If you know someone who’s loves making things, has nimble fingers, enjoys browsing the local markets, craft fairs and galleries, and who is naturally creative, they may like to turn that into a career by becoming an independent, creative maker and retailer. Here’s how two local women did just that and more…
After managing and trading at many markets in Bristol, Rosie McLay and Jen Walsh realised that our wonderful City has a lot of makers that need somewhere to sell, present and network, including the Managers! So they organise pop up shops where these independents and creatives can all dedicate their time more efficiently, with more opportunities to make that sale as well as collectively build a truly beautiful space for their audience. Here’s Rosie and Jen’s advice for anyone considering a career as an independent, creative maker and retailer:
Starting up is hard. Where do you start from?
Start by seeking help! There are always ways to find help, be it from online blogs or going to markets and talking directly to traders. There are lots of schemes/organisations (especially here in Bristol) to help with starting businesses – for example, the Princes Trust – so take advantage of these, that’s why they are there!
Working for yourself is so rewarding
Although it’s tough at times it’s always such a good feeling when you sell your handmade items and totally worth it! Social media makes marketing easier and online shops, like Etsy, mean you don’t have to invest in market stall set ups until you are ready.
It’s good to have a clear aim or focus to keep you on track
Write a time line (for 6 months to a year) of each step you are taking to make your business grow.
And write a blog as you go: this helps you to keep moving in the direction you want and also shows you how far you have come.
Always time your work. Everything you do for your business – from writing emails to shopping for bubble wrap – it’s all part of it. Make sure you are including this in your timings and costs to ensure you are getting a fair wage for what you are doing.
External promotion is the best kind. Keep an eye on local and national paper/magazine stories for anything that applies to your business, then contact the editor with your story as a possible follow up article.
You can catch Rosie and Jen’s latest pop-up shop selling handmade, local, beautiful and curious things at the Bristol Bazaar, between 1st and 24th December. It’s at The Island (Bristol’s former police station), Bridewell Street, Bristol, BS1 2LE. Details: bit.ly/2gnPLFv
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