You know how the old saying goes,
"Men are like wine - some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age"
And so does timeless decor.
Just like magpies, it is our intuitive desire to feel a powerful sense of attraction towards opulent possessions - yet they lack those human characteristics that are present within us all. With that said, we can infinitely connect with vintage items; as they are merely seeping with stunning imperfections which are bespoke to every one of us.
That's why we adore vintage furniture and decor!
Of course, it's always exciting buying new furniture for your home (why wouldn't it be?) but we do not always stumble upon what we've been dreaming of when looking for the perfect pieces to accommodate our tastes ...but hey- That's the ultimate beauty of revitalizing your furniture!
It's truly a heart-warming experience designing your own furnishings for your home, with the faith that they'll flaunt off your lovely abode effortlessly. All it takes is some simple tweaks and heaps of imagination! Oh, and an eye for design also comes into play! But hard-work pays off and you will fall in love with your stunning results over lifetimes.
Alas, not many people have a true interest in such furnishings. But why not?
Is it because it's just easier to buy a fresh product when they need it? Is it because they have to wait several weeks for their products to be completed? Maybe they do not know of a place where they offer unique refurbishments? Or perhaps the olde-worlde trend is not quite their cup of tea?
With a bit of encouragement we aim to change their perception on recycling ancient, unloved furniture into the loveliest in town!
Mother Earth is thanking us for it, too!
Unfortunately, it seems that not many people are too keen to become involved in recycling for various different reasons. Mostly because they're oblivious to the slow yet detrimental disintegration of the Earth...OR their laziness shrouds their judgement. (perhaps a discussion for another day) Either way, if we can encourage others to at least re-use their pre-loved furniture that's a huge step into a better world.
And! It can satisfy the artisans too! By incorporating artistic flair into furnishings - not only have we salvaged earth for another day, but we have given a grander meaning to our art! It once again serves as a useful purpose; thus inspiring more artists to consider a similar path!
So, we've agreed that it would be lovely if you shared your pictures with us on our social media sites of your ancient loveables! Better still, if you've had furnishings from our shop that we've refurbished for you then it would be brilliant if you could share your furniture on our Facebook or Twitter page! We need to encourage others to visit our fantastic shop and recycle their once loved furnishings. Please share our blog posts, social media pages and website!
Below I have posted pictures of our stunning refurbishments!
Just a brief message to say-
Our loveliest magpies are always kindly sharing their love for our products -which leaves us Magpie's glowing with such an inspirational buzz. We cannot begin to thank our devotees for their wonderful support, patience and time; you are all truly faithful to our business. As always we adore creating such beautiful and bespoke pieces and we enjoy sharing a little chunk of our world with you all! But it is your unconditional devotion that keeps us on our toes!
A huge thanks
Cuckoo for Chairs
In the words of Aristotle- No great (magpie) mind has ever existed without a touch of madness or should I say a peck of madness...?
The flight of Ellie Magpie began during a sombre yet awakening Spring; in the year of 2012. Our first month of opening was quiet- to say. During the first month, whilst preparing for a life truly guided by the depths of my artisan heart; I concentrated on re-furbishing huge pieces of furniture such as large cabinets and various different storage units. Initially, I planned on using these pieces merely for displaying smaller crafts which I dreamed of creating -but they were also for sale should they have captured any interest.
In the meantime, it happened that a friend of mine had 10 chairs just scattered around his house. Ideally, he desired to refurbish those himself - but with lack of time he generously donated them to our shop. For months the chairs lay untouched; like blissful snowfall during a mystical Winter morning.
A shop named Luci Living Design- which was a shop local to ours had sadly announced that they were closing down, transferring their business and moving on to commercial business. At this time, I was already friends with the lady who owned Luci Living Design and she kindly donated heaps of fabric to us that she no longer needed.
Sadly, we sold only a few pieces of large furniture (which took 18 months) and our dainty little shop wasn't enticing enough temptation from the outside world. By this point, my faith in larger furniture was uncertain and I was beginning to ponder if there was really a high demand for refurbished furniture.
(One of the first pieces of furniture that we re-furbished. Shabby draws with decoupage flowers)
Albeit, I was wrong!
