London Fabric Shopping
One of the benefits of having super cool bosses (I’m including myself in here of course) is that I get to travel without worrying about using up too many vacation days. The factory life of having only 5 vacation days for an entire year is over, and now I can basically take off as much time as I can afford to! This summer has been a great example of this perk. I not only went on a family adventure to Alaska at the beginning of the month, but I also just got back from a work trip to London! Eddie was there participating in an Alzheimer’s conference, and I was able to tag along!
Along with the normal sight seeing we accomplished, I also took the time when Eddie was in the conference to go on a bit of a sewing holiday tour of London.
Here are a few of my favourites from the trip:
(excuse the blurry photos, I was using my phone!)
Fabrics Galore was another fabric shop that stuck out to me. Their window display was stellar, and I really enjoyed their fabric selection! I love very modern prints, and this store was full of them, especially, their home décor section. I’m just sad I didn’t have any projects in mind that would fit these beautiful fabrics! I love anything cactus, world map, or insect related, and this store had all of those! They also had lots of skull fabrics, and even a sort of cork fabric!
I ended up finding a beautiful cotton chambray with birds on it, and decided that I needed a shirt or a shirt dress out of it.
Cloth House Warehouse
I found out later in the week that Cloth House had a separate warehouse location that was *gasp* having a huge sale. This second location is going to be closed for renovations this summer (and apparently summer starts in August across the pond, as the sale ended July 28th) so when I visited, prices were ridiculously low in order to move inventory out. I’m talking £2 a metre for 60” wide rolls of cotton or silk fabrics, £5 a metre for wools, and specialty fabrics. It was a very small room full of fabric and several people shopping, each trying to set aside a personal stash of fabric rolls for when they were ready to purchase. And I loved it!! I love a good deal, and I love digging through fabric and seeing other people super excited about sewing too! I bought myself 5 metres, and I think I left that store the most empty-handed of anyone in there. Here’s what I got: 1m blush mesh, 1m black mesh, 1m light grey jersey, and 2m of some sort of blue cotton bottom weight knit.
Needless to say, I had to use an extra carry-on bag to bring home my new prizes. There were so many more stores that I walked past, or stepped inside for a bit. Too many to talk about individually here. I’ve added a few more photos just to give you a taste.
Oh, and I absolutely love that in the UK, notions are “haberdashery”. Absolutely brilliant!
Summer Craft Show Set-Up
This past month, (June) I had the honor of being a part of the Indieana Handicraft Exchange in Indianapolis!
This was my first time participating in this craft show, and actually my first time participating in a summer craft show at all! The IHE has been around for 10 years now, is a part of the IMAF at the Harrison Center for the Arts, and it is put on by the popular Mass Ave store Homespun: Modern Handmade. I was one of 150 vendors that participated, and there were also food trucks, and live music. This was only my second outdoor show, and the first was back in October, so my product line has changed a bit since then. My kits have new packaging, and I’ve paired down what I offer at the shows (for the sake of space and display cohesiveness). Here are some pictures of what my set up looked like!
I used the same tent, cover, and sign as my last show, and had a table and the trunk again too.
The curtain rod that I used back in October served me well enough that I decided to add a second level of rod to be able to display twice the number of Indiana Pillows.
I also found these great shelves (below) at goodwill that fold up completely flat when you need them too, which make them great for my craft show displays, because they fit in my car!
Along with the updated product displays, I updated my pricing displays. I created several wooden chalkboard signs a more versatile way to display pricing. If I decide to change what I’m selling, or the price I’m selling for at a craft show, I can simply erase and rewrite the price. I drilled holes in a few of the signs to allow for hanging on the rods alongside the pillows, and the rest I glued a bit of extra wood on the back to make them stand up. I used simple drawings for labels not only because they took up less room on the sign, but also would come across more clearly to customers.
I was really feeling the chalkboard vibe for this show, so I decided to make a fun sign (below) to help advertise the kits. I've noticed a direct correlation between the number of signs I have about a product and the number of people who comment on it. I've gone from no one realizing that I sell DIY kits, to having a ton of people comment on it. I actually may need to add another sign about buying a pillow ready-made though, bc with all my DIY signage, some people thought all my ready pillows were just samples. But oh well, I had a blast drawing up this sign, and the chalk pen made it super easy. It even rained on me at the craft show, and while you can see the streaks from the rain, the chalk actually held up pretty well!
Speaking of the rain, you may have noticed that my tent does not have any siding to it. Yup. I had big sheets of plastic that we hurriedly clipped onto the sides and back of my tent to keep everything dry. It actually worked, but only because I had about 5 people there helping me out. I never would have been able to get them all up by myself. You can see the plastic in the background of the photo below, taken by my awesome sister-in-law-to-be Rachel. Also, the sunglasses on Mr. Indiana were a hit with all the kids who stopped by the tent. If I intend to get serious about this craft show world (as yet undetermined) I'll definitely have to invest in a better tent.
I can't forget to mention that I debuted a new product at the IHE: the square Indy skyline pillow. Check them out here!
It was a long day (as all craft show days are) but overall, the rain didn’t ruin the day, and all my helpers and I spent the day talking to great customers and looking at all the cool products that everyone else had to offer too. And my favorite part of the day was actually a surprise.
At the very end of the show I got to talk with Amanda from Homespun, and she took some of my kits to sell in the store on Mass Ave! Which was one of my goals for the year!!
New product alert!
I’ve got some new Indianapolis themed goodies, just up in the shop! I debuted these at the IHE last month, but I’ve just gotten around to listing them on Etsy (that’s what traveling to Alaska and then to London in the same month does to your work schedule).
These pillows are actually a result of narrowing my product line! Last year, I had made a few throw pillows for a local shop. They wanted to round out the Indiana products with some basic pillows as well. So, I made some pillows, which were sold on consignment, which means when the store later closed down, these pillows came back to me. By this time, I had realized that the products I had been offering were a little too varied for a cohesive look and feel. I had decided to stay clear of basic pillows, and only offer ones that have a little something extra special (a new shape, a face, etc). So these square ones sat around for a while until I realized DUH! I could add a skyline onto them and make them into something extra special!
I love how they turned out! I love my Indiana shaped pillows, but not everyone wants a pillow with such an odd shape. Square ones are a much more subtle nod to the circle city.
creative business owner. designer. hoosier. crafter. runner. sewer. swing dancer. outdoor enthusiast. entrepreneur. wife. mom. material hoarder.
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Madeline Stage email@example.com