Hi again, I have decided to mingle my 'theme' blogs with some interviews of some great sellers, these are people I have met on Folksy and facebook. My first interview is a great lady, who I seem to bump into whatever site I am on. I asked a set of questions and here is what she had to say:
1. What is your business name, and why did you chose that name?
My business is Jeeberella’s Craft Castle. I chose the name because I’ve been Jeeberella since I was 14 (over 9 years ago!). If you google Jeeberella then I’m sure most of the over 6,000 results are in one shape or form me! I wanted something different that was easily recognisable so it was a natural choice really. If you want the full story then check out this blog: http://jeeberellascraftcastle.blogspot.com/2011/08/whats-in-name.html
Very aware that the name doesn’t really say what it is I do, which wasn’t accidental. I knew I’d be expanding so wanted something that was all encompassing.
2. When did you start creating, and when did you start selling your creations?
I started creating in December 2010; I took a trip to HobbyCraft as I was a bit bored during some time off. Was rather disappointed that I didn’t grasp cross stitch and latch hooking as well as I’d hoped. So I decided to do a photo collage for my 3rd anniversary in February. I then made my goddaughter a collage and everything kind of followed on from there. My first items went on sale online Valentine’s Day this year. I work full time so I run the business from home in the evenings and at weekends. Originally it was to make a bit of extra money but now I love making things for other people to enjoy.
3. Who/what inspired you to follow the type of craft that you do?
I showed my partner some of the canvasses that one of my friends paints and he said I could do something like that. I can’t paint but turns out I can be quite creative. I started off doing personalised cards but decided to expand my product range and everything else has followed since. I sometimes forget how far I’ve come since February until I remember that I now sell cards, bookmarks, fridge magnets, wall hangings, door signs, baby bodysuits, bunting, letters from santa and the tooth fairy, window signs, collages, day you were born and married keepsakes, will you be my…postcards, friendship keepsake cards, blessing bags, invitations, announcement cards. Think that’s everything!
4. And where does the inspiration for specific items come from?
I tend to get inspired in random places (in the shower a lot of the time) and from random things.
For example I had the idea for these wall hangings after seeing Stoke Pride advertised on facebook. Realised that everything you see is for Mr and Mrs. So did this for the Mr and Mr’s and the Mrs and Mrs’s out there
With Christmas coming I know I needed to sell things that weren't readily available in the shops.
The idea for these lovely personalised window signs came about because I live in a flat so we don’t have a garden to put those cute santa stop here signs!
I was trying to gauge interest in santa letters so I mentioned it on my facebook page and within a few minutes someone was interested in an order. So I decided to go for it and get advertising them, response has been fantastic and got lots on order already!
The personalised window signs came about for a totally selfish reason. I was thinking about I could use what I had for free advertising. So I went online and signed up to a lot of online directories and then turned my attention to my car! Made my own and then offered them to other businesses on a budget.
5. Where do you sell your items from?
I mainly sell through my facebook page: www.facebook.com/Jeeberella Simply tell me what it is you want and I’ll send you an invoice via Paypal so that both sides have protection. I direct people to my facebook page as all of my products are templates, I want to offer a personalised service and product. Facebook is the best platform for that as people can be inspired by what they see and state what it is they want. Everything on my Facebook also gets posted to my twitter so I take queries / orders from there too. www.twitter.com/Jeeberella
Saying that I also have two shops:
www.wowthankyou.co.uk/jeeberellas-craft-castle which is a fab up and coming website, the owner Tracey has a massive amount of determination and genuinely wants you to do well and spends a lot of time and money directing people to the site
www.folksy.co.uk/shops/Jeeberella which is a bit more well known in the handmade community
6. What are your favourite pieces and why?
One of my favourite items is the personalised wedding bunting
And there’s a few reasons for that. 1 It freaked my other half out A LOT as we’re not even engaged never mind married 2. I find wedding stuff can be really expensive just because it’s for a wedding. This provides an affordable but very cute way to introduce a new couple. 3. It can be used in a multitude of ways; draped across the top table, buffet table, cake table or hung over the doorway to the venue entrance.
This card was originally a custom order but I liked it so much I decided to offer to everyone.
In my day job I work as a project administrator and one of my project managers asked me about an extra special card for his wife of 4 years. I asked what their wedding accent colour was and their first dance and tada! The project manager might not have appreciated but his wife certainly did.
7. Where do you do your crafts? i.e. do you have a studio, sewing room etc
I actually run my business from home. It started off in the sapre room but has gradually made its way into the living room as well, especially my craft fair stuff which is in a big box behind the kitchen table. Living in a flat means we don’t have a massive amount of room so I make the best of what I have. Many an occasion where my other half has come home to find me in a sea of stuff in the middle of the living room floor and had to tip toe over everything to sit down!
8. Are there any other crafts you would like to try? And what is it that makes you want to try them?
I would love to be able to use fabric and embroider mainly because of the personalisation aspect of items that I genuinely love. But I’m just not patient enough. I’m one of these people who has an idea and want to see it through to the end so I can move on to the next thing. I don’t like having bits of things outstanding. Many times where I’ve been up until midnight during the week desperate to finish something so I can see the end product.
9. What are your favourite websites and why?
The latest website that I couldn’t do without is www.crowdbooster.com
Not only does it show you what your most popular facebook posts and tweets are but it also lets you schedule posts. I’ve always been worried about missing people during the day so being able to schedule things while I’m at work is a massive relief!
I’m a bit gutted I didn’t find out about creative connections sooner http://creative-connections.ning.com/
It has a great community of like minded business people who are more than happy to share things they’ve found, give you handy hints and talk nonsense with you! Creative Connections also lead me to Creative Crafting which is both a printed and online magazine. I recently wrote an article and sent it over about how where my business name came from and why my business came about. So fingers crossed it makes it into the Christmas issue.
10. Do you have any plans/dreams for your future to do with your crafts?
I get asked where I’m taking the business all the time and the honest answer is I don’t know, I’ll see where it takes me. I’m always looking at ways of advertising the business for free and getting it out there.
I love dealing with people in all aspects of my life and the business really does give me the opportunity to interact with people, get to know them, understand what it is they want and tailor any of my products to their needs. I pride myself on the personal service I give to people and as long as I can keep doing that, then I’m happy.
Thank you so much for that Jeeberella, hope you all enjoyed reading about this lovely lady, I'll be back soon with my next theme, followed by another interview.