It’s a subject I can’t really ignore being a UK business with a wide array of customers. It’s really hard to predict the effect Brexit will have and there are a few changes to mail especially in the EU which will change.
I’m anticipating that UK internal mail will not change for delivery times. Mail times to the USA and rest of the world will also likely not change significantly. It’s mail into the EU zone which will change. Already all mail leaving the UK is required to have a customs label attached to it even if it is sent out into Europe.
I’d anticipate for mail leaving the UK for the EU to take longer in the short term. This will most likely be due to processing times for mail increasing and potential transportation issues. Once you receive your parcel it’s likely that at the moment you won’t be asked for a customs payment. In the future I would expect that you will have to pay an importing fee from the UK depending on the policy within the country you reside.
Unfortunately it’s really difficult to give you, the customer, all the information that you need when the landscape is still so unknown. If there are any updates on how this will affect things moving forward I’ll try and put this information out there to you all!
If you live in the UK you might be familiar with the magazine ‘Mollie Makes’. It’s a really well distributed magazine across the country. This month’s spring themed edition features Little Wren Pottery!
If your unfamiliar with it Mollie Makes covers a variety of craft disciplines and is ideal for people who like to dabble in a bit of everything. This month’s features cover everything from home baking a vegan cheesecake to quilting and crochet.
You can find Little Wren Pottery featured for yarn bowls. In particular the ‘wool’ style. It’s still one of the most popular items in the shop even after all these years!
Craft fair time
This past week I got accepted for a local event. I’ll be at Roots Farm Shop for their spring fair on the 14th of April. It’s a Sunday and I’ll be there on this day only even though it’s actually a two day event. If you live around the Northallerton area it’d be great to see you there!
This August you’ll find me at WoolNEss, it’s the first Wool related event I’ve done since 2012! That’s quite a long time ago now! This will actually be the very first WoolNEss so it’s an entirely new event. It’s going to be held at the Center for Life in Newcastle from the 2nd – 4th of August.
The theme of the event itself is wool and wellness so in addition to all the usual kind of wool related things you’ll find workshops and activities to promote well being through craft. It’s really exciting to be part of the first year of an event!
I’ll of course be selling yarn bowls but I’ll also be taking a selection of normal stock items like mugs and bowls. It’s kind of hard to predict how much stock I’ll need for the day so if your planning on attending and want something in particular let me know. I already have my eye on some of the yarn sellers that’ll be at the event!
You can find out more about WoolNEss and other sellers that’ll be there over the weekend on the official website – https://www.woolness.co.uk/
I have now started applying for more events this year hopefully I’ll be able to make it to an event near you! If your running an event or if you know of one near to you that you’d like Little Wren Pottery to attend just let me know!
Do you know someone who’s a member of a sports team or event organiser who is looking to get an award or commemorative item made for them? Over the last few years I’ve worked with a variety of people to produce custom bespoke awards
It’s a different kind of challenge from making dinnerware and items for use in the home. Sometimes these pieces are purely decorative and other times their functional aspect is secondary. I always like to come up with ideas and designs that reflect something of the theme of the event as well. It’s a kind of one to one bespoke service that I don’t think you’d find elsewhere. Certainly not if your used to ordering plastic trophies online!
I think a lot of people who’ve had awards from me like the fact that they often get a functional item that can be used everyday.
There’s always a lot of lettering on awards and fitting it on can be quite challenging. All the lettering that gets added to pieces is done by hand creating quite a unique look.
Pieces for weddings
I’ve been working on a lot of pieces for weddings lately, I guess late spring to early summer is the traditional wedding season. I do also take custom orders for commemorative wedding items. The number of these that are on order at the moment is slowing down general production at the moment but hopefully everything will be back to normal by the end of the month!
I’ve been working on a lot of new light pull styles for the shop. They’re surprisingly good sellers, it seems a lot of you have trouble finding pulls you like! These small items really add character of their own to a room and come in all the colours from the glaze chart.
I’ve tried to offer a range of styles and colours, it’s really noticeable that some people want large size pulls and small ones. I guess it depends on where they’re being used. Bathroom pulls typically I think of being larger and ones on blinds will be smaller and less noticeable.
As part of the new range of pulls I’ve been experimenting with this animal shaped ones. They come as a set of three and feature different woodland animals; owl, frog and rabbit. They’re a little more stylistic than a typical light pull.
If you wanted these without the hole in the top they’d also make great ornaments and I’m not adverse to doing that so I’d recommend getting in touch! You can also now find a dedicated light pull section in my Etsy shop as the range has been continuing to grow.
Price increases in the shop are now complete! You should now find the pricing changes a little more ‘flat’. So there’s a little less variation in pricing. I’ve also lately been trying to improve the photography across the shop to better reflect the quality of what items look like now.
If you live in Northallerton you might be aware of the changes taking place at Northallerton Post Office. Royal Mail are planning on closing the branch to relocate it to WH Smith in the town center. Over the next few weeks they’re holding a consultation process to get feedback from members of the public about the closure.
From my personal point of view I don’t really agree with the closure, its quite a busy post office in a prominent place on the high street. I’ve been taking my mail there for about 5-6 years now and have always found the staff to be friendly, helpful and to provide good advice on navigating the postal system.
On a practical level for me it means having to take my parcels further, it’ll be 240 meters from it’s current location. Which doesn’t sound like much but at Christmas making multiple trips in the same day there and back will be more troublesome. Also navigating the isles of WH Smith with a trolley loaded with parcels to the back of the store will be quite difficult! At the moment I would say it will actively affect customer orders getting dispatched from the studio.
