Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Dorset Team - Our County - Studland Bay

It's time for the latest in the 'Our County' series, where we celebrate Dorset and the wonderful places to visit here! Today we're going to look at Studland Bay...

Studland Bay has 4 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, but also a variety of other habitats which make it an important nature site, including sand dune heathland (which is home to all 6 native UK reptiles, along with other creatures and plants). The coastline is managed by the National Trust, so you can find out lots about the area on the National Trust website here:

There are 4 beach areas - South Beach (the smallest), Middle Beach (the most sheltered), Knoll Beach (the largest), and Knoll Beach also includes an area of Naturist Beach. The naturist beach is a fair walk from the Knoll Beach car park, and is well signposted, whether you want to find it or avoid it - it's clear where the boundary is!

There are 3 car parks and you can park at them for free if you are a national trust member (it gets expensive for a whole day parking in the summer holidays otherwise). Knoll Beach has a national trust cafe and shop, and frequent family events.

If you stand on Knoll Beach and look right you can see Old Harry Rocks - some chalk stacks which mark the most Easterly point of the Jurassic Coast:

You can also walk from the South Beach Car Park to see a closer view of Old Harry Rocks:

If you stand on Knoll Beach and look left you can see all the way to Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Hengistbury Head:

Out to sea you can often glimpse the Isle of Wight too.

The beach has beach huts, many privately owned or some you can rent, and also watersports rentals / lessons:

It can be windy at times, which is great for a spot of kite-flying:

The sand is good for building sand castles, or for turning children into mermaids / mermen:

And the sea is lovely and clear, so great for swimming in. There is a marked swimming area in the peak season, where boats aren't allowed into - great for parents with small kids who want them to swim, without worrying they will get in the way of a kayak!

The beach can even be great for a walk in the winter. But you won't want to go in for a swim then, because the sea looks more like this...

Have you visited the beaches at Studland Bay before? Tell us if you have any great memories from a trip there!

Don't forget to tag #DorsetTeam in your social media posts if you have any great photos of Dorset areas. Also let us know if you have any favourite spots in Dorset that you'd like us to feature one month!

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Dorset Team Spring Fair - SM designs in Wood

Our Dorset Team Spring Fair at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne is fast approaching and this week we are sharing another one of our stallholders who will be selling at the event. 

This week's featured stallholder is Simon of SM Designs in Wood. Simon is based in Portland and  sells beautiful handcrafted wooden furniture and wooden items. This will be Simon's first time selling at one of our Dorset Team events and we are really looking forward to having him at the Spring Fair

Work in progress photo of Simon making a chopping board
After 18 years working in a different career, Simon decided to return to Dorset and fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a furniture designer and maker. He finds the Dorset landscape offers much inspiration and he hopes to highlight this by using local woods and other natural products like Portland stone in his work. 

He uses a mixture of traditional and modern woodworking skills to produce unique, high quality pieces and makes and sells everything from candle holders to beautiful handcrafted tables.

He says, "I want to create pieces that are aethetically beautiful to look at, but are functional in the lives of people who own them."

Come and meet Simon and see his beautiful handcrafted wooden items on display at the Dorset Team Spring Fair at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne on Saturday 5th May. Entry to the fair is FREE and there will be 60 stalls by local makers and sellers at the event. 

This is a fantastic way to support small independent sellers whilst also picking up some really unique items for your home or for gifts. 

Please put the date in your diary and we hope to see you there! 

More information about the event can be found over on our Facebook event page:

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Business Building - Finding Your Target Market

Hello, today is the next instalment of our Business Building topic, and today we're going to talk about your Target Market!

Do you know who your customers are? If you are going to build a successful shop it's essential that you know who you are trying to sell to and what kind of things they want to buy.

Broad Idea:

You may have quite a broad idea at the moment, for example, you might know your target market is women aged 18 - 50 who like jewellery. This is a great start, but it's not enough to help you find them to advertise to them and develop the products that they really want.

Specific Customer:

You should end up with a more specific customer profile - e.g. a 40-50 year old woman, who appreciates handmade items but also shops at high street stores like Next, their favourite magazine is woman & home, they prefer subtle colours rather than bold, they eat out several times a week, and only look at Instagram and Facebook a couple of times a week.

How This Can Help You:

Creating a specific customer profile DOES NOT mean you are shutting everyone else out. You aren't narrowing your market to only sell to this one type of woman. But having a specific profile helps you to think about what places to promote your items - for example if your target market doesn't go on Instagram much, then it might be worth advertising more locally or in magazines.

You can have more than one customer profile - write down several if you sell to a variety of age ranges or sell a range of different products.

