Business beware – facebook is not your friend

30 Sep

I run my business primarily from facebook, why? Well why not? It has always worked for me, I have gotten almost all of my customers through facebook fans including lots of returning customers. I love sharing progress of current custom orders, fabrics, sales etc in a visual way. Because Little Blossom Quilts is a teeny tiny business, this has worked really well, in short Facebook has been my friend for the last two years.

But all of that recently changed when I had a realisation recently (thanks to Facebook telling me), that only a very tiny proportion of my fans ever get to see my posts. What this means that each time I post, maybe 1/3 of my fans see my posts MAXIMUM, and these are the fans that facebook decides should see the posts. UGH.

After examining my “post” statistics (147 people saw this post) I became quite alarmed and wondered what on earth I could do.

After a bit of research I found this great article which explains the reason why ‘Uh-oh Facebook pages only reach 17% of fans‘.

The short answer is you cant do much to get around facebook’s ranking algorithm which is pretty annoying for very small businesses. Isn’t it interesting that at the same time that our page reach went down, the “pay to promote” button appeared? The bottom line seems to be, that you need to pay to reach the current fans you have, do YOU have $5-10 to spend per facebook post?  I certainly don’t.

After wailing and gnashing my teeth I did a bit more research and found that the way to try and reach more of your current fans is to get very savvy with your posts and try some of these ‘5 tips to maximise your facebook posts‘ or try to ‘increase your local business facebook reach‘. The aim is to get your fans liking and sharing EACH post, otherwise each post reaches less and less fans. Gee thanks facebook.

All of this had led me to think that I need to diversify the way I contact my customers. When I saw this article ‘Facebook or Blog‘ it made things clearer, I realised that I need to be interacting directly with my customers in a number of ways, not just through facebook.

I will be firing up the blog as a more regular way of updating customers on order (please subscribe -click on the RSS feed button in top right hand corner!). I will be setting up a newsletter to keep you up to date with what is happening.

I have also set up a Madeit store front to increase my customer exposure. This is where all Little Blossom Quilts products will be sold from now on (add it to your favourite Madeit stores). There is a simply gorgeous fairy quilt for sale in there right now.

If you would like to be added to the Little Blossom Quilts newsletter leave your email address as a comment or email me at little_blossom@iprimus.com.au.

I would love to hear how the facebook changes have affected your business  and what you are doing to combat it!

xx

the morning crazies

8 Feb

I started writing this post in my head on the way home from the school/childcare run this morning – breathing deeply, exhaling and thinking to myself- my mornings are crazy. I had little whiff of the crazies when I started my juggling apprenticeship- when I went back to work after my first child was born. But really, that wasnt so bad now that I look back on it. Things started to get more crazy when he started kindy and I HAD to be somewhere by 9.15 with second child in tow and inevitably got given the “look” by the kindy teacher when arriving late.

But the morning crazies kicked in full throttle when Mr 5 started school. Now mornings are at a whole new level of crazy. Does this sound familiar? The morning starts with a meltdown over the chosen toast spread, any number of cat fights break out between siblings “because she touched me”, the tv is on when it shouldn’t be, sandwiches are made between a very hasty breakfast (half of which is stolen by Miss 2) and a cold cup of tea. Mr 5 is infinitely distracted and has to constantly  be reminded of what needs to be done (“but it’s not fair mum”)….!

Finally make it into the car, with two children variously outfitted in correct clothes, lunchboxes, homework, show and tell (oops not forgot that, have to go back and get it), handbag, and list of jobs to do.

It takes me a while to “come down” after the morning crazies, often aided by a latte and a cuddle with Miss 2 who will still deliver kisses on command.

Do the morning crazies rule your house too??? (please say yes!) or are you one of the (very rare) serene mothers who glide through the morning without a care? If so please tell me your secret! Then perhaps one day I will master the crazies and also be a serene queen!

xxxx

Time for a change?

26 Jan

Oh dear, I feel I have been neglecting my poor little blog lately!!

So many other things are distracting me from writing not least of which my little monkey who has been home for 6 weeks on school holidays. Throw in a house renovation, studio being taken over by appliances, and a lack of time to do anything… well you get the picture. This has also been really affecting my creative time which equals much much less sewing.

