Thursday 15 December 2016

Xmas Wish List 2016 ★

It's that time of year again, so i'm carrying on the tradition of the annual extravagant Xmas wish list post! I know what you're thinking, "what ridiculous list of materialistic tripe has Jade put together this year?!" well all I can say is read on dear reader, read on.

I actually ended up getting 3 of the items off last year's wish list, but I bought them all for myself so I'm not sure if they count. Despite the mega hints I drop, I never seem to get any of the things off my wish lists. I mean, it's not like I ask for anything unreasonable or anything *laughs nervously*. So now I just buy stuff like that for myself. You gotta treat yo self right? Of course you do.

As per usual, this year's wish list includes a mix of reasonable (aka more affordable) gifts along with some more unattainable (aka super expensive) ones because it's Christmas and I'm allowed to dream! Although I'll be honest, some of the things here are definitely NOT that affordable, but I can't help it if all the things I really like are expensive! I clearly have good taste ^_^

Anyway, on with the 2016 wish list. So Santa if you're reading this grab a pen and write these down because this year I would like...

1. A Dionysus top handle bag in blue stripe from Gucci - £2,020

Go BIG or go home right? Well, what better way to kick off this year's wish list than with something I'll definitely NEVER get! I've been a Gucci fan for years but this year they really blew me away with their 2016 collections. I've lost count of the winter clothes/bags/shoes I've seen on the high street that were clearly inspired by Gucci. If you've bought anything on the high street with ruffles on this Autumn/Winter, then you have Gucci to thank for it.

I make it no secret that I love luxury fashion, unfortunately my bank balance doesn't agree, otherwise I'd have a Gucci bag for every day of the week. Anyway, this year I've been lusting after this one in particular. I'm not even sure why, I just really, really love it okay?! Maybe it's the bamboo handle or the military inspired star and stripes or even the fact that it's named after Dionysus from Greek Mythology. Whatever it is, I adore this bag.

Available to buy HERE (please Santa, pleeeeeeaaaaasssssseeeee!!!! I mean, obviously i'll settle for ANY Gucci bag, but i'd really like this one. please)

2. A 'Don't Panic' necklace from Snikt and Bamf - £35't-panic-necklace

I love acrylic jewellery and I love The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so it makes sense that I'd also love this brilliant necklace from British brand Snikt and Bamf. But then what's not to love? It's red and sparkly and shows off my love for Douglas Adams iconic books. I'm not afraid to declare my geekiness to the world (see THIS post for proof. Yes, it's the one where I'm dressed as a Ghostbuster, in public.) and apart from this being a super cute necklace, I also think it would match my red lipstick really well. Just saying.'t-panic-necklace

Do I even need to justify it? No, not really. This is a wish list and I wish for this necklace. That's really all that matters.

Available to all hoopy froods HERE

3. A Harry Potter themed Book Print Skirt from Pick n Mix on Etsy - £35

Do I even need to explain this one?! Come on people, if you're here reading this then you probably already know about my lifelong book addiction. Why wouldn't I want a twirly skirt covered in spell books? Trick question because obviously I NEED a magical book print skirt ASAP.

I might not be a librarian anymore but that doesn't mean I still couldn't rock a book themed skirt. Plus, just think how well it would go with my book themed necklace and brooch.

Ooh and I could wear my time turner necklace with it as well! And my Ravenclaw badge. And my wand.

Wait, what do you mean why do I have a wand?! I don't have to explain myself to muggles.

Available to order HERE, Owl delivery not guaranteed

4. A Frida brooch from Baccurelli - £41
I did say I love acrylic jewellery didn't I! Well i've been a fan of Baccurelli designs for a few years now and while I'd be happy with any of her lovely brooches or accessories, I particularly like the Frida brooch. Maybe it's the artist in me, or the mix of red and black (my favourite colours), but this would go with soooo many outfits. I can see it already!

Plus it goes without saying that Frida Kahlo (who the brooch is based on) was a total badass and a truly amazing woman. So who wouldn't want to wear a little brooch of her likeness!

Available HERE along with dozens of other gorgeous brooches and accessories

5. A pair of 'Marvel' lace-up leather boots from Ted & Muffy - £225

October to March you will find me pretty much living in winter boots. Boots are the BEST. But every year I usually end up buying a cheap high street pair of knee boots from somewhere like Asda or New Look but unsurprisingly a year later they look wrecked. I'd love to invest (or be gifted...) a high quality pair of leather boots that will last for years.

