I have been meaning to make a few ‘how to videos’ for my youtube channel FOREVER! at last I just decided to go for it, what better time than when Tilda is home and the dog’s feeling nuts (no change there) and Nils is out? – I seezed this perfect moment to try to film a beginners crochet class and it turned out exactly how you might expect, after about 39 tries I just decided to go with the reality of that last take. The framing is annoying because my hands aren’t in the middle of the shot for some important bits (sorry!) and just about everyone had their little cameo rolls through the recording, but that, I hope makes it far more entertaining to listen too! I also hope I make sense, it’s something I’ll hopefully get better at, just like your crochet skills! we’ll progress together (hope, hope!)
Super easy project, all you need is:-
1x Embroidery Hoop or basically anything like a round hoop.
1x Wood Burning Pen (or just regular pen if you don’t have one)
Some lengths of t-shirt offcut yarn, or something like it
Fake leather thread and small wooden beads (to hang it)
Fabric dye in a bowl.
Now, I feel like most important part is to decide on your intention that you want to focus on while you make it, I like to woodburn the word on the hoop first so that I can think about the person I’m making it for or, if it’s for myself, I can imagine bringing more of this into my life.
Next most important part is not to worry too much about things being perfect, you can always cut more thread and make it again! Have fun and play with different ideas that you have, nothing is wrong!
20% off until the end of the month, use the code JAN20 to redeem your discount! : )
I just collected all of my amazing NOTHS adverts all together on my YouTube and bloody hell, it’s incredible to see them all. There are a couple of other edits I’ve not been able to locate, but these are the big cahoonas. Literally, THANKS Noths.com you are the best.
You guys finished your Christmas shopping yet? anyone else, like me, totally been left behind because work took over even though I had the best of intentions this year to be properly orgnanised? it feels like I NEVER learn!
Just in case you guys are just like me, I will be posing out orders until the 23rd (I’ll post express that day so you get them guaranteed!) Everything is gift wrapped and shipped for free (hmmmm, maybe I now know why I’m a bit behind with my own Christmas prep! haha)
So here’s the thing, we might not all love the commerciality of Valentine’s Day, but we totally do need to show the people around us that we care for them and Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to make that effort. The whole idea is that we should do this all the time of course, but lets make Feb 14th a ‘marker’ to take time to really appreciate the love we share.
I don’t think it should just be about the one person we choose to be our partner either, I think we should be showing all of those people and creatures that light up our lives that we love them!
Valentine’s Day can feel like a soulless ‘hallmark branded’ day or it can be an excuse to show the ones in your life how special they are to you. I personally love to have an event for this to separate it from the ‘everyday’ when we sometimes don’t prioritise the right things.
THE ART OF GIFTING…
Buying gifts is hard, there’s a bunch of ‘stuff’ you can get which which will show them you remembered a particular event, but the real art is to make sure the love you feel is shown in a truly thoughtful gift that you know they will love, that’s when a gift is full of love, a perfect gift.
WHERE TO START…
So, think about the person you are buying for. What do they love to do, wear, watch, read, listen to? What makes them unique? What might show them you ‘see’ who they are and love them for it?
TO GIFT OR NOT TO GIFT…
So wether you buy them some of my slippers to curl up in while they read their favourite book or a hat or blanket scarf to keep them cosy while they walk through the forest with their favourite four legged lunatic or get them nothing at all, the very least you should do is take a moment to tell them they are loved.
Valentine’s Gifts –
If you are looking for a gift to show some love, pop over to the eka shop. I have a bunch of handmade accessories that will put a smile on her face and let her know your love her to bits. Mittens, slipper socks, hats and scarves. And if you don’t have anyone to buy for you, just use this as a perfect excuse to buy that thing you’ve been thinking about getting for yourself, you deserve it and Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to spoil yourself!
Deadline for FREE Valentine’s delivery is midnight on Tuesday 12th
I’ve been thinking a lot since the Jenny Pace Retreat about my branding and how social media plays a large part in how you show this. Since Tilda arrived I’ve been worried about sharing too much of my home and life outside of EKA on Instagram and FB, I think I felt like I needed to be more professional to attract more of a customer base rather than just family and friends, know what I mean? I started up a private instagram to try to separate ‘work’ and ‘life’ a bit. But this just feels so strange to me, EKA is such a massive part of who I am and my life, I don’t feel as if I can separate them neatly, EKA is me, it’s the creativity that is inspired by my life and all of the things around me and I feel as if I’m selling you guys short by not showing the bigger picture.