And it was during the year of 2014 that a great divinity placed me on a promising path of ultimate joy! I had heard about the Bolton Food Festival and instantly recognized hidden potential. We all know as lovely as market gatherings are; their atmosphere can sometimes be tedious and APPEAR tedious. Adding to that; the beautiful English weather does not serve as a comfort, particularly during an event hosted outdoors. So, miraculously, a spark of ingenuity hit me. Why not grab the opportunity and try selling vibrant, eye-catching and bespoke chairs at the Bolton Food Market?!
Because we already had a full gazebo, Ryan and I took a hefty quantity of fabrics and chairs to the market and this was the start of patchwork chairs! Whilst we passionately poured our hearts and souls into the refurbishments we had instantly encapsulated the interest of a lovely couple. To our wonder, they had found exactly what they had been dreaming of! Crazy patchwork chairs! Very surprisingly- we were informed that they wanted a table to match too! It was inspiring to find that this couple also wanted a cabinet and several other furniture from us and from there on our range began to expand rapidly.
Several customers were very intrigued by our innovations and even requested that they design their chairs themselves! Be it formal or super wild patchwork. Once we had reached more notoriety, our larger products sold and we received many enquires about personal customization of those also. Tables and chairs from various locations were salvaged and enlivened by the Ellie Magpie Family. Currently, we have 2 couriers working for us as we have an abundance of orders coming (mostly) from online!
To add- we attend artisan shows when we can find a slot. One particular show we have previously sold at was the Royal Cheshire Show and it was there that we also began to experiment with our love for stencils.
(This wonderful stripy table was one of the larger piece featured at the show! We currently have this on display in our shop!)
(Some gorgeous shabby furniture featured here..)
(Follow the white rabbit... Stencil! They looks gorgeous on shabby furniture and add just sprinkle of character!) Photographed at the Cheshire Show!
Ryan loves sanding and distressing products - emphasizing the shabby yet beautifully timeless style- which is highly popular among many of our Magpie devotees. Also, we have created a vintage styled high chair and patch-worked an armchair which is currently used as a display in one of the shop windows.
Pouring our passion into our products is an essential part of why we have successfully sold many unique creations. Whilst creating; we have found that our most popular and demanded fabric for chairs is the Stag head and Pretty Peacocks as they are adequately formal yet still expressive in presence. And they comfortably suit different styles.
(Very popular stag fabric!)
The Wonderful World of Ellie Magpie
Here at Ellie Magpie, we evoke the true soul of vintage into all of our unique and eccentrically crafted products. Each day, our team, passionately pours their hearts and souls into our bespoke and timeless innovations. Constantly inspired, we pride ourselves on our work and enjoy entwining our artistic aspirations and inspirations- as well as an enormous lump of LOVE and CARE- into all of the products that we sell.
At Ellie Magpie, you're guaranteed to stumble upon what you've been dreaming of! The diverse range of products are limitless: from quirky duck chairs, to quaint decorations, to the sophisticated animal cushions and dainty, handmade jewellery for that special someone in your life. During the seasonal holidays, we also create gifts and decorations that are not only bursting with lively, festive spirits but possess unusual characteristics; suited for all types of genders, personalities, ages and interests! And the best part? You can request personal customization of products such as: Baubles, Cushions, Mugs etc..
Did you know that we also love to share our passion for creating with others, so we also provide classes for people to join? Throughout these classes, you could learn how to sew or how to create your own, perfectly handmade innovations...whilst feeling inspired by our team- along your exciting journey. Perhaps you've always desired a hobby, such as sewing, where you can learn and explore your interest further? Well, Ellie Magpie can grant you that opportunity. Just sign yourself up today if you are feeling daring!
You can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @EllieMagpie
Please share this, like and comment. We always glow from your kind-hearted comments about our shop. Thanks Xx.
We'd like to say a HUUUUUUUUUGEEEEE thank you to our darling devotees for all of your support and soul healing words!
Apologies to all of our loveliest Magpies! It's been a while since we've blogged -but we have been relentlessly pouring our hearts and souls into crafting the perfect items for our customers- that we almost forgot about our blog! However, we want to get back into blogging and feel as though by posting a blog every week we could entice a wider interest in our store! Don't worry, we're lovely and we don't peck! (only on a Monday!)
