Concrete Making, My Products, Organisation

Things are changing

I wanted to let you all know that there are a few changes which may affect how you view this blog and I wanted to make sure you had plenty of time to adjust.

Gem’s Concrete Gems has a brand new name, a new logo and soon, a new website.

I am becoming Concrete Gems, a more succinct name, but retaining the same ring and analogy to my name.

From 20th August, you will no longer be able to access gemsconcretegems.co.uk. Instead I will be at concretegems.co.uk where you will find not only a blog, but also my beautiful new shop. It will be changing as I get to grips with it all, so please bear with me.

To ensure you don’t miss out on anything, please do sign up to my mailing list, where you will be privy to special offers as well as the most up to date news.eepurl.com/dK3ccc

Social media links may also be changing so please keep an eye out for that too.

Apologies for any hassle this may cause, but I hope you’ll agree that this is exciting development for Concrete Gems.

Concrete Making, Inspiration, interview, My Products

Blog interview

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be interviewed by a fellow crafter for her blog. She asked a load of questions about my business and me, which I thought you guys might be interested in too! The link to the post is here.

Concrete Making, learning, My Products

Etsy, Artibus and nuMonday

For a craft seller, Etsy is the go-to platform, but there has been much debate on social media about their recent increase in fees and it appears that many sellers have decided to leave Etsy and join other platforms.

I have a few thoughts on this.

Etsy has been going for years and is a well established site with millions of sellers and buyers, so they know what they are doing and they bring in the traffic. However sellers are competing against maybe too many other sellers and their products can get lost. That said, if you have good photographs and good SEO, then your products will get seen and sales happen. Some cynics say that Etsy’s prices are just going to go up and up and up, but we will just have to wait and see on that one.

nuMonday is newer, only a year or two old, with around 8000 sellers. The layman out there probably will not have heard of it, but it is great in that there is a fixed monthly fee and no other transaction, listing, or shipping fees, unlike Etsy. At the moment they only have UK sellers but buyers can be worldwide. This platform seems to be growing quickly.

Artibus is brand new, only a few weeks old and I have signed up with them after winning a sneaky free month! Their website seems quite clunky and I think there are a few teething issues they need to resolve, but, like nuMonday it has a fixed monthly fee. Artibus is based in the US, but sellers and buyers are worldwide.

I see them as having different uses. Etsy for the complete stranger who happens across your product whilst browsing and loves it enough to buy. And then nuMonday and Artibus can be used more to direct people to from social media and, hopefully, google search. Obviously nuMonday will be more focussed on the UK and Artibus on the US.

I am signed up with all 3 at the moment, almost as a trial to see which works best for me. Let me know your thoughts on the issue.

Concrete Making, Inspiration, learning, My Products, Organisation

Keeping it real in 2019

It’s always tempting at this time of year to make crazy unrealistic resolutions, whether for yourself or for your business, and I’m not saying that I’m not going to do the same, but it is so important not to put too much on your plate all at once either. This is perhaps why I’m writing this post now rather than 3 weeks ago.

I have some big plans and plenty of new ideas for Gem’s Concrete Gems for 2019, but I’m also massively aware of my limitations, the biggest one of which is my time. I’ve always said my business is going to be a slow burner, due to having small children which take up most of my time, and working 2 days a week, which pretty much takes up the rest of the time I have! I’m just left with evenings and the odd nap to ‘concrete’. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation really in that if I don’t have time to work on the business, it will never grow enough to be able to stop working at my ‘proper’ job, which would then give me more time to work on growing the business!! That said though, as the boys get older and start school / preschool, I will gradually have more time to devote to concreting anyway. So whilst I’m keen to move forward, it’s understandable if I don’t get very far I think.

Anyway, back to my big plans! I have set myself the usual goals of being more organised and spending less time procrastinating, and these have largely started out well (I think). I’ve bought some new shelving units (see below) and finally unpacked my stock after December’s craft fairs. This made me realise that I need to build up more stock, so I’ve been in the workshop a bit as well over the past couple of weeks.

Procrastination is a hard one for me, as I am trying to increase my social media following (in the hope of converting followers to sales) but this seems to require a lot of liking, following, posting etc. which feels like procrastination really. I try to do it whilst watching TV in the evening but then it feels like I’m never really relaxing, so I’m not sure whether I need to look at my approach a bit. I’m definitely thinking of scheduling more posts so that I can do more in one go and then ignore it for a while, but I guess it’s just one of those necessities when trying to run an online craft business!

Bigger plans that I’m not sure whether they are achievable this year are to get myself into a physical shop or two! This would be amazing, however it feels like a long way off yet. It requires firstly more stock, and secondly lots of networking and applications to stores. Obviously once again, these things take time, so I will see how it goes.

I’d also like to grow the blog, and possibly set it up so I can sell directly from it, but I’m not sure if this is feasible at the moment (possibly part of the 5 year plan).

New ideas!

I have so many new ideas floating around in my head that it’s impossible to put them all into writing. However, I’m currently working on some pieces for Valentine’s Day, which I will be selling over on my Instagram account @gemsconcretegems as part of the @craftyfeatures Valentine’s market on 1st February. Be sure to check it out!

I’ve also been working on some miniature pots like the ones below, which will be going on Etsy soon! Keep a look out or send me a message if you’re interested.

Colour is another area I am experimenting with at the moment, in particular marbling in the concrete, such as in the coasters below. I love the effect in these.

Marbled hexagonal concrete coasters

Finally I have started to offer personalisation, so that customers can have their initials or a word on their item, as below.

Hexagonal concrete tealight holder personalised

So, these are my plans, we will see how it all pans out, but I’m not going to be too disheartened if I don’t make as much progress as I’d like, because I have time and it’s better to get it right in the long run than mess it up now! It’s all about keeping it real and enjoying the ride!