Crafting is big news since lockdown began, and a great way to keep yourself entertained and your mind busy. Plus, you get something beautiful to show for it at the end!
Pedddle: We love a good craft kit – what do you think is so great about DIY craft kits?
Penny & a Pearl: A craft kit can kick start a whole new hobby! It has happened to me in the past. I got a needle felting kit for Christmas two years ago and I’ve never looked back.
It’s great if a kit means you can pick it up and just start learning. You don’t have to go searching for inspiration (or wind up down a Pinterest rabbit hole), then find a pattern or instructions, and then source all the materials you need. A kit means all the work is done for you!
Hands-on crafts are great for mindfulness, especially when you get the satisfaction of creating something. And by taking out the hard work of piecing together a project, craft kits make that even easier.
The D.I.Y Tribe: Personally, I find crafting very meditative and think it gives our minds time to ‘breathe out’. I think anything that gets us off screens and working with our hands is important for our mental wellbeing, especially now.
If we are parents it also helps our children to see us doing crafts and leading by example. On a practical level, I’m a believer in upcycling what we have in our homes and wanted to create skill-based craft kits with parents working with children to complete tasks using craft tools which can be used over and over.
As a parent myself I’ve received many ‘craft’ kits which are one-use with lots of plastic. I am motivated to create kits which teach real skills.
Peach & Mimi: My little box of joy is perfect for all ages to find a moment to relax and take their mind off the current situation. I include colouring sheets which are great for mindfulness. They are also great to send as a surprise in the post to loved ones.
My daughters have both loved testing out the colouring sheets, it kept them busy for a while so I was able to get some work done!
Pedddle: What first made you consider selling your products at markets?
Penny & a Pearl: Although I originally designed my boxes to be sold primarily online, markets have become a great way to meet like-minded people! Both stallholders and customers. It’s really lovely to actually see the face of a happy customer, to hear who they are giving it to as a gift or to see them get excited that it is their first sewing project. You don’t get that kind of interaction selling just online.
The D.I.Y Tribe: I LOVE markets!
We spent five years in New Zealand and my first stall was at the Queenstown Arts Market in 2002. It was so fun, I sold lots, met some cool people, had such a fun night on the town with the money I’d made and from that day on, I was hooked! I spent the next five years trading at festivals and markets all over NZ. Being a Maker is so isolating at times and as a people person it lets me get my social ‘fix’.
Once we finally settled back in the UK I focused on wholesale and online sales for a few years through NotontheHighStreet. I found it more manageable whilst my children were tiny but I missed the buzz of markets. Once my babies were out of nappies we were back on the festival scene, running craft workshops at music festivals and travelling all over the UK to trade at awesome markets, which this country does so well.
Over time I’ve realised I’m all about community and I love meeting new people, so markets work perfectly for me. I think the chilled vibe at them means people are friendlier and have time to chat, eat, socialise and shop at a more relaxed pace.
People who go to craft markets understand the work involved in UK made crafts and I just think it’s a lovely environment to sell work in.
Peach & Mimi: I love attending markets as a customer. I love the interaction with the stallholders and finding unique and handmade products that you can’t find anywhere else.
What I was most looking forward to about selling at markets is the sense of community amongst the stallholders. The Pedddle community has been brilliant in this way as everyone is so supportive of each other so I can’t wait to get stuck in!
Pedddle: Do you have a favourite market, and if so, why?
Penny & a Pearl: I loved the Etsy Handmade local market I took part in in December, it was such a great community feeling. As a group of Etsy sellers, we met regularly before the Christmas market and we all took part discussions on how the market would work and had a hand in the decision making. It meant that every stallholder was a friendly face and part of the team.
The D.I.Y Tribe: It has to be South Coast Makers Market, because we run it! I love it and the community of Makers which has built up around it is like an extended family now. I run it with my husband Adam and sister Kat and we have so much fun each month. It’s such a buzz and we’re all really missing it.
It’s a bit different to your usual market, we’re heavily inspired by the festival scene and having something for every member of the family so it’s a day out for all the community. We run it in some fab locations, including Bad Hand Coffee’s beautiful roastery and currently at an amazing Loading Dock just off the high street in the centre of Bournemouth. Check out our website for details.
As a Maker there are so many inspiring markets I’ve traded at over the past 18 years, including the craft fields at Glastonbury, Larmer Tree and Shambala Festivals plus Crafty Fox, Urban Makers and The Mother Maker.
Peach & Mimi: I only opened my Etsy shop at the beginning of March so haven’t had chance to take part in any physical markets yet, sadly! I can’t wait to take part in my first market when they are back open.
Pedddle: Why do you think giving gifts is so important right now?
Penny & a Pearl: It’s all about making someone smile. Maybe you saw something and instantly knew just the person it was for, or you hunted down the perfect item purposely to make someone smile. Right now you can’t be with that person who needs you, so you send a gift in your place – a little piece of yourself in a way.
The D.I.Y Tribe: It was my birthday last week and I’ve had some lovely gifts arrive in the post! Birthday or not I think it’s a delight and a great mood lifter knowing a loved one has sent you a little something. It definitely has more meaning and sentiment to me to send gifts in the post right now and I’m really enjoying sending keepsakes to my family and friends.
It’s important to me to shop from within the wonderful supportive Maker community, more than ever I feel this is the era of the Makers!
Peach & Mimi: I think gift giving is more important than ever right now! It’s a way of connecting with our friends and loved ones that we can’t physically see at the moment. It helps bring a smile to people’s faces and feel connected.
Pedddle: What has changed for you and your business during the pandemic?
Penny & a Pearl: The first big change was a personal relocation, I moved to spend the lockdown with my family and took the business with me – that was a whole world of logistical trouble in itself!
I’ve had a few minor problems with suppliers and delays. Almost straight away I created a range of “add on” sewing kits, with the exact needles and thread to go alongside the kits, because not being able to pop to your local sewing shop for a reel of cotton was not something I originally factored in as a problem.
Mostly, being in lockdown has given me some much needed time to work on my next range of products! New kits are coming… just as soon as suppliers are back to full strength and I can get to a printer!
The D.I.Y Tribe: So much has changed – homeschooling has meant I have very little time and as we’ve been isolating, too. I closed my online shop, which I’m finally going to be re-opening next week. I’ll be offering gift wrapping, writing gift messages and cards and sending them directly to the recipients too.
I’m launching a new kit which I’ve been working on in the evenings. It’s a step by step D.I.Y. Mask Making kit, with everything you need to learn the skills to make masks for you and your family, which can be made to measure! I’m even planning to record my first ‘how to’ video, which is something I’ve wanted to do for ages.
I’ve got so many ideas that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, which are now happening within my business. I feel I have a lot more clarity, vision and a stronger sense of purpose about what I do and why I do it.
Peach & Mimi: I have added the option of a handwritten gift message at no extra charge, so customers can send items directly to their loved ones. It’s lovely to be able to make someone smile and personalise a gift.
My ‘hug and treat’ box has been very popular – the messages I have written on behalf of customers during lockdown have really warmed my heart.