Too many markets?
So; we have had a few bad experiences recently at markets and on this Good Friday eve, when we are about to embark on one of the bigger ones for us of the year, I have been trying to Google the persistent thought that is going through my head and is niggling me like a devil on my shoulder.
Have we had too much of a good thing? Are people fed up of craft markets, vintage fairs, and artisan exhibitions
Craft markets are always a gamble; an exciting and potentially lucrative gamble. There is no better high I know of in my job as a maker than setting up at a show and finding that all the people looking at your work want a piece of it. Those first moments of unpacking your wares and starting to lay out your table and seeing the other traders coming over and coveting your wares, with flashes of ‘stall envy’ in their eyes (I too have been guilty of this!). A crazy-good or even a moderately good show can boost your spirits tremendously. Not only do you suddenly have a wad of working capital in your pocket, you’ve been looking all day at the smiling faces of people who are telling you that your work is lovely and worth money! It’s fantastic. All your incredibly hard work has paid off. Your late nights of frantic making, your tedious repetitive tasks, your careful labelling, your thoughtful packaging. All of it rewarded.
However, when a craft show is a disappointment or washout, not only are your stall fees and hours of your life gone, a bad market can deflate you so fast that it’s hard to remember that it’s not the end of your business. It’s likely not even a reflection on you or your work; it’s probably just that your 'people' did not show up. Sometimes that’s because NO people showed up! You can tell that’s the case if other vendors also say the show is poor for them. You commiserate together; you bemoan the weather, the promoters, the other things going on in the world, the sporting event obviously taking precedence in the potential punters lives. But if other traders are doing fine all around you? That likely means your people are not in this crowd, or….if you let those negative thoughts win; your stuff is RUBBISH!
This has happened to us these past weekends.
In January we painstakingly went through our calendar of market applications for the coming year and chose, for the first time to exhibit with event organisers that have been in the business for several years now and with many successful fairs under their belt.
This first of these fairs would take place in March, at Arley Hall in Cheshire. We also made bookings to exhibit at a couple of markets in January and February, and planned the rest of the year too
The couple of smaller markets prior to Arley Hall weren't fantastic. One of these we have attended several times in the past and always managed a successful days trading there. The other was an unknown quantity, but the stall cost was low and it appeared to be well advertised. Both of these markets were a disappointment. Both were well marketed, well attended with a wide mix of stallholders selling hundreds of unique products. Unfortunately, both of these events failed to return much, and speaking with other traders on these days, they had a similar story to tell. Two markets in and the horrible feeling of over marketuration (markets saturation!) starts to take a hold. If we had so much choice about which markets to exhibit at, then so did the customers in which to attend. Are they special anymore or can one pop to a market, fair or such on any given weekend? Have they replaced the High Street? How many non essential luxuries do people want or need? How much can they afford? How long before they are no longer luxury?
On the other hand perhaps we'd just had an unlucky couple of days. We tried not to let these setbacks get us down too much and got everything ready for Arley Hall.
The weather wasn't on our side for this particular weekend. It was wet and pretty cold when we arrived, but we got on with setting up our wares as usual. This was about as good as the entire weekend got. Sales on Saturday were non-existent, and whilst Sunday improved slightly, the whole weekend was a washout. (In every sense!) - We didn't even cover the stall fees.
At markets like this, you can start to feel really bad about what you are offering for sale. And the sinking feeling you experience when it becomes clear that each sale will be hard fought for and rare is just so dispiriting. You try not to indulge in fantasies, but your expectations can get so high ahead of a market.
We could see that other stallholders weren't having super days but they didn’t seem to be having the awful day we were. We sat there and tried to puzzle out why. The main thing was we just didn’t see as many of ‘our’ people in the crowd. The people who did brave the weather, weren’t the usual clientele you find at this kind of event
In the end we managed to keep our spirits up by getting out a bag of clay and sculpting a range of small clay animals, and because we know deep down that not every show is a winner. Sure, we felt bruised. You work just as hard for a bad payday as a good one and it’s very hard work. We really liked our market neighbours, super people with great attitudes who were fun to chat with. A weekend markets certainly engenders a bit of backstage camaraderie.
