Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Alfie Puglesworth Custom Jewellery

It's no secret that here at Ladybird Likes we love pugs. But our favourite of all the pugs has to be Alfie Puglesworth from Pug de Probleme! Now not only is Alfie an agony pug, solving all your worries and problems, but he is also big on giving to charity. All proceeds from his online shop go to animal rescue charities, which I think is pretty darn awesome! So when Alfie asked us to make some custom jewellery featuring his beautiful face, well how could we say no?



Available as necklaces, brooches, and collar clips, who could resist this pug-faced cutie? You can visit Alfie's Facebook page for more information, or hop on over to the Etsy shop to get your hands on some awesome pug jewels and goodies, safe in the knowledge that you're helping out animal rescue charities! And remember, if you'd like a small run of custom jewellery made then please get in touch at ladybirdlikes@hotmail.co.uk

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Handmade Fair


I am delighted to announce that Ladybird Likes will be selling at The Handmade Fair on Sunday 21st September at Hampton Court Palace!

The fair runs for three days (Friday 19th - Sunday 21st September) but I will be there for one day only as part of the Mollie Makes 'Movers and Makers' area of the show. It's such an honour to be invited to exhibit by pretty much my all time favourite magazine, Mollie Makes, and I cannot wait to meet everyone and do some cheeky shopping!

It looks set to be an amazing event, with workshops, talks, and lots of awesome shopping to be done! You can purchase day tickets over on the official website.

Is anyone planning on visiting? If you do then be sure to come visit and say hi - I will have lots of goodies on offer if you want to start some Christmas shopping, or just treat yourself.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

new website!



I am so excited to announce that, after months of working away on it behind the scenes, my brand spanking new website is now live! It's been a long time coming - I loved my old website, but there were some issues with it. When I built my first website I used a tutorial I found online to turn a blogspot blog into a basic website. It worked really well for me, but because it was a blog rather than a website, a lot of the information on the website was being trawled by search engines. As my business is growing I wanted people to be able to find me and my products via Google, in order to drive more traffic to my website and shop. So I made the decision to create a 'real' website.


Now I know nothing really about code, so I wanted to find a template that would be easy to use, but that also had an integrated shop feature. Since I started Ladybird Likes I've had shops on Etsy, Folksy, and notonthehighstreet.com, however it has always been a goal to have my own online shop. So I finally bit the bullet. It was a toss up between bigcartel and shopify, however I ended up going with shopify purely because I felt I could customise it in the ways I wanted. I used the free theme 'minimal' and tweaked it.


I tried to keep my design as simple as possible because a) I knew I would have a nervous breakdown trying to recreate my design as an actual website, and b) because I wanted it to look clean, and modern, and be easy to navigate. Most of the website I made myself, and then I got the amazingly talented Kim Lawler to fix a few bugs, and add a few bits of complicated code that I would never have been able to do! I'd TOTALLY recommend her whether you have a few glitches you want ironing out, or you want someone to build you a website from scratch. Girls got serious skills!


One thing I wanted to do was have as much information as possible on my website - I hate it when companies have a website with like two pages, and nothing to read! I am so nosey, the more stuff there is the better! So I added pages with information about wholesale, about craft fairs, business mentoring, custom orders, and about practical things like shipping and FAQs.

I really hope you all like my new website and online shop - huge thanks to everyone who ordered last night, you are all amazing! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new design :)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

thoughts and ramblings


Today's thoughts and ramblings post is on the fine line between copying and inspiration. It's a subject that not a lot of people talk about, but one that I think affects a lot of creative people. Now I know lots of people have already spoken on the topic of copying other people's work. I'm not going to talk about that, as I think there are already lots of awesome articles out there on what to do when someone steals your design. I want to talk about the side of copying that often goes undiscussed.

When I started Ladybird Likes I had a few brands/companies that I really looked up to. They made products I loved, had social networking accounts I enjoyed following, had beautiful websites and product photography - they basically were the kind of company I wanted Ladybird Likes to one day become. And I spent so much time analysing their business that somewhere along the line, without even meaning to or actually realising for a while, I started to copy some aspects of their business. Not their products - that is something I don't condone at all. But more the way they ran their businesses - from their blog designs, to the special offers they ran at different points. It was never done with any bad intention - I genuinely just loved and admired what they had done, and wanted my business to be like that, and I guess the only way I could see to do that was to try and make my business the SAME as theirs.

