Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Der Papierfuchs' first German Christmas market!

It was a cold and wintery morning, the car was packed with tables, decorations and the 'merchandise'. My husband and I were rugged up in jumpers, thermal underwear and thick winter jackets. It was time to do what I'd been wanting to do for years. Yes, I finally held a stall at a German Christmas market with my very own handmade jewellery.

Besides being a horribly cold and windy day, the day itself ran quite smoothly with only a few hiccups. The public were friendly and some were also generous, buying a few items. People were quite interested in the Memory Beads and I was able to hand out a few fliers to those interested.

Hubby kept me company and brought me delicious hot chocolate to warm my hands and belly. A champ indeed! It was almost like a date, the both of us sitting there chatting to each other when foot traffic was low. Even if I hadn't sold anything I still think being with my man all day would have been enough!

One of the most valuable part of the day was finally getting to meet the public and to hear what they had to say about the jewellery. A lot of people were excited by the Memory Beads, commenting that it was something they'd never seen before and which they liked. Unfortunately a lot of people were more interested in stud earrings rather than drop earrings (which was all I had), which cost me a fair few sales. I also got the feeling that the German ladies were more interested in subtle designs and that my designs would be better marketed towards a younger teenage crowd.

As you can see from the stall photo above, we should have thought more about flooring. We actually didn't think about it at all so when we arrived we found these dirty plastic tiles which really didn't help the look of the stall. Next time I know to ask about the flooring and to bring a broom and mop, or my own flooring.

Anyhow for a first time selling at a market, I think it went pretty well. Lots that worked well and lots of new things to work on and consider. I will be applying in the next few weeks for a stall at the M├Ądchen Klamoten Flo Markt which is an awesome women's clothing and accessories flea markets that runs monthly. I'll update the events page once I get dates for those markets.

In the meanwhile do take a look at my Etsy shop and Facebook page for updates and sales.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Memory beads, taking photos of your loved ones and turning them into wearable memories

Lately I have been working on what I call 'Memory Beads' These are handcrafted paper beads that feature personal photos.

The idea came to me while thinking about what I could make a dear friend of mine for her Christmas gift. I knew that she still deeply missed her mother who she lost tragically and that a keep-sake of her mother, that she could keep with her, would really make her day. 

And so with that thought in mind I worked on creating a set of earrings and pendants that featured her favourite photo of her mother and her mother's handwriting which she spoke so of fondly.

Since sharing photos of my friends completed Christmas gift, I have received orders from others who wanted Memory Beads of their loved ones. Below is a beautiful vintage photo of a father who was recently lost and very much missed. The earrings and pendant set are finished with gold coloured beads and jewellery wire.The pendant itself is sold with a gold coloured necklace, which is not featured in this photo.

Following is another set featuring my grandmother on her wedding day. This set was a gift for my sister who had an extra special bond with our grandmother. 
 After having requests for necklaces with multiple beads I started to design and craft a series of bib necklaces such as the one below. Each bead features a different photo. In this example the photos are of a mother and her baby that the mother deems to be her favourites. The customer also requested that I make the photos black and white so that the final piece was something she could wear with any outfit. I personally think the black/white look is stunning!
 Here are two more examples of bib necklaces featuring another customer's children. The second one also features a photo of the children with their grandmother. The finished necklace was purchased specifically as a Christmas gift for the grandmother. 

One of the most surprising orders to date was the order for a pair of earrings and matching pendant which featured a family pet. At that point I only saw Memory Beads being for old family portraits but of course honouring a family pet was just as valid. Below is a photo of a set made featuring the cutest little dog Mook.

Here is another set of earrings featuring the sweetest of pooches! 

 Since making these beads and orders, I have come to realise that these beads would also be great for a variety of different photos such as 

Wedding photos/portraits 
Baby and Mother portraits
Vintage family photos
Special holiday photos
Pregnancy ultrasound photos

Really any photo that has a special meaning or memory attached to it for the customer would be perfect for a Memory Bead. 

For any of you reading this and wondering how you can order your own Memory Bead jewellery it is very simple. Just visit www.facebook.com/derpapierfuchs and send me a message detailing what you would like and your photos. Any mobile phone photo will work. Want an old family photo featured? Simply use your mobile to take a photo of the photo!  All payments are done through Etsy where you can pay with credit card or Paypal etc, and it is very secure! 

Hopefully you have enjoyed this post and the Memory Beads. Hopefully soon I will have the honour of turning your precious memories into Memory Beads too!