Thursday 23 January 2014

We have moved!

This is the final post from me on this page as I am now moving over permanently to my new website where it's onwards and upwards and I have a new blog over there!  Thanks so much to everyone who has read and followed our ramblings over here and we hope to see you over at Wychbury Designs! 

Very best wishes
Paula x

Thursday 4 April 2013

New things for Spring.

If you read my blog post about being a big chicken a few weeks back or would like to read it now, you will either relate to it or you won't.  In the post I talked about my avoidant tendancies and my commitment to getting over myself and putting my creative head about the parapet with some new solo ventures.  Well shockingly I seem to be getting somewhere and would encourage anyone with similar issues to really try to listen to their non-avoidant friends and colleagues and go for it!

Amazingly, despite the endless hurdles brought about by my lack of knowledge and probably confidence too, I have managed to get a new web page up and running and am really excited about it.  The look is very personal but still quintessentially Wychbury with the more Victorian twist I've been leaning towards with my own collections recently.  Some of my favourite individual products are included in a traditional ecommerce format but what I'm really excited about are my new wholesale catalogue and some new design ideas that have come to me while I have been glued to the screen and starved of needle and thread!

So first off here is my brand new site Wychbury Designs which I did ALL by myself - I know right?? You'll see that I have a new blog where I will be rambling on about all of my new stuff and sharing my latest news. Google Friend Connect is no more but do bob over and comment on my musings, you can also add me on Google+.  Lesley and I will still both be posting over here about what's going on with Wychbury and all the stuff we are both passionate about, so you'll get the best of both!

During the design and construction of my new site it struck me that I really wanted a section for bespoke wedding collections, not just hair clips and corsages but much more.  I love to work with brides and their families and really wanted to take it that step further with my products to offer a much more comprehensive collection of work to cater for couples who share my kind of style.  Truthfully I don't have a single sample made yet as I've still not got away from the laptop but I thought I could share my sketches for a start off!    Weddings should be full of all the things that the couple loves - to excess if they so choose, it's their wedding!  Does everything really have to match?  I don't think so.  With this in mind I am designing items with all the things I like included in the hope that this will give the pieces an immediete versatility allowing brides to go wild with their customisation.

My sewing is better than my painting I promise!
When I was seven, my sister, cousin and I were bridesmaids for  my Auntie and Uncle, instead of posies we carried round balls of flowers on long, wide ribbons that we slid our little hands through - similar to pomanders.  I really wanted to make something with a romantic, Victorian twist that could be carried instead of a posy or bouquet and this is the first design - a heart shaped cushion with a posy of embroidered violas and velvet leaves at the top, my intention is to personalise these with printed vintage-style lettering for each bridesmaid on the back then extend the design into a range of ring pillows personalised for the couple. 

My hope is that this range will organically extend into larger floral pieces for brides and bridesmaids so I can offer a full service of hair adornments, corsages, buttonholes, favours and even table accessories for a really stunning wedding.   Yes I know being stamped all over someone's perfect big day in front of everyone would usually be something I would run a mile from but this is the new me! I would love a beautiful, romantic, nostalgic, Victorian wedding with everything just the way I want it and I'm sure I'm not alone so watch this space for Weddings by Wychbury Designs!

Big love 

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Big Cartel

Unfortunately, the high hopes we had for the Big Cartel shop we opened a few months back haven't really worked out as we'd planned.  Having the shop accessible through our facebook page seemed like a great opportunity to allow our likers to buy directly from the tab on the page and compliment our Folksy and Etsy shops but sadly sales have been very slow and not really worth the cost of the package we chose. 

Perhaps with a greater focus and more effort on our part we could have driven more customers into the shop and may still manage that at some point, but for the time being we have decided to scale the shop right down to its bare bones on the free package.  This has proved to be an interesting excercise during my current efforts to expand my side of the business as the restrictions on the minimum package mean choosing only the most signature elements of how I would like my brand to look.   

The limit of five products have made me think about the most key pieces in my range and how to present them effectively.  On the free package you only have one product image per listing so I have decided to use montages to show all the design variations I'm offering on each product.  This means I am at least quartering the size of the images the customer will see by putting 3 or four tiles in one image so I needed to choose the template with the largest images possible.  There are only three available on the free package so I have gone with 'sidecar' customised to show a maximum of six images.

Unfortunately, design and brand-wise the template is not that ideal.  I have copied my colours and background successfully from the old shop, there is even the option to use our fave font courier new, but the heading is small - tiny in fact and the reduced size is pixelised and a bit rubbish!  I really like the rollover option for the product info and price and the cart is user friendly but it just doesn't look much like a shop any more.  My bio has to go onto a separate page so there is no introduction, proper header, description - nothing like that.

BUT beggars can't be choosers and I do think that you can get something worthwhile from the free package. The limitations make you look at your products and think about presentation in a very different way and pare your range down into the most important elements.  I really like these catalogue style composite images and think they look rather nice on both the original shop and the facebook version - I may well use them elsewhere.  It may be that we still don't sell much but it's cost nothing but time and I admit to rather enjoying the excercise!  What do you think?

Paula x


Excuses excuses, yes this blog is as stale as the loaf ends you never eat but there are reasons for this, real ones...well OK, some real - some made up and then hidden from!  The fact is, my kids are bigger now and I am now in a position to stop faffing about and get this business moving and shaking into something bigger and better.  So why haven't I?  Well I could cite lots of mitigating circumstances, health issues, commitments blah de blah but the real truth is... I am a chicken - bok bok bok!

What if I'm not good enough?  What if my brain falls away like wet cake again and I can't cope? What if no one wants my stuff? What if they do want it, buy it and then it all drops to bits? (I dreamt that one!) What if I don't know what I'm doing and mess it up? What if I go to meet people and they hate me?   Any of these things could happen so just in case I will sit on my hands and do nothing, nothing at all - because I am a chicken.....BOK bok bok bok!

I haven't got my website sorted yet therefore I can't change my email address yet, therefore I can't order business cards yet, therefore I can't approach any potential clients, apply for funding, trade fairs and other events yet.  All this I convince myself is completely true, totally unavoidable, just how things are - except I know it's not, I'm just a chicken - bok BOK!

Seriously though, I know that there is a legitimate mental health reason for my avoiding things the way I have been recently and my flippancy about it is really a long overdue, self-administered kick up the butt!   I am most likely writing this rather self-indulgent post as a form of catharsis despite my usual aversion to over-sharing but if I don't face up to things and get to work soon I will never go on holiday ever again. This would be much, much worse, both for me and all those in my immediete vicinity (ask anyone who was near me at the end of the seven airport-free years - it was ugly!).  

So, coming up for me soon will be *drumroll* a new website with a shop, some new wholesale catalogues, a newsletter, some enhanced and glorious new(ish) branding for my range and everything getting generally pulled together into something that means business and looks like it does!   I'm starting with a review of our current online presence with Big Cartel up first so you will be relieved to hear that this post will be shortly followed by some normal work related ones about what's happening with the new, improved Wychbury - relax, I'm done sharing now, many thanks for indulging me!

Big love, Paula x

PS I would very much like to thank Craft Soup and especially the amazing, inspiring ladies of the admins group past and present for the endless support and friendship, without whom this unprecedented display of self examination would not have taken place!  Love you mad lot, please don't ever leave me pxxxxxxx