Anyway, all of this time away from creativity has made me re-think things a bit, I have seen a number of businesses that started around the same time as me close recently which is really sad to see. Most of the time it is because having a hobby/work from home business creeps into everyday life and is often done once kids are in bed, dishes done, dinner eaten and cat patted.

In fact by the time I have done all of that I don’t often have the energy and inclination to sew! Hmmm wonder why? I really don’t want to become one of those businesses that crashes and burns because of lack of balance and so I have been pondering how to manage things a bit better during this ultra busy time of my life.

So what to do? As much as I love and adore making custom quilts for my beautiful customers, I think I will take a break from this, making customs is very special but also imposes a deadline on me which is sometimes very hard to meet. Instead I think I will take a leaf from some of my lovely facebook colleagues and hold Market Nights. Market Nights are a way for me to sew at my own pace then advertise and sell my quilts to my lovely customers. It might also mean that there are more people who get the chance to own a Little Blossom Quilt!! (and perhaps reduce my stash a little bit LOL)

I welcome your thoughts on this!!! Those customers who had already negotiated custom orders for later in the year- I will definitely follow through with these orders so don’t worry!!

xxxx Victoria

PS Happy Australia Day xx

A quilt made of love…

11 Dec

It all started about 18months ago, my little guy chose some cute fabrics with the promise that mummy would make him a quilt. He patiently waited and waited for mummy to get her act together and make his quilt, in the meantime he saw so many beautiful quilts fly out the door to other little boys and girls. His quilt always got pushed to the bottom of the pile.

Then one day I spied some truly gorgeous fabric online…the absolutely perfect combination for him- in his fave colours red and black. I couldnt help myself and bought these fabrics intending to get right onto making his quilt…. and I did!

When I gave him a sneak peek of the fabrics he looked at me quietly and said- “is that for me mum?” and when I said it was he whispered “thankyou”. He then told me “I will give you some free time to sew mum”. Oh the cuteness of kids.

It s afunny thing, I love all of the quilts I make but this one truly was stitched with love and now I cant help buy smile as I watch him sleep soundly under his pirate quilt each night. My heart bursts with pride.

Now if only I could settle on some fabric for my little Miss who loves “pink and sparkly, don’t I mum?”, so that I can do her equal justice.

And on another note..

I read somewhere today that it is thirteen days until Christmas, I welcome the holidays with open arms this year, we are all walking around with very tired heads and we need to refresh!

Are you still madly preparing for Christmas? This year I have it firmly under control, even with a house renovation and a portable loo….. you can imagine whats on my Christmas list? Something starting with “T”!

xxxx

A little bit fabric obsessed

28 Sep

Ok so my fabric obsession has been out there for a while now, it is one of the many reasons I LOVE Little Blossom Quilts. I am especially loving the cuteness of this gorgeous Riley Blake fabric collection. Love and adore Riley Blake fabrics especially for children.

Such cuteness almost hurts my eyes….

I also love being able to turn this….

into this!

I am a bit disheartened that my September orders have been so slow going, lots of coughs and colds and tiredness in our house. It really affects my ability and drive to create.

But I am so looking forward to school holidays, lots of things planned with the kids, the best thing will be much less rushing in the mornings and afternoons.

Time to put my feet up for a while now and relax with a glass of wine. Love to know what you are creating or working on…..

A very special order

25 Aug

Recently I was presented with a big challenge, a customer wrote to me to ask if I made quilts for adults. Well of course I jumped at the chance when she told me that

“I am looking to have 2 (most likely single size) quilts made. But not Childrens it’s for my self and my mum.

We both love orientals so was looking for one in whites and creams and beiges and one in reds and golds and greens etc.”

I adore oriental fabrics too, in fact one of the first quilts I made had an oriental theme. I still love it.

But this custom order also presented me with a huge challenge, my customer had a a vision of what she wanted, and  had to try and bring that to life for her. You know how it is, when you KNOW what you want, what is in your head is very specific.

I was a little scared about putting together the fabrics for my customer. We emailed many times to narrow down the choices. Eventually we came to a “perfect” selection.

