With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’re celebrating some of our fantastic card-makers in our latest Meet the Maker Q&A! Our three Featured Stallholders this week are Pen & Gwyn Illustrations, Daffodowndilly and Eggbert & Daisy, who each produce the most beautiful cards (amongst other products), which are perfect for giving to your Special Someone.
Whether or not you have a partner, giving the gift of love is what Valentine’s Day is all about. Give them to your gal pals, best friends, treat yourself or whoever else takes your fancy!
Pedddle: What are your plans for 2020?
Pen & Gwyn Illustrations: There are lots of plans underway for 2020! I’m working on broadening my product range into more prints, gift wrap and of course more greetings cards, for a whole host of different occasions.
I’ve just released my Valentine’s range, which has already been received wonderfully – so I’m feeling encouraged and optimistic about my other plans!
Daffodowndilly: This year I’m launching my new enamel and wooden lapel pins – I’ve always loved enamel pins and it was a huge aspiration of mine to create my own, so these are particularly special to me. The first designs are now on my website and the next enamel pin design is currently in production which is very exciting. I was particularly lucky to be able to get both my wooden and enamel pins manufactured in the UK as that is important to me.
I also want to create more notebook designs, especially with natural patterns, and focus more on my jewellery and craft kit range. I launched my wooden keyring range on 1st Feb; I’m really pleased with how these turned out and can’t wait to see them brightening up people’s keyrings!
I now have Valentine’s Day card section on my website – from now until the 14th of February there is a 10% discount on ANY card in that section, to make showing someone you love them even more attractive! The discount code is VALENTINE, which you can use at the checkout.
Eggbert & Daisy: We’re currently working on lots of new designs. We are always adding new ranges to our collection and throughout the Spring there are quite a few special occasions that are important.
We currently have a wide range of Valentine’s cards available, both from our website or directly from us at markets. Most Valentine’s cards on our website can also be personalised to make them extra special.
Within the next week or so, we will be launching our Mother’s Day collection, which will include two brand new ranges of cards and some new gifts and stationery. We’re also hoping to develop our offering on our own website in the next few months. Currently our full range of cards is available, but we are also planning to add to our stationery range and add more gift items, including some special keepsake ideas.
Pedddle: What is your best selling product and why do you think this is?
Pen & Gwyn Illustrations: My best selling product is my Animal Alphabet print (pictured below). It always sells out at markets regardless of how many I bring! People love it as a gift idea, mums love it to decorate the nursery and a lot of customers have bought it as a teaching tool for phonics.
Daffodowndilly: The greeting cards are always the best seller at craft fayres but I’m really pleased that my notebooks are now starting to catch them up. Cards are always popular because everyone loves receiving a card, and it’s just a really lovely way to say to someone that you’re thinking of them.
Eggbert & Daisy: We have a number of products that consistently sell well for us. One of the older card designs that we continue to stock is a birthday card with a bee on (pictured below). It has always been a good seller for us and I think our proximity to Manchester and the love of the ‘Manchester Bee’ helps keep this design as one of our most popular.
Online, our christening invitations are extremely popular. I think the quality, the fact that they are that little bit different and are made to order, with all of the personalised information required, makes them a consistent seller. We have added new designs over the years and have found that we get customers coming back to us for the christenings of the other children in the family, which is such a lovely compliment to us.
Pedddle: How long have you been selling at markets for now? What do you love most about selling at markets?
Pen & Gwyn Illustrations: I did my very first market last year in May, I’m only in my 9th month of running Pen & Gwyn. What I love most about markets is the community feel. Markets always have a lovely laid back environment and you can really chat to your customers and get to know them better than you would in a traditional retail environment.
Daffodowndilly: I’m also very new at selling my products at markets. 2020 is my year to really push this side of Daffodowndilly forward. I’ve done a few craft fairs at festivals and community celebrations, and I always love the atmosphere and community feel that you get at markets and craft fairs, as well as the chance to meet and chat with customers face to face rather than through a screen.
Eggbert & Daisy: We have been selling at markets for about 8 years now. I love it and I love the community. There’s the early starts, sometimes the weather can be against us, sometimes we can go home with not much more money than we arrived with (sometimes less because we’ve spent it with other stallholders!), but there is always real camaraderie. I have made some great friends.
It is also great to be face to face with the customers. When you put your heart and soul into new designs, it is very daunting to put them out there in front of people and ask ‘Do you like them?’, but I love to see people’s reactions and find it really exciting when we’ve launched new designs and people buy them straight away.
The markets are a great way to test new ideas and products – you get immediate feedback. You also get new ideas. If we get asked for something and we don’t do it, many times we have gone away and worked on adding it to our collection.
Pedddle: What first made you consider selling at markets?
Pen & Gwyn Illustrations: Honestly… markets are a low-cost way to test out products and ideas. In comparison to opening a shop, renting a share-space or attending a trade fair, markets are an easy and cheap way to just get yourself out there!
Daffodowndilly: I’ve always loved visiting markets, and it was always an aim to try market selling too, as well as launching my own website (www.daffodowndilly.co.uk). Markets and craft stalls are brilliant for getting your products seen and noticed, especially if you normally sell online. People always like to see something in real life, even if they follow you on social media or have seen your products online, and it’s really useful to see which of your products or displays draws people in, then you can use this experience to make your stall even better next time.
Eggbert & Daisy: When we first started selling at markets, our main business was selling cards to trade customers. We had several hundred independent shops, galleries and even a few big London stores buying from us. Laura and I both came from a creative background and when we first started our business that was what we loved. I had worked in retail, which lead to us deciding to set up our own business, but I missed the direct contact with customers. Initially the markets were my chance to ‘play shop’ at the weekends, and we found it invaluable to get the direct feedback from our customers. We could try new ideas and be more creative as we weren’t restrained by the tight margins of the wholesale market.
We also felt like we were on a bit of a treadmill, so we decided to take a step back and it made us much happier. We now just sell our designs at markets and online. We do very occasionally sell to shops, however it is not something we actively look for. There is one shop that currently stocks our cards and is run by a friend we made through taking part in the markets. The shop is ‘The Chicken Shed Interiors’ in Baslow, Derbyshire, near to Chatsworth House. It opened on Saturday 1st February. Gill has invited several designers and makers to join her that she’s met through taking part in markets, and it is an interesting new step for us this year.
Pedddle: In the spirit of love, what do you love most about being a small independent business owner?
Pen & Gwyn Illustrations: I love the fact that my time is my own and I have the freedom to choose how I utilise it. The small business community that the UK has such an inclusive and vibrant bunch of people. I owe a lot to the creative community for all their support, advice and kindness.
Daffodowndilly: I love the freedom of choice – you can make all of the decisions and if you don’t think something is working you can change it yourself.
Eggbert & Daisy: Our business is run by two sisters (Gina and Laura). We have a very similar work ethic – we are hard workers and this is something essential as a small independent business owner, plus you need to enjoy what you do. I’m not saying everyday is a joy, there are good days and bad, but you are the ones that have to get up each day and make things happen. As sisters, we have worked together for a long time and are lucky to have a really strong relationship. We have very different personalities, but we compliment each other well. There is an instinctive trust between us that I don’t think you can ‘manufacture’ in other types of business.
Find each of these stallholders and many more at https://pedddle.com/stalls/.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone – see you at the next market!
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