Friday, 27 May 2011

Friday Feature - One Stop Pamper Shop

Wow another week done and I'm so looking forward to a long weekend.  Really hoping for better weather than what we've had lately - hopefully off to Formby on Sunday or Monday for a nice day out.

So this week I've got another lady's talents to share with you - let me introduce Maryann Morris from One Stop Pamper Shop. 

Describe what it is you do, when you started doing it and what made you decide on your chosen craft.

I create candles, Really smelly ones! I started off when I was a teenager, but when I was 24 I decided to try and make some money from it. 6 years on and this is how it worked out!

What makes you different from other people selling/ doing the same craft?

I believe 100% in handmade, its not just a means to make money, but a whole way of life. I care about the products I make and therefore do everything I possibly can to make them the best scented candles ever!

Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from? 

Everywhere! Quite literally it drives my partner insane.  We could be anywhere or doing anything and an idea will suddenly pop into my head and I'll need to write it down - I'm so forgetful!

Where do you make your items, do you have a studio?

I have a studio in a craft village in Essex

Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?

I sell from my studio, my website, Folksy, Etsy and

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I would like to think I would be in exactly the same place, just bigger and better!

Do you have any advice for people out there who might want to start a craft hobby/business?

There's never going to be a "right time" so if its really what you want to do then just give it a go.  At least if it then goes wrong you can say you tried.  Build up from small and don't borrow a penny if you can help it, that way every penny you make goes directly back into your pocket.

And this week's random question – You can take 3 CD’s with you to a desert island – what would they be and why??
Green day -  Nimrod, Aerosmith's Greatest Hits and some Bob Marley - well if im going to be stuck there for a while I may as well rock out where no one can laugh at me!

Contact details for One Stop Pamper Shop
Website -
Facebook -
Twitter -
Folksy Shop -
Other Outlet -
Blog -

Friday, 20 May 2011

Feature Friday - Ayntre Soaps

How's your week been then??  Mines been hectic to say the least.  My boss in the day job has been on leave so I've been left to hold the fort at work (and had her mobile to answer!) I've also got another issue I'm having to deal with which I may blog about when it looks like things are going in my favour!

So there wasn't a feature last week because I ran out of volunteers but my feature is back this week and I've found another pool of talent I would like you to meet -Lynne and Peter Allen from Ayntre Soaps. 

Describe what you do,when you started doing it and what made you decide that was what you were going to do.

My Son Peter and I make handmade, cold process soaps.  We were both carers for my Dad and about three years ago we started making soap as a hobby.  We took courses in Cold Process Soapmaking and Advanced CP Soapmaking.  We used to give our soaps to family and friends but so many people were asking us for them that it became a very expensive hobby!  We decided to start up our own soapmaking business last year (cue another course in Labelling - the Eu regs for soap are an absolute nightmare).  Because we were working from home it meant that we could take care of Dad and work part-time making soaps.  After Dad passed away in January this year the business became our full time occupation.

What makes you different from other people selling/ doing the same craft?

Palm Oil is one of the three main soap making oils, however, there is growing deforestation, particularly in South East Asia, due to the growth of palm plantations.  As a result many species, including Orang Utans and the Sumatran tiger are on the verge of extinction.  We decided that we were going to develop our own palm oil free recipes and I'm proud to say that all of our soaps are completely free of palm oil.
Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from?

Mmm a difficult question...Usually I have most of my bright ideas when I'm lying in bed trying to get to sleep - insomnia does have it's uses I guess.  We also try to make our soaps look the way they smell, if you know what I mean so, for example, our Mango Soap is mango coloured, and the Dragonsblood Soap was just crying out for a real gold topping. 
Where do you make your items, do you have a studio?

I wish we did! We make the soap in our kitchen, the garage contains our curing racks and the dining room is our office.

Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?

We sell on our website  We also have a stall every Saturday at Ormskirk market in Lancashire, we do craft fairs when we can and we're hoping to add a couple of retailers that we'll be supplying but I can't say too much about that at the moment.  Most of our publicity is via twitter and facebook although, again, watch this space ...

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?

We would definitely like to increase the wholesaling side of the business.  It's difficult taking on too much retailing ourselves as we also need time to make the soap.
Do you have any advice for people out there who might want to start a craft hobby/business?

