Saturday, November 10, 2012

Manderley Home and Garden Festival

Last year I really enjoyed the Manderley Home and Garden festival, so was looking forward to going back this year. It really is a lovely event, in a very picturesque setting, as can be seen below – this is the view from the back of my site!
It's a great day out, with stalls, entertainment, food and beverages. You can look inside the historic homestead, and you can even take a dip in the pool if you packed your togs.
It's on again tomorrow from 10am – 4pm at Manderley, which is opposite the Lake Forsyth rest area, not long before Little River. It's $15 per adult, with under 12s free.

If you do come along, don't forget to take a look at the sales table – there will be some good specials on tomorrow as well!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Tea Party returns!

 The Rose in Thorns tea party is back, in a brand new location. If you want to shop in a relaxed environment, enjoy tea and cupcakes with fine china all in good company, then why not come along to the next tea party?

It will be held on the 16th September at 3pm - 5pm at my home in Northcote. If you would like to come, just fill in the rsvp form and you will be sent address details a few days before the event. You can also rsvp to the facebook event if you wish.

There will be some great specials on clearance items, and I will have some candles lit, so you can see them in action.

If you can't wait that long, I will be at Dunkley's Craft Show this weekend at Addington Raceway. It is on Friday 7th through to Sunday 7th, from 10am till 5pm each day. This is the first time I've done this event, and I'm looking forward to it. There is an admission of $12, but if you print out this coupon, you can get a $1 discount.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New soy pillar and floating candles

After what seems like forever, I have finally uploaded my new candles to my website and Felt shop. The floating candles have been in progress for quite some time. I wanted something small that could fit inside a teacup, which required a lot of testing to get the right wick. These last for 3-4 hours, which is longer than the old floating candles I was making.

I also wanted to try my hand at making soy pillars. As you may have noticed, most soy wax used is a blend designed for container candles. However there are pillar blends available, which is the wax I use for the melts. My supplier recommended blending it with a palm wax for the best results, but to me that defeated the purpose of making a soy pillar. After some testing, and a lot of tinkering, I have produced a 100% soy pillar candle that burns really well. Soy wax is different to paraffin where it needs to keep a wall of wax around it while it burns down, because if it leaks, it leaks a lot. I maybe able to conduct further testing to combat this in future candles, but in the meantime I have produced a lovely candle that glows nicely through the wall, and burns for over 50 hours.

Both the floating and pillar candles are available in rose, vanilla, frangipani, mandarin & mimosa and white tea fragrances. I hope to add some more fragrances to this range. These will be available at both the Craft Invaders market and Methven Craft Fair. If you would like a $10 discount voucher for the soy pillar candles, all you need to do is sign up to the newsletter, which you can do here. If you are already a subscriber, there is a coupon in the email sent out yesterday. Offer ends 5th August 2012.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Market update – Craft Invaders & Methven

Today I've been figuring out how to fit all my stock onto one table for next weeks Craft Invaders market. I've got used to having two tables in my outdoor gazebo setup, but I'm grateful to be inside next weekend, so happy to downsize to be warm!

The following weekend I will be out at Methven for the annual Methven Craft Fair at the Memorial Hall (the same building as the info centre). It is on the 4th & 5th August from 10am – 5pm on Saturday, and 9am – 4pm on Sunday.

I will have specials on clearance stock at both markets, but it's first in first served on discontinued items. I will also have eftpos available for the first time. It's something I've been wanting to offer for quite some time, so I finally made the leap and organised it. I will be still accepting cash too, of course!

If you can't get to either of these markets, you might like to pop down to one of my new stockists. Pepperberry at 919 Colombo Street now has a selection of candles, along with Cadeaux at Shop 2, 7 Joll Road in Havelock North, one of the new stockists from the recent Gift Fair.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Winter Gift Fair

Last week was my first foray into trade shows, when I exhibited at the Winter Gift Fair, a trade show for retail buyers. It was a little different to the markets I usually attend. There were a wide range of exhibitors, ranging from large importers to small scale owner operators like myself. There were some other exhibitors there I knew which helped make the whole experience a bit less daunting.

