GIVEAWAY

I am doing a giveaway on my Instagram for a gorgeous cat cushion

All you have to do is follow my Instagram and tag three friends:)

Please enter!!!

 

https://www.instagram.com/gembobs_crafts/

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I’m in amsterdam!

Thought I would go on a little break to a place I’ve always wanted to explore.. Amsterdam! So I’ve just come back from there after five days. It’s been really good fun, I’ve met a lot of lovely people and stayed in a hostel! I didn’t want to spend too much money on accommodation so I looked on booking.com and found a central hostel called ‘clinkNoord’. I shared with three other people and we had our own private bathroom which was Nice! The hostel was over the river right next to train station, so every 10 minutes a ferry came and carted people (mainly on bikes) across the water for free which was different! Oh my god.. I have never seen so many bikes. I thought York had alot but I actually found out in Amsterdam there are more bikes then people! And there are plenty of electrical cars that are tiny which is blizzare!

The hostel was lovely I really couldn’t fault it. I had to change my room because the first night I couldn’t get to sleep at all because the two guys (who I ended up spending most of my time with) were snoring, so the staff kindly let me swap rooms at 4am in the morning and it was so much quieter. Every where is spotless, staff were wonderful and it was very close to the train station which I always find helpful. And it was very cheap! So yeah… I met a few people, colin from Vancouver and Kim from norway. So I got to hang round with them on all of the days which was fantastic because I’ve never done that before. I love staying in airbnbs because I’m a private person and have routines, but it was isolated. Hostels you get to meet so many different people from all over the world!

Things I did in Amsterdam –

  • Boat tour
  • Van Gogh gallery
  • I Amsterdam sign visit
  • Lots of coffee shop visits
  • Shopping in the boutique stores
  • Two free walking tours

Here are some photos I took. The weather wasn’t great.. abit like England if I’m honest!


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Boho Decor Items For Sale in my Etsy Shop

I just thought i would kind of do a self promo because i haven’t posted about my products for a while! So, Im kind of a hippie at heart, and so this sometimes reflects in the products i make. I have a few items in my shop that are ‘boho’ and ‘hippie’ that i wanted to tell you guys about!

First are my Patchwork Curtains – They are made from fabric I’ve sourced from literally everywhere, i try to good quality fabrics that normally have a pretty pattern and can do any size thats needed. Ive made a lot of curtains now, all have been individual and one of a kind which is what i love about them. These are the ones i used to have in my own flat, i used quite a few vintage scarfs in this one but they are always lined so light doesn’t flood through.

I also have some lovely boho cushions available in lots of different colours/materials! Each one is one of a kind so YOU get to pick what you like and i will do my best to acocomodate.

I have lots of lovely bunting available also, which would look fab in a hippie style room.

Here are some other things I really really want in my own home from sites on the internet and also what I have found on the amazing Internet which i will keep adding too!!

tapestry – 1497845971468906526

Isnt this wonderful?! I would definitely get this… although i haven’t got enough room on my walls as i have covered them with pictures!! But it is only 12.00 which is a bargain.

 

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dream catcher – gorgeous dream catcher from someone n Etsy. I really advocate etsy, people work so hard on there and i dont think others realise how hard it is to get your shop noticed and get sales.

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Glass Dome 

Another gorgeous boho etsy shop that sells glass! how brave!! I love these, i have lots in my house ranging from candle holders, hanging domes, they just look gorgeous and are very popular at the moment!

 

 

Check back to see more goodies 🙂

 

Books that I found helpful with my online business

I thought I’d do I post about the books I’ve used throughout my etsy journey. I find information online as well but I love books. I am abit obsessed and I love nothing more then visiting the library, especially now I love in York and there is a lovely library.

I have just recently spotted this book – from passion to profit.