How To Find Out What Your Customer Likes:

If you are worried because you have no idea what magazines your customer reads or whether they use Instagram, then it's time to do some research!

1. Start by looking at your shop stats. Click on the 'customers' tab of your stats and look at where your customers live, what device they are using (if more are using mobile devices then it's more likely they also use social media apps too, if your customers mostly use desktop they might not use social media as much), and look at the 'other searches'. Looking at what other phrases your customers are searching for will help you understand what their other interests are, and maybe help you come up with more product ideas!

2. Jump onto social media. Look at the profiles of your followers - what kind of pictures are they sharing, does it say what their interests are in their profile, what other accounts are they following? You might, for example, find that a lot of them are following a certain celebrity - could you see if you could send a freebie to the celeb who might wear / use the item on their social media? If you are looking on Facebook you can see who has 'liked' your page by going to 'settings' and then 'people and other pages'. Click on one of the names to go to their profile, and under their cover photo there should be a button that says 'more' - click on this and then 'groups' - now you can see what Facebook groups they belong to and decide whether it's worth you trying to join and network in some of those groups!

3. Ask questions. On your social media don't just show off your new items, ask questions too - e.g. mention what you are having for dinner and ask what other people are going to be eating, ask customers what their favourite holiday destinations are etc. It all helps you to build a picture of what they are like.

4. Check out your conversations and reviews. If customers are asking questions through conversations does it help you get ideas on who they are buying for and what would be the perfect product for them? In reviews do customers mention loving the item themselves or did they give it as a gift - and if it was a gift do they mention how they gave it as 'part' of a gift (you might be able to make other things to go with it if so)?

5. Sell at a real-life fair / market. If you are selling at the upcoming Dorset Team Spring Fair then make sure you listen to what people say about your items. Are they drawn to certain ones - if so make sure your photos for these are great online and consider making some more similar items. Do they ask if you have something which they can't see - this might help you come up with a new product, or it might just help you add to the interest lists for your target market.

More Information:

You can see more about targeting your market on these two Etsy articles: and

Put it into practice:

Collate the information you've gathered and make a plan for how you can use this to promote your items. You don't have to do everything at once! Pick one social media to start with, and think carefully about how to use hashtags or what colours / props to use in photos so that they will appeal to your customers. Then move onto another social media or advertise in a magazine or on a blog that you think your customers read. It isn't going to be an exact science but if you keep working on it you will find the right people and make more sales!

Remember you can come and ask questions in the team forum (, or join our Twitter chats on Tuesday nights (7.30pm - 8.30pm #DorsetTeam) if you need more help!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Spring Fair - Featured Seller - Lisa Berkshire

For the last few weeks we have been sharing with you some of the stallholders who will be coming to our Dorset Team Spring Fair. 

This week we are featuring Poole based artist Lisa who runs The Illustrated World of Lisa Berkshire

Lisa sells illustrated prints and cards, original artworks, illustrated upcycled objects, painted stones, boxes, jewellery and more! She also takes on custom orders for personalised artworks.

Lisa has been an illustrator for 27 years and shows and sells her own illustrated ranges of prints and artworks for children and adults on the themes of The Sea, British Nature, Folklore, Stories, nature in general, Landscape, Personal Narratives and Children's Stories.

"I apply my illustrations to all sorts of things that can be used to make a living or working space a more enjoyable (and illustrated) place. I love connecting my work with people's everyday lives."

3 things about Lisa in her own words....

1) I love including a sense of fun and humour in my work.

2 I love to use pen line in my work and combine it with bold colours and patterns. 
3) My favourite thing to do is to make something for someone that is so personal it couldn't be for anyone else!

Lisa will be selling her wares at the Dorset Team Spring Fair on Saturday 5th May at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne. Entry to the fair is FREE and there will be 60 stalls by local artists, makers, designers, vintage sellers and craft suppliers.

For more information about the event please see:

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Diary Of An Etsy Seller March 2018

Are we ready to see what Jennifer from Happy Scatter (craft supplies) and Gifting Moon (gifts like mugs and coasters) was up to during the month of March? Here's what happened...