Until last year I still wore a lovely pair of brown leather lace-up pirate boots that I'd had since I was 16, so I know that good quality boots can last for ages. But unfortunately they finally gave up the ghost, so now I'd like a new pair of lace-up boots to live in each winter. Why lace-up ones? Well for starters I have quite chunky calves but very narrow ankles so I usually struggle to find high street boots that will fit me properly. Lace-up boots make it easy to customize the fit AND they look really nice. I think so anyway.

These are really rather lovely though and I would very much like a pair. Available HERE

6. A colour changing Unicorn mug from Firebox - £12.99

That's right people. Not only is it a mug shaped like a Unicorn, IT CHANGES COLOUR!!!

This would make my afternoon cup of green tea soooo much better. I don't even have words for this, It's amazing and I need it. That's all.

I'm not even kidding, if I don't wake up to this mug on Christmas morning I'm gonna flip. Or go online and order one myself. Whatever.

Available for all magical unicorn lovers HERE

7. A Fatale black embroidered dress from The Pretty Dress Company - £315

I know, I know... why can't I just pick a dress that's affordable. Mainly because most affordable dresses aren't as heavenly as this one! LOOK AT IT.

all those embroidered roses! It's too much perfection.

Since this dress was launched, I must have visited the site 3 dozen times, just to look at it and imagine twirling in it. Not only was in designed in collaboration with burlesque goddess Immodesty Blaize, it looks so damn good on everyone! It's a veryflattering dress and I've yet to see a photo of it being worn where it doesn't look gorgeous, no matter the body type.


Available to buy HERE

8. A Rouge Louboutin Lipstick from Christian Louboutin - £65

If you just projectile spat tea across the room and screeched "£65 for a LIPSTICK" please allow me to explain/justify myself. Also, look at it, this ain't your standard lipstick!

Ok so I LOVE shoes, especially those designed by Christian Louboutin. Unfortunately I inherited my dad's rubbish feet so I am the reluctant owner of a pair of bunions and generally quite wide feet. This means that buying shoes is a miserable experience for me, because 'wide fit' shoes usually do NOT look like the kinds of things available in the Louboutin shoe room at Brown Thomas.

So probably the only way I'm ever going to get some Louboutin red on myself, is as a nail varnish (which I already own) or this lipstick (that looks like a piece of art).

plus I think we can all agree that while unnecessarily hedonistic, £65 for a lipstick is a lot more affordable than £650 for a pair of shoes.

Get it HERE

9. A Bathurst 'all over stickers' handbag from Anya Hindmarch - £1,395

It seemed only fair that I begin and end this year's wish list with a handbag. If you thought I was gushing about the Gucci one, you ain't seen nothing yet. This bag... how to describe it. It's as if I had a dream where I designed my PERFECT handbag and then I woke up and it existed for real!

Luxury polished leather CHECK, a top handle + optional shoulder strap CHECK, absolutely covered in wacky sticker designs CHECK CHECK CHECK

This bag is what dreams are made of. My dreams anyway. I'm all about statement pieces and this bag certainly makes a statement. It says, nay... it screams "THIS BAG IS PERFECT FOR JADE, SEE HOW WELL IT MATCHES HER LIPSTICK AND COAT!"

Available HERE (come on Santa, this one, I really deserve it!)

And that's it for this year. See, I don't ask for much do I?

No, that's a lie. I ask for a LOT. But somehow I don't think I'll be waking up to fancy lipstick and designer handbags this year. I'm sure whatever I get will be brilliant though, I'm already excited about a gift my mum got me (spoiler: it's a RED record player!!!)

So it's gonna be a great day no matter what :)

What's at the top of your Christmas wish list this year? Leave me a comment below or let me know on one of my social media profiles.

And whatever you're up to this holiday season, I hope that you have a lovely time with your friends and family or by yourself if that's how you roll.

Merry Christmas to you all!

see you on the other side (of Christmas)

Thursday 8 December 2016

Pingame ★

Hello darlings, this is my first blog post in 6 months!!! So yes, it's true I really am the worst blogger ever. But this year has flown by so fast and I've been so incredibly busy that I have simply neglected this blog in favour of other pursuits. Namely, running my online business and general daily life. But today is special and it warrants a return to the blogosphere because you see, on this day last year I launched my first ever enamel pin!

So let's call it my Piniversary.

Why is that special you may ask, well I recently brought out my 30th pin design so, you know... it's been a pretty good year.

all of the pins I currently have in stock.

