Tuesday, 8 October 2013

We wish you a yarnie Christmas ...

Christmas starts early if you're a designer-maker, doesn't it?  I don't know about you but we have been thinking about this Christmas since ... well ...  last Christmas.  And it already feels like we are full in the swing of the holiday season.  Most 'normal' people will be waiting until December while we professional 'Arts-and-Crafters' try to convince them it is a good idea to start buying their gifts and decorations early.

The good thing is handmade is fashionable.  It should be the perfect time to sell.  It should be ...  The trouble is the big stores are very canny and, of course, are following the trend.   Their shelves are filling up with hand-made and vintage-looking ornaments this year.  It is very hard for independent artisans and small business people to compete.  We don't have the advertising power, professional photography or the regular footfall.  Quite often we can't sell at a competitive price either.

Yesterday I noticed that John Lewis are stocking knitted and crochet tree ornaments.  One of them caught my eye.  A Christmas pud.  We make Christmas pud decorations too so I was upset for a while.  We've put in time and invested money building up stock so it isn't good news to have such big competition.  But I've had time to think.

I truly, completely, utterly and totally believe what we make is amazing.  Not just mum and I but all makers.  And I think we can convince consumers to go for our products this year.  We have many advantages.  Our products are made in the UK - often very locally to our customers.  Our products are not mass produced.  They are made with passion, care, skill and time.  Many can be customised because we can have a personal, face-to-face dialogue about what a customer really wants.  They are beautiful, desirable and special.

So I'm not going to be scared by competition from the high street.  I'm going to embrace the comparison and trust customers to realise the truth.  Buy from a designer/maker or a crafter and you simply get something better.

This is John Lewis' pudding:

http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-knitted-christmas-pudding-tree-decoration/p477426

This is ours (designed and made by my mum):

Pudding Decorations by Lynn on Folksy

Coincidentally, they are both priced at £3.50.  I am biased but I know which I'd rather spend my money on ...

We sell on Folksy so here are a small sample of my favourite from the gorgeous REALLY handmade things you can get on Folksy at the moment:
Set of 3 Handmade Christmas Decorations
Trees by

Beledien Handmade


Handmade Small Driftwood Christmas Tree - 32 cm Tall
Driftwood Tree by

Design Print Sew



6 Christmas decorations

6 Christmas decorations by

Prince Design UK


Felt Christmas Ornament Decoration Set - Hanging Bird and Hearts
Felt Bird and Hearts by

Marvelous Cottage


Pointy Purple Lilac Handmade Blown Glass Bauble
Glass Baubel by
Skydancer Jewellery and Glass