A distinctly different Kettle of Fish
There’s no mistaking Karen Lydiat’s jewellery. With one of her ranges featuring vintage prints of bumble bees, butterflies and bugs, she’s an entomologist’s dream! Setting up her hand-crafted jewellery business, Kettle of Fish, in Sheffield over the last year can’t have been easy in the current climate, but here’s the story of one creative lass who’s really given it a go.
Kettle of Fish started as a tentative step into the world of selling online in June 2009. My chosen platform was Folksy, an online marketplace for UK handmade goods – which also just happens to be based in Sheffield! I chose Folksy as it had a very friendly face and didn’t seem as daunting as Etsy, its American equivalent. Selling through a marketplace like Folksy is a great way to start out. The fees and commission are really low so you really don’t have much to lose, there’s a supportive community of fellow makers, and the Folksy admin team are really responsive.
A unique vintage identity
Kettle of Fish products have a strong identity, and they’re not everyone’s cup of tea! My inspiration comes from old engravings, museum cabinets, Observer books, Victorian scraps and from being a compulsive hoarder of lovely things. The collections have a vintage feel and a precious quality that appeals to men and women for practical or purely decorative use.
Sheffield’s craft scene
Over the last few months I have ventured into the world of craft fairs and ‘bricks and mortar’ shops. Craft fairs are a great way to take that first step and give you a chance to talk to your customers and get feedback from them. Sheffield is very lucky to have Craft Candy on our doorstep. They organise regular craft fairs at great venues and do loads of publicity for them. Selling through shops is more of a shock to the system as you start having to pay up to 50% commission on sales (Folksy only take 5%), but it helps to get your work out to a wider audience and really makes you think about whether you are pricing realistically and likely to make any amount of profit.
I’ve found Twitter and Facebook really useful for getting to know people and find out what’s going on out there. I saw so many exciting new businesses around and decided to offer a piece of my jewellery to a select few for them to giveaway. With my new range of tea-related jewellery, Tea Box Online was one of them, and within a week of my initial contact we were talking serious collaboration! Luckily for me, they immediately felt that Kettle of Fish’s vintage china and teapot brooches would work well on their website and offered me the opportunity to sell through a new gift section, even suggesting gift-wrapped sets of their wonderful tea with a tea-related brooch.
Tea Box will have their gift section of the website up and running just in time to provide the perfect Valentine’s gift for that special someone who’s “just your cup of tea!” Kettle of Fish will be at the next Craft Candy fair on Saturday 26th March at the Millennium Gallery. It’s early days but it feels like there’s great potential there!Tags: craft, jewellery, Kettle of Fish, vintage