So I’ve decided to open up a bit more, I’m not going to be posting pictures of my lunch on my grid, don’t worry ; ) but on the same thread, I don’t want my instagram and facebook page to become a catalogue either. I’m going to let you all in to see a bit more of my life and show you where EKA comes from.
I love social media and how much we can share and communicate directly to our end customers and like minded people, I want to make sure anyone following EKA gets a lot more from me than a stream of things for sale.
This year will hopefully see a lot of developments with the house, soon to be a light and bright space for me to work and live with my little crew, Nils, Tilda and Penny the dog. I know lots of you have asked to see more of this and so I’ll hopefully do it justice with some little films and images as we go along.
Right now though, it’s Valentine’s Day sales and sample making that I’m focused on, as well as Swedish lessons in the morning all week, ahhhh, wish me luck!
Next week we’re away in Gran Canaria for a week of sunshine (gawd, please be sunny and warm!) and for me to re-charge my energy to the full. I’ve been brimming over with inspiration and plans for EKA since the retreat, I’m hoping a week away with Nils and Tilda in beautiful surroundings will be the icing on the cake and I’ll come back with some plans decided and laid out for the year.
See you all when I get back 😘
annnnnd relax, I love this time of year, it’s such a great excuse for reflection and introspection after a mad, mad few months. What a year 2018 was!
I’ve been blown away by all the attention eka has had this winter and now’s the time for me to recuperate and see what amazing things went on in the whirlwind and tunnel vision that every Christmas brings, it’s a time of ‘head down, get s–t done and you can breathe once the orders are all taken care of and deliveries assured’ (I say Christmas but really I mean end of September to Christmas, and now you know what I mean about needing to recuperate, don’t you?!) I like to look back and assess the great moments and the things I need to learn from for future busy periods.
One amazing new experience was being a part of the noths.com Pop-Up Shops in London, we had a bunch of items selling through there and I think it was a perfect way to target new customers and tell them our stories in a really beautifully curated and designed outlet, well done to everyone organising that, I was gutted to miss the opening party of the Westfield one (not only because I missed out on the gift!) because I would have loved to be able to thank them in person for all the support I’ve received from them over the years, this year in particular.
I also took part in the Etsy Cambridge Made Christmas Market again this year, it’s got to be the best market I sell at, it’s so well run that we all feel a real camaraderie and the vibe in the little Church is just the perfect thing to get me into the festive mood. So many lovely people came and shopped from me, a lot of faces I remember from last year and many new ones too. It was the perfect place to launch my new collection and seeing it received so well (even better than the items that have had massive publicity!) gave me a warm glow, selling online is great, but seeing the faces of and talking with your customers as they choose what they’ll purchase is just the BEST, thanks to everyone that came to see me there. I sold at other markets too, they were lovely, but this one, well lets just say (in a Jim Carey ‘Dumb & Dumber’ voice if you will) I like it a lot!
One thing’s for sure, we were in NO WAY ready for all the love the YES/NO mittens got from NOTHS.com, OMG, adverts next to Kirstie Alsop’s Handmade Christmas and The Simpsons on Channel4 (seriously, I had people messaging me and coming to my stall at markets saying how they’d seen the ad the night before, it was unreal!) Then the same ad being a feature wall of their Pop-Up Shop in Waterloo during the month of November, just wow, I feel so proud of that design, they’re way more ‘in your face’ than my other best sellers and I feel so supported by noths in my little bid to make sure no girl need worry about making their thoughts clear ever again! ; ) To all of you that got a pair, I hope they’re bringing a feeling of empowerment and a smile to your face in equal measure : )) I promise to prepare better next winter so that I don’t sell out of the most popular colours in lightning speed, sorry about that!
The image above was the FRONT COVER of one of the NOTHS.com Christmas Gift Guides, omg, it feels great to say that : ) All of the images that others created for me were amazing, I always love the cute NOTHS pics, last years girls in my animal character mittens were just adorable –
but this year they topped that by putting one of my crowns on an actual, live, dog, anyone that knows me knows I love dogs more than I love most humans so this was just perfect in every way.
It so cool to see the images made by my lovely customers on instagram too, I’m certainly going to enjoy more of this in the coming months as I announce prizes for the best content featuring my collection on there, each month I’ll be announcing who has won more eka goodies, if you guys have anything to add make sure you tag me @ekawear and #ekacustomerpic
The gift guides created by NOTHS this year were really lovely, they helped to tell the unique story of what NOTHS is all about – thoughtful gifting, giving someone something that tells them how much you care about them and know who they are and what they love. Letting them know you care and are thinking about them even though you might not be there with them.
