Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hello Etsy

"Hello Etsy: A Summit on Small Business and Sustainability is a hands-on gathering for small business owners who want to connect with their peers, learn the skills to find success and independence, and be part of the movement to build human-scale economies."

Last weekend, we took the opportunity to visit friends in Berlin and attend the Hello Etsy conference. We arrived on Thursday evening and enjoyed spending Friday checking out the city. Berlin is really vibrant place with a large international community. Rent is still fairly cheap and the city feels like it is buzzing with creativity. This was my second visit to Berlin so we skipped the main tourist attractions and stayed local.  We were in the former East German neighboorhod of Friedrichshain which has an abundance of cute cafes, craft shops, galleries and bars.  Later we crossed the river to wander Kreuzberg and Neuk├Âlln, along the canals and peaceful avenues.

On Friday evening, we went to the early registration session at Hudson's cafe.  The lovely people at Hudson's had been busy baking amazing scones which were served with Devonshire clotted cream and super jam....yum!

We spotted a few familiar faces from London including Mary from We Make London and made some new friends as well. We spoke to Maria who works for Bold PR - the company that had been helping Etsy to promote the conference.  In her spare time Maria runs Voodoo Market - a great Berlin craft and vintage market with more than a few similarities to Crafty Fox! Rather than a pub, Voodoo Market takes place in a nightclub.  The next market is on 22nd October so for those in Berlin - you should definitely check it out. I swapped market tales and creative ideas with Maria and The Boy did some interviews with German radio about the conference.

On Friday night, I went to the Community Organiser meet up at the Etsy Labs. It was really interesting to see Etsy's base in Berlin which is in an amazing old building based around a central courtyard. They run regular events and craft nights there - hopefully there wll be something similar in the UK before too long.

On Saturday mornng, it was an early start at Ewerk - an imposing building, formerly a power plant turned nightclub and now an amazing event space. The building really gave off a sense of history and many of the industrial features still remain. The 'history' section on the Ewerk website makes for interesting reading.

Before long, we were all settled in the main hall, ready for the first round of talks. You can find the full schedule and videos of the talks on the Hello Etsy website. Many of the talks were streamed live so that people around the world coud join in. Matt, Etsy's European Director kicked things off and paid tribute to all the hard work that had gone into making the event happen. It was clear to see that the team had paid attention to the details - just as you would expect from Etsy!

The speakers were wide ranging, diverse and interesting. Topics ranged from the practical 'Secrets to Good PR' to the more philosophical 'Mind Your Business'. Doug Richard from The School For Creative Startups and Tom Hodgkinson from the Idler Academy take to the stage below:

We had a chance to talk to lots of great people that had taken part in the event such as Charlie Festa former community director at Threadless.com.  We bumped into Charlie on the roof of Ewerk and had a great chat looking out over Berlin's skyline. We had a good view of the iconic Trabant cars parked below which were a visual reminder of Berlin’s colourful history.  For 30 years, since the 1950s this was almost the only car available to buy in the former East Germany.

It was also great to meet more of the Etsy team from Brooklyn - a few familiar faces and some new friends too. Staff could be identified by their cool neon perspex bear badges! Morgan from Etsy's Brooklyn Base and George from EtsyUK model theirs (left).
A massive Thank You to Etsy for putting together such a fantastic event. We came back from our weekend exhausted and inspired with lots of new friends and a very long to-do list!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Foxy Fun in the Heart of London

After more than 6 months of planning, there was great excitement in the run up to our pop up market at the Thames Festival. All the stall holders were frantically making things and planing their stall layouts while we were busy planning the decor, workshops and logistics.

Our Night Market at the Dogstar, 10 days prior to the big weekend, was an excellent warm up and got everyone in the mood for more Crafty Fox fun. Emerging from our cosy den at the Dogstar, we spent the following week closely watching the weather forecast and willing the Met Office to be wrong.

Finally, the big weekend arrived - boxes were packed, vans loaded, balloons inflated, signs erected and and much coffee consumed. Our aim was to recreate as much of the Dogstar vibe as possible in an outside space - Vintage lampshades, bunting and records adorned the trees.

There was a steady flow of visitors to our crafty wonderland over the weekend. Guests were delighted to discover such an array of amazing crafts.  They enjoyed chatting to the stall holders and asking questions about their processes as well as the opportunity to get 'hands-on' in our workshop den.

We were really happy to see the popularity of the Craft Trail concept with many people following Mike Hall's beautifully illustrated map. Thank you to all who contributed to this project and in particular to Sanna Panda who did a lot of the hard work in putting it together along with Craft Guerrilla, We Make London and of Cabbages and Kings.

