A bit about my background: I've been self-employed since 2014, firstly making and embellishing items to sell (embroidering Converse, then moving onto making jewellery). Then I taught myself to crochet and started selling necklaces made from tshirt factory offcuts, both locally and online. This led me to selling my own small range of patterns and starting to run some workshops, around Hertfordshire and beyond. I teach crochet, macrame, arm knitting, bullet journalling, and how to make neon-style signs, to name but a few! In this time I've made some fantastic relationships with local businesses and other creatives, and also been lucky enough to contribute to a couple of specialist crafting magazines.
I'm incredibly passionate about giving people the opportunity and the confidence to explore their creativity; the mental health benefits are well documented!
The COVID-19 Effect...
Since the lockdown began in March, I have been forced to cancel all of my creative workshops, for an indefinite period of time. This has unfortunately meant a loss of earnings.
Once the strict social distances measures have been relaxed, I'd love to relaunch my creative workshops with a bang, with new projects, skills, and accompanying kits! I would also REALLY love the opportunity to take the leap into selling a range of my own handmade pieces.
My plan is...
...to buy a vacuum forming machine, plus accompanying materials, with which to make unique and custom moulds for casting projects, such as jewellery and homewares.
Adult casting workshops include making clocks, pendants, personalised chocolate bars, wall hooks, plant pots, and more! Children's workshops and birthday parties could include making their own bath bombs, and chocolates, and possibly even squishies. I've been exploring various techniques and experimented with different materials, but to take my plans to the next level, I need financial help...
For those unable to attend workshops due to shielding, or simply personal preference, I would like to be able to offer a range of stylish, modern crafting kits - this will require not only the materials, but also attractively designed and printed instructions, plus packaging. Alternatively, they could just buy a ready-made, unique piece made by me!
To help give my business the boost it needs, I'd love to be able to give a little facelift to my branding and packaging, even hopefully attending a trade show or two...
Benefit to Local Businesses
Hertfordshire is home to many small independent businesses, whose skills and experience I would love to tap into, to help me with this project. My graphic designer is based in Kimpton, printers in St Albans, and materials such as glitters and jewellery findings in Stevenage and Watford. And that's not even taking into account the local venues that would be utilised for workshops!
To offer alongside the above, it would be great to expand my small range of merchandise - the next step would be to use a local screen printer to print some tshirts to sell.
How You Can Help Me...
There are a few different ways in which you can financially back my project. However, first it's important for me to shout out here that Crowdfund Hertfordshire are running a match-funding scheme, whereby if £2,000 is raised by public backers, they will match this with a further £2,000 funding, providing the project fulfils their criteria - hence my £4,000 target for this project.
- The simplest thing would be to make a basic donation - there's an option here to do that with no reward except for the sunshine in your soul for having done an amazingly good deed!
- Next, there will be various items - handmade by me - to purchase. Monies donated will be converted into a voucher for you to spend in my online shop. Once I have the materials and equipment needed, the shop will be filled with beautiful and unique handmade items, such as terrazzo clocks, quirky wall hooks, plant pots, side tables, photo frames, wall mirrors, and jewellery. Similarly, there will be my range of 'Craft Sl*t' merchandise available to purchase: bags, enamel pin badges, and Tshirts!
- Purchase a craft kit of your choice, put together by me. Options so far include: neon-style sign, macrame plant-hanger, terrazzo clock, and crochet basket.
- Perhaps most excitingly, money donated can be redeemed against the cost of a place on a BRAND NEW Fickle Craftroom casting workshop, led by me in St Albans, Hertfordshire (if you would prefer me to travel to you further afield, please get in touch *before* pledging, and I'm sure we could make something work!).
The cost of all above products, including workshops, will be increased after the Crowdfunding period, so please consider this discount as a special THANK YOU for helping me so so much. NB. backers purchasing vouchers for use in my online shop, will receive a special code entitling you to 20% off your purchases.
I completely understand that it is not possible for everyone to donate financially - these are difficult times for many of us - but a share on social media, or even a simple mention to your friends and family, would be very much appreciated, and could make a huge difference.
And finally - thank you for reading! It means a LOT that you got to the end of my essay!
Love, Liz xx