Friday, 10 June 2011

June's Feature Friday - My Crafty Candles

What a week it's been!!  I'm very very busy in the day job at the moment and finding it difficult to get the features prepared every week so I've decided that for the next few months I'm just going to do one a month.

For June I've chosen the very wonderful, and humourous Martina Gomez from My Crafty Candles.  I've recently been conversing with Martina via Twitter and I have to say she cracks me up!!  She's definately worth a follow if you are a Tweeter!!

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

I make personalised candles to order, the website has been live since Aug 2008 when I started out this new venture whilst on maternity leave with baby number 4.  Over the years I have added new lines to the site but have found my speciaility seems to be weddings, memorials and christenings  - goes in hand with keepsakes and remembering.

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

Well I am not the only person to make personalised candles, what I am always doing is changing my designs and themes and making them really unique to me! My most recent images that customers may use for their candles were shot on location in Bali! (I wasn't the lucky one holidaying!!) I am not a follower but a creator and take pride in designing my own ranges from start to finish. I like knowing that my work and ideas are mine and that makes the piece purchased for the customer quite unique. I also get frequently asked to make bespoke orders too, these are fun as it's nice to make something as a one off for someone.

Where do you get your inspiration/ ideas from?

It usually occurs at the most random time! Not all of my ideas are good ones!  Take the made moment of the ribbon printer.......sometimes I get caught up, I mull things over in my head and other times I need to order things and make straight away.

Do you do this as your business full time or is it just a sideline. 

The website came from some strange need to try something out! I didn't really know what I expected from it as it really was a bit of a giggle! It isnt my 'real' job, well the one that pays the bills anyway, but it has now grown bigger than a hobby and it's keeping up that's hard. I have managed to reduce my real job hrs by a few each month which is great as I am home with my family.  Anyone that has a website will know and understand how time consuming it is updating, emails, photo shoots - not to mention Facebook and now the takes over!!

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

Not lucky enough to have a studio but the other half has said he is going to build me a studio at the end of the garden..........or is he trying to get rid of me and my candles?! These are all made from my home, very tricky with 4 kids.  The stock alone is stored everywhere!
Where do you sell and how do you market yourself?

My main outlet is the website, then I use facebook which for me has been a great platform and generates a lot of sales. I am new to Twitter!/mycraftycandles and will get a famous follower if it is the last thing I do! I dabbled with Misi but to be honest I don't have the time to keep up with lots of sites. I have run a few big magazine ads for high end wedding magazines, these do generate some work but the best way for me is internet lead, more search specific leads and then of course my loyal and faithful customers that come back to me! I have been approached by other websites to sell my products but I tend not to go there!!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Under a pile of wax if I do not get a workshop soon! But seriously I have no idea as I really didn't expect the site to do well.  What I mean by that is that I never really thought about it, this may sound strange I know. I do at times wonder why I am doing this at all when I am in my kitchen at 1am wrapping parcels to post - it takes over!! But I just love seeing my inbox beep with 'Website Order Notification' I think to myself I did that!

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

Go for it and don't expect it to just happen, the internet is HUGE!! It takes a lot of time and dedication and an actual love and passion for your 'baby' and don't underestimate what you can do! I haven't been on any courses in business or web marketing, I taught myself and learnt by doing a bit of homework.

Random question - name 5 things you just can't live without!

Well apart from my kids and family.....
1. My Blackberry
2. Social very sad!
3. Earl grey tea - cant manage 'common tea' since baby number 4
4. Crocs flip flops
5. Spotify...for when I am working, I can stream music

Anything you'd like to add?? 

I feel very fortunate to have made this mad venture a semi successful one, I have 4 children one who has autism so life in 'our house' is busy, mad, loud and different!!  This year my friends nominated me for a Mum's Club Business Award - I was short listed and then a finalist!  I was entered into the resiliance category.  I was thrilled just with the nomination. I have all the rosettes on my homepage and am proud to show them off!

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