Every year there are one or two prompts that leave people a little stumped or are a little more difficult than others, so, I thought it would be a great idea to put together a blog post with some of my ideas and interpretations of the prompts. These are just my ideas and I'm not saying you should follow these! I'd like you to interpret them in your own way! Just think of this as a little help if you are a bit stuck! If you're yet to download the planning sheet pictured above, you can do so by clicking here!
1. Favourite to make
What do you enjoy making the most? Why is it your favourite? Is it the over all design, the process, the reaction from your customers or followers, or is it as simple as the colours or materials used? Perhaps theres a back story?
2. How you started
Why did you become a maker? What got you into it? How many years have you been making for? When did you decide to start selling your makes? Were you creative as a child? Did it begin as a hobby or stem from a gift you were given?
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4. Tools & materials
What do you use to create your masterpieces? Do you have any fancy machines or beautiful materials? Needles and threads? Pots of pens? A well used paint palette? A great big slab of clay? What can't you live without? What do you use on a daily basis?
5. Detail or close up
This is an opportunity to show a specific part of your product or process. Is there a detail you really like adding to a product? Perhaps it's a label, a stamp, or a hidden message. Or maybe a colour, a texture, or even a character singled out from an illustration. Focus on something that could be over looked or something that you particularly like or is special.
6. Full or part time
Do you do this full time? Is it your side hustle? Do you have a full time job to balance too? What do you do when you're not working on your makes? If you're a full time maker, when did you make that jump? Did you feel ready for it? How did you know it was time to go self employed?
7. Less glam side
Let's be Insta-real today! Instagram is usually full of perfectly polished images of an ideal life and we rarely show the less glamorous side! So, what isn't so glam about the area you make in? Is it a dirty job? Are you surrounded by mess? Do you have to wear protective gear? Are the admin to do lists piled high and you don't get to make as much as you want to? Do you spend more time in your pj's than you do in your dungarees and a full face of make up? Perhaps it's all the hours you're putting in during the busy times and running yourself into the ground whilst running a household. It can be so many things!
8. Product range
Show us a product range (or even just a product) and tell us everything there is to know about it. Why did you make it? Why do you like it? Does it have a story? Who is it aimed at? What have people said about it? How long have you made these? Is it a new range? Perhaps it's your best seller. Either way, show off something you've made!
9. Story behind name
Is there a story behind your business name? Does it having meaning? If so, what is it? Why are you called what you are? Have you used your name? That's cool too, why did you go for your name? Have you been known as something else previously?
Tell the world about the maker behind the makes. Who are you? Is it just you? Do you have a team? Introduce yourself. What do you like? Where are you based? Do you have any fun facts?
11. Reducing waste
What are you doing to reduce your impact on the environment? It could be as simple as switching from cello sleeves to eco sleeves or none at all. Perhaps you're trying to buy less plastic. Perhaps, you have some systems in place meaning nothing goes to landfill? Maybe your makes are made from recycled materials? Or maybe you're still in the research stages of it all and are looking at ways you can make a small difference. It doesn't have to be a huge gesture. All the small ones add up to bigger things!
12. Hands at work
Show your hands mid make! What do they do? How hands on are your makes? Perhaps it's as simple as holding a pen or paint brush. Or perhaps they are dry from saw dust or are covered in clay from throwing pots. How do you use them? What do you put them through?
Where do you take your photos? Do you take them or hire a professional? Do you have a set up? Do you balance your makes in a window or use the kitchen table? Do you use a DSLR or do you use your phone? Do you use props? Do you have any fancy backgrounds, hints, tips or tricks?
14. How I learnt
How did you learn your skills? Do you have any formal training? Did you go to University? Did you go to an evening class? Perhaps you're self taught? Did you learn online? Or were you taught by a family member whilst you were growing up?
What keeps you motivated? Do you have any long term goals you're aiming towards? Big or small, they're all valid. Do you have words you live by? Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? What are your dreams and plans? Is there someone or something that keeps you going?
16. Workspace (tidy/mess)
This one is entirely up to you! Are you generally immaculate or are you surrounded by paper, lists, materials, off cuts and chaos! If you're torn over what you want to show, a before and after tidy up could be really interesting! Either way, show what's right for you! Workspaces can be spare bedrooms, offices, sheds, kitchen tables, and even your sofa! It's where ever you get creative! There is no right or wrong for this one.
17. What I’m working on
What are you working today? How many projects have you got on the go? Are you working on new things? Are you making orders? Is it an admin day? Are you scheduling social media? Are you designing? Are you thinking up a new range? What's on your list? Perhaps you're making lists?
