I always want to write a book or at least a diary about running a gift shop but I’ve never got the time. On one hand I have so many ideas I want to share on the other hand I feel like I am still very new compare to others who had their shop for like 30 years.
Since we have the pop up, we’ve never stop working. It’s like I am busy before I even get out of the bed.
Opening a shop isn’t as fancy as I thought. Years ago I was day dreaming with my best friend, dreaming we’ll open a gift shop/ book shop/ cafe and we thought we would be chatting to customers, drinking coffee, open and close whenever we feel like. Well obviously we’re very stupid and dreaming too much!
Running a shop is HARD WORK and it’s even harder for a designer! Getting products in from other suppliers are difficult enough but designing your own is even harder. I have to draw, source the materials, communicate to factories (if I am getting them made in bulk) getting samples, more communication, more samples, and things are not according to plan you have to find another factories. The process may take 6 months to a year! In between this process, it’s a lot to learn and there’s also a lot of self-doubt. I don’t know if people will like my design, whether people will like that particular product, and I don’t know if people prefer this colour or that colour, the lists go on.
Behind the sense there’re also lots of invisible stress because I have emails to reply, social media campaign, stocks to order, photoshoot to organise and if I am late for one thing, everything will delay. As an artist or a writer, I draw or write when I feel like this, as long as I submit the work before the deadline is fine but running a shop is doing different things in daily basis. it’s particularly hard for me because I can’t break up a drawing to do in different days or weeks, but sometimes I just don’t have the time to do one drawing in one day! Not to mention I need to get into the right time right mind set to draw. It’s all very hard.
I hope sharing this insight with you make you appreciate independent designer more. It’s not that easy.
I know I won’t be the first one to tell you this but I still have to say it- managing your own business is HARD WORK!!
Every business is different and I can only tell you how hard MINE is. Before we started to make money we worried that we won’t survive. Once we were starting to feel alright, another wave comes and and we need to paddle a little harder to try to keep our head above the water. We constantly worry about different things, timing, marketing, stock etc.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a dream come true for me to have the shop and be able to showcase my work to people, while putting a smile on their faces. EVERY coin has two sides. When you see me sitting in the shop looking at the computer, I am not always online shopping (just every now and then :D) I am constantly designing new products, getting new stock and thinking what can I do to make this better.
And when it comes to designing, I actually have no idea what I am doing. (Not that I know what I am doing with other things either!!! 😀 ) I may be good at drawing a picture but when it comes to professionally designing something I am clueless.
For example, I needed to re-deign our packaging for our children’s dining set, bamboo coffee cup and muslin swaddles urgently but I don’t know how to turn a template into a box!
Without a professional training it’s very very hard. It’s like asking someone to make a Croquembouche with no recipe. I just don’t know where to start.
I am glad that I get it all done in the end but man it’s HARD WORK! There are so many times that I wish I have more proper training in different parts of business but I think my brain and my time don’t agree with that. I will just try to do my best to learn on the job!
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and we have some incredible ideas for Mother’s Day gifts!
This year I have illustrated an Emu mum giving her little one a kiss for our Mother’s Day products theme. As mother’s day illustration usually full of love hearts and bears I decided to give a little bit more Aussie “accent” in my illustration.
This illustration is printed on card, cushion and mug. They are all available on my website and in store and the mug can be personalized as well.
Found this beautiful home on Inspired by Charm today. This is my kind of happy home although my home will never look like that. Ok maybe for half a day if I am lucky. I will messed it up in no time. Anyway look at the colours of this home! So happy and pretty!
Thanks to Facebook I found a photo of my market stall 6 years ago in Melbourne. Who would have thought I would have my own shop today?
I remember I was working at the hospital at that time. Struggling to deal with exceptionally annoying lazy colleagues everyday. Flying to Melbourne to do markets at least once a month. Just because I believed I can do better than what I was doing.
