Friday, November 30, 2012

Meet the Crafty Fox DJs

By Stephan

Music has always been a very important element of The Crafty Fox Market and we're very lucky to count some great DJs as our friends.  I'll introduce some of them here.

Chris & Cindy are better known as manVSwife or Hands On Family when they DJ.  They run the music part of United80 in Brixton Village and play the smoothest selection of soul, jazz, funk and all things good.  It's essential listening on a weekend morning and keeps us smiling during busy market days.
Local DJ Hwen Rascale lives a literal stones throw from the Dogstar DJ booth.  Very handy after a late night.  Hwen is a professional DJ who also runs his own parties alongside his day job. He produces a number of re-edits of his own, so chances are that the dancefloor hit he's spinning has his very own twist.
Stephen McCaroll is a talented DJ from Dublin.  He looks like Noel Fielding and recently re-proclaimed his love for vinyl.  That's good because Crafty Fox loves vinyl.  Over on twitter he has also proclaimed a love for weaving.  When he's not drinking pints with postman Pat he can be found trawling for second hand 80's records or women's jewellery, -nuff said.
At our Christmas markets a second DJ booth will be popping up behind the counter in the Tea Room.  This means we will be playing out over two floors and will be welcoming some new DJs to the fold including Tom Patullo and D'Arcy Heath.  Other talented friends that will be spinning include Parisien house head Mister T and ex radio and club joc HowieK.
As a keen record collector and DJ it's no secret that dusting off a few 12" for Crafty Fox is one of my favorite parts of each event.  It gives me a warm feeling to get that appreciative nod from a stall holder or punter when they're enjoying the music.  The environment allows the DJs to play anything they want, and we always mix it up.   

Check out our soundcloud page for a taste of what's on our player at the minute.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In Business: Craft Fair Checklist

Our 'In Business' series continues with a guest post by the talented illustrator Stacie Swift who will be joining us at our Christmas Markets on Sunday 9th December. I am already the proud owner a beautiful 'Foxes Dancing in the Rain' print by Stacie and I can't wait to check out her latest creations.

Stacie put together a really useful blog post and checklist for stall holders following her last visit to our Market earlier this year. It includes such gems as:

'Be prepared to beautify an awkwardly shaped pub table into a stunning display' and 'always make sure you get there in plenty of time to set up and faff about.' 

 You can read the full post on her blog and download the'craft fair checklist' below.

About Stacie Swift Illustration
Designed to appeal to little and big kids alike, Stacie Swift Illustration stationery aims to raise a smile and give a nod toward the sentimental. Behind the products is Stacie Swift, an illustration graduate with a love of animals and a penchant for stationery. Bright, bold and playful, all of Stacie’s ranges have a sense of humour and an instantly recognisable style. Though stocked across the UK, Europe and Australia, Stacie Swift Illustration proudly remains a very British brand; every product begins as a hand drawn illustration and each item is hand packaged and printed in the UK.

Monday, November 19, 2012

In Business: How to sell your work in shops - Part 2

Welcome to the second part of our new business series where we explore issues relevant to designer makers. Last week, Lily from frillybylily gave us some really helpful tips on wholesale from the designer's perspective. This time, it's the turn of the shopkeeper to provide some pointers. 

Emy from Brixi in Brixton Village describes her shop as "a curiosity shop selling old and new oddities." If you haven't yet checked it out, I really would recommed a visit as you will always find something to inspire the imagintion. Emy does a brilliant job of merchandising and the shop is beautifully laid out. Emy was one of the guest curators for our forthcoming Christmas Markets, helping with the difficult task of stallholder selection. Here, she shares her top tips for wholesale:

1.    Be Commercially Minded 
It is really important to approach shops with commercially viable, ready to go products. Although it’s often easy to see potential in a product, a small shop will not always have the time to spend helping mentor designers and getting work ready for sale. Be clear about the difference between wholesale and retail.  Most shops will take a commission of approximately 50%.  Be realistic about what your work could comfortably retail for.

2.  Face To Face
If possible, a face to face visit is always best.  There is only so much you can convey over an email or phonecall.  It’s vital for me to handle work in the flesh and get a real sense of what it is about. To meet the maker and get an insight into how and why the work is made, makes it much easier to sell.

3.  The Complete package
It’s in your interest to make your work as easy to display, sell and package as possible.  Really think through every aspect of a transaction.  Obviously every shop has their own way of doing things, but to show you have thought it through shows you are a professional outfit.

4.  Be Organised
When delivering work, make sure you are organised. Have a clear list of what you are dropping off, including wholesale prices. It pays to leave the retailer with as much information as possible. Most shops will have a contract of sorts, yet it doesn’t hurt to bring your own.  Be clear about terms – when and how you’ll be paid, in event of damage/theft etc.  Be armed with the right questions.

