Creativity & Tips

Northern Craft Summer Fair & More Market Tips

My last stall with Northern Craft went really well, in fact it proved to be the most successful stall I have ever traded at. I was surprised and so pleased. I was always wondering why I never had as successful a trading day as my first ever stall with Camberwell Arts but I finally overtook my personal best with my Northern Craft stall. Growing my business is paramount so I have been reflecting on why it was a success – I made three changes to my stall and I have no doubt they made a huge difference to my fortune on the day.


New card reader

I made an impromptu decision to buy a card reader few days before the market, which arrived just in time – minutes before we left for Leeds! I printed out a ‘we accept cards’ sign and placed it at eye level on my stall. I didn’t miss out any sales from people that liked my products but didn’t have the cash, because they could simply pay by card – and contactless too! And when I looked at my sales figures the next day, card sales accounted for two thirds of my sales, both in terms of revenue and number of individual purchases. I think this may be the biggest reason why this stall was successful.

More greeting cards

People love greeting cards. My card display rack was always quite bare in the past, and this time I had more greeting cards, enough to completely fill the display rack. I ran a 4-for-£10 offer and my cards flew off the shelves.

Add more height to my stall

I had a bit of height in my previous stall by arranging some framed art on boxes, but I eventually decided they are not tall enough! So I invested in three wooden boxes from IKEA and stacked them up. I think my stall looked a lot more exciting than before. I filled the boxes with some Observers’ books, notepads, and a framed original (which I sold!) I know it made a difference as there were positive remarks about them from the visitors.


Northern Craft market had such a great attendance with really engaged visitors and a buzzing atmosphere (with a bar on the floor below!) which definitely contributed to my stall success. Their promotion before the event was effective too. The (very reasonable) stall fee has turned out to be worthwhile in the end.

I said getting a new card reader may be the biggest reason why this stall was successful and it will be interesting to see if it is still useful when I do more markets between now and Christmas. I have four or maybe five markets lined up, including Northern Craft in October!

I hope you find my notes useful. I have written my market tips in those posts if you haven’t read yet:

Ways To Improve Your Next Market Stall
My Stall With The London Artisan

Have you sold your products in the market before? How do you make it a success?

What I’ve Learnt Being Creative Every Day For A Year

In 2016 I created more art than ever in a year – so much that it is taking over my storage space, and my shop is overflowing with originals! I found that developing a habit of creating daily is extremely beneficial in many ways and I want to keep producing art as much as I can.

I wrote a post on what I’ve learnt being creative every day for 6 months, but now it is the new year, I want to impart the most important lessons I’ve learnt after a whole year of creating daily.

The more you create, the better your work gets

With every single piece you create, you learn and improve and better understand your skills and what you are capable of. You become braver and more confident in experimenting, and less afraid of failures. Thus your work gets better and better as you create more and push your own boundaries a little bit more with each piece.

It gets easier to get started

For many, including myself, getting started is the hardest part of creative process.

I would love to be able to wake up and feel super motivated every single day forever but it is not always like that – I have some good spells, and some bad spells. But when you are committed, you have to go and make – even if you don’t feel like it. Staying in the habit and being disciplined gets easier over time.

As Mark Twain put it –

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” 

But remember to take a break!

There will be times when you feel stagnant and run out of inspiration, and you risk burning out if you push yourself too hard. Taking a day off, working on something different, or going out for a long walk gives you a chance to reflect, feel inspired again, and give your work a fresh pair of eyes.

At other times, you might be overwhelmed by inspiration and impatient to get all your ideas down on paper! I often want to just sprint to the finish line. I sometimes found myself working days and nights in 2016, so much that I wore myself out physically – affecting my creativity in the long run, because it takes time to recover. Learn when to stop and be patient with yourself. Keep all of your ideas written down and prioritise them.


To those who followed my daily art journey last year, I think it is clear that being creative daily had a big impact on my creativity, skills, and mental health. I am lucky to be a full time artist with some of time in between commissions to focus on my own projects but I know this isn’t the case for everyone. Ultimately, what makes you a better artist is not necessarily being creative every single day, but finding the courage to explore, overcome fears, and make art when you can.

How To Support Small Businesses Over Christmas (And All Year Round)

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Christmas time is coming! Every year I try to shop with small businesses for presents for my family and friends. Christmas is always a critical time of year for small businesses, so here are my tips on how to support them over Christmas, and all year round, of course!

