23 January 2008

Progress....I think!

Well, despite a very thorough search (HUH!) the camera cable is still missing in action and I am having to post the frankly poor pictures I had already uploaded before Dear Davey swiped the camera last week. I know the lighting is bad and I know the positioning of the bags is a bit odd, but I was only planning to take these intitial pics to see how they well they photographed. Ah well, best laid plans - it also means the other version of my snail bag which has less flowers and some script instead isn't shown here because I hadn't finished it at the time...oh, let's move on. Here they are for now and I will post better ones when I can:

Lots has been happening over the last week or so: the shop in Dorset has been in regular communication and has confirmed the order - Hurrah! My First Wholesale Order!!! This has meant Many Hours in my sweatshop - sewing room - and much hand embroidery resulting in a slightly bruised thumb due to the fairly tough canvas used in the wallhangings, but I am so pleased with the mounting pile of goodies; I will pop a link on to the shop once they have received the order.

On top of all this excitement I have been having loads of ideas for new products and paths for the business, and can't wait to start working on them. What are they? Well, let's just say for now that they involve rosemary, gardening (which was where I started out years ago), beaches and a collaboration with a friend who is a VERY talented ceramacist (sp?). Am I fired up (ho, ho excuse the pun)? You bet I am.

Oh and the downside to the last few weeks? My poor websited are so neglected that I wake at night worrying about them; new ranges not on, new layouts and a spring clean needed, and generally somw love and care much required. If only each day had 48 hours instead of 24!

Pipany xx

15 January 2008

Coming along nicely

Yes, I know you've seen it before but....

At last I am beginning to get back into the swing of things and slowly, slowly new arrivals are appearing on the shelves in my sewing room. I have been working on a range of bags which have a slightly old fashioned feel - my version of the 'vintage' word which doesn't really apply here - with little embroidered motifs and a simple shape to compliment this. The picture above is one of them but I have also made a different version which replaces some of the flowers with a little embroidered script. I'll post of picture of this when it's finished and you can let me know which you prefer. I have always loved to mix words and fabrics together and it seemed the time to go with this; I also love sewing and drawing simple insects - very simple! - and so have been working on combining the two together in a small range of textiles. It's such fun!


Ha!!! Well, that was yesterday and things have been a bit crazy since then - Dave has, ahem, 'misplaced' (LOST) the lead for the camera so for the mo I can't upload any pics onto the computer; he 'thinks' it's at school (along with ALL my lunch boxes - 20 at the last count!!!). Woe betide him if he doesn't bring it back tonight!!!

On another front, I received an email from a lovely lady called Marina who had contacted me before Christmas about wholesale for her shop in Dorset; she was interested in my wallhangings. I heard no more and didn't really give it another thought - it was lovely that she had liked them in the first place. Anyway, yesterday she got back in touch - we negotiated terms, etc and she wants 10 wallhangings and 5 Ship, Ship Sailing Games as an initial order, hopefully with a view to a larger one in the Spring if they do well! How cool is that? I am almost wholesale!!!!

More info hopefully tomorrow and those blooming bag pics too (or else Dear Dave!!!). Apologies in the meantime for the repitition of the above photo.

Pipany xx

8 January 2008

Material Thoughts.

It took a few days but finally I am there - my sewing room is tidy! The shelves are stacked with neatly folded layers of fabrics, packaging materials are tidied away and put into order, and all is calm once more. Unfortunately the downside to this is that I find myself sitting in my comfy swivel chair (a pressie bought by my gorgeous kids when I was pregnant and did nothing but moan about being unable to sit comfortably....yes I know you cannot imagine me moaning!!!!) and seem to do little but twirl around enjoying the view! I am supposed to be working on my new range and ideas are certainly fighting for space in my ever-crowded head but, however hard I try, they are not transferring themselves to paper.