5.  Keep in Touch
Running a small shop is hectic! If a designer is organised about restocking it makes it much easier for the retailer. Keeping on top of restocking is important.  Check your sales, see what has sold, offer to replenish etc.  The more you are on top of things, the more chance you have to sell more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In Business: How to sell your work in shops - Part 1

Welcome to the first post in our new series of business topics.
Are you a maker wondering how to get your items into shops?  Or have you ever been approached about wholesale?  We will talk to two successful people -one a maker, the other a shopkeeper- about their experiences.

Meet, jewellery designer Lily from 'frillybylily'.  Lily will be at the Crafty Fox Market with her creations on Saturday 8th December.  Here, she shares her top tips for wholesale from the perspective of the designer.  In our next blog we'll be speaking to shopkeeper Emy from Brixi - a beautiful gift shop in Brixton Village.

Lily, in her own words.

frillybylily jewellery is inspired by my hometown of London. The style is best described as 'pretty but gritty'. Everything is manufactured in small batches in North London using recycled metals. I have been designing, making and wholesaling for 6 years. Current and past independent and larger stockists include: Brixi in Brixton village, Branch on the Park in Victoria park village, Mon Bijoux in Hampstead, Homage in Stoke Newington, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie stores.

My top tips for selling wholesale:

1. Do weekly stock takes: If you are working on a small scale, simply keeping a page in a notepad with current stock totals is enough. Do the same with packaging, findings and anything else you may need to order in in advance. If you're more sophisticated you could always do a nice colour coded spreadsheet!
2. Have your terms and conditions ready to be signed before you leave stock with a new stockist. Outline your non negotiables and stick to them! Get a dated signature and a mobile phone number if you can. This helps if you need to chase up payments or just get in touch with the shop owner/ manager rather than the shop assistant.
3. With larger stockists they are very strict about deadlines. Whether you are manufacturing or hand assembling your order, you need to KNOW that you will be able to hit the deadline, otherwise you may be charged. This means using suppliers/ outworkers that you trust and planning your time in advance. Use a delivery method that you know and trust, or better still deliver it yourself!
4. Keep your prices consistent across all stockists and your website. Nobody wants to be undercut by anybody else. 
5. Ask for feedback from your stockists. They speak to the customers. See if there is anything you can do to keep your collections up to date and flying off the shelves!

 Join us in our next blog post for the shopkeeper's perspective. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Perri Lewis at Crafty Fox Market

We are delighted to be welcoming author, journalist and blogger Perri Lewis, to The Crafty Fox Market on Sunday 9th December. Perri was one of our guest curators for the market, helping us with the difficult task of selecting stall holders.

Perri at the launch of Material World
You will find Perri in the first floor tea room from 12 - 4pm along with a big stack of crafty supplies. Pull up a chair, eat some cake, have a natter and make some cards - the perfect time out from browsing the stalls. 

This was a big week for Perri as her beautiful book, Material World was released. It covers many different types of modern crafts and alongside really useful DIY projects, also includes words of wisdom from well known names such as Tatty Devine and Philip Treacy.  I was particularly excited to see page 184 which features a quote from me! 

Perri will have copies of the book available for signing at The Crafty Fox Market. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Look & Feel

My latest homework assignment for the 'Blogging Your Way' course was to create a mood board representing this blog. Faced with a choice of a digital version or collecting up relevant items and photographing them, I opted for the second option using items from around the house and garden. This is my first ever mood board - I really enjoyed making it so I don't think it will be my last! 

Lavender Birdie from Hope and Eden,
Brixton print by Lucy Loves This, 'I eat my cake in my pants' plate and 'Ghetto Badger' print by Jimbobart.
A couple of flyers from our previous events with Crafty Fox illustrations by Jimbobart
Bunting Triangle from Etsy UK
'Love' paperweight from The Lollipop Shoppe
Birdie postcard by Heart Zeena
Fox cushion by Robin & Mould

I started with a backdrop of records - the DJ's are a key element of Crafty Fox and our house is stuffed full of vinyl so it seemed like an obvious place to begin. Jimbobart is the talented illustrator behind the Crafty Fox character so my next move was to reach for some of his brilliant work.  I also chose to add the Brixton print from Crafty Fox regular, Lucy Loves This. Like most Brixtonite's, we love where we live. 

At present, the blog's main colour scheme is black, white and red. In putting together this mood board, I included a couple of items in turquoise - I think this is a good addition and plan to incorporate it in the design in future. The one thing I struggle with is the quality of my photography - an element which I would really like to improve.

I am planning a blog redesign - conveniently this is actually the latest homework assignment from the blogging course so hopefully it will give me the push I need to make it happen. I'm contemplating a switch from blogger to either wordpress or tumblr. Sometimes I find blogger clunky to use and I'm not technically able enough to mess with the html.  Any recommendations out there?