Photo courtesy of EtsyUK

Another highlight of the weekend was live art by the wonderful Jimbobart who created 'Mr Fox and Friends' on his preferred canvas of ceramic plates.

Photo courtesy of EtsyUK

On the Sunday we were delighted to be joined by EtsyUK and The School for Creative Startups who joined forces under the banner of 'The Create Cafe'. Tea and cake came courtesy of the talented ladies from The Teas Knees. The School for Creative Startups is a social enterprise fouded by Doug Richard of Dragon's Den fame. Doug was one of a team of experienced business people providing free mentoring sessions. 
You can find more photos from the weekend here

The only regret from the weekend was not having a chance to check out all the other wonderful things taking place at the same time. The line-up of events and activities sounded amazing and friends who visited other parts of the festival had lots of good things to say.

Next up, we are off to 'Hello Etsy' in Berlin, then we will be opening applications for the Christmas Markets (10th & 11th December at The Dogstar, Brixton).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Craft Den at The Thames Festival

We are very excited to be bringing Crafty Fox to the Mayor's Thames Festival this weekend as part of the The Craft Trail. You will find us nestled in the trees next to the Tate Modern and the Founder's Arms Pub from midday - 10pm this Saturday and Sunday. Check out our talented list of stall holders here.

As well as an amazing selection of handmade goodies, you can pay a visit to our Craft Den, kindly sponsored by Etsy. Get hands-on with a range of free activities and brush up on your crafty skills.

Saturday 10th September
12 - 2: Freestyle Embroidery with Stuffed Nonsense
2 - 3: Make an origami fox with Wil, husband-to-be of From Chaos Comes Beauty
3 - 4: Tea Tasting with Pause for Tea 
4 - 6: Make a pom pom bird with Laura Long

Sunday 11th September
12 - 2: Make a brooch from vintage fabric with Gillian from Crafty Pint
2 - 4: Monster Making with Stuffed Nonsense
4 - 6: Make a brooch from vintage fabric with Gillian from Crafty Pint
6 - 6.30: Tea Tasting with Pause for Tea
Also on Sunday, you will find The Create Cafe as part of Crafty Fox. Pay a visit to.sign up to ‘dragons den’ style mentoring sessions with School for Creative Startups or learn more about selling online with Etsy.

Over the course of the weekend, catch live outdoor drawing from Jimbobart. We'll be posting photos of this on the blog next week! 

Also joining us will be Melody from Impro Face with face-painting and glitter tattoos! 

You can pick up your Craft Trail map from our Crafty Den then check out all that the festival has to offer. Fingers crossed for sunshine!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crafty Fox After Dark

Thank you to everyone that came along to the Crafty Fox Night market in Brixton last Thursday evening and made it such a success.   We were delighted to welcome over 1000 guests to the Dogstar, who came to check out the fantastic array of handmade and vintage treasures on display.

You will find some photos here and can listen to music from the night here.   You will also find a lovely blog about it written by Nicola From Streatham here and another by A London A Day here

The Crafty Fox Night School on the first floor was very popular with visitors trying out a range of crafts and leaving with their own handrafted treasure. Thanks again to Crafty Pint, Stars n'Scars, Viv Moriatry, Stitch Balham and Dreamy Me Brixton for teaching us their skills. 

Crafty Fox Pop Up at The Thames Festival - 10th & 11th September

We are currently working hard in preparation for the Crafty Fox Market at the Mayor’s Thames Festival where we will be taking part in the Craft Trail.   This weekend, come and find the Crafty Fox den, nestled between the trees, close to the main festival stage beside the Tate Modern.We will be there on both days from midday - 10pm. We have range of Crafy workshops planned (full details coming soon), facepainters, DJ's and live outdoor art by Jimbobart as well as an inspiring array of handmade stalls. 

The Craft Trail 

The Craft Trail is “a group of independent craft collectives who have joined forces to promote handmade crafts at the Mayor’s Thames Festival.”
Thames Festival visitors  will be able to follow a beautiful map (hand drawn by Mike Hall who will be selling his wares as part of the Crafty Fox market) and discover the huge variety of handmade goods on offer at the Festival.   The Map will highlight where each collective will be within the festival. There will be a loyalty system, where the public can participate in free activities at each collective; the first 50 to complete an activity at each place will receive a goody bag brimming with handmade goodies. You can pick up your map at The Crafty Fox next to the Tate Modern and wind along the banks of the river where you will find We Make London next to HMS Belfast and Craft HQ (Sanna Panda, of Cabbages and Kings, Craft Guerrilla) next to City Hall.