Friday, 9 December 2016

How getting married helped my business

Whaaaaat, we've been married for 51 days!
I won't go into the details of the day in this post but in line with the speed that time moved then, the last seven & a bit weeks have gone equally as fast.

But guess what, I've been super focussed and productive every day since then. The way we'd been thinking about the wedding for all those months seemed like the be all and end all of everything. It sort of felt like there was nothing after the big day. We didn't have anything planned and everything was just focused on getting through what seemed to be our last day on earth!
As a Catholic couple, it was such a pleasure to be taking another sacrament together and that in itself brings a strange feeling of renewal and optimism.

shipping desk ideas, etsy, shipping station

This sensation has spread out like the pebble making waves all across the lake. I've done a major rejig in the studio to make it more streamlined. I had printers, stock and equipment spread all over the flat but everything is now in the one room and in a place that makes sense. I finally finished my shipping station and got all set up for the coming months.

 As we are ttc, as they say, I am super aware of our health and nutrition at the moment. So I'm making big efforts to prepare healthy meals for us both. This has given me extra energy for business planning and for those days when I wake up dreading the thought of wrapping just one more mug in bubble wrap ready for posting (I don't know why but it kills me off!).
The best thing about being married is that now we are officially an effective team! (bonus points to you if you recognise that term). I didn't think it was possible but **look away now if you get cringed out easily** we have fallen deeper in love and have become even closer. My husband 100% supports me in all my Prints Of Heart work, and that to me is priceless.

As I'm in a super romantic mood of late I'd love to hear your romance stories, so let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Put your heart into it, how to keep the romance in your wedding day.

There's a lot of details in our wedding that I wanted to really make our own. As a hopeless romantic, things that are meaningful to us as a couple, things we could keep forever and things that would create a memory in our guests minds have been top of my list.

handmade felt wedding bouquet
Most of my vision fell away in the mix, but this week, the bits I managed to hold on to finally came to life.
One of the custom items that arrived made me full on cry like the excited bride to be I was at the start of this process.

Custom Ring bearer cushion

The cake toppers I took so long to find arrived and I did a little squeal of joy at the thought of them on top of the cake I chose. And I finally put the last few flowers on my handmade bouquet & buttonhole, this has been a real labour of love. Hundreds of petals lovingly dyed, hand cut, folded, glued and assembled into something I know I will be holding on to so tightly as I walk down that aisle trying not to laugh when I see my lovely fiance!

It's little details like this that help anchor you when you're in that big old wedding bubble. It's hard to articulate your timeline or vision to those around you when they're panicking about the things you're already on top of. That's actually the worst part of wedding planning, it's the reason you're awake at 3am stressing about being a horrible person because you said no to silver chair bows or you glazed over when the seating plan was mentioned.

gold band wedding rings

Our biggest secret was kept closest to our hearts so as not to cause widespread panic. But we only went out yesterday (3 days before the big day) to go out and choose our wedding rings. Yeah, that's a tad last minute but it was planned around our schedules and let's be honest, rings is rings, right?
I already have diamonds and rubies and we both just wanted plain bands so it was just a case of a quick hour or so to find a shop with the right sizes.

I think it's super important to have a few things your can pour your heart into that are part of your wedding day, and don't confuse that with those things you've put your soul into, they're generally the exhausting bits (plus it's usually being sucked out rather than poured in).
Something handmade, something you just saw and got excited about, something to keep forever.

I could go on a romance rant here, but I won't, because I've developed a bit of a thing about 'last time before', so I'm off to wash my hair for the last time before I'm a married woman! (My hairdresser told me to leave at least 2 days so it wasn't a frizz bomb, in case you're wondering).

Friday, 14 October 2016

Last night we got married, thank you Photoshop.

It's funny, isn't it, the way our minds process the world around us without us even thinking about it?
I remember in my Dead Island days (and nights), whenever I was out and about I'd sometimes default into zombie mode. Before I'd had a chance to think logically about a simple thing like razzing round to someone's house, my brain would be going through my weapons, health and what route was the safest. A person along the pavement would become a target and if there were any other cars on the road then this was seen as a major threat.

These days, I spend a lot of my time in Photoshop. So my unconscious mind is all about layers, spacing, colour options and cropping. It's actually pretty cool because not only do I see through my own eyes, but I can also see what I'd like as a final edit too.