‘Here is what we came up with…. for her quilt

Oriental fabric selections - reds and golds

and for her mum’s quilt

Orientals in golds and creams

I wanted the two quilts to be linked in some way, to reflect the obvious closeness of mum and daughter. So I used the two cream/golds in both quilts.

It is pretty special to watch a quilt like this come together, especially when the customer is so excited about the end result!! I wanted the red/gold quilt to really POP so I put on a triple border (lots of work but so worth it!).

The finished result, a rich and warm quilt with triple border

and the final result for mum!

Shimmering golds and soft creams make this lap quilt a very special gift

It truly was a privilege to make these quilts and a I had a huge sense of achievement once they were finished.

I was brought to tears by the emails sent to me by my customer when she received her quilts…

“OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! They are BEAUTIFUL Victoria, they are even more beautiful than I had allowed my self to imagine.

I am so so so so so happy with all of the colours, you’ve done an amazing job. PERFECT! Your little sneak peak photos just didn’t do the actual real life justice!!! 

And the icing on the cake was the beautiful words you wrote in the enclosed card. Such a beautiful thought that our two quilts are linked : ) I’m very close to my mum, and this thought brought tears to my eyes!”

and when she gave her mum her special gift…

“When I showed her my quilt and the beautiful card you had written, tears welled and she said “My goodness, so much love has gone into making this quilt by someone that doesn’t even know me”.

 So your quilt now sits pride of place on the couch where she can see it every day”

Who would have thought this little venture of mine would lead me to such highs!

Things I am loving right now….

In my miniscule “time to myself” I am discovering the joy of reading other blogs… I am loving the blog “Be a fun mum”  especially the latest post about hating housework, oh how I relate!!!

I am inspired by the creativity of others especially a new discovery… Naughty shorts  and the ever gorgeous Here Kitty Kitty!

What I am up to….

I am still recovering from organising a fabulously successful fundraiser for my son’s kindy! Quite impressed with what Amanda and I achieved in putting together an amazing event!!!!

I am busy busy with custom orders and my order books are closed at the moment. I am booked up for September and am taking October off to make my kids quilts (yup they are still waiting…!) and to recharge.

I am slowly getting used to being a school mum, actually I love it!!

I am inspired by…

The very special Lilah Sophie and her family. I will be walking the “city to bay” in her honour. Please read her story.

beautiful things for a beautiful girl

15 Jul So pretty, a little handbag from Pink Apple Australia

Our gorgeous girl turned two last week! Wow how time flies when you are a mum. Our little blossom is a joy to us, such spunk in such a small chick. My delight as her birthday was approaching was firstly, in surviving the first two years as a mum of two (no small feat as many of you would know) but also  in sourcing some truly special items for her.

I didn’t have to look far to find beautiful, fun and pretty presents for my little one. Being so connected to other businesses on facebook gives me prime shopping at my fingertips and I love to support other creative women and their businesses.

Here are some of the lovely things I bought for little miss.

1. So pretty, a little handbag from Pink Apple Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Soft photo book from Bright Red Cherries featuring pictures by Gigglepot Photoshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Strawberry tea box from Cutie Bambootie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Fabulous 1 -10 bean bags from Cook You Some Noodles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. This little bag is handmade for Pink Apple Australia by Handmade by Stacey. It is the perfect size for a little miss. Unforutnately I had to put it away until Christmas as little Mr wanted to buy his sister a present for her birthday and chose a pretty sparkly bag and I didnt want to steal his thunder.

2. I bought this soft and pretty photobook from Bright Red Cherries, it contains some piccies of little miss and our family. Some of these were taken by the talented James and Meredith from Gigglepot photoshop.

3. This strawberry tea set is the kind of thing I longed for as a little girl. I have already had several tea parties with the kids!! Thanks to Cutie Bambootie for this very pretty set, gotta love things that come in their own box!

4. A last minute addition to the present pile was this set of 1-10 bean bags from Cook You Some Noodles. Just love them, so many things to do with this set- balancing, throwing, counting or as little miss does… pretending to sleep on the “pillows”.

