Friday, August 24, 2012

The CraftStar Community Collection: Amanda's Imagination


My name is Amanda Jane Anderson and I am a crochet and bead addict! I live on the west coast of Ireland, am 51 years old, recently married for the second time and with 2 beautiful grown up children living in the UK.

I had to give up 'normal' work a few years ago, due to having Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia. This crushed my self worth and I spent a couple of years struggling with 'resting' !
Then, about a year ago, I decided to pick what I loved doing and which I had a talent for, and then do it to earn some money.  I did this and sold to friends, through a friend's yarn and haberdashery shop, Ger's Place in Kinvara, and through a couple of other small outlets.
Then was the decision to try it online.  I didn't start out on TheCraftStar, but on another very large and well known marketplace for 'handmade' items.  I was a tiny piece of grit in a massive ocean ! So when I heard talk of a new Handmade Marketplace starting up, I did some research and discovered TheCraftStar in its very infant stages. I immediately opened up a second shop on this new venture.
My current TCS shop, 'Amanda Jane', sells crochet clothes for women, children and babies at the moment. Soon it will also sell sewn 'upcycled' clothes, otherwise known as Altered Couture !  Everything in the shop is ready made, but I also take custom orders of any kind, either my own items, or made to a pattern that the customer already has.
My future business plans involve some new shops on TheCraftStar. I am a keen jewellery maker, using semi precious stones as beads and sterling silver as well as crochet jewellery. I love selling craft supplies. I adore cats and owls. I love making baby clothes, especially christening gowns and special occasion wear. I am into ladies clothes that are lacy and feature crochet and such to make them extra special, and I also like making men's clothes and collectible toys.

I am building a chain of online shops, all on TheCraftStar, which will mean that I can do all these things I love doing, and all in one place ! What more could I ask for ?
Sales !  This is where I need to learn - Marketing and Promoting myself - I am really, really bad at this, as I find self promotion extremely difficult. But learn I must - so here I am biting the bullet and self promoting to you all !
My 3 favourite items from my, as yet, small shop are as follows:

I really love making the little baby sweater here. I love that I use pure 100% merino wool, that is very very soft and beautiful to work with. I want to make more small, but beautiful, things for tiny babies, and to encourage people to ask about custom orders.

I really adore this little hat for ladies. I make it in a range of colour combinations, and really anything goes that I consider matches. I have a little cloche in blues from this range myself, which I wear often in colder weather. It sells steadily in a local boutique, where it is the only handmade item in the shop!

It took me days to arrive at the final design for these gloves, and I feel that it was worth it. When I have them on I feel really special, as the soft merino wool (same wool as the baby sweater is make out of) feels heavenly against my skin and I can wear multiple colour combinations !
They come in either identical gloves, or 'opposite' colours, as in the photo above. I prefer the opposites, as I think they are fun to wear and so many people comment on them and ask where I got them !
Since joining TheCraftStar I have met many people who have helped and advised me no end, as well as bolstering my confidence in myself. The main one I have to thank is Bethan, for conceiving the whole idea and having the guts to go through with it. Please can I be your future CEO of the IrishCraftStar website ?!!
Here is my Community Collection which I made over the last two days, which is a genuine selection of things that I really love and would like to have for myself and in my home.

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