I found this extremely helpful. Obviously I already have my business up and running but it still helped with figuring out other things like the worksheets. I got this from the library so I cannot write in it but I will probably buy it tbh. I liked the fact it’s pink, bright, chatty and friendly. Not too many difficult words and not long sentences so I get bored. It helps you figure out your dream customer, what you target market is, resources for selling on the best sites and marketplaces, advertising etc. It also has a few story’s of crafters who are already established and what advice they have. I really recommend this. You can get the book on Amazon here-From Passion to Profit – Start Your Business in 6 Weeks or Less!: A step-by-step guide to making money from your hobby by selling online

 

Craft Show & Sell

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I really liked this book, very helpful but didn’t really offer me any new information because i have already read quite a bit on selling already. If you are just starting out i would suggest you get this though 🙂

“Through highly visual, step-by-step tutorials and inspiring profiles on some of the world’s most successful crafters, Craft Show & Sell delivers all the advice and vision that today’s crafters need to take their brand or business forward into a new realm. Step into the workspaces, shops and online personalities of those global designers and expert makers who have turned the art of craft – be it knitting, crochet, sewing, jewellery-making, paper engineering or printing – into a successful business model. Be inspired by through-the-keyhole ventures into their atmospheric and often ingenious craft spaces, with a range of insider projects to help organise and energise your craft room. Get top tips on how to merchandise and sell items online, at craft fairs, at markets, in shops or at pop-up events or exhibitions. Plus, learn how to build a personality-driven brand, create and write a better blog or website, document your work through better photography and analyse your results to help take your business into the future.”

Get it here – craft show and sell

How To Sell Your Crafts Online

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These are step by step actions which i find really helpful tbh, and how to use social media which is something i used to struggle with!

“Getting noticed on Etsy amongst 400,000 competitors is tough, but with this accessible guide, it can be done. You will learn how to boost your Etsy shop sales, attract more potential customers, and stand out in your field. Author Derrick Sutton lays out his secrets to success with simple, yet effective step-by-step actions that are accompanied by easy-to-follow screenshots. Even crafters who aren’t internet savvy will have no trouble completing the easy lessons and tasks to ensure that your shop is fully optimized. Derrick shares his priceless advice on a variety of topics including: how to design a catchy Etsy banner; a crash course on photographing your goods; how to use Google Analytics to track your progress; tips on how to use Facebook and Twitter effectively; fail-safe copywriting secrets. Where to gain inspiration for blog posts; and, how to take advantage of Etsy’s Forums, Treasuries, Alchemy, and much more!”

Get it here – How to sell your crafts

 

Online Marketing for Your Craft Business: How to get your handmade products discovered, shared and sold on the internet

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One of my faves as i like the layout and i think the explanations are simple and easy to understand.

If you are a creative or craft business owner selling crafts online through your blog, website or on handmade marketplaces, the desire to grow your online following can become addictive. Many people find they spend all day aimlessly clicking and tinkering with their craft blog, Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts with no real strategy in place. They are inconsistent, they don’t plan their content and they don’t measure their results, they just feel drained and demotivated, unsure whether they are seeing a return on their investment of time. Many people end up resenting blogging and social media networking due to lacklustre sales results. Don’t let this happen to your craft business!

Get it Here – Online marketing

 

Will be adding lots more as i read them!

Five simple tips to get your etsy shop started.

I know alot of people who struggle to get sales on Etsy. I have built mine up over the years, it does better each year and this last year it has really grown, and I can only put this down to advertising and social media

I started using Instagram (gembobs_crafts) seriously a few months ago and I think now I am a tad addicted! I love the way you can search for anything, the gorgeous images of endless inspiration, how you can gain an insight into other crafters lives and interact with them. You can even interact partly with celebrities if you like that kind of thing! I now follow some really creative and talented makers who I love to see on a daily basis and watch how there products grow. Anyway… I’m going to list five ways in which you can hopefully grow and spread awareness to your etsy shop which have worked for me so far. You cannot just sit back and wonder why sales are not happening, you actually have to work hard at this.

1. Sign up to lots of social media platforms. I have Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest. The more you are active on, the more exposure you will get and therefore advertising yourself.

2. Use good photography. I have just started using my Samsung S7 to take all my photos, i used to have a DLSR but i just found it too cumbersome and it was a hassle to get it set up etc so i found myself not taking too many photographs. i always have my phone with me so i now take so many photos that i can use on my Etsy and Instagram. I try to use a white background(i have white walls in my house) and adjust the brightness and contrast on them to make them stand out. I follow some amazing people on Instagram who are very talented at creating gorgeous photos using props. You should really check them out and see if they will inspire you to create something like this as its a great way to get your products looking fab. One of my favourite Instagrams is – https://www.instagram.com/emilyquinton/ founder of Makelight.

3. Right, it’s time to talk about SEO which I know a lot of people get scared of and try to avoid. I have read up about it quite alot but I still don’t understand it massively tbh. In my shop all I have done is – updated the title to create as many ‘search terms’ in as possible. Try to imagine you are the buyer, and you are searching for your own products. What would you type in? Maybe ask your friends to say what they would type in aswell. Put these in your title. It doesn’t matter if you title looks wierd or really long,people don’t care.

Next, go to your description and in the first few lines copy and paste your title at the top.

Next, go to your tags and type in your search terms IN ORDER in to the tags. This is really important. Use all 13 tags as well.

Use as many photos as you can. The more photos of your product the better and the better chance of getting a sale.

Have more then 50 listings in your shop, you have more chance getting seen in searches.

I know it sounds like a lot of faff and your doing everything just to get seen, but this is how etsy is. The market now is so full that SEO is very important.

4. One thing that I have started doing recently is emailing my customer when they have received my toy. I received a 5 star review and a lovely comment on my snake(the first one i had sold) and I was really happy, so I emailed her and said thank you. I got an email back saying she was very happy and could she possibly buy another for her other son? Now I know for a fact she wouldn’t have bought one if I hadn’t emailed her. Connection helps, so connect with your customers and really make them feel special. They like that 😉

5. I ALWAYS make sure my packaging is lovely, and I add in a handwritten (I think this is important) note saying thank you and could they please leave a review. Reviews help your shop. I know this might be cheating but maybe at the start, offer your friends and family a massive discount on your items so they buy them on etsy and get them to leave a review. It will build your shop up. People like to look at reviews, I sure Do!!!!

So…. They are my basic steps to making sure your etsy shop is running ok and hopefully it will help a tad. Obviously there is loads more ways and a simple search in Google and YouTube will lead to masses of info which can sometimes get a bit overwhelming.

If you need any help just email me or comment here. I will always help you. I love shopping small and I think independent business are Brill, so the more I can help the better.

Back from Paris!

Well I’m back in the lovely York now, it’s been an amazing two weeks I have enjoyed it so much and havnt stopped! My favourite things that I did in Paris were:

  • National History Museum, just beautiful grounds and the zoo is fab
  • Centre of Pompidou, saw amazing works by Kandinsky and Klee!!
  • The Louvre, obviously amazing but the outside grounds and the funky pyramid glass statues are gorgeous
  • Wondering around all the pretty streets, walking along the river and seeing the Notre dame and other pretty buildings.

So that’s my favourite things that I did but obviously everyone is different and likes different things etc.

I’m quite glad I’m going back because I havnt been able to do anything crafty in TWO WEEKS. I am actually getting withdrawals now because I normally sew everyday. I don’t know what other people do? On the evening like what do you do when you havnt got any crafts to do???

I’ve got five orders from etsy to make, a bag to send, and two people have requested some handmade curtains for me to make so I’m gonna get straight into the orders. I’ve been updating my SEO on my etsy site so hopefully that will help as well.

Kind of want to make other animals but not sure which ones? What are you favourite cushions in my shop and what would you like to see more of?

Bye bye bloggers!!

Palace of Versailles & Centre Georges Pompidou

Over the last couple of days I’ve been to quite a few places which have been fab! Paris is such a large city and i love the fact there is so much to do and see. I’ve been here nearly two weeks now and my days have been full of brilliant things to do which all have been brilliant.

On Wednesday morning i took two trains to visit The Palace of Versailles -(info- has been listed as a World Heritage Site for 30 years and is one of the greatest achievements in French 17th century art. Louis XIII’s old hunting pavilion was transformed and extended by his son, Louis XIV, when he installed the Court and government there in 1682. A succession of kings continued to embellish the Palace up until the French Revolution.) I got there after about an hour of travelling because its quite far out of Paris Centre, the queue was again massive but it went down pretty quick. The Palace itself is beautiful and elegant, packed full of gold and paintings. The rooms are decorated with different coloured curtains and the walls are dressed in the same fabrics. It was really crowded in there, so i looked around but it was a bit too busy to stay in there for too long so i went to the gardens which are HUGE!!!! Wow, they are very well maintained and you can literally walk for miles seeing all the lakes, trees, plants and fountains. At the bottom you can hire a small boat to relax in! Because they are so large you can also hire golf caddies to cruise around in. I personally enjoyed the gardens more then the Palace, but i think its just because of how packed it was inside. It was a lovely day out and i am glad i went but it would of probably been a good idea to read up a little bit about the history of the Palace before you go.