Last night we had our rehearsal in the church. Just our priest and us. It was beautiful, the lighting was just how I'd imagined it when we first started thinking about things. The church was empty, how we wanted it originally, except for our witnesses and parents and the main focus was on us marrying each other in the eyes of God, again the only thing we wanted.

This morning I woke up and it's all crystal clear in my mind. I'm so happy we had the opportunity to 'run through our lines' so to speak. I now have a master layer which on the day next week I can just drop on top of everything else and bring myself back to that vision. I don't think we'll get much better than that, but I am willing to be pleasantly surprised!

So yeah, who knew that Photoshop would train my mind to do that?

Before I go, here's a picture of something that I've wanted to do since I saw this movie, but I'm not sure I'll get away with it and I'm afraid my well of 'let me explain why this is so important to me, so please don't take it away from me' has long run dry.

Well, have a great day & keep us in your prayers for next week ☺

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

What do the modern day bride & groom REALLY want as a wedding gift?

People are asking us what we want as wedding gifts and it's sort of hard to answer.
See, we've been living together for the last six years and have all the household stuff we could ever need, so it's not like a set of fine bone china will cut it (although I would feel really fancy about that).

I think in this day and age this is the case for a lot of couples, definitely couples our age anyway. So we've just been asking for money, which admittedly feels a tad strange, but that's a surefire way to ensure we can get the things we really want, the things we can't put on a gift registry.

It got me to thinking what do I REALLY want, like, as a super cool treat for myself. I asked my fiance too and we came up with a few ideas.

At age 37 I'm sad to say I've never gotten round to owning a stainless steel egg slicer.

So here's a few (mostly mine) of the things that we'd really love to purchase with our wedding pennies.

1. That egg slicer. We used to have one of these when I was a nipper and I remember being fascinated with it. Not only does it slice eggs to perfection, I spent many a happy time strumming little tunes on the strings!
2. Paper. Now this is a pretty run of the mill item yes? Well NO, actually. If I run out of paper round here then I've pretty much had it shop-wise. My other half asked me once what I wanted for an upcoming birthday, paper I said. He knows me well enough to not question it, so he got me a ream and wrapped it up all nice.
3. Cat(s). Always room for more fur babies, no more explanation required.
4. Envelopes. Same rationale as paper.
5. This one is Pete's. Some sort of pedal thingyo for his guitar.
6. This little badboy makes my mouth water. Mugs have now become the backbone of my little biz and I do worry what I'll do if something ever happens to my current mug press. So this 5 in 1 powerhouse is my dream wedding gift. (I may have to have a word with Father Christmas if we don't get a fat enough wad).
7. You'll never catch me without my nails done. I've said this many times before but I may have a hairdo like Worzel Gummidge and an outfit that looks like I've slept in it but my nails will always be tarted up. My varnish of choice is Barry M, so anything from there and I'm made up!

I'd love to know what unconventional items you bought with your wedding wad, or did you have the balls to put it all on a gift registry?

Monday, 10 October 2016

October is life (and zombie death)

Oh October, you sweet, sweet usher of seasons. Blasting out that big ole confused summer with your crisp sunny mornings and iced air nights. You're the alarm bell gently chiming in the distance letting us all know that special time of year is close.
Your musical score is the sound of geese chatter as they set off to their winter holiday destinations and your cold breath gives us an excuse to get some new tops to go underneath our chunky cardigans & jumpers.
You make casually bloodying yourself up during the day and prancing around acceptable because hey, it's Halloween soon, flip damn it!
Nick fear the walking dead
Image via AMC

But best of all, it's that time, that for 6 years in a row has further cemented my love for October. It's the new series of The Walking Dead. Of course this year we've had Nick and the gang in Fear TWD to tide us over which has been a dream.
It's interesting watching both as the FTWD guys seem to have things a lot more figured out, every time they step out they're bloodied up, they've captured and cleared a hotel and even have a kickass compound protected by the zombies themselves.
Pretty sure along the same timeframe the original guys were living in a convoy and running round mostly looking for Sophia.
the walking dead season 7, who dies?
Image via AMC

So yeah, I'm untold excited about the new Walking Dead episodes, all we need to do is get this wedding out of the way and it'll be within sight.
What's your favourite thing about October?

Monday, 3 October 2016

What's your level? A personalised birthday card for the gamer in your life.