Here’s the other ‘ident’ advert that featured some of my hanging toys, I didn’t get to see any of these ‘live’ but I re watch the ident films regularly, haha, it’s like a virtual pat on the back, I love a bit of confirmation that I’m doing well, God knows, working alone, you don’t really get much of that! ; )
Here’s a shot from the ident advert with my mittens, I can’t find the full film anywhere online now, too bad, it’s a fond memory.
image from alarabiya.net
To take time off after making a baby or to try to juggle the lot? One thing I knew was that I definitely could not miss a Christmas period of sales, in just 8 weeks I make about 90% of my years salary : S
I remember I had some concerned friends worry about me not taking maternity leave, I remember thinking at the time that it didn’t feel that hard really. I was working doing the easy part, order management, the collection was already produced and in stock, Tilda slept a lot and I was able to just check mails and forward to my mum that takes care of order fulfillment, simple, right?
What I hadn’t realised was the major importance of the REST of what I usually do, it’s easy not to notice the importance of social media presence and all the little extra things you do when you’re able to focus as much as you like on work. Just being present online perfecting pages with items for sale and talking about new opportunities, products and keeping up with everything others are up to makes a massive difference to eventual sales, these things are the building blocks to an online business, without them you are just running on what others do to promote you. Though tbh, I needed time, I needed more time to enjoy my new job, being a mummy and focusing on every moment of the amazing journey.
But when you are a sole trader you know that time off means the definite shrinkage of your company, it’s unavoidable, no one else will do the work you do, without you, the company dissolves… so it is simply not possible to afford the time off, not even if you can get ok maternity pay, it’s a lot more than a weekly income that you eventually lose, in my mind : / (though, perhaps I’m wrong, please comment below on your own experiences)
Because I’m not officially ‘off work’ I am utterly torn between being a mummy and trying to juggle emails and orders. I love both, but trying to do both at the same time ruins them both, I’m not able to live in the present and enjoy the magic of being a mummy and I’m not able to get the buzz from work going well. At one stage I think I may have had some kind of ‘Post Natal Anxiety‘, I got sick for no apparent reason for over 3 weeks and really lost any kind of level head I had before, I felt as if I couldn’t see any kind of big picture other than the stress of not being able to get time to work and feeling worn down by parenthood. How on earth people manage this job alone I do not know, without the support of my amazing husband I don’t think I’d have survived, it’s been a two person job and I feel very lucky that we are in Sweden where father’s are allowed time to bring up their children too.
So, the solution is in development as I write. I’m slowly getting myself organised, I’m literally trying to change the way I function as a human, it feels massive. I have dug deep to work out what I am doing that works and what needs to improve, what I feel is important and what I have been doing purely because I feel as if ”that’s what people do”
A quote from one of my favourite films of all time, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ comes to mind a lot ”Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!”
What I do know is that I would be sad to lose all I have built up with EKA, I have reached a point where I feel very positive about the future of the brand. I also know that I need to make sure I savour every day with my little family, I can’t feel frustrated that I’m not able to work, any guilt about not working ruins the enjoyment of time I spend just being in the moment with my loves.
So, I’m working out a way to feel less overwhelmed by things, I’m climbing up the mountain and once I have some systems in place I’ll be on top of it feeling pretty bloody victorious. I’ll be able to focus 100% on work on my designated days and then life and home the rest of the time. There’s still so much to do renovating the house and keeping things moving along in life, it’s felt a bit like we’ve put everything on hold the last year and a half.
So, I suppose I should have taken time off when Tilda arrived. In a way I feel as if people that work for larger companies have a more enjoyable time, proper ‘time off work’ really getting stuck into enjoying the magic of motherhood, but then I see them getting ready to start back after their time off and I feel lucky again. I might not have managed to turn work off, but if I can make this juggling act work I think in the long run I will have cracked it. I would like to have more money in the bank, sure, but to be honest, we humans manage with what we have most of the time, something I read somewhere was ”if a problem can be fixed with money, it was never a problem” … that’s right, there are so many things in life to appreciate and ”if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it!”.
So maybe our house renovations will take longer than we’d hoped and maybe expensive holidays and other treats will be off the agenda, but as long as the important things are taken care of, like waking up happy and content with where we are and where we’re headed in life, it’s all good really, eka’s world domination can wait until I have more time on my hands for that ; )