March 2018

26/2/18 - 4/3/18
  • I had a conversation online about using commas in Etsy listing titles and I'm still confused about it. I told another shop owner that I found it better when I started using commas to separate my keywords, rather than having no punctuation. I've heard that pipes | or dashes - can work too. Then I tried looking  into it to see if there was a definitive answer and found lots of people saying you don't need punctuation at all. I still don't know! I should probably experiment by trying a few different methods out?!
  • I had a custom order for some bridesmaid mirrors with orchids on instead of my usual flower. It was fun to draw an orchid and I loved the finished result, I will have to make some more to put in my shop.
  • March includes #MarchMeetTheMaker on Instagram, so I started taking and uploading daily photos to my @giftingmoon and @happyscatter Instagram accounts. I saw an increase in followers and 'likes', and it was great to check out other people's photos too.
  • SNOW! WE hardly ever get good snow in Dorset so it was very exciting to get some. The kids had 2 snow-days off school and we went sledding on one of them. So I didn't get much work done at the end of the week, but it was so worth it, and totally one of the reasons I like working for myself!
Some of my #MarchMeetTheMaker photos

5/3/18 - 11/3/18
  • The week started with me frantically finishing World Book Day costumes for my two kids - it had been postponed because of the snow but I still barely finished them in time!
  • I had a custom order request for a stencil from another Dorset Team Member which was exciting, I love helping others turn their ideas into a reality.
  • I had lots of orders for bags and mirrors this week which kept me busy.
  • The week ended with Mother's Day. I didn't get as many orders for Mother's Day as I did last year. I know that a mug of mine was shared on buzzfeed last year which really helped, so next year I maybe need to look into advertising? I spent Mother's Day eating pancakes and playing monopoly!
12/3/18 - 18/3/18
  • I found out I'd made it into the Dorset Team Spring and Christmas fairs, and a Rainbows and Stars Market Night on Facebook (all with my Gifting Moon shop). It made me feel super excited as it's always good to have things to work towards! I also wanted to design some new things for them so it made me do lots of drawing this week!
  • The positive feeling encouraged me to start a brand rep search on Instagram, something I'd been wanting to do for over a year. I was basically asking if anyone wanted free stuff in return for posting photos on Instagram which I could also share on my social media. I just had to hope someone would apply...
  • The end of the week was taken over by party preparations for my daughter's 10th birthday. We were planning games and crafts, and cleaning the house, and shopping, for days!
  • It also snowed again at the end of the week, so we had some more fun playing outside in it!

19/3/18 - 25/3/18
  • The 19th was actually my daughter's birthday, and my sister was here for it. We played board games and ate too much!
  • Okay, don't judge me, but A LOT of this week was spent binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix. We watched 2 whole seasons in about 4 days, me and my sister even stayed up until 3am on the last night she was here so we could finish season 2. Warning: this programme is addictive! I kept up with my orders for the week just fine, but I didn't get much forward-planning done.
  • This is also the week I completely failed at #MarchMeetTheMaker. I decided not to worry about it too much, and not to try and catch up, because it would just stress me out.
  • I made a snap-decision to try Fiver Friday for the first time, offering a mug for £5 instead of the usual £8. I didn't get any orders from it though. I will need to try again and maybe build-up to it a bit more beforehand.
  • I made (with the help of my husband) some new stock for The Etches Collection in Kimmeridge. It was t-shirts, which is something new for us to make. They were hard to make but looked awesome in the end.
26/3/18 - 1/3/18
  • This week my Etsy shops seemed to have tumbleweed blowing through them - just 4 very small sales. This wasn't too bad, as through my Happy Scatter shop I had lots of stencils to cut for the Lollipop Box Club, a craft subscription box that regularly ask me to make items for the kits.
  • When I wasn't cutting stencils I was spring-cleaning the house as we had family visiting for Easter. I even cleaned the oven and scrubbed lots of corners of cupboards and the shower and things. My house looked quite shiny by the time our guests arrived!
What did you get up to in March? Don't forget to let the Dorset Team know about your successes (and failures if you need some advice or comiseration!) via the forum, FB group, or by tagging #DorsetTeam on social media.

Don't forget to join us next week for the next in our Business Branding series!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Dorset Team Spring Fair - HexNex

Our Dorset Team Spring Fair is fast approaching, it is being held on Saturday 5th May at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne. 

It is going to be a fantastic day with 60+ stalls run by Dorset Team sellers. Over the past few weeks we have been featuring different stallholders who will be attending. 

This week it is Laura from HexNex Jewellery who sells handmade, stylish, silicone teething necklaces for mums to wear and babies to interact with. 

HexNex jewellery began when Laura was on maternity leave with her eldest son. She says “I quickly discovered (as do most Mums) that jewellery was no longer an option! I began to look for something that was “baby-proof”. Teething necklaces were popular overseas but there wasn’t much available in the UK so Laura decided to design and create her own. She was made redundant shortly before returning to work so decided to take this as a sign and give her business a chance to be her full time job. 