The next day i met up with two lovely people who i met via a travel group on Facebook! A girl from America and a guy from Australia. They were absolutely lovely i am SO glad i met up with them because after 10 days with not really speaking to people it was nice to be a bit social and experience some places with others. I do like being alone, but its nice also to laugh with other people(not just at myself…).

We met at 11.00 at the The Centre Pompidou, (info-designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, is a 20th-century architectural marvel, immediately recognizable by its exterior escalators and enormous coloured tubing. It is home to the National Museum of Modern Art and is internationally renowned for its 20th and 21st century art collections.) Its a fabulous building and totally stands out in Paris as most things are old but this building is very industrial. Well.. if you know me well enough you will know i LOVE art, my favourite Artists who i have studied a lot are Kandinsky, Klee, Pollock, and Braque. I saw paintings by them all!! I was in heaven. Kandinskys work is absolutely amazing i cannot fault it at all. There was also a David Hockney Exhibition which was brilliant. He actually painted quite a lot of Yorkshire, i couldn’t believe it!

After that we took a trip the ‘the best falafel place there is in Paris’ – L’As du Fallafel. Its apparently famous and there is always a queue outside, there was a camera crew there at the time filming!! We then took a trip to Shakespeare and Company Bookstore(which is apparently famous too! I didn’t know this either) -(info-From the first day the store opened, writers, artists, and intellectuals were invited to sleep among the shop’s shelves and piles of books, on small beds that doubled as benches during the day. Since then, an estimated 30,000 young and young-at-heart writers and artists have stayed in the bookshop, including then unknowns such as Alan Sillitoe, Robert Stone, Kate Grenville, Sebastian Barry, Ethan Hawke, Jeet Thayil, Darren Aronfsky, Geoffrey Rush, and David Rakoff. These guests are called Tumbleweeds after the rolling thistles that “drift in and out with the winds of chance,” as George described. A sense of community and commune was very important to him—he referred to his shop as a “socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore.” )

It felt like i was back in York going in the bookstore! Very small and quirky, it was nice to see some English books! They have writing workshops there as well which i bet are brilliant for only 6.00euros. Here are some photos i took of my adventures!!

 

Notre dame & The Eiffel Tower.

I’ve had two more full on days in beautiful Paris. There is so much to do which is marvellous for me because I like my days to be busy and nights to be chill which is what they have been.

Yesterday (Sunday 13 August) I got the metro to the Eiffel Tower!! Oh wow, didn’t really expect it to look like that up close. It was just magnificent tbh. It was a lovely day as well which made my photos lush. The queue again was massive, so I decided not to go to the top because someone told me they’d been up twice and it’s not really worth the money and wait.. so I decided not too. The gardens surrounding it were really nice though so I sat down there for a little while and read my book which i’m getting through quite speedily!

One thing I love here is that even though it’s a weekend, people are outside sitting in parks, walking, exercising, playing with their children and just chilling in the parks more. In York, UK back at home on a weekend all you see are crowded pubs and bars with rowdy men and women so drunk and loud. I really hate it. I mean yes by all means drink, but not to that extent and I think the French have the balance just right.

I then wondered down and was passing the Army Museum- (Website), It’s not something normally I would go in but I decided to broaden my horizons and try it. It’s a magnificent building and I saw lots of armour, guns, info about WW1 and WW2 which was quite interesting. Overall not really my cup of coffee!!! If your into army stuff then it’s a winner though 🙂 I then just strolled back down the river and took a lot more photos, got back to the flat and found out one of the cats had urinated all over my duvet… not very happy about that so i’ve had to wash and dry everything. Very annoyed!!!!

Monday – 14 August 2017

Today was so hot!!! The sun was blazing and I actually had to take my leggings off. I walked to the Notre dame today, it’s free to get in and Mass was on at 12.00pm and that’s the time I got there. It’s gorgeous but I would still say the Minister in York is just as lush. Mass was obviously all in french!! Haha. I then took a trip to the National History Museum – (Website) because the one in London is AMAZING!!!! So I thought I’d test this one out. You walk in to massive grounds with beautiful gardens and buildings and lovely flowers. It really is pretty especially in the sunshine. The thing that slightly annoyed me was that each building had it’s own expedition and you had to pay to get in each one. So you couldn’t just by one ticket for everything. Luckily I had my pass so I get in for things for free, because without that it probably would have ended up being over 30 euros just for me. There was a building full of Gemstones which i liked as i used to collect these, then a large zoo(I didn’t go in there), Prehistoric animal part which was really good and interesting and a large glass house full of tropical plants! I would definitely recommend going here if your in Paris, it wasn’t really on my list of things to do but i’m so glad i have been because its gorgeous, even if you dont want to pay for the buildings, just to be in the grounds is lovely. I wondered back in the sunshine, everyone was sunbathing!! It makes you feel so much better when its warm. I found this really cool shop full of house decor things (FLEUX) so i might have a nosey on their website 😛

