21 - Exhausted.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Its been a while since I last wrote. Truth is its been a case of working until two am most mornings to try to get things done for online sales and coming Christmas markets and daytime seem to have been fraught with lots of tantrums (Dominic's not mine). I finally have some cards in at Eden Flowers in Uppermill. It really is beautiful in there and they had Calla Lilies when I dropped the cards off, I nearly swapped the cards for the tub of those, I digress. Cards are done. I think my lesson learned is to not go so crazy on feeling like I had to put a range out that matched. I have four sets out at the moment, the smallest consisting of two cards and the largest of five. Really I should have stopped at five cards in total and saved some ideas for next year but once I got going I couldn't stop myself. Must try harder to listen to the little voice in my head and sleep more rather than going design crazy I think.

All that having said, I am really proud of what I have achieved. Exhausted, but proud. I'm already looking forward to Valentines and Mothers Day and next years seasons greetings (literally) and I'm looking forward to getting to work with brands who are just starting out and wanting styling from scratch or brands that are established but like what I do and want design that feels a bit more personal. What I really love is helping people to reach their full potential and create something really great that they can share (and look like pro's even if they've just started out as they do it) and I'm excited that doing the greetings cards seems to have opened a few doors in that area.

I feel like I want to stop for Christmas already but there's still so much to do! As it was thanksgiving last week I will say; I am thankful for the person in my life that makes all of this possible. Between parenting and keeping house after he gets home from work whilst I do my "job" I know he is pretty tired too but I hope that all of this will one day lead to us having more freedom in our lives to live where we want to, holiday more (and not necessarily exotic locations, just more time out of the house as a family) and have more adventures in general.

20 - Next

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I am working on a few notebook designs for a Christmas market that I am doing in a couple of weeks. I came up with a mantra to help me when I start a new project (and to justify sitting for hours with a bunch of magazines, books and blogs). Inspiration is the pathway to creation.

Take a sneaky look at my inspiration below. I'm also happy to be pinning this as a guest pinner at randomlyhappytoday's pin board: Live More, Create More here. Thanks Elena for the opportunity and I look forward to being involved.

WARNING: My desk is not one of those beautiful and preened specimens that would win awards for best in show, it is organic, free and at times - mountainous. I look forward to a time I have two desks, one to spread ideas on to keep coming back to and one to create on.

Inspiration is the pathway to creation - a look at current objects and pieces of inspiration at Alfies Studio.
Type, colour, simplicity, the Fifties, vintage, I love it all at the moment...

I've been working on lots of different things lately. From greetings cards to promoting them to helping a couple of start-ups.

I've loved doing the greetings cards and its the first time in ages I've created anything with a totally blank canvas rather than a clients brief or needs. I feel I may have fallen prey to the dreaded comparison trap however and expect to suddenly feature in blogs all over and have people cooing over my work in vast numbers. I need to remember that it takes time for word to get around, to be patient and even if it means continuing to be up to around two every night trying to make it all real (and then up early with the babies the next day) to
continue to create, to believe and to love what I am doing and to share it.

19 - Announcing...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Announcing a few things actually...

Stockists: Alfies Studio are proud to announce that Eden Flowers are now a stockist of Alfies Studio goods. I am working on getting items out to them soon and really excited that they will be displaying some custom wedding invitation work too. I'm most excited because their flowers were part of the inspiration behind the botanical range of cards here.

I've been hooked on their shop for a good while now and I think Friday was the first time I've walked out without buying a random bunch of beautiful and exotic flowers to put all over the house (broke the car wheel on the way with a low bit of dry-stone walling so it seemed like a good idea not to and offset the cost). I joked on parting that I'd end up trading profit from sales for store credit, I was half warning myself not to. You can visit their site here.

Shipping to the US and Canada now available with free shipping on all UK orders!
http://shop.alfies-studio.com now with shipping available to the US and Canada

As you can see from the picture I've sorted free shipping for ALL UK ORDERS! I hate ordering something that isn't very expensive to then be whacked for postage that is the same amount or more than an order so that's my second announcement. I thought long and hard about pricing and I think that this is the fairest way to do it. I am sorry that I can't extend this to other countries at this time but I will try to figure out a pinch point that it becomes reasonable to offer it on orders over a certain value. One thing at a time though...