Wouldn't it be great if we marked our age as a level? I remember when I was playing Dead Island back in the day I was pretty pleased with my scores as it meant I was an accomplished kickass zombie killer, I also play solo, like always, so yeah. Smug mode.
Anyway, getting a high level in gaming means you're pretty revered, you're strong, you've experienced some hardcore shit and you know what you're doing.

With our age however, sometimes we're not as excited when the number goes up are we?!
custom gamer's gift
Since launching this birthday card last month it is proving to be one of the most popular cards in my range. It's great for that gamer in your life and when an order came through for the card below it actually brought a tear to my eye!

gamer dad birthday ideasI mean how cute is that?
A lot of the cards are going out to people around my level, my generation who actually played on those controllers. Not tooting my own flute or anything but this is certainly one of my favourites ☺
birthday gift for gamer
Of course it's not just guys who are the recipients of these personalised cards, I love seeing other gamer girls out there too.

So yeah, if you're looking for a custom card for that game head in your life then there you go.


11 things not to say to a bride before her wedding and the dirty secret nobody will tell you before you start planning the big day.

With 16 days to go, I'm SO looking forward to the day after my wedding when all this will be over.
Most of the planning has been managing expectations and fielding the same questions over and over again. So here's a compilation of things you'd probably be better off not saying to a bride before her wedding day. Not in any specific order, apart from number one, there's also some handy alternatives should you feel the need to unintentionally drain the life from the expectant bride in your life.

1. Are you going to go on a diet?

Yeah, someone flat out asked me this. Although I have no issues at all with being a tad over weight, I know that my guy loves me 100% but this question only added more 'shit to do' onto my list. After I'd already ordered my made to measure dress I decided that yeah, I'm not worried about it & I don't care if anyone else is.

There's no alternative to this, just don't!

2. Have you set a date?

This has got to be the most asked question. It's frustrating af, as the reason we kept putting it off was we were scared and each time someone asked it sort of made us die a little inside. Trust me, you'll know when the date is set, so just stop asking.

Why not ask 'so are people harassing you guys about your date yet?' Letting them know you sympathise & understand, even if you don't. You'll probably get more details this way and you may even be able to offer some words of wisdom.

3. Aren't you worried about the weather?

If the happy couple is having an Autumn/Winter wedding it's most likely because they want to. They will have considered the weather naturally, but as we can have a hail storm in summer these days they're just going to take their chances and roll with it. 

Why not tell them their Autumn wedding makes you feel all warm and cosy and it's gonna be so cool being newlyweds around Christmas.

4. Are you excited for the big day?

You may not think it, but this is a really complicated question and when asked, brings up a straight NO in the throat. Chances are there's been no time in between the keeping everyone happy and involved, compromises & hours and hours of Pinterest research to even think about the real point of the 'big day'.

Try something like, 'so how are you? I know wedding planning can be tough, I'm here if you need to vent.'

5. Couldn't you just elope?

While you might be saying this as a joke, don't worry, it's certainly been considered, researched and deemed impossible. Eloping may seem like winning the lottery for the bride and groom who must be married in the Church so this question is another soul killer.

Probably best not to mention this one at all.

6. Well can't you just change the date?

A couple's wedding date isn't usually something that's just pulled out of a hat. They've thought about it hard and it will either just feel perfect or have some sentimental value to them.

Even if the wedding date doesn't fit with your schedule or plans, please don't make this known. If you can't make it, just say. If you can't understand a midweek wedding, Google it.

7. What's the colour theme, what should I wear, what is such & such wearing, should we change this or that?

Colour decisions may not be top of mind for the bride de jour. If there's a set palette then this will be communicated early on. They'll most likely not know (or care) what guests are wearing on the day and the decisions they've made already, they are happy with. Asking to add or change things further down the line lead to decision paralysis and the infamous soul drain.

Why not ask how they envisioned the day originally, the feelings and the tone they wanted. This will bring out a far more descriptive vision and I can pretty much guarantee you'll get your answer without them knowing they're being questioned!

8. Are you sure you like that?

Sometimes it seems like the bride is a bit slow, disinterested or pissed off. This is because they make decisions instantly but are constantly asked if they're sure. If they've been planning the big day since they were a nipper or are just coming round to it now, just be sure that they know what they like and the first answer is right.