You might be wondering 'what's the big deal?' what makes pins so special? While I can't give you a precise reason why they've become so popular in the last few years, I personally like collecting pins because they remind me of my childhood when it was 'normal' to collect dozens if not hundreds of the same kind of item like pokemon cards, pogs, pound puppies, polly pockets, tazos to name but a few. I think pins give people a sense of nostalgia, especially if they feature 90's toys and candy, like a lot of mine do.

I'm also well aware that pins aren't a new fad and that they've been around for ages and that this isn't the first time they've seen a resurgence in popularity (I know, I had a betty boop pin on my denim jacket in the late 90's). But as cliché as it sounds, pins are SO hot right now!

90's themed pins to remind me of my childhood

If you spend any time on instagram then you might be aware of this already. If you don't collect them yourself then you've probably spotted people showing off their pin collections and purchases under the hashtag #pingame. Pins have blown up this year and now everyone and their granny is selling pins online and at craft fairs. The market is becoming a little over-saturated right now so the big question is, what's next? What will the next 'must have' accessory be? I don't think pins are done just yet, but it's starting to get difficult to come up with original or pop culture inspired designs that haven't already been turned into pins.

This time last year I had just begun collecting pins (I had a grand total of 6) and after launching a woven patch design I decided that I needed to get into the pingame myself, sooner rather than later. I didn't really know much about what would and would not sell but I picked a design that I'd sold well on patches and stickers.

my first ever pin!

As I'd already bought 6 pins from other makers, I realised there was a certain way to package the pins for buyers, but it took me a while to figure out the best way to actually post the ruddy things. I started with envelopes but I use PIP mailer boxes now as they ensure that the pins arrive undamaged. I send my pins to customers all over the world (i've posted to every continent but Antarctica) so they need to travel a long way and stay intact and neat, hence the boxes.

When I brought out my first pin last December I really had no idea what I was getting into. I remember the first day I added them to the shop I sold 5 in 12 hours and I thought that was brilliant! Last month I restocked 150 of a popular pin design and it had sold out completely within 3 hours. What a difference a year makes.

my most popular pins to date, a set of 3 Polly Pins.
Pins are definitely my favourite products to design. I've launched new pins every month since last December and I still have a dozen designs that I haven't even had made yet. So it looks like next year will be a busy one as well (hopefully). It's incredibly time consuming to unbox, unbag and card hundreds of pins, that's part of why i've neglected the blog so much. When you have 700 pins to card and bag ready to be posted the next day, you don't really have time for blogging, or even netflix.

It's worth it though, I feel so proud to look down at a bag stuffed with boxes ready to go to the post office, or whenever customers send me photos where they're showing off their new Candy Doll Club pins. There's just something so fun about pins, maybe it's the fact that most people wear them on their jackets and bags, I love the thought of people walking around wearing something I've designed. Personally I keep my pin collection on a set of corkboards, but only because I'm scared to lose any of them! Not to mention the fact that they're not cheap to buy, I keep mine on display next to my desk.

my current Pin Collection
It has been a steep learning curve having to deal with larger numbers of outgoing orders and incoming restocks and deliveries. I've never dealt with things of this scale before, and i'm still small fry compared to many pin makers. I've gone from ordering my boxes in 10's to needing 1500 every few months and I've been taught so much about international postage by the lovely staff at my local post office. I now have an at home supply of customs labels, 'safe to fly' and airmail stickers along with a book of 'proof of postage' certificates and an entire box of post office receipts. I think they groan when I walk in with 2 bags crammed with orders. I'm lucky they're all so friendly and patient.

Selling pins is great but it's really not all fun and games. An average pin launch involves days of prep beforehand: getting the pins carded and bagged and assembling and labeling hundreds of boxes (luckily my lovely mum helps me with this part, otherwise i'm not sure how i'd get it all done in time). Once the pins are delivered and go live in the shop it's a race to get the address labels printed and get the orders boxed up ready to go. I visit the post office a few times a week and I know all of the staff by name. They must be sick of me by now!

my other most popular design this year, Magic Pony Pins.
 I've learned a lot more about my customers as well this year. I've been selling my work for about 8 years now, but never at these levels and not to people that come back again and again to buy each new pin I release. It's amazing to think that people like my designs so much they want to buy them and wear them! It's hard work keeping this all running smoothly, and it's definitely a full time job now.