Buy from them

The simplest and most direct way to support small businesses is to buy from them rather than from big businesses that mass produce their goods. When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.

Store their business cards

When you get their business cards via an order or stalls, remember to keep their business cards safe so you can look them up whenever you need to buy gifts. I keep and organise all of the business cards I’ve picked up all these years and go through them every time I needed a gift. It certainly helps me to shop small rather than relying on the high street shops you see every day.

Celebrate them

Retweet their tweets, share their Facebook page, regram their Instagram pictures and bring them up in your blog or better yet, when you see your friends. Keep them in the know that you are supporting them by tagging them and using their dedicated hashtag if there is any.

Share your purchases

Take pictures of your purchases from small businesses and share on them on social media. Word of mouth exposure on social media helps small businesses a lot, helping to build their brand and creating sales. Don’t forget to tag appropriately!

Let them know

A person (or a team) behind a small business sometimes needs encouragment and a boost of confidence, so show them that they are being acknowledged and loved. It doesn’t take long to pop them a short email expressing your love for their creations. You can even send them a quick tweet too! Don’t be shy – they will truly appreciate it.

Engage with them

Especially on Instagram, where engagement matters. If you can, comment and engage. Tag your friends you think will like the certain products. It is easy to forget that (I am guilty of this!) but try to quote retweet instead of just retweet, or do both! Facebook makes it difficult for small businesses to reach their audience so make efforts to visit their page and comment on their posts.

Do you have more tips? Share in the comments! I’d like to know your favourite small businesses too :)

Keeping Sketchbooks

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I’ve just finished my fifth sketchbook. This time last year, I realised that even though I had been an artist for as long as I could remember, I had never properly owned a sketchbook – I was a hardcore perfectionist back then, so if I messed up a drawing in my sketchbook I’d tear the page off and eventually gave up with the idea of owning a sketchbook.

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What I’ve Learnt Being Creative Every Day For 6 Months

Last year, if you asked me if I could be creative every day, I’d laugh and tell you that I usually create something once weekly or sometimes fortnightly and that I couldn’t possibly find time to being creative every day.

Now I realise I would have been lying.

I can be creative every day. I’ve done it. I have a huge pile of paintings to prove and I look at it with amazement, I wonder why it is so often that I beat myself up for being a rubbish artist – I get up and paint for me every day, even if I have paid work to do on that day. I do realise now that I need to believe in myself and remind myself that constantly.

Why am I doing this? Discovering Crystal Moody and her inspiring lifetime project last year, I was always thinking how amazing it is to be able to paint every day and that I couldn’t possibly do that – I have a business to run…I have commissions to do…I have lots of things to do.

Toward the end of the year, I was beginning to realise that it is possible to be creative every day like Crystal, if I simply find time. Just an hour of my time. I could wake up an hour earlier. I could find an hour to paint instead of watching TV in the evenings. I could organise my day better or work smarter so I have an hour to spare.

That is it. It is already 6 months. And I am not finished. I am making this my lifetime project too. I am not finishing the year putting my paintbrush down. No way. It is a great habit to have.

Of course, it is not all perfect. I struggled. I bunked off a few days. I doubted myself. And this is okay. We are human beings. We need to cut ourselves some slack. The main thing is that I keep learning and grow as an artist.

These are what I’ve learnt in the last 6 months:

  • You get more comfortable with your own creative skills – the more you create, the better your work gets. If it doesn’t, keep going and reflecting.
  • Your mood and stress improves over time while you keep creating.
  • You understand yourself more, and what you love. You notice the recurring theme in your work and better appreciate whatever it is.
  • You connect with and inspire people when you share your daily creations, even if you are unhappy with what you made. Your work couldn’t be more natural and authentic.
  • You realise you are not perfect but it is okay. Embrace your imperfections!
  • You get braver with getting started and using new materials.
  • You get fewer and fewer burnouts. You really get into a creative habit – it is no longer a chore.
  • You feel guilty for skipping few days. You look back what you’ve done so far and stop punishing yourself. Then when you skip a day again, you smile and carry on.

My mental health isn’t the greatest this year, but without creating I could be worse off. Creativity is keeping me sane and I don’t think I’ve really realised how it is good for my mental and emotional health until recently.

I’ve had people telling me – “You are so talented, I wish I could paint like you and I can’t paint.” Thank you but you can. Just go and start. You don’t need to be talented to be an artist.

Learn more about me and my daily art here.