Friday, January 6, 2012

A Rather Damp & Windy Start

Crocheted & felted hat, with hand-dyed trim
and flower. Machine embroidery!
Well, it's January, and as usual I have a couple of goals.  Trying to stay in business is one of them.  I keep hearing on the news how the retail receipts are up and it was improved on Christmas 2010, but I did far worse.   Is it possible that they are lying to keep us all going???  Tralee was deadly quiet until the 4-5 days before Christmas.  I think everyone is waiting until the last minute now to get the best deals.  Understandable, but hard to take.  I heard that people in Dublin at the Gift Show in December returned items that weren't made in Ireland and were almost patriotic about it.  That did not happen in rural areas.  I did not have much to spend this year, but I did try to buy as much as possible locally and Irish so that at least it was money staying in Ireland.  I saw people doing that last year, but this year it fizzled out.  It is rather hard to go chirpy into the New Year with financial disaster looming.  I know I am not alone, but somehow that is rather poor consolation.

I did get a nice shared feature in the Irish Examiner in an article called "The Life Changers" written by Sharon Ni Chonchuir, so many thanks to her for that!  The photo turned out great, so much try and get a copy.  All publicity is good!

Merino bainín and hand-dyed merino.
Felt/silk/angelina flower, hand-dyed with
beads.  Scarf: 19 micron merino, resist-dyed.
Other goals: Christmas is over, so off the sugar and carbs again.  All the good progress of November & December was probably undone by simply eating bread.  Must get tough and focus now.  I quit smoking the last year and a half, so now its time to tackle that.  I would like to do more creative embroidery and must figure out a way to present them less expensively.  They look fab custom framed, but it's just too expensive when they aren't selling yet.  I am really hoping that gets going as I have a good feeling that this will be a much better on-line selling venture than ETSY.  While it's true that I could spend more time marketing my ETSY page, I really have never had any return on the time and money I have put into it so far (over a year).  Hard to plan on spending more time there with no positive outcome.  I think switching over to another online venture is going to work out better as you could spend your life trying to set yourself apart from the pack and not get one thing made! Final goal: I really want to get raised beds done and do a decent vegetable garden this year.  I must also rescue herb garden as its choked with weeks, but its been such a wet year and time was against me with starting a new business.  I'll start with the low maintainence stuff and see how I get on...

Curious response to my samples sent to Boston.  When they came back, the buyer was complimentary but said that my hats and scarves were "too upscale" for them and "possibly in another economy they would consider it."  Now this is a person specialising in handmade Irish craft for 40 years or more and they sell in an affluent area.  The only thing I could take from that is that Irish Americans want the same design the Failte Ireland has sold them all along: tweed, muted colours, and traditional design.  The only problem with that is it isn't modern Ireland.  Does anyone have any thoughts on this???

Must get into the studio now as its time to start producing work again.  I had a much-needed break, but it's time to start keeping the wolf from the door!

Can you find my little cutie in this pic?  Love the
school plays at Christmas!!

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year Sharon!!! Thanks to your question I'm planning on blogging this week (or next if I run of time!) about my experience/thoughts using Etsy, Big Cartel and other online stores. I'll also have a big assignment finished and delivered for 'Train the 'Trainer' so I can give this more thought, I too want to sell more during 2012!