Monday, 17 August 2009

I need some advice

As I have told you I have been seeing some changes lately.

Life is moving on, sometimes quicker than I thought possible.

My darling sister is moving out. She is able, in the current market, to buy herself a lovely little flat by the sea...I am slightly green around the edges, but more happy for her than green!

This means that I have a lovely, light and bright room which has Vintage Magpie written all over it. This is where the change comes in. Due to this The Nest in Lewes is having to be packed up and yet again moved back into my flat, which if you remember I, only 6 months ago, moved out of said flat!! Who says life should be easy....or as my Ma says would be boring if it was easy!

So my days of making pretty window displays are again put on hold!

But to be honest, I'm looking forward it immensely. Plus me and The Wonderful Dutchman get a huge big bedroom...Oh the joy...a bed we can walk around!! Bliss.

So as my personal life is having a move about, Vintage Magpie is following closely behind. Which in true Emma me thinking....

...I need some advice....from you my blogger friends...I hope you can help me out.

I want to test the waters with an idea I have...

... What would you think if I offered a 'DIY bride silk bouquet' 1 to 2 day course...would anyone be interested?

I feel I would love to help those brides out who maybe want to make their own bouquet have all the vintage goodies, but are unsure on how to do it.

This is not a course designed for people who, like others, are trying to...COPY! But one to help and guide a bride through a totally satisfying process, one which will see her making a unique item for her day.

I really want to share my knowledge and skills with others, and to be able to give a Bride a smile on her face knowing she has made her own, beautiful, and personal bouquet. Something she can be proud of...and that has an even more wonderful story to it.

I really would love to know what you think of this idea. I would love for everyone to comment on this don't have to have a can do it anonymously, with just an email nothing should be stopping you!!

I really appreciate your words, and input. Thank you so much for your help. xxx


Martin said...

I'm encouraging your idea!
DIY for brides... it already sounds fab!

Emma said...

Why thank you my Wonderful Dutchman!! x

Kay said...

I think this is a great idea....somebody may have longed for one of your lovely bouquets but would like to make it her own 'work' so to say....everything in life is worth a try and with your help and encouragement I'm sure it will be a hit!!

louise said...

i say YAY!!
i really want a vintage magpie bouquet but at the same time my small amount of creativeness is crying out for me to do it myself so that i can have that little proud feeling when people comment on it. so on sunday arvo when lazing about i thought i'd play about with some stuff lying around to see if it was even feasible-gave up after about an hour cause i didn't actually have a scooby what to do and the one flower i had made looked like a dying one!
i think you have a great skill and should pass it on but be wary of people who may take advantage!!!

Emma said...

Ohh Louise I'm so happy you wrote a comment...i know there is alot of you out there, and i really want to help. Hopefully if all goes well i will have some dates for you to come and join the course.
To be honest, there are people out there copying me now, and passing their work off as orginal, and charging more! I would hate for anyone to fall into their trap, and be disapointed with the results.

I think sharing is the way forward.
Thank you for your kind words,
Emma xxx

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I think its a bad idea - this is your livelihood, your bread and butter, your business. My advice, continue to make the bouquets which I assume are your main earner and do classes in other things, like the other lovely stuff you sell in your shop. Maybe shorter courses 1\2 to 1 day were people have something to take home. Not many can afford 2 day classes, especially brides. I know other people are copying you and there will be a whole lot more if you actually show them how to do it.
Protect the thing (your business) that makes you happy!! Sam

Emma said...

Hi Sam,
Thank you for your comment, this is exactly why i need to ask you lovely bloggers. I really do listen and am going to take everything in then make my choice.

This is the same reasoning i have for not doing it...its great to hear both sides!

Thank you again, Emma xxx

louise said...

sam does make some very good points and it is always gonna be a risk on your part. i think though that your bouquets appeal mostly to a certain part of the market (i.e thousands of people don't consider something like that and just go straight to the florist) and out of your target market there are only gonna be a certain number who will actually want to do it themselves. i think if it was priced to reflect the standard of your work and the quality of your teaching your not gonna get loads of people coming along just to copy you. you obviously don't wanna make it so expensive that people can't afford it but (no offence intended!) a lot of your bouquets are reasonably expensive compared with a bog standard one and so when people want that they are willing to pay it and i think the same will apply for the courses.
hope that all made some sort of sense. louise

Kay said...