It was a worthwhile experience, a great way to get my name out there. I got orders for some new stockists around the country which I'm currently working away on. So keep an eye out for Rose in Thorns candles in a shop near you! There were also some other shops interested in stocking my candles, so the list of new stockists may keep expanding.

I launched some new products at the fair – soy pillars and small soy floating candles, which I will add to my website and Felt shop in the next week or so. In the meantime, I have some older stock I'd like to clear out, so I'm having a sale to help create some more room for the new products. Everything in my website is discounted by 20% - 50%, and I have discounted most of the teacups in my Felt shop, along with some other items. The sale ends on the 30th June, so don't miss out!

A big thanks to everyone that helped out, friends that offered advice while getting organised, and those that were also exhibitors. Also to those that placed orders, and showed interest in my products. I'll keep you updated on my new stockists as I despatch their orders to them.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Evolution – looking forwards and backwards

Yesterday marked both a beginning and ending, as changes often do. When I first started out working for myself, I was given the opportunity to work part-time for Felt, doing support and admin. This was just what I needed, and it came along at the right time. It gave me regular work while I spent time building up my business. It has also given me a valuable insight into how a great business works – thanks for the opportunity when I needed it Lucy! Now it has come time to take the leap again, and let this go to focus more on my candle making efforts.

So along with yesterday being my last day answering Felt enquiries, I also sent off two posters to print that I have been meaning to do for a very long time, and picked up my very first colour laser printer. So it was a day of milestones! My next big step is that I will be exhibiting at the Winter Gift Fair in Christchurch next weekend. This is both an exciting and daunting prospect. It is a chance for retail buyers from all over New Zealand to source new products for their stores, so I have to be well organised! I'm hoping to make lots of new contacts, and pick up some orders.

The past few weeks have been a time to look back as well. It's been just over three years since my first market, and at the recent Encraftment market, I sold the last of the candles I made for that first market. It's interesting to look back and see how much my products and displays have changed over this time.

(these pics are from Tekapo, I didn't get the chance to take any at Encraftment)

I recently caught up with an old acquaintance I hadn't seen in almost 10 years, which reminded me of the old days in my first flat. It's also been nearly 10 years since my uncle passed away, and I've been thinking about him recently too. He had ongoing health problems, but his incredible resilience had led me to believe he was invincible, which sadly wasn't the case. He had an amazing zest for life, an insatiable appetite for learning and a great sense of humour. He was interested in everything, and I remember the last time I saw him, he was asking all about what I did in my job. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to get to know him.

I wonder what things I'll be looking back on in ten years time? Only time will tell, but hopefully they will be interesting!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Winter Encraftment this weekend

The Encraftment Market is back again this weekend with a brand new venue. It's on from 10am till 3pm on Saturday the 26th May at the Jack Mann Auditorium, Solway Ave which has plenty of parking. I'll be outside in my gazebo – and will be bringing candles to light in case it is cold in the morning!

It's been a bit hectic around here lately. We've moved out of our house while earthquake repairs are completed. Fortunately we found a place to stay close by, and I've been able to pop back and make candles and get the bits and pieces I need.

As part of the repair process, my office will be getting repainted, and I have picked a duck egg blue colour which I have high hopes for! The only problem is I might have to get some new curtains to match the new colour.

I have some new soy floating candles I hope to have ready for the market. They may take a little longer to list up on the website due to my usual photographing area being unavailable.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mother's day special offer

If you're stilling looking for the perfect gift to treat your mum this Mother's day, I have a great selection of gift ideas in my online store. I am running a special offer for all purchases over $30 before Mother's day. Spend over $30 on products in one transaction, and receive a free small teardrop candle valued at $16.

To redeem your free candle, either specify in the checkout notes which fragrance you would like, or I will email you after purchase to ask which you would prefer. Then you have to decide whether to treat yourself or your mum with it!

Available in Rose, Frangipani, Orange, Rainforst, Passion and Sweet Lemongrass fragrances. Offer available in both the online and Felt stores, and ends 13th May 2012.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grand opening sale

I have been working some exciting new goodies, and I would like to make some room for them. Along with that, it's almost the end of the financial year, and I'm not looking forward to having to count everything. In order to make this a little easier for me, I have set up a new online store so you can help out. The more candles you buy, the less there are for me to count!