Long gone are the days when I'd have 5 orders a week and spend the rest of my time reading or painting or watching netflix. Now I don't finish working most evenings until after 11pm if i'm lucky. Of course, working for yourself means that you can also take a whole day off to sit in bed and eat chocolate but I don't get to do that as often as I'd like to. I do still do it sometimes though, of course.

my Bubble Tape pin

 Like I said, it's been a learning curve, but a fun one nonetheless. To begin with each pin funded the next one until I learned how to pick my designs better and work out what my customers would want to buy. I've gotten better at judging which pins will sell fast and which ones won't, I don't mind slower selling pins but obviously it's nicer to get ones that fly out. If i'm honest, a lot it has been trial and error (and there have been more than a few errors!) but I also owe a lot of my successes over the past year to the Girl Pin Gang, the international all female pin makers collective I'm incredibly lucky to be a part of.

a few of the super babe Girl Pin Gang members.

My first three pins came and went before I was invited to join the Girl Pin Gang. I was one of the first members and at the time there were only about 20 of us, but today we have almost 60 members all over the world and people message us every day asking to join (we only open admissions a few times a year on a nomination basis via existing members). The majority of the members are in America so sadly i've not been able to go to any of the GPG meet ups or flair markets yet. But we all talk online and I think it's safe to say that together we're a pretty influential bunch of ladies.

It's exciting to be part of something like this and it's great being in a community with like-minded individuals going through similar problems in life and business. We often help each other out with design ideas, share discount codes for printers and talk about life in general. When you buy from a small online business I think a lot of people can forget that there's a real person at the other end packing up your order and working on new designs. In the age of amazon it's easy to think that you'll get what you've ordered instantly and that nothing will go wrong. But orders still go missing in transit or get stolen, and sometimes customers can be very difficult to deal with, so it's nice having people to talk to about these pitfalls, as we've all gone through them at some point and we can help support one-another.

just a few Girl Pin Gang pins.
I love how diverse all of our pins are as well! Everyone in the group has their own unique style of design. I think that when you sell pins, people can sometimes get confused about how it all works. I've had people look at me bewildered when I try to explain that I design all of my pins myself. Yes I sat down with a pencil and sketched out an idea, then i put it on my computer and added colour, then I sent it to a manufacturer and now I have pins with my design on them. See, not that confusing.

I've also had a few people look down on my work as though it's not 'real art'. I'm totally fine with this. I never used to be but now as far as i'm concerned, i'm no less of a 'real artist' just because I sell 1000 of something i've designed. Contrary to what some people seem to think, this does not make my work any less valid. My art has always been about commercial viability, and that isn't going to change anytime soon.

a handful of my pins
We live in a world filled with mass produced items, and sure, pins can be mass produced as well, but most pin makers (myself included) often do small runs of pins, limited to just 100 or 150. This isn't that different to purchasing a signed limited edition print from an artist, we still designed it and it's still limited edition, you can just put this on your coat instead of your wall. Besides which, I've always said that i'd rather sell a thousand prints or pins of a design than one single painting. And I do.

Reading this, I make it sound like all I do is design pins, but obviously I still sell other items as well, including patches, stickers and colouring books. But the majority of my design time is spent working on new pins and the matching backing cards to go with them. It's time consuming coming up with a card for each pin but it helps showcase the design and my customers always comment on how nice the cards look.

a few of the backing cards I designed this year
This means that unfortunately this year I haven't had chance to work on many Candy Doll pieces. I miss creating the Candy Dolls but they were always more for my own enjoyment than anyone elses, so at least now I get to produce things that other people actually want to buy!

So I guess that this year I've spent more time thinking about my business than my art. I've always created but now I create for a reason, not just for fun. Each new pin is a gamble, will it sell, will I be stuck with it? Only time will tell. But you know what, I can't think of anything else I'd rather do for a living right now than this! Even when i'm awake at 3am to edit proofs from my manufacturers, or sitting in all day waiting for DHL to deliver the next box of pins, or even when my fingers are shredded with paper cuts from making boxes, it's all worth it.

1 of every single pin i've designed since December 2015
and on that note i'll bring this to a close.

If you've seen a pin in this post that you just HAVE TO HAVE then get your butt over to my Shop asap and treat yo self! I'm not biased or anything but my pins make great stocking stuffers and secret santa gifts, so you should definitely get one. or two. or all of them!

I also send out a free girl gang sticker + sherbet sticks with every pin order, so you know... you'll get pins AND sweets!

I'm also giving away a £10 credit for my shop tonight over on my instagram, you can enter the giveaway HERE

And I promise to try a bit harder and make time to blog more in 2017.

I'll be posting my annual Xmas Wish List blog next week (probably), so keep an eye out for that.

and until then, thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed looking at the pins!