So… this ‘Vogue’ thing has made me sit up and take stock of my little business here. I’ve just realised that it’s roughly a year since I started with Rainbow Daisy. I’m not sure of the exact timing – it’s all a bit of a blur – but I’ve found a diary entry from 1st Oct 2010, which records me saying: “I’m going to be brave and book a craft fair – just to see how this thing goes”… and Rainbow Daisy’s first craft fair was on 30 November 2010. So somewhere in the middle I must have got myself a bit organised and priced my stock, found a fair, planned the table display, and bored everyone silly with fretting about it all!
Sometimes, when I’m right in the middle of the busy-ness of it all, and I’ve got so many ideas in my head about where I want it to go next, and how far off those goals seem to be, it’s hard to recognise how far the business has come. Before that first craft fair I was nervous as hell. I had made plenty of stuff before for friends and family, but to actually go and try to sell it to strangers meant opening up all my vulnerabilities and inviting those strangers to trample all over me, if they so wished. And I didn’t even do it on my own! Back then I was only able to try this stuff because I had my sister, Marie, alongside me (thank you Marie). She was selling her gorgeous button flowers and felt brooches alongside my jewellery, and we were able to hold each other’s hand as we each struggled with those very quiet first couple of fairs :-/
However, here we are. Marie has since decided that this life is not for her (at least not for now), and I am going it alone (although I have to say here that she does still help out with proof-reading most of my rambles before thay get published). I feel like it’s been a HUGE learning curve so far, but yet it is a curve which I have still got a long, long way to travel along. Not only has my jewellery developed in it’s own way, the business has also, and I have done so much more this year than I ever thought possible when I tentatively booked that first craft fair. I have learnt loads about marketing, selling, pricing, presentation, websites, and the competitiveness and sheer hard work of an ‘industry’ that from the outside looked so inviting! I was lucky enough to find Victoria and Amy of V&A Events early on and have exhibited with them several times this year (will be at another one this weekend), and I’ve met some lovely people through those events (not least the girls themselves). I’ve also had some really successful, and really fun jewellery parties, and I’m so grateful to everyone who has invited me into their home to sell the jewellery to them and their friends.
Selling, whether at craft fairs, at parties, or even online, is, for me, the hardest thing ever. My serious lack of self-confidence is forever urging me to just run and hide, or to give the jewellery away because I daren’t ask to be paid for it. I have had to use various confidence-building techniques on my way to fairs before now, like singing along to Glee at the top of my voice in the car (the shame!), and I am still shocked, overwhelmed, honoured, and embarrassed all at the same time when anyone compliments the jewellery, or (gasp) buys it! But, somehow, I’ve done it. And for me, that’s huge.
Anyway, I’m sure the path ahead will be equally exciting/frightening (if it isn’t then I’ll get bored!), and I hope you’ll keep me company along the way. I’ve got so many ideas buzzing around in my head about what I want to do, including:
- new directions with the jewellery: new materials, new techniques, and different styles
- lots of other (non-jewellery!) creative ideas – I just have to find the time!
- using the business to help more with fundraising for charity and local causes – I’ve done a bit this year with exhibiting at Realitas Community Arts Centre and one fair that I had the chance to do, but would like to do more
- business stuff – would love to feel like I was more ‘in control’
…so watch this space!
After all that I want to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to all my family and friends for their support in all of this. For listening to all my worrying/moaning/decision-making/celebrations/tears and still continuing with the encouragement. And of course to my long-suffering husband, who has, apart from all of the above, also put some silly hours in recently to build my new website in his spare time. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart. There’s a long way to go but I hope I can make you proud x