It's great for a bride to have helpers and believe me she really does appreciate it, but remember she is constantly making choices, narrowing down, researching, pro and con listing and she knows her vision inside out. So when she tells you she loves that floral display, please don't make her prove it to you.

9. So what are you doing about the cake/flowers/cars/photographer/insert other wedding stuff? 

Well listen, I know a guy.

Certain tasks around the wedding are very often snapped up and dealt with by the wedding helpers, which is fantastic!
However, you probably don't know who's doing what, if they need any help and if they've sorted it yet but wait, you know a great guy! So asking the bride is the right thing to do, right? She knows exactly where everyone is up to at any given time.
Actually, she doesn't. Maybe Aunt Mabel said she really wanted to sort out a posh wedding car. So when you ring the bride and are told this and still say 'shall I ring my guy' it's an instant brain cell killer for her, she'll probably come off rude and evasive but she's trying to work out how to tell you again that someone else is looking after that whilst being polite and thankful for your concern.

If you 'know a guy' it's probably best to either wait until the bride puts out a FB 'anyone know a guy' post or ring the parents/parents-in law.
It's really nice to want to help and in any normal situation the bride would be truly thankful but she's being asked where she's up to with stuff more than she likes and it's starting to get her down. A great alternative would be a quick text saying you're free if she needs any help with anything. 

10. Oh, I invited (insert name/s) to the church because they'd be really upset if they weren't invited.

This is quite possibly THE worst thing to say and do, maybe even more so than the diet comment. A church v's night do guest list is a finely balanced work that teeters on a knife edge of emotional blackmail.
Just one person invited without the bride & groom's approval can knock the whole balance off and could then result in the whole list having to be re-jigged. Plus you've probably just ruined the day, and they are no longer looking forward to it, just saying!

Don't ever, ever, ever invite people to the church that the bride & groom haven't already. You have created unnecessary stress for the couple, gone against their wishes and it actually upsets them far more than the uninvited. The bride and groom will remember this for the rest of their lives, the guests, not so much.

11. It's your day, you can do what you like.

The people who make comments like this are either the long-time hitched or the un-wed. It's quite possibly the best kept dirty little secret in matrimony. You can't learn this without going through the planning phase and boy is it a steep curve!
It's a lie, a straight up big fat lie and the people spreading these lies are those closest to you! I guess that's the worst news since you found out Father Christmas isn't real, right?
If you're around a bride and groom in the planning stage then simply DO NOT use this phrase, after day one of announcing their date, they will know you're talking bullshit and you may well be the person that reaches the 'it's your day' limit for that day (the venue lady tipped me over).

The best version of this is something like, 'I bet people keep saying it's your big day, right?' and then do some evil laugh. This will totally break the ice and the couple will instantly love you. Maybe even add something like 'well what can I do to help you through it?'.

I'd love to know what seemingly innocent questions and comments you've been asked in the run up to your wedding that were super hard to answer/sucked out your life force.
Let us all know in the comments.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

This stupid wedding, how I design my cards.

I'm often asked where my ideas come from, how I keep track, how do I go from start to finish and how do I decide which will finally become living and breathing products (well, you know what I mean).
illustrated wedding cards, funny wedding cards
Well, today I have a new card in the shop all about weddings so I can give a little run through of how it came about.
I'm a doodler and there's nothing I love more than drawing little pictures for my fella. They're all pretty childlike but it always makes him laugh and it's pretty relaxing for me, I can highly recommend having a good doodle from time to time! They say adult colouring books are the new thing, but nah, adult doodling is the way to go.
We're both a little squashed from the impending 'big day' so I drew this little masterpiece on a blank card and wrote him a little message inside telling him how cool he is etc.
I don't want my wedding day
He'd fallen asleep before me so I left it on the coffee table for him this morning. Job done, he loved it ☺ good times.
When I looked at it again this morning and re-read what I'd written inside I knew that quote, 'You're the only reason I want to go ahead with this stupid wedding' would really ring a bell with a lot of people. I realised the way I'd written it was pretty Americanised but I loved the sentiment behind it. So I tweaked that a bit.
When you're in a wedding storm your plans get away with you, like, a lot. But all it takes to get back on track is the thought of your intended. When you're both feeling the same way it's pretty ruddy cool so I know that people in our boat will totally get this, or resonate as our American friends would say!

from the bride card
And here's the finished article. I added some love heart strings and what I'm hoping looks a bit like confetti.
So why did I write Frank? Well, I started off using our names in my products a few years back but having Lisa & Pete splashed everywhere felt a bit odd, plus it gives a chance for someone to say 'hey! that's my name'.
As I had a zombie day yesterday, Fear The Walking Dead was fresh in my mind so Frank seemed pretty good.

