Continuing with a series of features from other artists and makers, Kate from Bluebell and Rosie talks about her work , influences and her on-line shops on Folksy and Etsy. Kate uses textiles, and decoupage to create unique items, more about her work and her passion for Chicken Keeping can be found on her blog http://bluebellandrosie.blogspot.com/
What is your background?
In my past life I worked as a Legal Secretary and qualified as a Paralegal. I had a bad experience working for a new company and decided it was no longer an area I wanted to work in. I was unemployed for a year and a half and in that time set up a small website specialising in fair trade gifts. I set up in 2007 and it went really well until the credit crunch took hold. The business cost very little to run but I’d lost the enjoyment of it and so in August last year I decided to close and focus on new projects. Other than my Paralegal qualification, I have no formal qualifications.
What mediums do you work with?
It really depends on what I’m making! I love working with fabrics and have a pretty good stash to choose from. I usually tend to stick to the same colours and patterns although my stash is actually pretty varied.
For my decoupage, I tend to use postage stamps or old beer labels. I love the idea that something mundane that gets thrown away without a moment’s though can be re-used to create something new that people love. I’m particularly drawn to stamps, there’s so many different designs and some of them are so pretty!
What other work do you do?
My craft work slots in after my full time office job.
How do you market yourself?
This is something I really struggle with as I always worry about spamming people. I do get asked about it a lot though and I’m planning on doing a blog post about it shortly. Running my previous business gave me a lot of experience with marketing which I can put to use now. I do very little formal advertising but you can find me in various places online: Twitter, Facebook, flickr and my blog. One thing I really struggle with is not getting too sucked into these things – it’s amazing how an hour can go by and you’ve very little to show for it! I’ve also been lucky with some blog mentions including various Folksy Friday posts. Offline, I don’t currently do any advertising.
Where do you sell / exhibit?
My main shop is on Folksy (http://www.folksy.com/shops/katelj). I also have a shop on etsy which is really rather neglected and Wow Thank You, which is also a bit neglected! I tend to focus on Folksy as its where I’ve had the most success and interaction with people.
What books and blogs can't you live without?
I read so many of both that it’s hard to choose! When I’ve lost my mojo there’s a few blogs that I dip in and out of:
Folksy blog – I try to read this frequently as it’s my main selling platform and they have some really helpful articles for sellers.
Etsy blog - particularly the ‘Quit your dayjob’ posts!
One Pretty Thing - this links to 1000’s of other sites with craft tutorials and crafty business info