Third thing... I did an online class with Alt the other day that was all about using social media to gain following on your blog. I found that some stuff was kind of common sense but others I had a real "aha" moment over. I realise that I talk about myself/products far too much and I guess that's really coming from previously owning a website that would publicise my services and really be all about me, as well as a lack of time for much else right now. I've come over to blogging to give a view of myself and what I do to potential clients, that and to start to give a little back. I've spent years reading blogs, following peoples lives (and in a way, forming relationships with them) and felt it was time to sit on the other side of the fence.
So far things have been so crazy trying to get the shop up and running, and this new side of business off the ground, that I've had little time to devote to the things I wanted to talk about such as brand, home decor, travel, fashion, children, life. I am certainly going to try to change that going forward and to try to keep to a regular pattern that might not be every day but will be regular (say Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays for example). Don't expect miracles over night mind, I think "try" was the operative word for a while yet until the dust starts to settle on the shop a little.

Hope you've had a great weekend. I'm already looking forward to see what kinds of crazy next week brings.

18 - Tiring but productive few weeks

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Well it's certainly been a tiring week or two. Satisfying as I'm getting lots done, meetings lined up and contact made about stockists, but that whole process is a lot slower than the "want it in shops now" monster in me that sees piles of printed goods all dressed up with nowhere to go...yet. I'm working on that part.

In my head I know that getting recognised will take a long time and it will all be worth it in the end when I can just go through the year holiday by holiday, season by season with a pile of stockists expecting their next batch of goodies without me having to spend a huge amount of time and heart on marketing and having lots of time to just create (that's what I love best). I'm also looking forward to getting back to some more client side work in the New Year when wedding season hits in.

For now, here are a few more things I've been working on. They aren't in the shop yet as in truth I'm trying to figure out pricing and what is fair vs. what is profitable and that vs. what people will (and these days, can afford to) actually pay. I create because I want to make people happy and yes, I do need to make a living too, but as long as I can keep my kids in shoes and clothes (and we can eventually get some foreign sun too) then I'm happy. I don't want to charge vast sums of money because I can or should and am growing to despise a culture that is charging ever increasing sums for what may be a quality product but is mostly a name or brand. I do not believe that quality products should cost the earth, I believe they should cost what they need to. I want to charge relative to what its worth, in terms of time to create as well as material value. I find it all very difficult, really I'd just love to be a donations only getup and people could give me what they felt the product was worth and I'd be rid of the guilt of charging at all (Jamie, you have the best idea I think...). I digress anyway...

The latest:

Christmas greetings aimed at the small people in our lives
Children's Christmas cards
Thank you cards to match the range of greetings
Thank you cards to go with each collection of greetings this season.
I'm especially proud of the thank you cards that match the rest of the greetings line. I'm a sucker for brand, even when it comes down to personal goods (we all present our own personal brand, every day, but that's for another post I think...) so these make me very happy. I'm also happy about the fact that I always want to send cards after Christmas (mostly from the children to gift givers but sometimes from us too) and always let it slip through being busy and wind up at Easter just remembering about the cards and thinking its a little late. Christmas, I am ready for you... especially now that Dominic is learning to write. My children will be brought up to send real cards and letters (my new range is mostly on recycled and post consumer stock) and always remember to be thankful for what they are given.

17 - Busy night

Friday, November 02, 2012

It has been a busy night.

I have managed to update the shop with the seasonal botanical cards and sort the postage so that I am now accepting orders from the United States (YAY) and free postage for all UK orders (sorry US). There are no hidden costs tagged on, I just don't think its fair that because I don't have a physical shop that you guys get stuck with the postage. I may be feeling less generous after Christmas (read bankruptcy here) but will see how it goes, for now think of it as an introductory offer to get you hooked on Alfies Studio paper goods!

I've managed to integrate my Big Cartel store in to the Facebook page which is pretty cool and I've managed to set out all the places you can find Alfies Studio as you can see:

Blog/lookbook - That's where you are right now
Facebook - facebook.com/AlfiesStudio
Pinterest - pinterest.com/AlfiesStudio
Instagram - alfies_studio

Read, like, pin, stalk... ENJOY!

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