18. Mistake or lesson
Are there any valuable mistakes or lessons that you have learnt from? Share your experiences! Perhaps it was a small error but you've never made the same mistake again. Perhaps it was much bigger and it changed the way you work or what you make. From the smallest to the biggest mistakes, there is much we can learn from each other today! Perhaps the mistake turned into a happy accident and it become something new all on it's own! Look at this anyway you wish!
19. Dream collaboration
Are there any makers or small businesses that you dream of working with? Or perhaps you just see your design on a product and are unsure about the collaboration part yet. Or maybe you want to make something for someone else?
20. Design process
What is your process for coming up with new designs? Do you make piles of notes? Are there lots of scribbles and drawings? Are you a big researcher? Are you a serial pinner on Pinterest? How do you choose your colour palettes? Decide on materials? Do you make mood or vision boards? Do you jump straight onto the computer to play with digital ideas and do quick tests? Or do you just simply make it, freestyle it and see where it takes you? What does your design journey look like?
Throwback to whenever you want! Your first product? Your first sale? Your first logo or business name? Your first best seller? Your first market? Your first big decision? The day you got your studio? Anything goes here. It can even be a throwback over the last few months. It's entirely up to you. It's a great chance for reflection and seeing just how far you've come. It's easy to be so focused on the future that we forget all that we've achieved not matter how big or small.
22. Proud of
What are you proud of? And don't say 'nothing'! That's not true. It's not being big headed. It's all about celebrating things we are proud of today no matter how small. Perhaps it's having the courage to push yourself to do something that you were really nervous about and you did it anyway. Perhaps it's opening your etsy shop or getting your first sale. Perhaps you've reached a milestone lately? Maybe you made a huge decision and you're so pleased that you did it? Did you push yourself out of your comfort zone? Did you make 100 sales? Did you do a custom order that you really enjoyed? Perhaps you've had a tough week/month/year and you've managed to pull yourself through. Have a good think. It can be anything and I know you've got something!
23. Top tip or advice
Do you have any tips, tricks, or hacks for your area of making? Or is there something you wish you knew when you were first starting out? It doesn't have to be anything huge! It could be about how you organise yourself, a tip about what you make, printer settings, Etsy hints and shortcuts, wise words, social media content, etc, etc. The options are endless! Your idea may seem small to you but to someone else it could be eye opening!
What do your customers say about you? Do you have any glowing reviews that you'd like to share? Don't have customers? No worries! What have friends, family or lovely people on the Internet said about you, your work or service? Perhaps you want some feedback? Feel free to ask!
25. How it’s made
Don't panic! I'm not asking for a step by step! Just a part of the process that you feel is interesting, enjoy, or doesn't get seen very often. What do you use? Materials? Are their specialist tools? How do you use them? Where do you make this product? Boomerang videos or hyperlapses (sped up videos) can work really well here.
26. Self care
How do you unwind and take care of yourself? What do you do to chill out? Are you a get outside person? Or perhaps a big blanket and a book person? How do you switch off after a stressful day. Whilst this challenge is about your business, it's also important to show that it is okay to take to take a break and let your brain refuel.
27. Anything goes
By popular demand, I've added a day where you can post anything you want! Anything that you feel might be missing from the challenge or something else has cropped up that you just want to share!
How do you package your makes? Do you wrap them in paper? A pretty envelope? Do you have your own custom stickers? Do you doodle on the packaging? Do you have unusual stamps? Perhaps you have a custom stamp? Do you have a packing team? Are all your packing materials brand colours? Do you pop in any extras? What do you put your orders in to take them to the post office? Do you use mailing sacks? Is your packaging eco friendly?
29. Most difficult make
What is the most difficult thing you make? It doesn't have to be the product as a whole, it could have been something tricky at the start. Did you have to jump any hurdles to get it right? Or perhaps there is a really tricky process? There are so many talented makers out there that make things seem effortless! So let's chat about the tricky parts.
Who do you turn to for help? Do you have a supportive partner or family? Perhaps you chat to your friends over coffee? Or maybe you have a great family of online friends? Facebook groups are a great place to chat through things that you're finding difficult, are you a part of those? Or maybe you just chat things through with your cat. Cat's are good listeners.
31. Product in use/wild
Share customer photos of your work out in the wild! Or, show your item in use. How do you use it? Can you wear it? Perhaps model it yourself! It's another chance to end the challenge showing the world another of your amazing makes in any way that you like!