This lasted for a few months, until one day I caught myself making a choice for my business, based purely on what someone else had done with their business. What happened was someone had posted on Instagram about using an order fulfillment company, and I immediately started thinking I needed to do that for Ladybird Likes, and actually began emailing companies! I realised how ridiculous this was - my business was totally different from theirs, because I am totally different from them! How could I expect what worked/didn't work for them to be the same for me? Just because something worked for them didn't mean it was the only way to do it, or that it would even work for me and my business. Since that day I have made decisions based on what I think and feel is best for me and for my customers. No-one knows your business, your products, and your customers as well as you do - so trust your own judgement!

Personally I struggle constantly with how I do things, and have almost daily mental battles with myself. I'm very much a 'jump in head first and think later' kind of girl which in business can be a bit of a problem! I often find myself wishing I'd taken more time to think through a new range, had samples made before ordering a job lot, read descriptions of components more carefully.... I want to constantly be creating new stuff - I get bored easily and my favourite part of the job is creating and turning ideas into real products, often without taking time to think things through first! But it's just the way I am, and on the plus side it means is that I am always making new stuff, which I think my customers like. My way of working works for me, even if I might wish I could be more considered with developing new collections and products. I do still admire companies that bring out one or two collections each year, each with a huge professional photoshoot, with a big blogger campaign, custom packaging. But that's not me and that's not how I work, so it would be silly of me to change the way I work for no reason.

I still look at other businesses and companies to see how they do things, but I do this in a healthy way now though. It's a great way to get ideas, to see how other people work, to set yourself goals to aim for. It's important to have people and companies you look up to and aspire to be like. What isn't okay though is to measure your own success by someone else's standards, or to assume that the way someone else does something is the only way to do it. I'm sure we have all done it in the past - someone posts online about a huge wholesale order/celebrity endorsement/amazing work opportunity and you immediately start to worry that you aren't in the same position as them. Just because your jewellery isn't on the front cover of Vogue does NOT mean you aren't successful. Just because you're not being interviewed daily for newspaper coverage does NOT mean you have failed in any way.

Ladybird Likes is never going to be a multi-million pound corporation. I'm never going to be a jet-setting businesswoman. But that's okay because that's not what I set out to do with my business. As long as I get to be creative, work for myself, and make enough money to live on, then I am happy and I feel like I have been successful. Although I wouldn't turn down having a reason to travel to America for business!

My advice to anyone starting up, or even to people already running, a small creative business is to set your own goals and standards, and find a way of running things that works for YOU. Okay, your goals might be different to other people's. Okay, you might run your business differently to your friend or your craft idol. But if it works for you and makes you happy then that is always enough.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

GOODIE BOXES

 Following on from the enormous popularity of our previous goodie boxes (the last batch sold out in just 45 minutes!) I'm delighted to announce that tonight we have not one, but TWO different goodie boxes up for grabs! Each goodie box is just £20, but contains goodies worth approx £50, and we have 25 of each style available. Available to buy right now in our Etsy shop!

The first is a mix of some items I absolutely love - a happy toast brooch (produced in collaboration with Charlotte Mei), a notebook featuring one of my custom vinyl decals, a tassel necklace, a heart shaped acrylic sign, and a set of flat notecards!


 The second goodie box is themed around our new 'kitsch' collection - containing DIY kits to make your own garland and paper doll, retro pins, a print, one of our new kitsch necklaces (which aren't available to purchase yet), a pocket mirror, and a keyring!


Lots of the items in our goodie boxes are exclusive, so you won't be able to buy them separately! Grab one quickly before they sell out!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

MOON COLLAR CLIPS ON DOCTOR WHO


 It's no secret that I'm a bit of a nerd, especially when it comes to sci-fi stuff, so when, many many months ago, I received an order from the Dr Who costume department at the BBC for my moon collar clips, I got a little bit over excited! But time passed and I almost forgot about it, until the new series launch date was announced. Since then I've had nervous butterflies in my tummy waiting to see if they used my collar clips at all. My boyfriend has been tirelessly scouting online for images from the new series to see if he can spot my collar clips, but we hadn't had any luck until TODAY!

The BBC Doctor Who official website released some promotional stills from the first episode of the new series (called Deep Breath which airs on Saturday!) and there is Clara Oswald (the Doctor's companion for the new series) wearing my blue moon collar clips!


