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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Money, money, money


Let's face it, we all want to make money. The problem being that in order to set up a business to earn money...you need money.
This week we've been researching various necessary elements of turning our 'hobby' into a business. Getting an ABN, insurance, website fees..... the list goes on. The only problem is, :
we need to spend money to make money,
but
in order to make money we need to spend money!
So we're still plodding along slowly, using what resources we have, and improvising!
This month's romance story give-away was one such effort, to try and create interest in JeMbellish, with little or no cost to us.
Michelle's blog has also been bringing in heaps of traffic to our website with her latest baby carriage creation, and subsequent tutorial on how to make it!
Go check out her blog for even more amazing paper creations!
Something we're going to try next month is a change of location for our market stall. Still in the same shopping centre, but this time we'll be in the middle rather than at the side, so our set up will have to change slightly, and we're down by the big supermarket there which is where most of the people are. We're hoping that by being in a different place, we will attract more attention!
We put up posters every month, and have some of our creations in local businesses on display or in use. JeMbellish is starting to be recognised, and it's always nice when we get a customer at our stall who tells us they saw our poster, or something we've made somewhere.
Slowly but surely we're getting there!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A mix of creations

Monday already and time to show everyone what I came up with using the fabric donations I got a week ago! I had a play around with a couple of different ideas.

First I decided to continue with the aprons I started on a few weeks ago. Just a simple apron with a chef's hat to match.

Never having been much of one for patterns, I just kind of fiddled around with measurements and shapes, and amazingly the hat came out well and actually fits both my daughters, so should be good for ages 3-7.


I then wanted to add a little extra, and use up some more fabric, so I made a furoshiki (Japanese wrapping cloth) and matching cloth gift tag pouch. We want to try and offer complete gift sets at JeMbellish, so I thought it would be good to offer a range of reusable, eco-friendly wrapping options too.

Now I just need to practice my furoshiki wrapping techniques. I love the idea of reusable gift wrapping. I think I'll make up a selection of different fabrics and sizes for our next market stall.





The second project I worked on this week was a Dsi case with lots of neat little pockets for the games, using a tutorial I found on a great website called Momfetti.

As I said, I'm not much of a pattern or instruction girl so thought it would be a good thing for me to practice! The instructions were very clear and easy to follow, and I was very happy with my result! Thanks Tuppence!




















Since there are no Dsi's in my house (I had to visit a friend to check everything fit!) I thought I'd see what alternate use I could find for the carry case:





I actually made up a hair tie roll up a few weeks ago with some left over fairy fabric. A bit simpler than this, but the same idea.
Definitely something useful for the girls!
So what task am I going to set myself for this week? No new fabric, but I still have boxes and boxes of stuff to use! I do sew a fair bit with fur, and haven't done that for a while, so maybe it's time for some more furry creations! I'll be back next Monday with more to show and tell!!
Jill








Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marketing success!


All that hard work marketing last week did pay off! We got a mention on Potts and Pacey's Sea FM breakfast show. I took them each in a little JeM as a gift, together with my romance story, and then nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard my name mentioned on the radio a couple of days later as I was driving home from the school run in the morning! They talked a bit about the JeMs and encouraged people to come along and see our stall at the weekend! I got a few phone calls from friends after that saying they heard my name on the radio! Great publicity!
We also put up lots of posters and handed out hundreds of my story, Fijian sunset. I've had pretty good feedback from my story, if you still haven't read it, you can either head over to our website at http://www.jembellish.com/ and click on the link to part one, or just email us at info@jembellish.com with the subject line 'Fijian Sunset' and I'll email out a copy of the full story!
Market day on Saturday was pretty quiet after all that though, and we're going to see about perhaps changing locations in the centre, and or changing our set up a little , just to shake things up and create a bit more interest. It is a very small shopping centre, but over the next year or so it's set to triple in size, which will be great for us!
So for now, we've got our thinking caps on, looking for more ways to promote JeMbellish. This year we're looking at perhaps doing a few other one off market stalls. A friend's day care centre is organising a market day soon and have asked us if we'd like a stall there. It'll be good to get our name out there more in different places. We just have to be constantly looking for ways to promote ourselves! So we'll keep blogging, keep marketing and keep crafting!
Jill

Monday, February 15, 2010

What every fairy needs.

So here they are: the products of my work with the fairy fabric that Michelle found for me in the charity shop.



I settled on a reversible bucket hat and reversible tote bag. These will be added to our market stall and website.


www.jembellish.com/hats


www.jembellish.com/bags



The third item I don't think will make it past my two daughters! I made a set of fairy wands in a roll up case. My girls seem to go through a lot of cheap plastic and very breakable wands, so hopefully these will last a bit longer!


The handles are made from fabric covered dowel rod, and the heads are soft stuffed fabric. I made 3 different shapes, which one is used will depend on what type of spell the fairy wishes to cast!


They may not have a button to press for twinkly music, but they do sparkle and I filled them full of magic!

And I still have more of the fabric left!





This week, I have more new fabric to play around with! At the markets where we have our stall there's a lovely lady who makes baby and kids clothes. She has started to give me her leftover fabric, and comes over each month to see what I've made with her donations! This week she gave me a whole bag full of pieces!! I want to try and do something really diffferent this time. No ideas springing to mind as yet, but I will be looking everywhere for inspiration and will return next Monday with something! Please come back and check it out!



Jill

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fijian sunset

The day has finally arrived for me to start giving out my short romance story! It's the first short story I've written, although I've also completed 3 short novels, one of which is currently under consideration at Mills and Boon -(no word from there as yet, but it's been 5 months which is apparently a good sign!). More waiting!

I've been so excited about getting some more of my work out there to see what response I get, but now that it's come to crunch time, I'm extremely nervous!

A while ago, I had the thought that I would try and use my writing somehow to promote our market stall. The idea I finally came up with was this. We give out half a romance story, just before our Valentine's weekend stall, to anyone and everyone. But only subscribers to JeMbellish will be sent the ending. So if people like the story enough to want to know what happens, they have to send us an email and subscribe!


I'm now in the doubting phase of, is the story too short to create the interest? Is my writing really any good? Will anyone at all bother to email for the ending to the story?

I've just got to think positively. We're hoping that our little giveaway will create interest, both in JeMbellish and in my writing. It feels good to be taking action! I dropped copies off at the radio station this morning, so I have my fingers crossed that we'll get a mention on the morning show over the next couple of days! Tomorrow and Friday, I'll be visiting local shops and businesses to try and give more copies of the story away.

All this marketing is WAY out of my comfort zone, so my stomach is full of fluttery butterflies! Here's hoping it's all worth it!

If you would like to read my story, then send an email to info@jembellish.com with the subject line 'Fijian Sunset'.

Jill

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's all about fairies

I may not be allowed to buy any new fabric at the moment, but nobody said that Michelle couldn't buy some for me! He He! She found this lovely fairy and matching yellow fabric in the local charity shop for $4! What a bargain!

I've discovered that charity shops are a fantastic place to buy fabric. Every now and then, somebody with an amazing selection of unused fabric seems to have a clear-out, so I'm now a regular visitor with my two girls sometimes coming 'treasure hunting' with me!

So, I've been trying to think what I can make from this fabulous fabric. I made this little fairy doll this morning while pondering (little characters are not my forte, but no matter how strangely shaped things come out, my girls still seem to love them!) - nice to have such loyal fans of my work!

Anyway, after a thoroughly fairy filled morning (even the latest book I'm reading is a fantasy romance about fairies!) I do have the beginnings of an idea that I shall now work on through the week, and post the results of my efforts next Monday.

Jill
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