It's really important to write a business plan.  It's an absolute pain to do and everyone hates it but it really helps you focus on what you're going to do and how.  Also, when your hobby becomes your business you need to think differently and a business plan helps with this.
...and this week's random question - where's your most favourite place to be??

In the Lakes or Snowdonia with my paints and a flask of hot coffee.

More info about Ayntre Soaps:
Member of The Guild of Craft Soap & Toiletry Makers
Fulled licensed in compliance with current EU regulations

Member of Team HandmadeUK

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Father's Day - 19th June

I've been busy making some Father's Day cards today.  They are all blank and don't refer to Father's Day so they can also be sent for male birthdays too.  They are on sale in my Folksy Shop - which one is your favourite??

I'm stocking up ready for the one and only craft fair that I do which is Saddleworth Show on the 12th June - it's always perfect timing just before Father's Day and always sell lots of cards.  If you're in the area why not pop along for a fab day out!!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Feature Friday - Charlee's Aunt

It's Friday again already and I hope you've all enjoyed another short week!!  We are off to Cornwall for a long weekend as some friends of ours have just moved down there.  Hoping for nice weather so we can do lots of walks and go to the beach.

As it's Friday it's time to feature another very talented crafter and this week I would like to introduce Sharon from Charlee's Aunt. 

Describe what you do,when you started doing it and what made you decide that was what you were going to do

I currently make pictures of simple shapes/outlines using a multitude of vintage and new buttons, beads and oddments. I only started it last Novemember after seeing a huge picture made out of buttons that I couldn't get out of my head. I love the tactile nature of the buttons and the depth they can give to something relatively simple. Colour is very important too in the work, and that drives me to try different things. I also work on pieces by using crochet and knitting.

What makes you different from other people selling/ doing the same craft?

I've not seen many people take the idea as far as I do, so its quite easy to say how I can be different from the crowd with my work. I use a lot of different buttons, including those with writing on them to make special individual gifts for people, or to brighten your home. I also deorate the inner edge of the mount with a selection of words that can be about the person specifically or the theme of the item. They can be made exceptionally personal in this way.

Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from?

Colour is one of the factors that drives me, I like to try different things together. I also take inspiration from nature and the customers I have. Some work is in a gallery and the owner suggests ideas that she thinks may work in this medium too. 

Do you do this as your business full time or is it just a sideline.  If you don't do this as a job would you like to?

Its a sideline as I'm a part time teacher. I'd love to be more involved in crafts, and have just started a knitting group at the school I'm at with the pupils, which is being quite successful.

Where do you make your items, do you have a craft room/ studio?

I've a fantastic study that is decorated in white, and one wall in Dandelion Clocks wall paper by Sanderson in Blackcurrent, so the room is full of light and colour as it is west facing.  I sit looking out of the window which helps my inspiration.

Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?

I am on Folksy, and I also have a few pieces in a local gallery The Box of Delights which happened on the off chance. I am not marketing myself too well, but its enough for me at the moment due to time constraints/work.  I also have a Blog and post fairly regularly about the things I am working on but not aren't yet up for sale.  I am enjoying being able to talk about what I enjoy doing. Someone on Folksy mentioned a site called Stumble Upon which allows you to 'like' pages which make them more likely to be seen by others, so I use that too.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

More involved with crafting groups and creative teaching hopefully and a successful small sideline in my own work. I also knit, crochet and cross stitch so would like to have time to do more than I do now. British Wool is something I'm becoming very interested in.

Do you have any advice for people out there who might want to start a craft hobby/business?

Do it. Make what makes you smile and ask for advice from other creative people, your friends and family and from the great forums on sites like Folksy. Oh, and be very patient.

Random question - if someone gave you £1million and you had 1 day to spend it what would you do??

I've been thinking about this for a while, I would pay off my own and close friends mortgages, buy lots and lots of vouchers for the shops I like and craft suppliers. Buy a 'space' that I could create into a place where crafters could come together and chat or create in a friendly environment. Also giving chance to display their work and maybe even sell it. Then there are things like hire a gardener (pay in advance) and a workman to do the jobs I need doing on my house. Its a hard one, but I am sure it is easy to use all the money!!!

Hope you enjoyed the interview with Charlee's Aunt - if you'd like to find out more then you can email her at