Anyway, hope this little glimpse into my process was of interest and I'd love to know if you feel like this too.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

A gift idea for the prickly hard to buy for.

If you've started your shopping for the big day already, well, my aren't you organised! I wish I could say the same. But today I just wanted to give you a few ideas for a sweet and funny gift for that hard to buy for person in your life.

The 'don't be a prick today, ok' personalised cactus range

cactus print, pink and green cactus art, cactus wall art
Personalised 'don't be a prick' print 

Now, if you're a little short on time, I also have a printable option. This is great if you just want to get your file and print out at home.
I aim to get all orders sent electronically within 24 hours.
printable cactus gift, art printable, instant download

Print from home

Also, and I'm really spoiling you here, take a look at this badboy!
custom mug, funny mugs, Christmas mugs
Get it on a mug

I even have a mug option too, so your prickly friend (or maybe that's you, no judgement) can get the message every day with their coffee or tea.

With a super cool green cactus print on a pink background, this design really packs a punch and is the ideal choice to get your passive aggressive dig in without anyone being the wiser.

Good times? YES!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

I'm only happy when it rains

I'm super excited today because it's been raining and I'm a real rain bug. Also, I painted that frikkin duck gold about a month ago and I have been waiting for the perfect day to shoot it!
Yes, I am your common or garden pluviophile.
gold duck floating on waterThere's something nice, warm and fuzzy about being tucked up inside when it's rainy out that really gets me deep in the feels.

bumble bee on flower

Luckily for me, in the UK it rains quite a bit. Which means not only can I sit inside feeling all motivated and chilled and creative but I can get out and about with my camera and catch a couple of my photography obsessions; insects, flowers and raindrops.

what are these orange berries, raindrops

I love rain so much because it puts a whole different spin on our environment, totally covering everything in its wake, yet somehow amplifying the beauty. It adds a glossy coating and turns up the contrast, it helps to make mini rainbows, reflections and watering holes for bugs and critters and it feeds all our lovely plants, flowers and trees.

Next time it's raining, take a closer look around you and enjoy!

Wedding planning for the freaks like us

Just over 6 months ago I proposed to my boyfriend (read about it here if you like).
We dicked around for three months before we asked our fave Priest to marry us, then left another three months before we even set a date.
what happens in a meeting with a priest to get married
Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing that brings me more joy and happiness than the thought of being this man's wife. Getting married in our favourite church in the eyes of God, taking another sacrament, well, that's just amazing.
But we both agree that the actual wedding & reception bit of the whole thing is scary af. Trying to meet the expectations (and perceived expectations) of your family, friends and guests drilled us both into the ground before we even got chance to think about anything.

So as you can see from our timeline, we buried our heads in the sand. But the dreaded 'so, have you set a date yet!' barks did not cease along with our inaction.
when you don't want to plan your wedding

Here's an image from Lord Of The Rings that sums up perfectly how my mind had been associating 'this stupid wedding' with pretty much the rest of my life.

It's been a while since I saw the movies but I remember the guys were trying to get somewhere (yeah, big fan here) and this eye ruins and casts a shadow and it's evil little feelers out wherever it can. If it gets you in its sights then you've pretty much had it. That's how I've been thinking of our beautiful day, for a long time actually. It's just something we need to get past, but it's casting a shadow over everything else and bringing down some Silent Hill style gloom to boot.

So what's the answer?!

Well, probably the same principle as a smear test. Just make the appointment, it's never that bad on the day is it? Just book it!
Unlike a smear test however, getting married is a (intended) one time delio, although you'll have to do similar ground work.
For us, the hardest thing by far has been setting a date. Now that we've picked it, things are happening, we're making decisions and everything is falling into place.

Our day is a Wednesday because that's the 'best of all' and the month is October because wow. There's no time more comforting than the month of October. The last slithers of summer still holding on, throwing their light through the cool air and changing leaves. Raindrops on almost everything projecting mini rainbows if you just look close enough. Crisp mornings, crunchy leaves, rosy cheeks and zombies. Scarves, wellies and cuddling up all cosy on the couch. Where days are days and nights are nights and coming in from the cold takes you back to a happy childhood memory.
I'll stop there......It's getting emotional.

