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together and form a cohesive “story” - you want people to see your products and know that they are yours. So, before you approach shops, spend some time editing what you make, get rid of any products that are too time consuming for the price they command, then lay everything out and see what doesn’t “fit”.


• Finding the stockists: My first action was to book up a trade show - Top Drawer at Earls Court in London - this is an expensive outlay but it allows you to present your wares to a large number of buyers in a short period of time and also to get very important feedback from people who know all about selling. The British Craft Trade Show in Harrogate is a very good trade show for craft businesses as you are showing alongside other craft businesses, rather than importers and the buyers are specifically looking for handmade items.


• Terms and conditions: Have a good think about what your terms


12 | ukhandmade | Spring 2011


are - will you have a minimum order? What are postage costs? Will you offer free postage on orders over a certain amount? How long are your lead times likely to be? How will you deal with several shops in the same area? Write them all down as these are the questions buyers will ask most.


• Growing the business: I took on my first member of staff the week I got back from London with a full order book. I love doing the freehand embroidery on my products so I began to delegate out other parts of the business; making up, invoicing, packing, Post Office trips etc.


Another inspiring crafts business that has seen plenty of successes, including being a recent finalist in the Wedding Ideas Awards 2011, are Steve Clawson and Heidi Bowman of Giddy Kipper. Giddy Kipper supplies stockists all over the country with their handmade wooden gifts.


Heidi recommends having a trade


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