 

Mystery Shopping!

Hey guys.

Right… this post is going to be solely on mystery shopping as i have been doing it for a few years on and off. i have a few websites that i am registered on and they have been really good in providing me with local shops/places to do these visits and earn a bit of money(and often freebies)

Here are my main websites that i use.

ESA RETAILhttps://www.esa-webms.co.uk – this is a good website that i have just recently started using the last year. I really like it, i get good local visits and have got a lot of free things such as chocolate from Thorntons, free food shopping, train tickets and more. You get a refund of your purchase(taking a photo of your receipt) and then you also get a little extra money for your time.

Market Forcehttps://uk.marketforceshopper.com/login – I have been on this site for years and it is my favourite. I have earned quite a lot from this site and have visited places such as Next, William Hill, Restaurants, Bowling, Greggs, Prett, Superdrug and lots more! Again, you get to keep the purchase and then get money added for your time. I like this one as lots of jobs get added and every time you complete a job, you get points and the more points you have, the more jobs you can do. 🙂

GRASSROOTShttps://www.grassrootsmysteryshopping.com/msw_pnlExtErrorPage.aspx?mode=error – I have had around 10 jobs with this site, and have earned around 60 pounds. Its a good site, but very detailed and if you get something wrong, you will not get payed.

Saroshttps://www.sarosresearch.com/ – You get emailed jobs – very rarely, but you have to apply for the job which is normally  a discussion panel or similar. A very high payer though if you get accepted, you typically get £30 to £100 for two hours’ work.

 

Here is a lot more information on mystery shopping, the dos and don’ts and the legal jumbo etc etc.

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5159122&_ga=2.57415146.1335852089.1502566503-748731819.1478108516

Flea market fun

What a fab day. Literally done some of my favourite things today. On Facebook I found a page called- ‘la REcyclerie’ -http://www.larecyclerie.com/ 

and I thought I’d pop there as it looked quite quirky. I got to it and it was miles bigger then I expected tbh. I couldn’t believe it. The main centre bit is a lovely cafe with vintage chairs and sofas to sit on, I saw the food they were serving and it looked really lovely and fresh. On massive plates too!!
I was walking around and the outside area is so big, it has chickens, fish, a place where people were selling vintage clothes, a repair centre, a bee hive bit, lots of veg plants and all the tables were made out of reclaimed wood. I’ve not seen a place like this before and i am amazed at how busy it was and how much they had going on.
I sat there and read my book for a while then went over the road to the flea market which again… was fantastic. First you have to walk through the normal market and tbh it was a bit like a ghetto. I didn’t really feel safe with my phone etc which put me off. But I got to the inside area and people were selling vintage prints, clothes, furniture… just everything you can think of. I bought a lovely old print that I was drawn too and it was only 10 euro so I’ll put it in my flat when I get home. 🙂

It was only 2ish when I’d finished there, so quite close by was the Sacré-Cœur – (Iconic, domed white church, completed in 1914, with interior mosaics, stained-glass windows & crypt.) I was wanting to visit there anyway so i had to climb like a million steps all the way up to it.. only to figure out there’s a lift!!! Haha. I think it might just be for disabled people though I don’t know. Anyway it was beautiful and the view you get from the top is to die for. It’s a shame the sky wasn’t blue or my pictures would have looked lush! people were queueing up outside to get in the building but i didn’t feel like going in because there was quite a bit going on outside. Im going to read up about the place and see how much it is before i take a look inside(if i do). I really love Paris… in England everything is so polite, done by the rule book, frowned upon… but here it is literally like living in a playground. Everyone does what ever the hell they want and they dont care who sees it or if they get judged. Ive seen so many crazy things and its only been 5 days!!

Here is some pictures i have taken today 🙂