To make this even more attractive, I am having an opening sale with at least 20% off everything in store. There are also some clearance items and discontinued products, so make sure you get in quick so you don't miss out.

I have added some teacup candles to the shop this afternoon, and also discounted the ones in my Felt store. So there's no excuse not to stock up on gifts, or for splashing out on a little treat for yourself!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The new studio

As candle making can be a rather messy activity, it is not something I do in the office with my computer and other things around (not to mention the carpet either!). The Garage at our new house is an L shape, so there is a nice little nook to set up all my candle making equipment and store all of the materials.

I tidied it up a couple of weeks ago, and took some pictures to share with you.

Lots of storage is important because all equipment and materials seem to keep breeding. I'm all almost at the point now where I know where everything is now. This garage has a handy well placed window – great to open for ventilation, and lets in natural light. The radio serves a dual purpose – it's power button is jammed on, so the only way to switch it off is at the wall. I plug the hotplate into the same outlet with a double adaptor, so I know if it is switched on or off by whether I can hear the radio.

This is where most of the action happens – as you can imagine, the hotplate is a fairly integral part of the candle making process. I think some people use gas to heat the wax, but for me that would be a disaster waiting to happen!

At my old place, I had to scrape the spilled wax off of the painted concrete floor, which wasn't a lot of fun. As the concrete in this garage is rough and unpainted, that just wouldn't work, so I was on the lookout for some old lino. My brother-in-law had this piece leftover from his house, and it works perfectly, and makes the studio look much nicer.

Mum has been having a cleanout, and gave me some bit and pieces of mine, including my old shop I started with my cousin when we were 12. Looking back through this has left me in no doubt of my true calling! I might have to take some pictures and put them up...

Next weekend I will be off on a wee road trip to Lake Tekapo for the Lake Tekapo NZ made Fete which I went to last year. If you'll be there too, do come and say hi.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Swannanoa Country Fair

This weekend brings my first market for the season, the Swannanoa Country Fair on Sunday. There will be over 130 craft and trade stalls, a monster white elephant, lots of kids rides and games, helicopter rides, silent auctions, a petting zoo and lots of food and drink stands. Something for the whole family!

It is only 10 up Tram Road at Swannanoa Domain with plenty of free parking. Entry is by a $5 donation per adult, children (15 and under) free, and includes a lucky programme. This event is a fundraiser for Swannanoa School.

Remember to bring along your old candles to recycle, and receive your choice of a 10% discount off your purchase, or a free tealight candle of your choice.

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Year, new office

Happy new year, and as it's been so long since the beginning of the year, happy Waitangi day as well! January has been pretty action packed for me – moving into our new house, then unpacking things and figuring out where they should all go.

In our old place, I had a small study, and part of the spare room upstairs to work and store all my work and candle paraphenalia. As getting between the two was quite awkward, I ended up working off the kitchen table a lot. Now I have a proper office space, and we have a seperate spare room, which is much better. It's taken me a while to work out where everything is going to go, but things are slowly falling into place.

This room has lovely big windows, so it's very light, but also rather difficult to photograph properly, so please excuse the quality of the images.

My workspace, with my desk for all the computer stuff, and my old trestle table for candle finishing, and packing etc. The little shelves at the end of the table are what I use on my table at markets, and when they aren't being used for that, they make good storage. I bought some of the little boxes that go with them to make it super easy to transition them from 'storage' to 'market' mode.

After spending so much time re-covering my old couch, it deserved pride of place. It's also nice to have a spot to relax and read, or whilst coming up with ideas.

This cabinet used to live in the lounge, and hold the fish tank. After twice being tipped over in subsequent earthquakes from the water sloshing about, and smashing the tanks, it has been retired as a fish tank stand. It's new job is storing all my candles, and as a place to test the prototypes.

I won this print 'Pause" a while back from Ana Aceves. I finally got it framed recently, so I can hang it on the wall, and it looks great!

My office is never this tidy – I wish it was. I had to 'hide' a few boxes of extra things I'm not sure what to do with yet out in the hall so I could take these photos. I did leave a few behind though, just for authenticity. Next week, I will aim to make my new candle making space presentable, and put up some photos of that as well.