Here's some wedding stats.

I had a quick Google and found some figures on how many weddings there are in a year in the UK. The latest figures showed 2014, which was a whopping 301,254.
how many people get married each day uk

I've been reading quite a few wedding blogs of late too. I sort of wish I hadn't started as there's a fair amount to live up to, but strangely enough I also found a lot of couples in the same boat as us, like a LOT.
Most had given in to their fears and favoured the eloping option but we are set on our Catholic church wedding so that doesn't come into play. The more and more I dug I found more and more like minded people!

It looks like there's light at the end of the tunnel guys & gals. If you're not that bridezilla (or groomzilla, whatever), then that's ok. Not interested in going shopping for wedding dresses when you don't even like going out to buy new jeans? That's ok too.

There's 301,254 marriages a year, broken down that's 5793 a week and 828 per day. Isn't that great? Makes me feel all squishy at the thought of how many others are getting married the same time.

I've found reassurance & magic in those numbers

Of those couples, I reckon at least 20% of them are forcing themselves into a day more geared around their guests. The result is that they are more in stressed out mode than enjoying the moment mode.
I just read a blog comment before from a lady who said that she pretty much destroyed her honeymoon by wanting to pick over the details of the wedding and if the attendees enjoyed it. You know what, I bet they all had a great time but it's a shame this woman had put so much pressure on herself.

So every day that's 165 couples having a bad wedding day, lol, just grinning and getting through it! Poor things. I don't want that for me and my man or indeed for you and your intended.

Here are my top tips for motivating yourself and just organising the shit out of something you just really don't wanna do!

• Talk to your Fiance
No-one knows you better and wants more for you than this guy or gal. Odds are you're both feeling the same way but were afraid to admit it. Talk it through, make a plan and get excited about it

• Stick to your guns
You're having mermaid hair for the big day but your mum thinks you'll regret it when looking at the wedding pictures in 20 years time. Just refer her to the perm she had in her photos and explain this is what makes you happy and comfortable.

• Be a bit sketchy.
If you're planning a less traditionally formatted day to suit you (the happy couple) then it's sometimes hard to articulate your ideas and vision so a bit of 'oh, wait & see' or 'we're just working on that' can throw people off the scent. They'll get it in the end, but sometimes you just CBA with the all the questioning, right?

• Remember the end goal
Now for a bit of romance. This has been my greatest motivator by far. Just spending time with my Fiance and hanging out keeps me in check and reminds me that yeah, all this is so we can be man & wife. I'll be his wife and he'll be my husband.
As I typed that out I got butterflies in my stomach and without making you lose the contents of yours, dare I say we've fallen just that little bit deeper in love since setting our date ♥

Now go forth and try to enjoy it

If you're one of the daily 165 freaks like us then I'd love to hear how you're getting on with your plans and what motivated you to finally bite the bullet.

Monday, 22 August 2016

How to get the marble background look for your products without the marble prices!

I remember a while back, I shot a lot of my products on bare wood. After that, they were re-shot on that same wood, but it was now painted white. Then I half transitioned into just plain old white canvas with a few random props but these days, everyone's shooting on marble. How cool is that!

I'm absolutely loving this new trend and am trying to use it here and there, if you saw my OMG pink pasta post recently then you may have noticed I used some marble texture in that. And I've also got a print or two in the shop along the marble theme.

So here's my easy fix for getting that marble effect background or flat lay base. You don't have to go out and buy a slab or even search for the sticky back plastic option. You can just print it right at home and get started within minutes.
I was out and about recently and in a restaurant who had marble finish tables so guess what, I humiliated myself for a few minutes, standing taking photos over them! Definitely worth it though as I finally got the marble backdrop I wanted.
Here's my cute little 'You're nice' cat card just to illustrate.

To get your free marble background download (yes free, I embarrassed myself just for your pleasure) just click on the image below to get to the full size file.
Please note, you can use the image in your designs, for your own product backdrops, on your blog or website etc. but do not give it away for free on your own site claiming as your own (sorry, I've been burned before).

free marble backgrounds


Friday, 19 August 2016

My top 10 shipping tips for Etsy sellers

There's been a few times where my shipping 'routine' has been pretty close to the wire. A few times when I've thought about cancelling orders, and a few times that been overwhelmed and under prepared.

