Friday, 1 June 2012

Shop Focus: Butterfly Blossom

Today's interview is with Nikki - read on for more about her small craft business:

Tell us what you sell and where you and your shop can be found

I create unique and modern handmade cards & notelets, bunting and cute little sewn goodies although my range is always expanding as I have new ideas. I have an online shop ( and a blog ( I have also very recently opened a Folksy shop ( which I am slowly uploading items to and I am on Facebook ( , Twitter ( and Pinterest (! 

How much of your time goes into your business?  Is it full time/part time?  Juggling act?

I work full time for a fostering agency so I run Butterfly Blossom in the evenings and at weekends which takes up most of my spare time and there are never enough hours in the day! I would love for it to become a full time business but since the company is in it’s early stages this is a dream for the future.

What have you learned since opening your online shop?

That running an online business is just as hard (if not harder) than running a conventional shop! It is difficult to get the exposure needed for online shops as you don’t get the passing trade that a normal shop would get and your photos and descriptions have to really sell the item to potential customers as they can't pick up your goods and handle them for themselves.

Approximately what percentage of your sales are online?

Around 40% of my sales are made online through my various shops. I also sell at Craft Fairs and fetes and am currently in the process of finding a stockist to sell my products in a local shop. I do find that I get the most custom orders through my website though.

What do you think your biggest challenges are?

Time constraints on making, photographing and uploading products to my website is definitely a big challenge for me. Because my time is limited I can’t make as many products as I would like to and I can spend several evenings just photographing and listing my items. I also find that advertising my shop and blog is difficult as people won’t search for you if they don’t know about you! Having a teeny tiny work space is also a pretty big challenge and I have become pretty good at balancing large things on tiny work tops!!

What are your main ways of promoting your shop?  Which methods do you think have the most success?

As soon as I launched my shop I simultaneously launched a Facebook page, a Twitter account and started writing my blog. I knew that these methods would get me the biggest number of visitors to my site in the quickest amount of time. Because I wrote my blog about topics that are often searched in Google my site got lots of hits on popular posts such as product reviews and tutorials. This increased traffic to my site and in turn pushed people to my shop. I have also tried leafleting but I found this time consuming and there is an obvious cost to this that Facebook and Twitter do not have. The most successful method of promoting my website has been through taking part in Blog Hops and Link Parties such as Handmade Monday (every week here on Handmade Harbour). This has gained me a steady set of new followers who give me advice, tips and constructive feedback to help me develop my products.

What are your plans for the future?

My dream is to open a shop in my seaside town of Whitstable. My shop would sell all of the items that I make, the materials needed to make them and I would have a make and take area where people of all ages and abilities could pop in and create something using the materials I have in my shop. This is a dream for a long way in the future. For the shorter term I would like my business to be successful enough that I can work part time in my job and part time fulfilling orders.

Which other shops (handmade or supplies) do you admire?

Oh the list is endless!!! I am a massive fan of most of the American paper crafts companies such as Echo Park, Basic Grey and American Crafts. Handmade-wise I love paper-and-string for all of her yummy sewn goodies and I have a particular soft spot for an American crafter called Kerry’s Paper Crafts. She gives great tutorials on how to make the things she makes which is where a lot of my inspiration comes from – thanks Kerry!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Please spread the word if you like what I create – word of mouth is the best (and cheapest) form of advertising! Thank you for reading and happy crafting!

Thanks so much for taking part in this interview Nikki - I love these insights into other people's businesses!  Do let us all know if thay dream shop ever becomes a reality - it would be a lovely place to visit!


Ali said...

Great interview. It was interesting to hear how Nikki promoted her business. Ali x

Jan said...

I'm just catching up on the blogs I follow and I enjoyed reading about Nikki and her ways of promoting her wares. I like these interviews.

Jan x