Right peeply-deeplers, it's been a while since I showed what I've been up to lately on the creative front. I have always wondered what it would be like to make things to sell, but never had the courage to try it. Until recently. A friend of mine has launched a new business called the Summer Christmas Company. There are a range of non-traditional festive decorations and wares that evoke the fun and frivolity of summer as opposed to the more typical Northern Hemisphere winter wonderland Christmas scenes. Her simple, stylised decorations are a direct influence of native New Zealand flora and fauna. Here are a couple of my absolute favourites:
Pohutukawa wreath, anyone?
These lightweight plywood decorations, sold in packs of three or half a dozen, could be strung together as a garland or individually hung on a tree and would make great gifts to send to loved ones overseas as a reminder of home.
I have known Mela for years, she is an absolute dynamo and she has designed all of these decorations herself. There are both plywood and acrylic options and she also sells plywood Christmas trees, and an acrylic LED version. Everything, right down to the packaging, is made right here in the A of the tearoa. I know this sounds like a sponsored post, it's not, I just really want to support her novel idea.
Quite unexpectedly, she asked me to help make some items to complement her fledgling business and with it being summer market season, my kitchen table went into serious production mode over the last few weeks. I gave away small glimpses of my makings on Instagram. She asked me to sew some Christmas stockings and bunting and I made some Santa sacks too, which was a nod to my own childhood when we would place a pillowcase at the end of our bed. Some of the products are in soft, muted tones with a bit of a Kiwiana feel, and most items were made using fun, bright prints rather than traditional Christmas colours and I hoped that this would be their point of difference.
Having never made things to sell before, it was really hard to know if there was even a market for these items, but I guess the only way of knowing was to put them out there and see what happened. What did happen? I shared the stall with Mela and while she made a couple of sales, I sold nothing. Zip. Zilcho. Nada. Niente. Unless you count Mela's lovely friend and her sister who bought a couple of bags and a stocking respectively a day or two after the market - and for the sake of my confidence, I am totally counting them. Ha!
So, now that the worst thing that could happen has happened, I'm feeling buoyant, and would love to try another market. Obviously, I am not planning to sell Christmas stockings in January, because that would be stupid. Unless any Russians want them? Did that last bit make me sound quite ignorant? I'm kidding, we all know the Russian children leave out their empty vodka bottles. Now I'm really going to burn in hell.
On the whole, my first market experience has steeled me for the customers who have no filter at all and quite happily stand across from me and tell their friend that they could make it themselves for much less (that didn't actually happen, my overactive imagination ran through a few of these pre-market scenarios). The old me (the 2 weeks ago old me) would have cried into my bunting and then felt a strong urge to punch someone in the face, which would not work very well for repeat business. The new post-market me has fallen in love with the vibe of the market experience and being around enthusiastic and positive artisans. I did get the sense that many, if not all of the buyers who came through the market, were looking for bargains (as in let's haggle the price down to zero profit margin for the seller), but that is probably a whole other blog post.