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Getting back into the game during quarantine

Getting back into the game during quarantine

The year 2019 was all about our wedding for me. I decided that I wanted to take the chance to enjoy wedding preparations to a maximum and so I did not do much with my webshop. I hardly worked on new products and only checked this website to see nothing broke down while I was busy doing other things. It was really nice to throw myself completely into all the wedding stuff: making my own wedding dress, designing and crafting all the invitations, goodiebags, party favours, decorations etc. It was really fun and I learned so many new skills!

But after getting married in February I wanted to focus on getting this webshop up and running again. I had some sells through Etsy in 2019 and early 2020, but nothing much. It was clear I needed to put some work into it for my shop to bloom again. And then COVID-19 happened.

I’m very lucky to have a garden, fast WiFi, food delivery services and a daytime job that I can continue to do from home. I even attended some Google webinars about starting a webshop recently. You’d think I have everything that I need to get going. And in a way I do. I have more time for drawing and experimenting with new designs and products. But all this time at home isn’t neccesarily the most ideal situation for my mind to produce creative things.

A digital painting I’ve been working on during quarantine.

These days my creativity mainly comes from watching series and movies, working out (with some VR games or roller skating and making video’s about it) and reading books. I’ve started drawing digitally again, which I’m getting better at. But putting these things into usable designs and products is the creative part where it goes less smoothly.

There’s so much to do that I can easily do anything other than think about my marketing goals and target audience and all these other really important things you need to think about when (re)starting a business. I’m not a business person by nature, but I do enjoy making things for other people. And it’s nice to get something back for it (like money) that you can use to make more things. So I guess I’m a little bit of a business person?

So in the coming weeks of quarantine I’m going to try and force myself into that business mode. I’ve started with updating this website a bit. You can now view most pages in English and Dutch! And I’ve enrolled in some more webinars that will hopefully get me focused a bit more.

I’m not a business person by nature, but I do enjoy making things for other people.

What are things you struggle to do during this quarantine period? And do you have things that are easier for you to do now you’re home more? (Or maybe you are less at home, because you’re working in a hospital or another essential business. How are you managing?)

Let’s hope things get back to normal soon 🙂

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Harry Potter Event – Kasteel Doornenburg – 14 april 2018

Header for the Harry Potter event April 2018 Kasteel Doornenburg Nederland
Since this is a Dutch event, I’ve written this post in Dutch. Feel free to use Google Translate if you’re interested in the text 🙂

Harry Potter Event – Kasteel Doornenburg – 14 april 2018

Zaterdag 14 april 2018 vindt het eerste grote Harry Potter evenement van Nederland plaats! Eerder al organiseerde de webwinkel Lemistore een Harry Potter fandag in Almere. Dit jaar pakken ze het groots aan en kun je op zaterdag 14 april in Kasteel Doornenburg (Gelderland) een dag lang jezelf in de wereld van Harry Potter wanen.

Er worden verschillende activiteiten georganiseerd. Zo kun je op de foto met een echte sneeuwuil, leer je boogschieten van een pro en kun je meedoen met een potje Zwerkbal. Ook heeft dit kasteel op 14 april een eigen Diagon Alley (of Wegisweg zouden we eigenlijk moeten zeggen), waarbij ik ook aanwezig zal zijn met een stand van The Gloomy Light.

Ontmoet andere Potterheads, doe mee aan activiteiten, shop nieuwe merchandise en geniet van het lekkere eten in het restaurant!

Helaas zijn tickets voor het Harry Potter event op 14 april uitverkocht. Maar geen nood! Op zondag 12 augustus vindt er een tweede editie plaats. Wederom op deze prachtige locatie in Gelderland.

The Gloomy Light is aanwezig met een stand op het Harry Potter evenement van 14 april 2018 in Kasteel Doornenburg van 11.00 – 16.00 uur. Hopelijk tot daar!

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Etsy Made in NL market 2017

TGL booth at Etsy Made in NL craft fair - 25-11-2017

Etsy Made in NL market 2017

Long evenings of soldering, woodburning, printing, aging paper, moulding, and stressing have resulted in the biggest stock I’ve ever had and a very fun – but also a little scary – first time at a craft fair: Etsy Made in NL 2017. The first dutch edition of an Etsy market, organised in several cities in The Netherlands. It was early, cold and exhausting, but very much worth it! If you like a story about my personal experience, read along.

This year, the dutch Etsy team organised several Etsy markets in The Netherlands. As I had noticed before, Etsy isn’t as big in The Netherlands as it is in countries as the US or the UK. Almost all my online customers are from abroad, most of them from outside of Europe. And when I tell people in my area I run an Etsy shop, they usually look at me with a please-enlighten-me-about-this-Etsy-thing-you’re-talking-about-face. So I explain it to them and generally they are very excited about the Etsy concept. So organising an event to make people in The Netherlands more familiar with Etsy was in my opinion a very good idea. But most of all: it would be my very first offline selling platform to participate in.

After getting a hold of a booth at the Utrecht edition of the Etsy market, I then quickly had to think of all the things that were going to be needed to make this a succes. And the thing that took me the most time to accomplish was a very large stock. (Maybe I was optimistic, but it would be a shame if I’d run out of stock half-way through the event. Also, even if I didn’t sell anything I could still use all the crafted items to sell through the Etsy website or my own webshop.)

I need deadlines to accomplish things, so this event would be the perfect opportunity to introduce some new products. I created a new newspaper poster called “The Raven’s Word” – a newspaper about all things happening in the fairy tale world – and I finally finished the glowing mushroom nightlight project I’ve been working on for almost a year. (Yes, a year. I am THAT slow.) It went from concept/prototype to finished product in a matter of weeks! Thanks to Etsy NL for providing me with this much needed external pressure.

The Gloomy Light booth with mushroom lights display - Etsy made in NL craft fair 2017
The Gloomy Light booth with mushroom lights display at the Etsy made in NL craft fair 2017

The actual booth I created only a few days before the event. Of course, they provided my with a table, but I still needed to make it look like “The Gloomy Light” and not like “hey here’s some awesome stuff on a table with no price tags on them so if you’re interested just ask me about them”. I’m very much into theme design, so I had much fun creating my own booth that says “here fairy tales do come to life”.

It’s always scary to present something to the world you’ve been working on for such a long time. What if nobody likes it? What if it breaks? What if they think it’s too expensive? I put a lot of hard work in all of my items, and it did cross my mind that I might not sell anything. But people got very excited by my booth and especially the mushroom lights were a great succes! I could spot some fans of fiction and fairy tales among the very diverse audience, who recognised certain tales in my items I’ve been inspired by. And I did sell some items, so it was a great day for business too.

Not everything did go to plan though; even though we were in a greenhouse, the events was really cold. So we used our cups of tea provided by the organisation to put between our feet and thaw our toes. Also, the banner almost didn’t fit into the car, our car broke down and I cut my thumb and almost bled all over the writing paper and posters. But I met many great new people, had so much fun watching everyone be excited over the mushroom lamps, really enjoyed making some Harry Potter fans happy with a set of posters and loved to see that almost every kid at the fair dragged their parents to my booth to “look at all the pretty things”.

The Gloomy Light booth at the Etsy made in NL craft fair, 25-11-2017
The Gloomy Light booth at the Etsy made in NL craft fair on November 25th 2017

The Etsy Made in NL market was a great way to try out offline-selling and meet other Etsy sellers (who all made so many awesome things!). I loved seeing and talking to my customers for a change and I learned a lot about selling at a craft fair. Next time I’ll try to find a booth at a fantasy/fiction oriented event.

On what event would you like to see my shop with a booth? Let me know in the comments!