A product based business relies on being able to get purchases out to customers in time as advertised and in a fit state too.
Now, I've been pretty lucky (not sure if that's the right word) in my Etsy shop in being able to meet all expectations my customers hold when purchasing my products.

My own expectations however are always shot to shit.

Well, why is that?
At the end of Father's Day this year I had a sit down and a gave myself and my small business a good grilling and figured out why I always feel like I'm running around like a headless chicken. It's because I won't let myself believe my products are capable as selling as much as I'd hope at the key gifting periods. This means I just sort of roll with it, when it gets super busy I always find myself thinking 'oh it'll go dead tomorrow' or 'oh, I probably won't need to restock'.
So I made some rules & plans for myself and also have allowed myself to recognise that yeah, I'm going to be busy so plan for it and bloodywell own it!

As it's Christmas coming up I though I'd share some of my top tips with you so you don't make the same mistakes I've made in the past. First off, here's what I've found to be the key times to get in your stock and supplies for each gifting period.

  • Christmas ~ September/October
  • Valentines Day ~ mid December
  • Mother's Day ~ February
  • Father's Day ~ May

bubble wrap, fragile tape and packing supplies

1) Check your stats from previous years and see if you can find any patterns as to when roughly you will start to pick up.

2) Order double your packing supplies a month ahead of time. If you can't afford to layout a big chunk then start hoarding as early possible. It's better to have a pile of packing bags shoved under your bed for a few months than to run out when you really need them.

3) Double check with your suppliers as to their shipping and cutoff times (especially around Christmas) just in case. This is also a great way to develop a better relationship, give plenty of time though, I wouldn't recommend emailing them in December.

4) Know your local Post Offices and post boxes and their pickup times. What if your PO is getting a refit and is closed for a week? Do you know where the next one is and their times? Same goes for Post Boxes, what if a car crashes into your normal one and it's out of service, make sure you know where the next one is.

5) If you're working a dayjob too, try and use a couple of days holiday in the run up to your busiest time. Not always convenient but it saves a lot of stress and means you're able to focus on both.

6) Don't forget your printer(s). You'll be printing a much higher volume with invoices and shipping labels so don't forget to keep some extra ink and your paper stocked up.
If possible, have a backup printer or at least know where to get one at short notice. We have a 24 hour Tesco nearby and they have printers starting at £20.

7) Have an area solely for packing. I have a fold out table which pretty much stays folded out throughout my busier times.
Have everything to hand and create a system that works best for you. Even if it means taking over your dining table, that's the way it is.

Here's some of my 'dream office' pins from Pinterest. It's good to have something to aim for, right?

top 10 tips for Etsy sellers

8) Have a water tight system for knowing where you're up to with each order. Whether that means marking as shipped as soon as you print the invoice or sending the shipping notification once everything is packed up. Find one option that works best for you and stick to it.
Most online platforms have a 'notes' option for you when the order comes through, I find this is a great place to add any correspondence you've had with the customer, change of address for example.

9) Keep up! When you're super busy, it's best to look at it as a 24 hour operation. I tend to pack the bulk of my orders before I go to bed at night. That way I'm not going to bed worrying about the mammoth task that awaits in the morning. All I have to do when I get up is pack up any overnight additions and then do the first post run.

10) Remember you're not a robot! You may feel like it after you've been packing up Valentine's cards since before Christmas, but make sure you enjoy this time in your business. Do something small for yourself each day as a treat, even if that's blasting out your fave tunes while you're getting those orders out and don't forget to feel good about the fact you're creating products that people love!

Well there we go. I hope you've found my shipping tips for Etsy sellers useful. I'd love to know if you have any additional advice to help us all out too. If so, leave a message in the comments.

If you're looking for a treat for all your hard work then I have the perfect thing for you. This super cute 'world's best shipper' coffee mug.
So whenever you feel you're heading into nervous breakdown territory, simply make yourself a brew in this cutey and you'll start to feel all your worries fall away.
Who am I kidding, you won't feel that, but it'll sure make you feel just a touch more in control.

£8.50 + shipping
cute mugs for Etsy sellers, shipping lessons

Above all else, enjoy it! You're busy.

You go Glen Coco