Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Creating success around the world - week 4

Welcome back to fourth and final 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 Samantha from Handmade by Mrs H makes.

Today I'm introducing Charlie and Helen of the fabulous Maisie and Maude! Charlie lives near to me and we met on a facebook group for crafters in our area. They do some beautiful things and I'm sure you are all going to love them too! 

Tell us a little about yourself
 We are Charlotte and Helen – sisters in law. 
Charlie is from South Wales –‘I am wife to the lovely and ever enduring Nic, and Mum of 2 teens and 4 Cats. I work part-time but am blessed/tainted with a creative streak which is where my heart (and many late nights) really lies. Helen is the Bristol half of the Jewellery making duo Maisie and Maude-‘ I have had an interest in costume jewellery for many years and enjoyed making pieces of jewellery as a hobby. After spending years raising a family, my sister in law and I decided to start a jewellery business partnership and haven’t looked back since.’

How did you come up with your business name? 
 Our Business name was a result on long family brain storms- pages full of note pads and play on words, as we are sisters in law we wanted to play on that, but nothing felt right, we tried mix up of our names, still no inspiration, then in a car park at lunch on our first jewellery making course..Helen asked what my Grandmother’s name was- mine was Maisie, Helen’s was Maude.. and it sort of stuck.

What do you create ? 
We create unique one off jewellery pieces, using a mixture of gems, shop bought beads, up-cycled beads and hand-made beads and pendants crafted from Polymer Clay.

Why do you create? 
Charlie- ‘I’m a self confessed ‘serial crafter’ ...’I have dabbled with design and crafting for as long as I can remember, I am mainly self taught although I have studied Art and Interior Design. There is always some ‘project ‘on the go, from greeting cards, to collage to gift Hampers to digital name it.
Helen finds it relaxing to sit in her studio at home and design a piece of jewellery, ... It’s exciting because I never really know what new piece will be created from a couple of hours of studio time.’

Do you sell your items? If so where? How?
 We set out to sell from day one, but had no idea of what response we would have. We waited 6 months to build up a stock, create a ‘brand’ and get our packaging and quality right. We have just done our very first craft Fair in Roath Cardiff which was really enjoyable. We have more scheduled for the summer in South Wales and Bristol. We also plan to do home parties. We popped our pictures on Face book and have had a wonderful response and are selling nicely, and taking orders too! We also have just launched a website and are in the early stages of selling on Folksy and Etsy.

What mistakes have you made or lessons have you learnt? 
 We are on a huuuuge learning curve, and have not stopped learning from the first day. It’s so much more than stringing beads ... From learning to make quality jewellery from scratch ( neither have touched a bead before) , discovering Polymer Clay, marketing, branding, selling, websites, social networking, business plans, business accounts... and on and on-
We are eating, sleeping and breathing this as we have passion to make it work and get it right. Mistakes? Of course many many, and many more to come.
Charlie says ‘ I get over excited and never switch off so I guess it’s a case of walking before I run, and making sure the quality and brand is ready for the customers that came so much sooner than expected. Having confidence in our creations and getting pricing right. Helen reiterates this ...’ Trying to pitch our prices at the right level has been an experiment but I think we’re happy now with what we charge, and our customers seem happy. If something doesn’t work out as you expect, don’t give up – take the positive from the experience and try again! ‘

What is your favourite thing to make? Why?  
Charlie says she loves making beads with Polymer Clay..The patterns are always a surprise and the term ‘abstract’ can cover a multitude of errors! I also love naming and creating matching sets of jewellery Helen loves making bracelets because there are so many styles and combination of materials to make it with it’s satisfying to create a new piece each time.
Like what you've seen? check out their website, facebook page, twitter feed, and folksy shop. There is also an etsy shop coming soon.

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