Now the feelings are back again - have our people gone? Do they not come to the markets anymore? Are people only interested if they can buy it from Tesco?
Some specific things I do to keep my head up when a market is not going well:
- Smile and be cheerful and relaxed toward everyone who stops to looks at your wares, tell them you are doing great when they ask. It will absolutely not help to appear desperate or grumpy. (Of course you can vent quietly to friends and fellow makers so you don’t go insane, but try not to broadcast it) - Try this, it is hard.
- Remind yourself over and over that ‘your' people did not come to this show. Does your work sell well elsewhere? Online? In shops? Then you have the right people, they just didn’t shop at this market. Or at least not this year. Or this isn’t the right season for your goods. - So many wrongs, it can be hard to see any right
Note: If you hate doing markets you will probably not do well at them. But that’s OK; you don’t have to do them at all! It’s not a requirement. When we talk to the other traders you’d be hard pressed to believe that this isn’t the truth but really, who doesn’t like earning money! It’s the days when it just ain’t coming in that can make even the most cheerful and light hearted of trader turn.
- Take a look at all that inventory that you've built up! Yay, you can still sell it; stock your online shop, or just be ready for the next market.
- Drink. I’m sort of kidding. (But not really). All those artisan beers are hard to resist. Just the one in the afternoon mind, to support the other traders of course! But otherwise we take advantage of the trader discount on the teas. (Some places don’t even offer this - but that’s another story) What I mean is, do something nice for yourself afterwards. Take a night off you workaholic! Tomorrow you can unpack and reassess. Plan your next move. Use the experience to spur you to make changes, up your game. That’s what I’m doing! I’m speeding up development of new products. Our next market starts tomorrow for three days, over a bank holiday too, AND with forecasted ’nice’ weather. I am going to kick ass! – Well I guess we’ll let you know!
We are resurrecting our blog after having some issues with the old Wordpress one. Our first 'official' post will be an older post which we have managed to save from the old blog about some of our market experiences. I hope you all enjoy!
Wow, it's been so long since I wrote the last blog post. I have almost forgotten how to do it!
So, it's been a busy year and a very happy one - so many lovely new people in the shop and many taking part in all the classes and courses we have to offer!
Thanks to all those who have supported us in our first year!
So, to let you know what's coming up at Elliemagpie in the near future!
Ellie Couture is our new venture of all things pretty and beautiful - handcrafted headbands, brooches and hair pins.
Prices range from £2.95 to £14.95 and are all available on the website: http://www.elliemagpie.co.uk/collections/handmade-ellie-couture
These are just a selection of the products available and we use fabrics, trims, beads, buttons and lace to create these floral delights.
These are some of the headbands, modelled by the lovely Lucy.
We can make the headbands to your specifications too. If there is a wedding or prom or important 'do' you have planned then let us help you design something stunning to make you stand out from the crowd!
And these are some of the brooches and hairpins (they can be used for both) again these make a lovely gift - perhaps for Mother's Day? and we can make to order too!
The Old Laundrette is a new brand from Elliemagpie. Focusing on mixed media art created from the dreams and whimsies of mind and the touch and texture of vintage findings and fabrics. The work represents some of Elliemagpie's true creative flow and a good portion of the magpie within.
Always something new to look at and a different perspective to take; these hanging collages and mini canvases are brought together to tell a story on fabric bases.
Elliemagpie works with vintage fabric, vintage lace, buttons, mirrors, paper, card, stamps, feathers, ribbon, wood, buttons, diamantes, gems and metal findings to create these collages and each piece is unique and never to be repeated!
Mini Collages are priced at just £9.95 each and make lovely gifts.
The books are incredibly detailed and retail at £25 - something new to look at each time you open them!
The wallhangings are collages of many different mini artworks and are available at £75.
Many of you will have seen some of the industrial inspired coat racks and hooks we have instore. These have proved popular and we now also have some reclaimed wood shelving in. I source all the bits and pieces for these creations and my wonderful Dad puts them all together for me!
Here are a selection of the ones we still have available.
These are priced from £35 and can be posted for a courier fee of £9.95.
So comments and ideas welcome and please share with friends who you think might like Elliemagpie!
Remember everything is available online www.elliemagpie.co.uk and I am only a phone call away in the shop! 0161312 0934