I’m also quite suspicious of how long the branch of WH Smith’s in Northallerton will actually stay open. It worries me that eventually it might also close and the town will have no post office after that time.
If you live in Northallerton or use the post office here I would highly recommend getting in touch with Royal Mail *protected email*
Just a quick note this time to say I got accepted for WoolNEss! It’s my first knitting show since 2012. It’s been a long time! I’ll be posting a bit more about this next week but I’ll be there 2nd – 4th of August!
I’ve been on Instagram for a while now but I kind of felt like I wasn’t using it to it’s full potential so lately I’ve been upping my Insta game. In a way I’ve started using it to experiment more with my product photography learning what works and what doesn’t.
In a way it’s pretty easy to tell from which photos get more likes than others! If you’ve not visited it for a while you might find the range of photos has changed to be less ‘behind the scenes’ and more completed objects. This has been an intentional change to create a grid of photos that feels more ‘together’. Plus the making process itself isn’t really very pretty or photogenic!
I have decided to keep a lot of the behind the scenes stuff into my Instagram stories. I’ve started to use it more, I wasn’t using it at all previously! It’ll hopefully give you a glimpse into what life is like for a potter.
Price changes to the shop are still ongoing. They’ll be finally completed towards the end of next week. The prices on yarn bowls have already increased but you can still catch a bargain until the end of the month! The next set of items to have the prices increased will be the made to order dinnerware.
When you run an online business pricing is always a challenge. It’s a fine balance creating a pricing structure that’s realistic for the amount of work that goes into every piece.
It’s been a long time since I last put up prices and since then the costs of running the business have gone up. Everything from the cost of raw materials like clay and glazes to transaction fees on Etsy. After this busy Christmas period an increase in prices was kind of inevitable.
Most of the re-pricing is taking place in the ‘Made to order’ sections of the Etsy shop. This includes yarn bowls, at the moment I do have a few in stock yarn bowls left from Christmas. These are going to stay on Etsy at the old price until the end of January, after that time they’re going to be removed so catch them while you can!
It’ll take a while for price increases to be shop wide. Some of them will be minor but it certainly helps when you run a small business! Somehow I always think talking about money is a taboo or awkward subject even though it shouldn’t really be.
New year planning
Along side price changes I’ve also been doing some other new year planning. Currently I’m looking at the events I’ve been doing the last couple of years and trying to change the schedule a bit. I am planning to attend at least one wool related event this year. Last time I did that was Woolfest in 2012! I don’t always get accepted for events but as soon as I know about it I’ll post it here.
I’ve been neglecting the blog since October! Since then I’ve introduced new bird yarn bowls into my Etsy shop! These are intended to be a signature style because of course they look like little wrens with upright tails. They’re the smaller bowl shaped yarn bowl and can be ordered from any of the colours on the glaze chart.
Every one is made and decorated by hand so sometimes they have a slightly different personality! The pieces are hand thrown and then the tails and beaks attached once the pot is leather hard. They’re ideal for weights of yarn up to 50 grams of double knit weight. The curve for yarn on these runs the opposite way to the star bowls an if your working with a very fine yarn you could even run it through one of the eyes.
I think my favourite colour for them has to be either the Ocean Blue or Natural Brown. Brown being the most natural colour for a little wren but that doesn’t mean you can’t have one in green! These do take a little more time to make and that’s reflected in the price since there’s a bit more ‘making’ in them. When I’m working in the studio and there’s a lot of them on the bench I do feel as if they’re watching me working!
Unfortunately I’ve decided to close my Folksy shop for now, I’ll be concentrating on Etsy as my main shop in the future. The listings on there won’t be renewed once they expire, I’ve been finding it to be a strain to keep more than one shop running at once. It’ll also help to improve the quality of Etsy listings.
Yes it’s that time of year again! We’re zooming towards the end of 2018 and with that in mind it’s time for last ordering dates for before Christmas and into the New Year. The shop online will be continuing to take orders over the holidays but you may experience delays in service during this time.
Please keep in mind that these dates are just provisional, if orders increase to a point where I risk not fulfilling them in time they will close early. I’ll be regularly reviewing these dates as we get closer. If there are any problems with your order I’ll likely get in touch with you directly. Of course if you have any questions about ordering just get in touch!
In stock items
If you are ordering pieces already in stock that just need to be posted here are the dates.
UK 2nd class postage – December 14th
UK 1st class postage – December 18th
Special delivery isn’t offered as a standard on listings in either Etsy or Folksy but is available by request as it’s more expensive. Handy if your in a pinch due to it’s shorter delivery time.
UK Special delivery available until – December 20th
These dates are for standard international airmail which is included in listings on Etsy. Standard Airmail doesn’t include tracking and only covers items which are 2 kilos or under.
Eastern Europe, Asia, Cyprus – December 5th
Greece, Australia, New Zealand – December 7th
Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland – December 11th
Canada, Finland, Sweden, USA – December 12th
Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland – December 14th
Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg – December 14th
Christmas made to order items
These are the dates for made to order items, this is any order from the shop with ‘Made to order’ in the title. Alternatively any specially ordered custom request via email or Etsy convo.
Last order dates for international orders will be slightly different, if your in the UK these are the last ordering dates.
Dinnerware and sets of items – October 30th
Named yarn bowls – November 20th
Standard yarn bowls – December 3st