We are thrilled with the way Crafts & Company has taken off since launching in July. In a few short months we have created a range of unique craft kits, packs and experience boxes to sell at craft events and online. Our biggest sellers so far are our Arran Keepsake Kit and our Make your own vintage fabric owl shelf sitter kits. We have opened our online shop with Folksy and we are enjoying being part of that creative group. This is our commercial side of the business and we have lots more ideas ready to put into practice. We are currently working on our Christmas range which we will be selling online and at local events on the island. This range includes –
Make your own Kindle cover
Decorate your own willow wreath
Make your own beaded angels
Make your own Christmas stocking bunting
Make your own fruit hanging
Make your own Christmas cards
Along with the kits we will have Christmas packs and experience boxes packed with beautiful resources handpicked by us.
The other side of the business deals with the other word in our title – ‘company.’ From the start we have been keen to put something back into the industry that have supported both of us for most of our working lives. To that end we immediately began networking with other crafters, community groups and charities. The focus of this work is our workshop programme and the intention is to be as creative as possible and to establish helpful relationships along the way. Our first workshop was a huge success as we worked alongside a group of talented ladies to turn pillowcases into dresses for the charity Little Dresses for Africa. This work has continued well beyond the workshop and an original target of 20 has been long replaced as we close in on our new target of 100 dresses. We could not be more pleased or grateful to everyone who has helped with this project.
Our next workshop is for the charity Mind where we will be gathering people together once more this time to decorate mirrors using mixed media techniques. This is a fundraising events so it is ticketed and the price of your ticket (£10.00) includes all materials and refreshments with the majority of this money going to the charity topped up with all proceeds from a raffle and a Christmas stocking filler gift sale.
Our Christmas Crafts Day will be our biggest event so far and takes place on the 6th December at Whiting Bay lesser hall. A day of creativity has three workshops to include willow wreath decorating, painting techniques on mdf decorations and Christmas table flower arrangement. 15% of our fees will go the RNLI plus all proceeds from our Christmas stocking filler gift sale, raffle and bake sale. This day will also provide some revenue to propel us into 2017 and all our workshop plans to come.
Planning is already underway for the creative partnership early in the new year which is with the charity The Backpack Project which provides useful backpacks filled with essential items for children in Africa. We are contributing individually decorated pencil cases for the back packs.
This project is being run through our brand new craft club that begins on the 15th November at The Shore, Whiting Bay. This relatively new food business is providing a café environment for our club and we are pleased to be working with another local business. More information on our craft club can be found on our events page on our Facebook page.
Just this week we have squeezed another wee charity ‘make’ into our schedule working with Ayrshire Hospice. A group of us will be making a selection of crafts to donate to the hospice for their Christmas sale events and shops. We hope to develop a more long term relationship with the hospice in the new year. What was so lovely about this new partnership was that we were able to ask for help from some of the people who have already helped with previous projects and they were very willing to support this. This illustrates that a fledgling craft community has already been established. We don’t want to confine this just to the island as we have already had support from people off island in our projects so far.
In addition to working with community groups and charities we also attended an event called Aspire at the island High School. The focus of this event was to bring employers, education providers and young people together to consider a new forum which would open up opportunities for young people on the island. At Craft & Company we are keen to offer work experience to any young people that are interested in working in the craft industry or even running events. More on this as the project rolls forward.
It is clear from this post just how busy we have been in a relatively short period of time. In January 2017 we are launching a new project that aims to bring crafters and wellbeing practitioners together. We firmly believe that engaging in craft contributes to a stronger sense of wellbeing and we are hoping that the culmination of this project will be a crafting and wellbeing Fayre so that locals and visitors can see just what expertise exists on the island. There will be much more on this project in subsequent posts.
January also sees our very first Guest Maker join us for a period of three months. Guest Makers will contribute to our online shop with their own listings and we will be profiling what they do through our website and social networks. We are very excited to introduce our first Guest Maker very soon….watch this space.
If you would like to keep up with all our developments just ‘like’ our facebook page or complete the form below and we will put you on our contacts list. If you would like to join our events just message us and we can tell you more information.
In 2017 we will be looking for retail outlets to take our products and new venues to run workshops in so if you are interested in any of these options just message us and we will get back to you asap.
May we please take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have been involved with Crafts & Company since we sprang into life in the summer. Every single contribution is so valued. Thank you so much.
Keep crafting people.
Coral & Fiona xx