Category Archives: Web Stuff

It’s been a while…

Well, it’s been a while since I wrote anything on here, well, this is my first blog of the year. Happy New Year!

Basically I’ve been far too busy actually living my life than writing about it…

We’ve restructured Spiny a bit, pulled back from some market commitments that weren’t really making us money and are concentrating more on our online business. While we are still very much the collective of loony old bints, we are also going to be featuring the work of other makers. We’ve each developed our own brands a bit, as we all have our solo careers as well as the band!

I’m going great guns with Seirian, and Pauline is developing her Wovenstone collection of wire wrapped minerals and semi precious stones. Sally has the sense to use her own name… Her macrame work is just fabulous.

Our next big show is at the end of this month, Made in the Valleys at the Rhondda Heritage Park. We’ll be upstairs in the Conference Room, right by the cafe :-)

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Branded

Well. Things of the Spiny Sharkly variety have taken off better than I could have hoped for. I’ve been officially in business for twelve weeks now, and I’m happy to say that Spiny is turning a profit :-) Sales are good at the Heritage Park Hotel, online and on the stall when we’re on the road, so I’m glad I jumped in at the deep end and started the company.

When I first started, I wasn’t sure it would work anywhere near this well, so for business cards I just picked one of the free Vistaprint designs, white with purple flowers and butterflies. Cos it was free. But having been out and about, I count maybe a quarter of the cards I have seen have been the same design, so it was definitely time to change to something different. Still purple, still got butterflies, but unique to Spiny Sharkly Things this time. I’ve gone for a vintage-y look, as it goes with the stall’s “emporium” like feel, and I hope you like it as much as I do. And I’d like to say a huge thank you to Maggy Corkhill of mecreative for coming up with our new motto, “Turning Art Into Metal” – genius!

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Getting myself out there

One of the annoying (or is it brilliant?) things about being bipolar is that you feel invincible one day and totally overwhelmed by everything the next. When I’m invincible, I’ll walk into random (but appropriate) shops, galleries, hotels etc and try to sell my jewellery, services or whatever. I can deal with any question about what I do and come across as really confident and go-getting. As anyone who has worked in sales will tell you, the deal rarely gets signed in first meetings, and you need to be diligent in following up promising visits with phone calls and further face to face conversation. Unfortunately I’m a bit rubbish at this when I’m in a low part of my cycle and put it off until I’m feeling invincible again, by which time that red hot lead is stone cold. So today I have given myself a veritable kick up the arse, made some phone calls and now I have got a Spiny Sharkly Things stall at a school fete in ten days time (and at their Christmas bash), a good spot at the Roath Craft Market next month and a foot in the door at a nearby hotel where they showcase and sell work by local designer-makers such as myself. All I need to do now is follow up a visit I made to a shop in Treorchy and I’ll have tied up my current loose ends. I should have called in when I did my banking yesterday, but I chickened out :-( Again. Still three out of four isn’t bad!


Business in Focus? Out of focus, more like!

Well. I went on an introductory course last week for people thinking of starting their own business. Funded by the Welsh Government and provided by a private company, Business in Focus, I came home fired up as a result of the advice I’d been given. Turns out most of it was misleading at best and total bollocks at worst.

So I thought I’d write this as a little warning to other startups to triple check any advice they get on similar schemes. ESPECIALLY advice relating to tax and the HMRC, as this is where they got it spectacularly wrong.

I was told quite specifically that I could claim 45p a mile for the first 10,000 miles of any business mileage and they would actually give me money up to the full £4500 limit. This is BOLLOCKS. You can claim 45p a mile as relief on the income tax you’d be paying.

The bloke said if you work from home you can claim 20% of your household utility bills back from HMRC. Guess what. All BOLLOCKS. If you don’t have a dedicated room set aside for your business, there are very complicated calculations based on the hours you work and how many rooms you have, or you can just claim four quid a week. As relief.

They also told us that if you don’t take any income from your business, and leave the money within it, the profits aren’t taxable. Big, fat, HAIRY BOLLOCKS.

So following a very interesting chat with a lovely if slightly scary lady from HMRC this morning, I just thought I’d share my experiences with you. Two things are certain in this life: death and taxes. These courses are all very well, but check, check and check again that the advice they give you is accurate. I made a point of clarifying everything that the tutor said with him afterwards regarding my particular circumstances, and he firmly said that I could basically claim several thousand pounds a year back from the Inland Revenue even if I wasn’t making enough to pay tax. That HMRC would pay me to sit in my shed and play with my toys.

So if something seems to good to be true, is invariably is. I wonder if they are giving people false information so that they go ahead and start a business to make the economy look better than it really is? New business startups mean we’re turning the corner out of recession; and then there’s the people pressured into starting up by the Job Centre, which reduces the unemployment figures.

Or maybe I’m just being cynical.

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Thanks for the support – please keep it coming!

Well, after all the procrastinating, I did it. I am now a self-employed sole trader with my own business and am officially trading as such.

So thank you for all your encouragement and support, please keep it coming!

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All official.

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If you read my blog avidly, then I apologise for not writing much recently. If you don’t, then you probably haven’t noticed!

Life is quite busy just now, as well as finally finishing my online gallery I’ve been on a Welsh government sponsored small business startup course, which has proved to be very thought provoking. It’s made me realise that it’s time to either, er, “perform” or get off the pot, as they say. So, having spoken to some other designer-maker friends in the area, I’ve decided to make the leap and go properly, officially, self employed. Exciting times (and I suspect some deeply tedious, paperwork based ones too) ahead!


Moonlighting with Pirates

Not been able to do anything in the jewellery line today because I’ve been busy getting Beardy’s enterprise, Pirate Genes online across the usual social media. He’s selling vintage and designer clothes at very non piss-taking prices; mostly online but also at the occasional bike rally or craft market. The site is a bit minimal at the moment, but do click over there for a look! You can like it on Facebook or follow things on Twitter @pirate_genes :-)

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Rebuilding the Shops

I. Really. Hate. Technology. But love it at the same time. I love it when it does what it’s supposed to! My iPhone crashed totally this evening and I was bereft for the half hour or so it took me to get it up and running again.

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I’ve totally revamped our eBay shop now, and am adding items as I photograph them. It’s taking a while but please bear with me on this one! The Etsy shop is going great guns, so is the best place to find more of our shinies. hopefully it will be easier to find things and I can link photos in the gallery to where you can buy them. We’re getting there…


Squaring the Virtual Circle

I’ve almost finished linking my online empire together, but I suspect it may disintegrate any time soon.  Spiny Sharkly Things has a Facebook page too, so do hit the “Like” button and make us feel loved!  Click the logo below to pay us a visit.

Click here to visit our Facebook page!


Wrangling eBay

Yet another day of laptop bashing, I am very tempted to put the damn thing on the anvil and hit it hard with a hammer now.  eBay is still being annoying, making you sign in again at every move – and if you have a super-secure and complicated password like I do, this is proving to be a monumental pain in the arse.  I’ve finally come up with a design for our eBay shop banner that both Beardy and I can agree on, the main bone of contention seemed to be his opinion that there is such a thing as too much purple.  Humph.

Click here to visit my eBay shop! Although there's more on Etsy, cos it's behaving itself :-)

Progress is slow… but progressing! With any luck, webgods permitting, I might actually be able to get on with some real life creativity that produces actual THINGS.  Watch this space…


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