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Sunday 27 November 2011


Hi everyone

27 days to go to Christmas - with the mild weather we have been having, seems a little strange to be rushing towards a time that we often associate with snow, cold weather.  In fact at the events I attended over the last few days, people were commenting that this time last year travel was difficult, the temperature was bitter and we were knee-deep in snow.  Lovely though it is to look at, please Mr Weather Man, keep the snow away for as long as possible.

It has been a very busy week in Christmas Pie Crafts land.  Three events in four days and I feel very tired.  Events have been busy, but spending is quite sporadic.  Certain items (food produces (pickles, jams, mustards) are always popular) sold well; bought-in items (shoes, handbags, jewellery) also did well; handmade doesn't seem to be doing very well at the moment, although I am not sure if this is UK-wide or just in certain areas.  The events I have attended have been very well organised and the footfall was good, each one had a good selection of products.  A friend emailed me yesterday evening to let me know of another event that took place in Surrey yesterday that only had 30 people through the door.  So, what is the answer?  Handmade items only or a mix of handmade and bought-in?  I have taken part in both and I really don't know the answer - my crystal ball is a bit cloudy recently (must be the snow on the way!).

I have been trying to find out recently what customers actually want or look for when they go shopping.  Most have said they want to buy items made in the UK, quality and value for money are at the top of the list too.  Unfortunately, nobody has yet said why they wouldn't buy handmade - so will keep on trying to track down any possible reasons for low sales.  Has anybody else carried out any sort of survey to find out how people feel about handmade goods?

Several months ago I started a range of mini-cards - they had dual purposes: gift cards (with envelopes) or mini greetings cards.  These have sold really well and this, I am sure, is due to a single price of 60p or 5 for £2.50 - everyone loves a bargain.  I added to the range with Christmas themed cards and these have also proved to be very popular.

Less than four weeks to Christmas which means not many Handmade Mondays left either.  I completed an order over the weekend for a birthday card for a rugby loving penguin fan.  I was going to post a pic on this blog, but the recipient is a possible blog-viewer and as his birthday isn't until later in the week, thought it best not to.  Instead I am including a picture of a butterfly-themed card I made during the week.  I love butterflies in crafting and think they add a gorgeous look to cards.  This is a stepped card and I have used butterfly-flower themed background paper and added silver/glitter decoupaged butterflies as well as butterflies cup form paper I had in stock.  Don't forget to check out the other Handmade Monday bloggers - gorgeous makes that you really must see, and of course read the great blog posts.

I am having a bit of a restful day today - I have two card orders to make up and will spend some time making final items for this weekend's event.

Have a good week everyone - I will be back on Wednesday with my mid-week post.



  1. You deserve a break and as you know loved the butterfly card, pink and butterflies a winning combination.

  2. Enjoy your rest! I think all handmade folk are struggling to get sales at the moment - I know I am. Don't know the answer, but I think you're right in saying that everyone loves, and is on the lookout for, a bargain, and handmade items often have to priced to reflect the time and effort that goes into making them.

    Alison x

  3. Do you think it is because handmade is in trend now so everyone is trying to make their own handmade item rather than buying one that is already made? by the way i love your butterfly card - it is very pretty

  4. You have just had me in stitches at the thought of a rugby loving penguin fan... is he from the Southern Hemisphere? Cannot wait to see the finished result!

  5. A fair point made by bebebubu. It could be everyone and anyone wants to make their own coz they think it is that simple. Who knows.

    Lovely cards by the way!

  6. I think it's a combination of the economy and people trying to do it for themselves. I feel that sales may pick up closer to Christmas when people realise they won't get them all done.

  7. Perhaps there is a clue in all this. Maybe we should all get our jam pots, patty tins, etc., out to make a shilling or two.
    At least you are having success with your lovely little dual purpose cards so not all doom and gloom.
    I love butterflies too they seem to add a little delecacy to something.

  8. The butterfly card is beautiful. I don't know the answer for fairs as I've not done any yet. Fingers crossed for you that the next one goes really well. x

  9. Love the butterflies. I think it's a trend in retail in general - people are shopping online rather than in person - it's just added to the problems from the recession for face-to-face sellers.

  10. Beautiful card Jill. There is definitely a split at the moment with one group seeming to be waiting until the last minute to buy and the other group really buying early - just a case of being in the right place at the right time (now if only we knew how to work that one out!)

    Ali x

  11. Lobe the butterflies card its so friendly.
    I think people are trying to do more dor themselves, or at least the handmade fans are. In some ways we should embrace it as tjese are the people who will buy handmade in the future when the economy is better. They are the ones who appreciate the time it takes to do things and the thought and creativity put in.
    Good luck with the next event!

  12. You're not the first one to comment on how difficult it has been for crafters to sell at fairs...i really can't understand why as I value quality over quantity and I so wish we had more of these in Switzerland!

  13. Loving the snow effect. I think people are becoming more aware of 'handmade', but there will always be those that think handmade = cheap. Love those pretty butterfly cards and not a snowflake in sight

  14. It does seem that I read that lots of people are saying things aren't selling. Not sure why, I hope it picks up. Maybe it's the economy (I assume you all are having the same issues as we are in the US). I know here my friends all say they are trying to buy more things made in the US but I then they say they cannot find things made here, so I suggest handmade things bought locally. I don't know if they listen.
    The pink card is gorgeous with all of the butterflies. Of course we still have butterflies here in Florida! We are not very seasonal. :)

  15. It is a mystery to how fairs can go amazingly well and others a complete disaster. I've seen a lady sell out and make thousands on one stall and not sell a single item on another. Same product. I think you are doing all the right things. Asking and talking to people to find out what they want is key and even if sales are poor, speaking to people who you can catch is good to find out feedback. You're obviously on to a winner with your new design of dual purpose cards so I would go steam ahead with that. Love the snow it feels all Christmassy. :-)


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