Welcome back to week 3 of my hosting the creating success around the world blog hop with creating my way to success. I hope you enjoyed last week and liked looking at the lovely things that Lyn from JJs craftshop makes.
Today I'm introdcucing a very clever friend of mine, the lovely Samantha of Handmade by Mrs H! Samantha and I met via blogging and we were surprised to find out we lived in next door villages so about 15 minutes from each other! We met at a craft fayre we were both doing and got on like a house on fire and have remained friends ever since. She has also promised to teach me to make handbags as I'm always so impressed by hers so watch this space!
Tell us a little about yourself
Hey everyone, I'm Samantha from At home with Mrs H. Hang on, I should have introduced myself as Mrs H. Pretend I did.
I live in a country called Wales which is one of the countries that makes up the United Kingdom. We're the fatty bit between England and Ireland. It's a beautiful place but it doesn't half rain a lot! It also happens to be the same place as Leigh lives so I'm blessed to be able to call her a 'real' friend.
You may know me from such posts as my short hair warning, upcycled pyjama quilt or how to fold tights. (Click on the pictures to go there)
I live such a varied life (and apparently have no shame!)
How did you come up with your business name?
I got married! I named my business Handmade by Mrs H because I just couldn't come up with a fancy snazzy brand name so thought I'd stick with simple. Does exactly what it says on the tin right? Turns out that a few people have said to me it has a ring to it. Holla!
My blog naturally followed from there and I named it At home with Mrs H.
What do you create?
I like to sew and I've spent time developing my skills in that area. I've dabbled in knitting (but got bored), I tried crochet (but couldn't work out what to do with my thumb) but I've never been 'artistic' in the sense that I could draw something.
I tend to specialise in bags and have started to develop a couple of my own bag patterns which will hopefully be released later on in the year.
Why do you create?
I create because it's my little bit of respite from my regular life. My husband and I are the youth workers in our local church and we deal with some very difficult teenagers on a regular basis.
We also help with the children's work and I'm the church secretary. Plus he has a full time job and I have a part time job. If all I had to myself was the housework I'd go stir crazy! Some may argue that I already have...
Do you sell your items? Where?
I have my items listed on etsy, some on folksy and occasionally do craft fairs. I've lost faith in craft fairs somewhat as I have discovered that mostly consumers these days want handmade quality with the developing world prices that are just not sustainable. I still do a few to network and get my name out there and once I start my sewing classes then they'll become even more valuable.
I've found the most successful way for me to sell my items is through my own personal network of friends and family. They're always amazed at how great the quality is and are often keen to hear what you're up to. Don't be afraid to approach them and let them know what you're working on.
What mistakes have you made or lessons learnt?
Possibly the biggest mistake I've made early on is to use cheap fusible interfacing in my bags which then puckers and ruins the whole integrity of the item. Customers would look at a bubbling lining and wonder what else is wrong. Now I always purchase the higher quality fusible interfacing because if you produce the highest quality possible, you'll never have a disappointed customer. Happy customers sell your items for you!
What is your favourite thing to make and why?
I love to make bags. Hangbags, clutch bags, tote bags, overnight bags. Anything I can dream or replicate.
I'm a bit OCD and love to have things perfect and ordered. With the right interior a bag can change your everyday life. I put in pockets, key holders, zip pockets, pen pockets and even sometimes bus pass holders! Anything to make life easier is always a bonus, right?
You can check out what I make here in my etsy store, natter with me on my facebook page or hang out 'At home with Mrs H' for more of my ramblings and thoughts.
Thanks for having me here today Leigh, you've been very patient while I've forgotten to email me answers to the questions time and again. My only excuse is that I bought myself a serger!
Like what you've seen? here are the links to Samantha's blog, facebook page, folksy shop and Etsy shop.