WHAT A YEAR!!

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!

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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!

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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 –

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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.

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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 the YES/NO ad if you haven’t seen it yet-
YES/NO Mitten Advert

My Truth About Parenting And Working

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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.

Blogs like this one have such good advice for people like me that are trying to get their heads around this new ‘routine’.

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!”.

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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 ; )

 

Maximising Time – New Way Of Working

I’ve been so awful at keeping up this blog since little Tilda arrived, I’m sorry.

Life hasn’t been so easy to juggle and I’m learning a lot about who I am and how I work, now that I am trying to do the most important job of all, parenting, I have found it hard to fit anything else in tbh : /

I now get 2 days a week when Nils takes care of Tilda and I escape to an office in Malmo where I get to focus 100% on eka. It’s not been easy to jump between the two versions of myself but with the help of practice, ‘to do’ lists and idea notes I am getting much better at putting the right hat on each day!

I really feel like organisation is key in juggling everything, gone are the days that I can sit waiting for inspiration embarking upon virtual journeys for hours reading blogs and pondering pinterest boards, I need to maximise each moment I get to work. Priority is key, I’m working towards making certain that each item I have in the collection is working it’s hardest in each shop (BigCartel, Etsy, NotOnTheHighStreet, HardToFind and GiftWrappedAndGorgeous) I have copy writing and photography high on my list of importance so that once that’s done I can shift my focus towards more newness and development.

I am also looking for some help to put my designs into written patterns for how to kits, do you know how to write crochet patterns? – contact me if you’re interested.

Dressing Elves

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This time last month I was crocheting like a maniac to get a box of ‘Elf Booties’ off to NotOnTheHighStreet in time for the ‘StylistLIVE’ event that happened this weekend.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ll say one thing, there’s some blood, sweat and a few tears woven into those turquoise booties complete with jingling bells on the toes. I felt so relieved when I read the ‘your parcel has been delivered’ message on the TNT tracking page, not sure how long I’d been holding my breath for, maybe 6 days : /

My reward has been seeing all of the lovely images on Instagram and Twitter, I feel like it was an enormous achievement for me to manage to make them in the time, especially with my little side kick and all the previous arrangements that couldn’t be put on hold, one being Tilda’s First Birthday and another being an epic holiday to Crete (deadline was the day we left for Greece, boy I earned that holiday! haha, so worth it.

photo credits to the following instagram accounts – Liz Warwick, Fairycakejo, Lauragrieve

EKA In The Media

I haven’t been updating this blog since our little Bean arrived last year, I’m sorry to anyone that was a die hard and stuck with us, if there were any of you out there!

2015/16 seemed to be they ‘year for great coverage’ for eka, we had a bunch of editorials featuring items from the collection, which was great.

Our biggest amount of attention has been from NotOnTheHighStreet , we are so thankful for their continued support, offering us such amazing opportunities, I even got to experience a day filming an advert with them for Valentines!! Tilda came along and they provided an on set nanny for her, I felt like royalty, to say it was a great experience is an understatement, it’s one I’ll never forget (I fear Tilda already has forgotten her time spent with the same on set nanny as was used on the Harry Potter set! don’t worry though, I’ll keep reminding her ; )

There was some amazing coverage in digital and printed media over the winter period too, here’s a few examples of those, my fav being Mollie Makes, that magazine is a bible to handmakers and I feel so proud to have been spotted by them.

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New Crew Member

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So, behind the scenes a lot has been going on here. On the 23rd September we welcomed a little girl into the world. It’s been incredible to experience such a great pregnancy and birth supported by the lovely midwives here, they were 100% behind my desire for a natural birth, even when my natal hypnotherapy meditation made me relax way too much and stall the pushing contractions! : S (I think I shouldn’t have been falling asleep to my CD’s… maybe I never actually got as far as the ‘pushing her out’ bit! hehe)

Life is great and we’ve almost decided on a name…almost!