“It's been 18 months and I have never looked back since! HexNex recently celebrated 1000 Etsy sales and every single order means the world to me as I'm always grateful people have chosen to purchase from my store. Our range is constantly being updated and we are inspired by the seasons, the current colour trends and all sorts of other random things around us! The jewellery is the perfect accessory for breastfeeding, baby wearing and teething with BPA free silicone which is safe to chew on and offering an alternative for fiddly little hands to pulling Mum's hair or scratching her skin.”

Please do put the date for the Dorset Team Spring Fair in your diary and head along to meet Laura and see the full range of her products. 

More information about the fair can be found here:

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Social Media Special - Instagram

Hello! It's time for another Social Media Special!

Today we are going to take a look at Instagram...

Do you use Instagram? Do you know that we have a Dorset Team Instagram Account where we share team member's Instagram pictures? You can see it here:

For those of you who are new to Instagram....

Instagram Basics:

  • Instagram is for sharing photos or short videos. You can write captions too - to tell a story or talk about the photo / video
  • People will discover the photos you share by following you, or by looking at hashtags within captions or comments
  • Viewers can 'like' photos by clicking the heart icon below your photo, or they can comment by clicking the speech bubble, share with someone else by clicking the paper aeroplane icon, or save it to their 'collection' by clicking the flag (only they can see their collections)
  • You can link to other social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, to make it easy to share your photo on them too
  • It's possible to tag Instagram accounts in the photo, so you could encourage your customers to tag your account if they share a photo of your product
  • You could also have a hashtag that customers and you can use to share photos of your items. Make sure no one is using the hashtag already - and try not to make it too long, so it's not hard for customers to remember it and type it in
  • You can send people a private message if you follow them
  • There are also Instagram stories - a bit like snapchat (if you've heard of that) - these are videos (which can consist of photos too), which are portrait-style and will only appear in your 'story' for 24 hours after you've uploaded them. Viewers can access these by clicking on the little circles at the top of their Instagram feed, or by clicking on your profile photo
  • Instagram also has 2 apps - 'Boomerang' and 'Hyperlapse' to help you create short videos to post to your profile or your story
  • Instagram is rolling out the ability to tag products in your Instagram, so people can see how much the items costs, with a link to buy it. You need to have a Facebook shop for this to work

You can see a guide to getting started on Instagram here:

Other things to note:

When you normally open Instagram, you see your 'feed' - the photos that have been shared by the accounts you follow. Photos don't appear chronologically in this feed - they will be sorted by an algorithm that looks at a variety of things, for example how often you've 'liked' photos by that account. However Instagram have announced they are trying out a 'new posts' feature which should give more control on how to view your feed.

There is currently no ability to schedule Instagram photos straight in the app, but you can do it now through some scheduling sites like Hootsuite.

You can't re-share photos directly through Instagram, but you can get apps which make it easier to do this e.g. 'Repost' or 'Regram'. The opinion on the etiquette of sharing photos seems to differ  - but generally you can re-post a photo without fear of being told off if it's been tagged to include you, or if the person says in the description of the photo or their profile that they don't mind it being shared. If in doubt you can comment on the photo or  message them to ask!

If you feel overwhelmed...

If all that information scares you, don't worry! We will be looking at certain things, like Instagram Stories, in more depth in the future! For now just jump in and get started. Create an account if you haven't already, and share a photo. It can be of you / your workspace / a work in progress / a finished product / a photo of where you live... etc! Make sure you follow the Dorset Team Instagram Account and don't forget to use the #DorsetTeam hashtag so your photo might get featured on the Dorset Team account!

Next month for the Social Media Special we will be taking a look at the basics of Facebook and how it can help your business. If you missed last month's look at Twitter you can see it here:

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Dorset Team Spring Fair - Made by Swimmer

This week we are continuing our featured stallholders series by sharing another stall who will be joining us for the Dorset Team Spring Fair. 

This week the stall is Made by Swimmer which is run by Sue and Jo Thomas, two sisters based in Bournemouth who sell quirky soft toys and cushions. 

“We are two sisters who work collaboratively to design and make a range of unique and original soft animal toys and animal inspired cushions. We pride ourselves on using as much recycled fabrics in our work.”

Three things you should know about Sue and Jo in their own words:

“Our animals make people laugh”
“Neither of us are very good swimmers”
 “We have a dog called Elsie and a cat called Aggie”

Please put Saturday 5th May in your diary and head down to Wimborne for our Dorset Team Spring Fair where you can meet Sue and Jo and see their unique creations. There will also be 60+ other stalls by local designer-makers and sellers. 

More information about the event can be found here: