Coming to an online shop near you…

Milomade Hair Clips made with vintage buttons

As you know I’m on a 12 month programme called Next Steps and I’m aiming to do the British Craft Trade Fair in 2015 and I’m spending this year working towards that goal. This has meant a big learning curve for me and lots of changes too. I’m working on lots of things behind the scenes and I’m sorry I’ve been so quiet on my blog for so long.

I’m hoping to get back into blogging on more of a weekly basis quite soon, but I have a few more hurdles to jump before I can commit to that, so please bear with me while I put the finishing touches to a few things here and there.

After a few mentoring sessions last year I’ve made lots of plans for this year and beyond and I’m steadily working my way through these. Progress is slow, but steady. I’ve been busy this year working on my new website which I’m hoping to launch quite soon.

Milomade website redesign - changing the focus of the site to be an online shop

It’s been a really lengthy process, not only because I’m going to be changing the focus of the site from a website to an online shop, but also because in the process of doing this, I’ve really had to focus on my product ranges and how I present them.

As I’m gradually making the move away from Milomade being a suplimentary income, I’ve had to rethink the way I want to work and what is the best way to work. I decided last year that I don’t want to do craft fairs anymore and want to focus instead on direct sales from my studio, online sales and wholesale. This means that I’m rethinking my pricing as well as the products I will be offering for sale and adapting these for different markets.

This ‘next step’ has taken me on so many tangents that sometimes it’s been hard to concentrate. It’s not just about getting a new website, it’s about totally rethinking Milomade. I’ve made some really bold decisions along the way so far and I’m hoping to continue to do so until I feel comfortable with what I’m creating. I’m having to rethink a lot of things.

There are so many products that were great for craft fairs that I feel no longer fit in. So I’ve had to make the decision as to whether to ditch them or rework them. A lot of products have been ditched as I make this cull, but a lot have also been rethought and repackaged to appeal better to an online market as well as a wholesale market. I’ve also realised that I need to think along the lines of ‘collections’ and develop new products based on what I already have so that I can offer more of a package rather than single one off items.

I’m attending the BCTF this weekend as a visitor and it’s going to be a great eye opener. I’ve never been to a trade show before and it’s going to be fascinating to see how people present themselves and their work. I’m not only going to be looking at stand design and presentation, but also at the fine details of what products are on offer and how these are packaged and sold to buyers.

So I’ve got lots of ‘things in progess’ on my bench at the moment that are products in transition and here’s a sneak peak…

I love making vintage button hairclips. I love the fact that my customers love my vintage button hairclips (especially the fact that they are all individually hand stitched as well as glued and will therefore last for ages). But selling them individually or in pairs, as I’ve done at craft fairs in the past, just isn’t going to work for an online market or for wholesale. I did create my Notecard Gift Sets a while back, where you get a greetings card with 4 hair clips attached, and these have been really popular as they are a great gift and card in one.

So I’ve ditched the negatives of selling individual items and focused on the positives and success of the gift sets and have been working on designs for a new pack of 6 clips based on the Notecard Gift Set idea and design.

Milomade Vintage Hair Clips - rethinking products for the wholesale and online market

Still thinking about the way they will be presented and packaged and finalising pricing too.

All these changes mean that when I relaunch my website, the shop might not contain all the product ranges you would expect from Milomade. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to stay that way, I just want to add things gradually once the collections or product ranges have been developed fully and completed. But this means that there will be a regular stream of updates throughout the year which will hopefully keep things exciting and fresh.

Wish me luck….