People think I was crazy but I don’t care. I was dreaming to move back to Melbourne where all the creative people are. I was so desperate to make it works. Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams. There’s no fast track you just have to keep trying. I love those time when I took all my handmade goodies from Sydney to Melbourne. I was so determined. I didn’t become a super star in the market instantly but it definitely made me realised what my dream is.
We are so excited!!! We’ll be moving to our new shop at South Melbourne Market next week. It’s going to be a longer term lease so no more packing for awhile!! Yay!
It’s a mix feeling because we’re going to miss our lovely neighbours at shop 120. We have a great time around these great people around us. We’re going to miss that for sure.
At the same time we’re very thankful and excited. We can finally plan our lives ahead. We will bring in more new products. We will be teaming up with social media guru in the next 12 months. We will have some exciting projects that involve the creative community and general public.
Once again we have to thank South Melbourne Market for giving us the opportunity to extend our stay at the market. We know there are lots of creative business out there fighting for the spot and we are very thankful that we have the support. This is really a dream come true for us.
Our pop up shop at South Melbourne Market will be back from this Wed 14 Dec to the end of Jan 2017!
We are very lucky to have the opportunity to be back at South Melbourne Market! We had a great time when we had our first pop up at So:Me space. The response from the public was massive! I am extremely honoured to be loved by so many local and people around the world. The nicest feeling is when we have returned customers. For a long time I was in doubt whether I am doing the right thing. I was a CPA accountant by trade and to leave my full time job to do this is such massive decision for me and my husband. The pop up shop in the last two months certainly gave me the confidence that I have made the right decision. When I see more and more people came back to my shop and some people even brought their friends and family it is a really good feeling.
I’ll write a bit more of what I’ve learn from the pop up shop later. I better get back to prepare the pop up this Wed!
I’ve been work with stylist Yvette from The Stylist Splash recently and it was such a joy! Yvette is so talented and her style is amazing. I am not sure if you know but I am not a big fan of the whole scandi black and white and grey look. I love bright and cheerful colours and Yvette has certainly brought out those elements of my products in her photos.
Yvette is kind enough to feature my products on her blog today! I can’t wait to share with you all! Check out those gorgeous photos!!
What we have learnt from our pop up shop is most of our customers are looking for a present for their friends. Since we are printing our mugs now we thought it might be a good idea to offer customized mugs for our customers? We have a great responds at Finders Keepers last week and we are thrilled to let you know the custom option is now available on our website!
To order the costinized mug is easy. Find the mug you like and choose “custom order” at option menu. Let us know what you like to print at the comment section at check out. We will email you to confirm the order and ittakes about a week to print.
You can visit our website at to view our full mugs range.
I can’t believe Finders Keepers was a week ago now! It felt like it was only yesterday!
We had a fantastic time at Finders Keepers! If you’re thinking about applying it? Go for it. It’s really worth it. If you have a lot of products like me. Maybe you should jump straight to a bigger stall. It’s much easier to plan and it looks so much better with a bigger stall! You will make your money back anyway so why not?
Another thing I was really concern before the show was -how much stock should I bring? It said there were more than 9000 people came to the show last time! So I am really concern how much stock is enough? After three days of the market , I realized that unless you have a truck load of stocks it’s never going to be enough and you’ll never know what is going to sell best at the market. I sold out all the mugs the first night. I send message to my husband and asked him to print more mug so I can bring them in the next day! So the next day I brought in heaps of mugs and I sold NO MUGS! 😱 what the hell? I sold more than 60 prints on the second day and some of the prints were sold out. So I brought in more print the next day! And yes again I sold only a few prints. I sold mainly the cushions on Sunday! So the conclusion is YOU NEVER KNOW!
If you’re attending Finders Keepers the first time make sure you have your brand printed out big and bright. Make sure you have heaps of business cards. Plan your display at home at least 2 or 3 times at home. Make sure you can get in and out of your stall. Have a plan B. Finger crossed for you!!