I also had a wooden name sign made for little miss from Funky Monkey Creations Nursery Decor, which I plan to put up soon when I makeover her room into a Big Girl room. This might be sooner than planned as she has decided she would like to sleep on a bed!

I love supporting these fabulous businesses! Hope you love them too xxxx

Running backwards through a hedge…

30 Jun

This last month has been incredibly busy, which is kind of ironic as I took  the month “off” Little Blossom Quilts duties to flex my creative muscles. So what have I been up to? Well let’s just say when I put up my hand to organise a Market Night for the talented mums at our kindy to show off their work, little did I know what exactly I was letting myself in for!

It has been a whirlwind 8 weeks or so since Amanda and I started the ball rolling on the Market and my-oh-my we have managed an enormous amount. With five kids between us, two businesses, and one part time job, it has been no small task. We have collected a really impressive line up of stallholders- so many goodies that I cannot wait to buy.

So while I feel like I am running backwards through a hedge at the moment, I have (amazingly) managed some creative time too. When I am making a custom order, there is a different kind of creative energy than when I put a whole lot of fabrics on a table and just… play. It must be like how it feels to write music I guess… playing around with the colours, shapes and patterns and watching something gel together. Oh it is lovely. Then to have someone else LOVE what you have made.. even better. Recently I sold a blanket I loved to someone who was sending it to a baby in Italy, isnt that gorgeous? Hope that little bella bambina loves her Little Blossom Quilts blanket.

Here is a little look at what I am making and loving at the moment.. all for the Mitcham Village Kindy Market.. www.facebook.com/MVKMarket – come along and support our kindy and enjoy wine, food and gorgeous shopping (oh and lets all leave our kids at home with the daddies and make it a girls night out!!)

making space for creativity

3 Jun

Most of the mummies I know don’t spend a lot of time concentrating on themselves. The nature of being mums to little people means we are consumed with the daily business of running houses and organising a million things at once. This is pretty much a full-time job , which doesn’t really leave much time for one very important person- ME.

Now I know, that you know, that keeping ME happy and fulfilled is pretty important, in fact having a happy self means a much happier family life. I know I am not alone in thinking this, but here is a reminder about the importance of being a happy mum from the smile collective. 

Very recently I decided to move all of the boxes, piles of fabrics, pins, scissors and other sewing paraphernalia into the shed.. ahem studio.

The very process of doing this, setting up the space, organising my things, propping up my business cards and arranging my fabric boxes gave me such an incredible feeling of well-being, a feeling I couldn’t even begin to describe. And days later when I settled in to sew, glancing out to the backyard where the kids were playing happily, the feeling returned and grew and I realised I felt so ….happy!

This is probably not such a revelation to other people, but having a special space that was completely for me, to indulge (one of) my passions just transported me away from my responsibilities and the demands of family life and what joy!!

Now, I don’t want anyone to think that there aren’t lots of very very happy times and places in my life, not at all!!! The pure joy of my children and my family are the most central and important things in my life and I would never change any of that.

I am talking though, about that sense of re-discovery of self, outside of all of the other roles in my life. I can nurture this – in my happy and creative space!

I wonder why I waited so long to make space for myself? I realise there is so much more to do to make this space inspiring but I am already loving it.

Do you have a creative space, or a happy place?

And the winner is…..

29 May

Wow, I loved reading about the creative lives of the people who entered my competition!! And so without further ado….

Random number draw

Out of 16 valid comments, the winner is Rachael with this comment:

Rachael May 26, 2011 at 8:16 am

“The most creative thing I have done in the past year…that is a hard one for me as I am so not creative ~ I ordered a quilt from LBQ’s…does that count? Oh I started making dummy ribbons with my eldest daughter, not to sell just for fun and to keep track of the babies dummy!”

Congratulations Rachael!!

This week at Little Blossom Quilts…..

As usual this week will be pretty busy in our household, the usual everyday bits and pieces combined with organising a beautiful Market Night for our kindy- (quite a challenge…details soon for my SA fans), making stock for this market, beginning (hopefully) my son or daughter’s quilts and waiting (im)patiently for news of our new niece or nephew’s arrival! Phew I think I will need quite a bit of coffee to navigate this week :)

Here’s a little peek of what I have been creating for the kindy market… xx

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