I think Louise has made a good can appeal to several lots of people all wanting different things from you....also I have stacks of kits that I have bought and never made!!!???xx thanks for your lovely comment on my blog today.xx

Anonymous said...

Also what happens if a bride takes your course and makes a rough bouquet and tells everyone where she learnt to make it!! You have no quality control over stuff that will have your name attached to it. You will get people coming and going straight home and setting themselves up, with your contacts and suppliers. You offer a very bespoke and specialist service which could be cheapened by others making bad bouquets. Have you thought about appealing to bridesmaids to do a course making gifts for the bride like a corsage or a head band that she can wear after the wedding that are inspired by her bouquet. Or cake toppers etc something that captures the spirit of your work/designs but won't impinge on your uniqueness.
I'll stop now!! Good luck in whatever you choose to do.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, a tricky one indeed. Here's my random thoughts, some of which echo what's already been said:

1) Bride's don't necessarily have much time so would they really want to make their own bouquet or would they be much happier handing over the responsibility to someone talented and supremely creative and know that the final piece will be stunning? (I know I'm very happy with that arrangement!) Also, cost of course needs to be a major factor and, again, in the run-up to a wedding would bride's have spare cash?

2) Would you end up 'rescuing' lots of half finished, not quite right attempts. How would you charge for that? If people already paid for the course, would that then be expected? And would it take much longer to rescue someone's attempt than to start from scratch? And/or would you just get lots of pics/questions follow-ups by email, all of which would eat into your time.

3) This is your reputation and I fully agree with poster above that a bad DIY attempt with your name attached to it could do a lot of damage.

4) I would be concerned about people coming and learning from you and then trying to rival your work. Do you really want to give away your top tips and tricks?

But, having said all that, there will be some brides out there who would adore it and not cause you any of the probs at all. I just wonder if there's enough of them out there to balance out the arguments?

And I do think the workshop idea is worth pursuing. Just maybe with a different slant......

1) A hen-do. Where everyone spends a day or an afternoon making something they can then take away at the end of it. Either a corsage or a handbag charm or a fascinator/hair band. They could even work together to make a cake topper. Ask them to bring meaningful trinkets with them to work around. Your geographical location lends itself wonderfully to hen-dos too. I would have jumped at this had it been available, not all hens want to spend the day in a pink feather boa and L plates. ;-) And they're probably the same brides who may consider having one of your bouquets.

2) Workshops that teach brides/bridesmaids/mothers how to make gifts for other people, along the same theme. I would have loved to make something for my mum for my wedding day. Or, even a photoframe or keyring or something for the groom. Personal, meaningful groom gifts are very hard to find!

3) Brides seemingly love to make wedding favours. Any Vintage Magpie favour possibilities and then a workshop to assist/teach?

4) I'd have a think about how you could possibly get into the 'granny' market. Grannies-to-be with time on their hands and lots of trinkets and family pieces with history may love to learn how to make a gift for mum/baby or a christening gift or christening cake topper. It could be, say, a 5 week course for 2 hours a week or something. You'd need to watch costs thought if you were going for the older market, or just target more affluent areas! Why not get in touch with a local WI and ask about doing a workshop for them or just going along to a meeting to see what they maybe interested in? Free market research.....

5) On a similar theme, how about mums who want to make something for a daughter's 18th or 21st? Something personal with meaning behind it? Again, maybe try some teenage parenting forums to see if there would be any interest.

I'll stop there as this is stupidly long and just a 'brain dump'. Sorry, but you did ask from comments! I think you have a beautiful, unique talent and whilst diversifying is a great idea, be careful with what you jump into.

Research, research and research it again! Jude x

Anonymous said...

I think its a great idea, but can see the points from others. I think the hen idea is fabulous, I'd have loved to do have done something like that for my hen.

Beti said...

I agree that a bad result could potentially damage your brand but you could work around that by doing your own quality control in the class.

I've read about wedding ring workshops where couples spend a day with a jeweler and make their own rings. One of the questions in the FAQ was "what happens if I mess up?" The answer was that they were working every step of the way with a jeweler who would not let that happen. You could limit your class size to be able to give enough individual attention to each student.

Just as an aside, I would urge you to consider advertising on Offbeat I think you'd find a lot of people interested in your work there.

Best wishes,


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