Thank you to everyone who has already congratulated me over on Instagram and Facebook - this is a very, very proud moment for me! The images have already been used in the Radio Times (I'm off out to track down a copy) and lots of Doctor Who fans have already purchased their collar clips! A very exciting day in a very crazy week!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Fujifilm Instax Instant Printer


 One of my birthday gifts from Jonathan was a Fujifilm Instax Instant Photo Printer! I have been seriously ogling it for months now, since first seeing one pop up on some blog or another. But I already had an Instax Mini AND an Instax Wide camera, so thought it was probably not really a 'necessary' purchase (especially as I'm saving to go on holiday in like five weeks!) But JJ is such a good present buyer, and remembered me telling him once (or every single day) how much I wanted one, and lo and behold it's now MINE!

I figured I'd post a little review/side by side comparison with the Fujifilm Instax Mini so y'all can see what it's all about..... First up, the way the printer works is it creates its own wireless 'network' which you log on to like you would a WiFi connection. Then you have an Instax Share app on your phone (which is free to download, and your friends can download it too and use it to print photos from their phone too!) - you simply open the app up and choose your photo, edit it if necessary, then click print! SIMPLES! (you can also take photos directly, rather than using photos you've already taken. You simply click a different button and it uses your phone camera as the camera. So flippin clever!)


 Okay so the printer has two BIG advantages over the camera, which are;

- you don't have to carry the printer round with you (although you can do as it's about the same size/weight as the camera.) What this means is you can snap photos whilst you're out on your phone, then when you get home you can print them out as instant photos! Sometimes even when I have my instant camera with me I don't bother taking it out for photos (or just forget I have it with me) so this is absolutely ideal.
- you can select which pictures you like and see how they will look before you print. Although the newer Instax cameras have really good photo quality, and the close up lens allows for correction, I still get more photos than I'd like which are off centre, or aren't exposed quite right. The printer avoids all these problems so no more wasted images!


However I won't be abandoning my Instax camera just yet.... I do still think there is a place in my heart for such a cute camera. Although the printer does the same thing, there is something so novel about not knowing quite how the photos will turn out when you've taken them, ending up slightly less than perfect but being all the more charming for it. I absolutely LOVE my printer though - I especially like that I can print out multiple copies of one photo to give to friends or family. If you don't have an Instax camera yet and are debating getting one, I'd seriously suggest thinking about getting the printer purely for its versatility. It's a bit more pricey than the camera (only about £30 more than the newest Instax camera though) but definitely worth it.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

CNBC Interview

 Yesterday morning I was interviewed LIVE on CNBC news channel! It was all very surreal and extremely scary, but also such an awesome experience. I spoke about how Etsy has helped my business grow, and about the new Etsy Wholesale program.


 On Monday I received an Etsy conversation asking if I'd like to be on CNBC for a news piece the following day. One of the best parts of being self-employed is being able to adapt when exciting things like this come up - so I of course accepted the invitation. The following morning I was so nervous. I didn't really know what to expect, and was even more worried as it was live! I sat in the green room for about half an hour, which was exciting in itself as it was right in the studio and I could see everything that was going on behind the scenes. Then all of a sudden I was being ushered into a seat, had a microphone clipped to my collar, and someone was counting down till we were live! Very surreal!


If you'd like to watch the (very short) clip of me speaking you can see it right here. Please ignore my ummms and ahhhhhs - I tried so hard not to do it, but found it almost impossible! Also ignore my weird cockney accent - I'm not from East London! Thanks to everyone who watched live and for all your super sweet comments on Facebook and Instagram - knowing you guys were watching and supporting made me less worried!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

NEW PRINTS!



 I've been busy working away behind the scenes here at Ladybird Likes HQ getting my newest product range ready to show you all! I am an absolute stationery ADDICT (as well as being obsessed with jewellery obvs) so it seemed natural to try designing and making a range of stationery items.


 My first stationery items are a selection of prints - there are three different ranges which are, kitschy kitties, retro animals, and pastel colour quotes. I taught myself to create graphics digitally using Photoshop, and I'm really pleased with how they turned out!


 I will be using some of these designs (plus some new ones too!) to also make a range of greeting cards, pocket mirrors and notebooks (plus a few jewellery items too of course) in time for Christmas. The design process has been very different to creating jewellery pieces, but I've really loved it, and am looking forward to doing a lot more non-jewellery products in the future.


All of these are available right now in my Etsy shop - the other items will be coming soon too. I'd love to know which designs are your favourite!