Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Advertise Your Handmade Arts & Crafts Products to Craftgawker For Free

In their own words: 'Craftgawker is a photo gallery that allows you to visually search and discover handmade arts and crafts to inspire your own projects. We publish photography submitted by craft bloggers from around the world. Our editors review submissions daily and choose the highest quality, coolest images to showcase.'

Monday, 10 October 2011

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Where Can Designers Find Free Quality Fashion & Textile Trend Reports

As a new freelance designer or micro-brand operating within the fashion and textile industry, you may not have a budget to pay the annual fees for trend reports or to travel to global tradeshows. The key is to pick up on trends that are likely to be in demand across multiple seasons, this way you can access and utilise free trend reports effectively. I have found in particular, that at times, Knitting Industry's promotion of various companies reports can infact be published at least a year in advance, Mudpie publish backcopies of their reports and Patternpeople also publish snippets of upcoming trends. All this info can be very useful to a sole designer or small brand as both set-ups, are small enough to be able to adpat and produce designs in a shorter period of time than a larger brand with multiple design teams.

Source: Eclectic Mix Knitwear

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Benefits of Continuing Professional Development for a Micro-Business

What is CPD:
One of my main business activities, alongside knitwear design, within my own micro-business is teaching and writing about business related subjects, particularly business start-up, management and adminstration within the public and private sectors of business education. Particularly in the case of public sector education, you are required to be a member of a professional institute in order to record what is known as CPD or Continuing Professional Development, which keeps track of any independant research or formal study you have undertaken, within your specialist subject fields.

How and where can you access courses:
When I teach or mentor start-up entrepreneurs and business students, I always make it a point to encourage them to ensure that they are up to date with current trends within their specialist fields, as this can be of significant benefit to the continuing success of your small business or self-employed career.  An excellent way to keep a false sense of business security at bay, is to regularly take short refresher courses in business or part-time formal study. If time is an issue, then the solution would be to seek online offerings, which are becoming extremely popular. The Open University, in particular offer a range of flexible, free and chargeable short and longer certified and accredited business courses. If they do not offer what you need, then search for other suitable subject areas at Hotcourses. The beauty of online study is flexibility of learning your chosen subject, from anywhere in the world.

Friday, 4 March 2011

How to Create a Sustainable Business Model for your Fashion Knitwear Label or Creative Business

This two part tutorial, was inspired, by my personal and business challenges, when setting up my knitwear label, Eclectic Mix back in 2006. I was amazed and puzzled by the lack of information available. Thankfully, I was blessed with a fantastic Business Adviser at Hackney Business Venture, who had access to a few pages of specialised information about the knitwear industry that I could at least use as a starting point!

Who are these articles for?
I state at the beginning of the article, that whether you are a knitwear designer, crafter or some other type of creative, these articles will be useful to you and include information on a vast range of subjects, including the following; Resources for a Fashion Knitwear Business, Unique Selling Proposition, The Relationships you need to survive in business, how to present your business proposal within a brief document, made up of creative visuals, as an alternative to a traditional business plan.  Last but not least, in part two of the article, some essential useful contacts specific to the knitwear and creative industries, including manufacturing sources. I hope, that reading these articles will contribute in some way to the setting up or growth of your creative business.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Knitted Textile Awards 2010

Emma Philpot, Award: Hand Knitting
The Knitted Textile Awards, created and facilitated by the UK Handknitting Association and sponsorship partners, were held towards the end of 2010.
Deryn Ralph, Award: Overall Winner
Every year, these awards showcase the best of Uk Graduate Design Talent, specific to all areas of textile design. These pictures are of some of the winning designs which really stood out for me.

Orawee Choedamphai: Debbie Bliss Award

Friday, 14 January 2011

"Staff = Overhead : Customers = Profit!":

Wise quote: "Staff = Overhead, Customers = Profit!":
You can sell the best quality, best priced products in the world, but if you do not train yourself and your staff to provide good quality customer service alongside products that your market needs and wants, guess what will happen? Eventually, your nice customers will walk away without complaining to you, the majority of people do this, whilst the minority will complain to you and both types will complain to as much people as they can!

How to keep customers at the heart of your business:
My first range of articles explain how to keep your customers at the heart of your business, by focusing on solutions, rather than products. Bear in mind, around 20% of your customers provide 80% of your business, so keep your marketing activities simple by spending more time getting to know your current clientele, find out what they need and want and create product solutions accordingly. In my series of tutorials on 'The art of opening and closing a sale, 6 steps to successful selling ' I teach you some of the key techniques for selling solutions and creating effective online product descriptions, and direct you to interesting links, click here for further reading.

Source: Sonji Clayton

How to expand on your blog posts by writing articles for Hubpages

I love writing posts for my blog, but at times I would like to expand my micro articles and I have finally found a way to do this, by publishing articles at Hubpages and Suite101. It's a great way to share my own personal experience and knowledge of business and enterprise, in a creative forum. Please feel free to suggest topics for articles that maybe of interest to you, within the areas of creative enterprise and business management.

Source: Sonji Clayton

Sunday, 9 January 2011

What is the most important social network for your small business?

I read this interesting post via Etsy's advice for sellers page. It gives insight into small businesses and their
most popular online marketing tools, here are some of the statistics; Twitter: 45%, Facebook: 33%, Linkedin: 14%, Other: 7%, Youtube: 2%, 4sq/Bebo/MySpace: 0%.

Please bear in mind, when assessing which marketing tools would be best for your own online marketing strategy, these figures merely outline the most popular. The statistics above do not necessarily translate into being the most effective marketing tool, for your own business.  In my experience good old fashioned trial and error is usually the best way to evaluate the best options available to you.

Try focusing on 2 types of network, i.e. your blog/website and a social network site which facilitates links back to your main site. Remember to add google analytics or some type of statistical tool to analyse and monitor the 'who and where' of your customer base.

Statistical Source: Etsy