Monday, December 29, 2014

Thoughts of 2014 and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Can you believe this year is almost done? It was one of those years that seemed to last forever and yet go by really fast. As it comes to a close I wanted to reflect on some of the things that have happened that made not only the Happy Hat Box possible but made this year what it was. 

First off some thanks!

  •  I'd like to thank my DH (dear husband) for his patience in my long nights of no sleep, the yarn bits everywhere, and the days where not even dishes got done because I was in the midst of a project. 
  • My cousin for her never-ending ball of green yarn that got me back in the yarn crafts. Also for taking the time out of her busy schedule to teach me the magic circle AND introducing me to (Awesome place, if you crochet and even knit, its a fun place to be.)
  • My mother-in-law that bought me my first giant ball of yellow yarn that was the inspiration for making the first minion hats. 
  • My friend at ThreeBdesigns for introducing me to the farmer's and crafter markets.
  • My mother for teaching me crochet. 
  • And my grandmother for being the voice in my head that says count Brie! Count! Otherwise you'll make another triangle and have to pick it apart again! 
  • And Finally my customers who not only buy the hats but share their happy smiles with me once they get them. It really makes me super glad when I see them happily wearing their new hats! 
I think that covers everyone. If I missed you I am sorry but know that you are appreciated too for all of your parts in this discovery process. It's been a journey and I wouldn't have gotten here without the support of those around me and the designers who willingly let me use their patterns and pick their brains for help! 

And boy did I need help at times. I've made some mistakes and learned some lessons. Next year I'll do my best to make different mistakes and learn new lessons. Isn't that the whole idea of it? 

So far in this short time I've learned: 

  • To be better organized
  • To write down new patterns and pattern changes as I go instead of waiting until the end.
  • To pay attention to what I'm doing
  • And never let a project go out of my hands until 100% finished, clean, and prepped. 
That was 2014 in a fairly brief nutshell. 2015 will be a new and exciting year. I'm going into it positive and goal driven in the hopes that it will be better than last year. I spent much of 2014 sick and my personal goal is to continue getting healthy and making more and more healthy choices. 

I am not usually a New Years Resolution sort of gal. I always feel like they are setting yourself up for failure. But I don't think its a bad thing if they are goals, reachable goals, for the new year. And I've been thinking of what I could do to improve The Happy Hat Box and I've made some small changes and goals. 

  1. Expand what I'm making. I love minion hats but I also want to try different projects and hopefully make them repeatable!
  2. Design my logo and get all my paperwork made up and done. This is a very important step if I'm going to start doing more shows. 
  3. Create a sign, an attractive but easy to set-up/tear down display, and all the parts and pieces for it
  4. Finish/Fix store 
  5. And most importantly, Blog more! So everyone knows what I'm up to.
Ok I think that's enough. If I add more I might get overwhelmed. So for now I'm going to continue my relaxation break into the New Year where I will start more of my goals! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

The First Craft Show and Update!

Things have been quiet here at The Happy Hat Box. I wish I was a better or more active blogger but I'm just not. I like to post more important things though. Changes, updates, and things I've been trying. So be prepared for a slew of new posts over the next few days and even a revamp on the shop! 

This week I had my first craft show. Man was I busy busy busy making minions. At one point I felt like all these eyes were just watching me and staring as I crocheted, stitched, and added personality to all these little minion pals. It took me 3 days but at the end of them with only 15 hours of sleep under my belt (over the course of those 3 days) I had 30 different minion hats to take to the craft show. 

The show was a Christmas market in a small town here in Alberta. And as it was my first craft show I learned quite a few things and tips I'll pass on to anyone else. 

Tip #1: Sleep!!!! Ok so I was sick for the 3 weeks prior to the craft show when I was planning to do a majority of the personality process of the minion hats. Each hat is always slightly different. The eyes are about the only thing that don't vary that much but depending on eyelids, placement of pupils, or just how tired I am they do all come out different and makes for some fun. Then I usually do the mouth. Mouths are one of those things that vary. Sometimes I'll just stare at a hat for a while trying to see what personality those eyes are trying to get out. Then add the mouth. But the real final piece is the hair. I find that depending on how much, little, or where I put the hair really sets the whole thing off. Because I didn't get much crocheting done while sick, I ended up trying to do way too much the 3 nights before. So I was extremely tired and this led to tip #2. 

Tip# 2 - Organization. It really is key. At the show you have to set up and tear down rather quickly. It really does help to be organized. If a table is provided they usually are just folding plastic tables and you want to use a cloth that will help set off the items and draw customers to your booth.  I had some great ideas, and a lovely cloth. I didn't remember to bring any of them and thankfully my friend and craft neighbor had a spare cloth to loan me but honestly I truly truly need to be more organized. 

Tip# 3 - Branding. If you have a website, a blog, or even just a way to contact to get more orders from people who are thinking things over or just hey might want to pass it on you need branding. A sign, some business cards, or even just a little tag on your products can help get your brand out there. I forgot mine and didn't have time to make a sign. I will remember them next time though. 

Tip#4 - Bags and Change. Yeah yeah these should be obvious but remember NO SLEEP. So I left both of those at home. Thank goodness for my friend. She really really was a lifesaver! Oh and signing up for those cube smartphone credit card things is a good idea. Some people don't remember cash and no longer carry checks. Definitely something I want to look into getting myself if I start doing many many shows. 

Tip# 5 - FRIENDS! I can't express this enough. Times can get slow so talk to other vendors near you. Bring a friend and giggle. If you are happy and having fun people will start responding better to you. This isn't just be a cheesy sales clerk. Just be engaging and have a good time! That is what really made this a bunch of fun for me. I am great friends with Three B Design's creator. She and I shared a location and giggled our way through the 3 hour show and the 6 hour drive both ways! 

It was a great time and I'm hoping to do more again soon. I'd love to keep my stock fresh and do some new types of hats for each market. We'll see. The key here for me is to start small and feel out the places and keep the costs low until I can afford bigger or longer shows. And of course not to crochet myself into exhaustion and burn out. Yes, I love selling and making things that make people smile and be happy but I don't want to lose my own personal love of crocheting. 

But still, if any of you Edmontonians know of a small market that is around send me a note and I'll check it out to see if I can be there. If I start going to many I'll post a calendar so that we all know where The Happy Hat Box will be next!