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A Magical Day at Artcore’s Winter Wonderland in Derby

Amidst the festive cheer at Artcore’s Winter Wonderland in Derby, our handmade macramĂ© stall is just one facet of the vibrant artistic tapestry on display. The fair is a celebration of community spirit, providing a platform for local artisans to showcase their talents. As visitors weave through the stalls, they are met with a diverse range of artworks and crafts, each telling its own story of creativity and dedication.

From mesmerizing paintings to intricately crafted sculptures, the fair is a kaleidoscope of artistic expression. While our macramé creations have garnered attention for their intricate designs, the overall experience is enriched by the myriad of artistic wonders on display.

We’re grateful to be part of a community that embraces and celebrates creativity. Artcore’s Winter Wonderland is a fabulous event. If you find yourself in Derby, come immerse yourself in this festive celebration of handmade wonders and artistic brilliance.

Some excellent photographs of the occasion can be seen here:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10160735872960090&id=518220089&mibextid=WC7FNe

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Google Categories for a Store Like This?

Windchime Cord n Craft Logo

Hi everyone.

Can anyone help me with a question?

It seems Google try to categorise web pages but I’m struggling to find a good Google category to list our Macramé Gifts online store.

The closest I’ve found is /Home & Garden/Decor

The problem is that a lot of online listings, such as Pinterest, want the category to be fully defined and since this Decor category has many sub categories (none of which make sense for Macrame) then I’m a bit stuck.

Any thoughts on the category you’d use for this:

https://windchimecordncraft.com/shop/

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How the Online Store was Created

Introduction

Since going live we have received a few questions about how the online store was created. It really wasn’t that painful. A number of service providers and free tools make the whole process reasonably straight forward. Hopefully, this post might be of interest to those that are thinking about setting up something similar.

Hosting

The first decision was how to host the site. In other words, which company would we chose that offer website server space and the necessary tools to run the site? There are lots of them out there ranging from those they provide a step by step solution for getting a store up and running like IONOS and SquareSpace to others which expect a little more hands on effort like Hostinger or HostPapa. There are lots of pros and cons to each of the options . In the end we went for Hostinger for a few reasons:

  • We’ve used them before for hosting personal websites such as my brother’s walking group: OwdCodgersOnTour
  • Having used them before we knew their servers were reliable and fast
  • They are reasonably priced
  • Their tools offer a lot of control of how the website looks and works
  • Their package provides easy access to the domain name you want (ie you get to chose exactly what the web address will be)
  • The package comes with SSL certificate (essential for getting that little lock symbol in the address bar to ensure the connection is secure)

We wanted our own name in the URL and needed the site to be secure


There were of course even easier solutions. Some online stores have options offering the whole package where all you really do is to enter details of what you are selling. Examples like Ebay and Etsy come to mind. We did create an Etsy store and the advantage there was that there is no initial cost and setup is pretty straight forward. The downside is that they do charge quite a high percentage for every sale you make. You can also find yourself in amongst hundreds of similar shops, making it quite a challenge for you to stand out from the rest. A shop on Etsy will look great though and can perform very well. In our case it didn’t quite hit the mark.

Website Building Tools

Our next decision was which tools would we use to help build the site? Many of the hosting companies have the more popular tools (or perhaps more correctly ‘Content Management Systems’) already setup and ready to go. For example Joomla and WordPress. Previous experience of Joomla websites being hacked put us off that option a bit so we went with WordPress. Handily, the Hostinger package makes it really easy to start up a WordPress website too.


WordPress is widely used for building both commercial and personal websites. According to their website they are the most popular

E Commerce

So armed with a hosting package (Hostinger) and a website builder tool (WordPress) we needed to review the options for creating an actual shop rather than simply a website. In our case the decision was really easy. Woocommerce integrates seamlessly with WordPress making it really straight forward to enter products, keep control of stock, print invoices and handle payments. Really quickly, we were able to setup a test shop that was able to handle Mastercard, Via, PayPal, Google Pay and ApplePay without any hassle. Behind the scenes, WooCommerce handles the payments through Stripe and this makes it simple to handle the card transactions including dealing with refunds. Rather than the quite high commission of shops like Ebay, by using Stripe in WooCommerce your transaction fees are small. For example, the fee for a ÂŁ20 transaction being less than 50p.

Search Engine Optimisation

Another point to note when building a store is that without any visitors it can be a bit pointless. There seems to be a couple of key things that help drive people in the direction of your store. Being recognised by search Engines like Google and having some presence on social media platforms like Facebook. WordPress helps here too. There are various plugins available with simplify things like designing your pages so that Google can index them easily (known as SEO) and also plugins which help automatically push your products out onto Facebook. For the SEO aspect we have used the free version of YoastSEO and to help with the Facebook feed we used Facebook for Woocommerce. The

A final note. WordPress (and most other site building options) make it easy to determine the look and feel of your web site by offering ‘themes’. The themes help with the way items are laid out, colour schemes and text fonts. Some themes are commercial and cost to use whilst others are completely free of charge. Our store currently use a free theme called StoreFront but if thing take off then we may invest in one of the flashy commercial themes.

Feel free to drop us a line via our contact form if you have any questions we might be able to help with.

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Windchime Cord n Craft Open for Business

Introduction

So, after a lot of deliberation, a lot of hiccups and a fair few hours of effort, WindchimeCordnCraft.com is now out there and open for business.

For as long as I can remember my wife has been crafty. Not in the usual definition of the word: “cunning and guileful” but in the sense that there would often be a sewing machine or a ball of cord for making macramĂ©, covering the dining table. Many of the creations would end up adorning our walls or sofas or would sometimes become small gifts for visitors that showed a liking.

Small view of a macramé wall hanging

Inspiration

Inspired by the success of Etsy shops setup by friends and with the encouragement of other creative friends, a decision was made to have a go at setting up a small online store to show off some of the items with the hope that there would be sufficient interest to allow sales of them to fund further crafting activity (and maybe even turn a small profit!)

Snagged image from ColourNCoast Etsy shop

The Etsy shop of a friend that lives by the sea and collects sea glass with which she creates beautiful jewellery. Evidence of her interest in biology sometimes makes its way into some of the creations.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ColourNCoast


Let’s hear how we are doing

We hope to add more items on a regular basis as we start to learn what works and what doesn’t. We’ll make mistakes along the way but hopefully also have some great successes. The important thing is that we learn from you so we would very much appreciate your feedback through our Trust Pilot review page.


Or, if you prefer a less public approach then we also have a feedback form.

For the curious out there that might like to know a little detail about the setup of the shop, we’ll share a post soon. It’s been an interesting and steep learning curve!