Sunday, 29 August 2010


This is a fun way to spend 5 or 10 minutes! Go to and chose whether to upload some text from the front page of your website or any site you run with an rss feed and see what Wordle extracts from what you paste.
I liked this one based on the front page of my website (which needs an overhaul by next Spring!)
and I also did one for this blog which is rather different! Something tells me I am keen to know things..


Friday, 27 August 2010

Being a lazy lump

I am currently being so lazy.. not really like me. I'm just worn out after being back at work for only 3.5 days, not sleeping well for the last two nights and having pmt. There always seems to be one day where my energy deserts me almost completely and my eyes feel heavy. Sitting here I can see so much that needs doing and looking at blogs and magazines only makes me brim with desire to move furniture and open trunks, reorganise and decorate. But that is a comment for my other blog about my home and garden that isn't really off the ground yet...

I bought Country Living (Feb issue) for the first time in ages today. I say "bought" because usually it arrives automatically on subscription as a Christmas present from my mother. She'd asked me if I wanted to have it continued and at the time I said no - not that I don't like it , it's just that I found myself simply flicking through it every month- enjoying the pictures but rarely reading much of it. Until the Kitchen Table awards started at the end of last year - loved reading about those and wish they'd been around a few years ago when i was starting Moobaacluck. Wonder if I can get away with entering to become an established painter? Somehow I doubt it as I have earned my living on and off through my paintbrush for couple of decades.

Anyway it is really lovely to read about other makers just starting out and the more established ones too from all walks of life. There's a chocolate maker in the February issue of CL, something else I've always fancied trying but only on a small scale and a silversmith jeweller too called Rauni Higson.

It's always fascinating to learn more about the working processes of small businesses.

I bought Country Homes and Interiors last month purely because of an article about a Derbyshire female blacksmith and the way she runs her business.  That's not a skill I will ever learn by the way but it was fantastic to see it shown as a contemporary business - particularly one run by a woman : Hayley Powell

I took the photos on my mobile phone - clearly I had to get out of bed to do it. Luckily for me my husband is about ferrying our daughter to a party this afternoon and making some soup while my son plays with his Moshlings infront of the fire. I managed to paint an order this morning, glitter and post two packs of postcards and do the weekly shop before a lazy couple of hours in bed so actually today has turned out quite well. Tomorrow I am going to do some real drawing for the first time in months.

Will I be brave enough to post any of them? I wonder... I suggested that we all sit down and draw each other around the table for half an hour - but you have to be fluid with a family don't you?!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Supplying retailers

Moobaacluck is a relatively young business, not quite 2 years old and have made my fair share of mistakes.

A large part of my business is personalised artworks and wooden decorations; but I am developing a trade range for launch next April in Harrogate, which will still be handmade but each individual item should take less time to produce as I will be able to make them in batches. I will also be launching a small range of paper products.


The point is - each of these lines will I  need a different pricing structure. I  need to start somewhere and necessarily have to start costing and defining margins at the high end rather than the low because that is what came first.

Twitter is fabulous for firing off questions.  I'm very grateful to the people who RT ( retweeted) my question and of course to those that DM (direct messaged)

©Amanda Farren
Ella Announcements have a commendable approach; I really like the way Amanda clearly states what her terms are for supplying retailers. It is a confident message and everyone knows where they stand from the start. Thank you so much Amanda for permission to use your image and post a link to your site. You can follow "AmandaFarren" on Twitter too  Ella Announcements Trade terms  
And many thanks to retailer Angela Emery - MyFunkyParty for alerting me to Amanda 

I began my career on where 25-27% on top of all packing and delivery costs is the norm. From what I can tell this is a normal commission for web only site.

The complication comes when you are supplying a shop that has a web site: what then?

Then the next stage: retailers, no website sales...

Retailers normally expect to double the price you charge them and then add vat; some actually make their retail price x 2.5 what you charge them and then add vat on top!! I found this to my cost when I was asked (before I had barely begun trading) to supply a major chain store in Norwich. My items were too expensive, not as well conceived as they are now and didn't sell. It was a strange situation whereby they made the order without even seeing some of the products and even asked me to come up with prints unseen. One day when I am more prepared I will go and see them again! These items were not personalised, although handmade so ought to have been a mid range product in terms of price.

The consensus with galleries seems to be a  50% +vat margin ; a jewellery designer tells me that she is in the wonderful position of supplying an independent shop specialising in local crafts who only take 20% and their website sales 25%.  (That partly answers my own earlier question) This same designer receives 50 % in a shop in the nearest city centre.

Another fellow Twitterer supplies samples of personalised high quality items to retailers at a discount for them to generate orders from. She tends to achieve 30% margins  but finds that there are shops that will not go that low, in which case she cannot supply them. 50% margins are just not worthwhile for an artisan personalised product.

It would be interesting to hear from any makers and suppliers to retail whether they achieve a 40% margin ( i.e making 60 % themselves). No one has mentioned that half way point -YES they have!! completely forgot! Nic - sorry. Nic always gets 60% - so retailer gets 40%. Just flung that in so)) :
which to me personally makes sense for hand crafted products that are not personalised but that are of very high quality in small quantities. I like things to be complicated.

As a top accountant I know said "Decide what you want and stand your ground - if they don't want you, you will find others who do" - thanks Mel. Really important to remember that.

Do you know any different? or would you be prepared to share your own experiences - whether seller or retailer?  I hope this "article" will help some one. Thanks :)