matters, Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell, EartH, Hackney, Lauren Laverne, Handmade Haven

Art Matters – An Evening with Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell

Art Matters, Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell, EartH, Hackney, Lauren Laverne, Handmade Haven

Let the chat begin

On Wednesday evening my hubby and I went to the Art Matters evening at the newly opened EartH in Hackney.  Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors and Chris Riddell is one of my absolute favourite illustrators, so for us to be there felt incredibly special.  The talk was very informal but very inspiring, sometimes poignant and sometimes funny – Chris is very funny 😉  We had an amazing evening!

Edited to add the video, as they recorded it on the night 😀

I’ve always been creative in one way or another, whether it be sewing, knitting or making soaps.  I’d not considered it to be an art form, but I suppose being creative is artistic and vice versa.  I’d also never really thought about the business I have as creative until yesterday, but when I think about everything I do for it (I make everything from the products to the labels) then it is creative – just another form of it.  If you asked my hubby if he was creative then he would definitely say no!  but when you look at the hot rod he made (he designed it, designed parts for it, built it) then he is definitely creative too.   I don’t know what I would do without being able to be creative…I think I may go mad 😉

To all you people out there who think you aren’t artistic or creative…art comes in many forms…pick up a pencil, try new things, join a group, pop to the charity shop and find some knitting needles and wool, balance some stones on a river bed, draw pictures in the sand.  It doesn’t need to be expensive, or cost you anything at all – whatever you choose, your mind and body will thank you for it ♥

Art Matters, Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell, EartH, Hackney, Lauren Laverne, Handmade Haven
Waiting in line, Art Matters
Handmade Haven Natural Bath Salts, Patchouli and Orange, 200g Glass Kilner Jar

Home Spa Treats – Bath Salts

Handmade Haven natural bath salts, Hint of Vanilla. 200g jar.

Handmade Haven Natural Bath Salts

I love making these bath salts!  It feels like when you were a child (in the 70s/80s for me) and you had a bag of sherbet that you used to stir with your fingers.  I don’t use my fingers for these but it is great fun all the same!

Handmade Haven, Natural Salt Sachets. Bath Salts, Foot Soak Salts. Lavender

Handmade Haven, Natural Salt Sachets 50g

I make them in 6 different scents – Citrus Zing (definitely smells like sherbet), Sensual, Lavender (with chamomile and calendula), Frankincense & Myrrh, Patchouli & Orange, and Hint of Vanilla. Each has a base of Himalayan salt and Epsom salt, then I add essential oils and botanicals. Nothing nasty goes in ☺️

Handmade Haven Natural bath salts, lavender, chamomile and calendula. Jar 200g
Handmade Haven Bath Salts – Lavender, Chamomile and Calendula.

I usually shower, and if I have a bath I use the bath fizzes, so I usually use the salts as a foot soak instead.  I have this fab enamel bowl, then just place a towel underneath and I have a towel to the side ready.  Heaven…

Handmade Haven foot soak bath salts, himalayan salt epsom salt
Perfect

Do you like bath salts?  I’d love to know how you use them.

Moler inc, red Volksrod pick up, built not bought

Built Not Bought

I thought I’d introduce you to my Hubby’s pride and joy….

Red volksrod, open wheeled, flat bed with engine showing. VW Hotrod.

Moler Inc Volksrod

We’ve had VWs in one form or another for 15 years or so, but he wanted to do something different with this one. He has spent the last four years building this…He’s such a perfectionist too, so there probably isn’t a single thing that he made, and was happy with it the first time round😂😂.  The attention to detail is ridiculous – for example, he drilled thousands of holes in the door cards so that he could then hand-stitch the pattern exactly as he wanted it 😁. If you fancy taking a better look, he is Moler_inc on Instagram.

Volksrod, hood ornament, custom hood ornament, moler inc. Cast from resin.

Moler Inc Hood Ornament

Handmade Haven Draining Soap Bowl. Handmade, Stoneware.

Supporting Other Creative Artisans

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.