I find this is a bit of an ongoing problem for me; I have no background whatsoever in pattern cutting / designing and make all my own patterns with no more than grit determination and a dollop of common sense to aid me. I love the process and over the years have taught myself plenty - most of the time I am able to get an idea down and it works - this week however has mostly consisted of me creating what can only be described as deformed creatures....rabbits with misshapen heads, a mouse with it's ears sewn on the inside (ok I was thinking about needing to paint the walls in the room rather than what I was doing) and a chick that has a pinhead problem. Hmm, back to the drawing board methinks.

I suppose it is all about focus - I had none. My mind was drifting here and there contemplating the infinite possibilities for the garden in terms of the business (more of that another day) and floating over the newly arranged piles of fabrics all glowing with possibilities for spring - piles of lilacs and sweet pinks leaning against pretty sprigged cottons, a huge batch of materials in brighter jades and blues all shouting for attention. They pulled me away with promises of fresh spring air tantalising the senses with the scent of blossoms and daffodils and primroses. I could almost feel the later hot summer sun warming my back as I walked across a beach, the warm sand pushing through my toes and the salty tang of sea air filling my mind. Yes, I truly had little focus on the hear and now. Ah well, today is another day and I have given myself a good talking to; today will be the day I actually achieve something and this will spur me on once more....well that's the plan anyway

In the meantime I will leave you with a pic or two of those gorgeous materials and see if you are distracted too (though of course I should have photographed them in better light, etc...it WAS early!!!)

Pipany xx

4 January 2008


Happy New Year from Pipany and Matzen!

So here it is, another new year all fresh and bright and bursting with possibilities. I love it, this chance to grasp life by the horns and make it into whatever I want it to be. I always start of with plans and resolutions, never worrying about the fact that maybe some of last year's were not achieved; what does it matter? It is about the idea of change and hope, inspiration and a clean sweep for me. I love the mulling over of things that have annoyed me or that have not come to fruition. How can I improve them or me for that matter? What could I have done differently? I look back at the positive things too - high on that particular list would be the huge leaps in self-confidence which this particular Pipany has made which has had a massive root in the meeting of like-minded people through the wonderful world of blogging. Sharing ideas, hopes, upsets and dreams has meant I finally began to understand that I do have something to offer the world....me! I'm not so bad after all!

So what worked for me last year?
1. I joined an inspirational and wonderful blog site - Purplecoo - and through this met many wonderful people and links to other blogs outside of this site. These blogs inspire me daily and are something which made me start to realise my dreams to have my own business.

2. I began to run said business, set up a website and gave it a shot. The response was immediate and has made me grow in confidence even more.

3. I learnt how to set up and manage two completely different websites, learnt how to take decent photographs (and trust me the ones prior to this were truly awful!) and began to learn the ins and outs of deadlines/packaging/postage/materials not arriving!!!! In other words, I became a fledgling business woman.

4. I re-learnt to trust my instincts and my heartfelt belief that if you want something enough there is ALWAYS a way, just think, think and think again.

And (honest to the last) what didn't work?

1. Promising orders in too short a time - didn't allow for poorly children/ materials not arriving!/ postal strikes...

2. Not allowing enough time for sourcing packaging materials/ trimmings, etc. I cannot believe how much time this eats into and yet it is so important to a small business. Profit margins disappear and the finish of an item can be compromised, something which disheartens me terribly.

3. Planning! I should have set up a yearly planner from the start and followed it rigidly to keep me focussed. Too easy for panic to make me flip from one task to another which panics me more.

With hindsite I made it hard on myself as the site became active very close to Christmas and concentrating on designing and making stock just to get it up and running meant the time spent doing the same for a Christmas range was limited. It also meant this range was much later going onto the site than I had intended. Having said that, I am pleased with how it has gone so far. I sold a lot of Christmas stock, much more that I expected; It is all a learning curve and I am loving the ride.

Now to this year....perhaps I'll just clear away the mess that is my sewing room before I venture my thoughts on that one!

Happy New Year everyone

Pipany xxx