Sunday, 28 February 2010

10th Photo Story

I've been linked into a chain of photo story telling by Littleclouds. I am a bit of a geek for these things, where you answer a series of questions with one answer or whatever. Anyway I had to cheat a little bit because the 10th photo in my first album on Facebook (I presume that's what this means) has friends in and they aren't internet SLAGS like I am, and I don't think they'd be happy about me using a photo of them in this way...

So the rules are as follows....

1. open your first photo folder

2. scroll to the tenth photo
3. post the photo and the story behind it
4. tag five or more people

I uploaded this photo in September 2007, so back then I was living at my parents' and saving for my own home.  My parents had gone away on holiday and I came home from work to find this trivial note from my Mum stuck to the front of a Unison (public services trade union) mailshot. It reads 'Is this your double? Do not forget to put your license in your car! - Or you will be fined. PS eat the carrot cake'. 

Comments that followed are:
  • she really does look like you....uncanny.
  • wow- scary stuff, your absolute double!!!  
  • omg that's freaky!! they say everyone has a double...
I just want to note that my hair has never looked that shit.

My tagged buddies then, are:
Enjoy the last few hours of weekend fun :)


Saturday, 27 February 2010

The Hard Sell

I've never really been down with all that in-your-face pushy sales technique when I am selling the jewels.  I live in a world that's pretty and nice and the sun shines and people just buy my jewellery because they like it.

But I guess in reality, a certain amount of legwork is involved. I have always been chatty so I am quite happy to have a natter with passers by and tell them a little bit about my work and inspirations and what not, and that can often lead to a sale.

I was curious as to how I could increase sales a little more, so I booked on a Practical Selling Skills course with Business Link. Would you Adam and Eve it, it was only the div who dissed my brand name who was running it!  Needless to say, it was shit, and I came away having learnt that I should point to things with a nice pen and not my finger. That's good then. I believe that my kind of customer would appreciate a funky painted nail more than a silver pen. So I gained nothing really!

It wasn't until the day after that I really learnt about selling skills. I went to a nice salon in Leeds for my fringe trimming. They charge a fiver, which is fine. It's in a convenient place and they don't cut it across because they understand my hair is well thick. So the hairdresser says
"where did you have your hair cut last time?"
"Just a local place"
"Hmm, you have really thick hair. And it's been cut quite traditionally. I think your hair would benefit from a cut that's more technical, we'll book you in for in a couple of weeks time and I'll spend a good hour getting your hair looking really great"
"OK then"
"Right, that's done. I'll take you over to pay [calls reception-boy], can you book my lady in for a cut and blow dry next week as well. [turns to me] See you next week"

So that's me booked.  I am actually going to cancel though. I like my hair cut! Cheeky beggar!


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

How I know GCSEs mean diddly-squat

A grasp of basic arithmetic is important when running a business. It's not that hard, just a bit of addition and subtraction and multiplication, right? I was in top set at Maths, and so was Kate P. Top set out of 6-7 sets as well, so we weren't daft. I got a B for GCSE. I don't know what Kate got but it'll be a C or above. This is how our conversation went on Saturday:

Rowan: So, I think I'm going to get a book binder for all the left over covers of the books I use
Kate: Great idea
Rowan: Yeah they are £50 for the machine, so I think I could sell notebooks for £5 each, but I'd have to sell 100 before I made my money back on the machine alone
Kate: Rowan, you wouldn't have to sell 100! Just 20!
Rowan: Oh well, that's easier


Kate: You wouldn't even have to sell 20 you'd have to sell 10.
Rowan: Oh good grief, yes.


The thing is, it's just mental arithmetic. Thank heavens for the iPhone calculator is all I can say! Is there anything basic you never quite got the hang of? Humour me here!!


Monday, 22 February 2010

Using my stalking capabilities for good not harm: The final word on the copycat

I have said before, I am sure I have, that I am a good old stalker.  Sometimes I like to call it 'research', sometimes it call it 'networking'. Some say I have great detective skills and that I should set honey traps for cheating husbands. I digress.

I contacted Julian myself to ask if he would tell me who the 'designer' was he said he paid (in the US). He said the case was in the hands of his attorney.  OK love, tell me your attorney's details. No response.

Paul, my website designer, has written a blog post on how our website was ripped off.  You ought to read it. It's the story from his point of view and has some page shots of Julian's website compared to mine.

Interestingly I noticed a comment from Carl who is the techy man for the website saying that the code was stolen on January 25th.  That gave me an idea.  I'd have the culprits footprints all over my Google Analytics, surely? Sure did. Four visits from Buenos Aires on 25th January.  But how did he know about my fab site that's so freakin' awesome it makes folks wanna copy it? Analytics told me that too... via a page from Six Revisions, bigging us up for the retro colour scheme. Coincidence? Doubt it.

And the 'designer' in the US? There was also a visit from Michigan that day who also came via the Six Revisions article. It mightn't be related, I get a lot of traffic from that article. 

It could have been a case for Mulder and Scully back in the day but technology has advanced enough to let old David Duchovny get on with some sex scenes. The truth was out there, and I reckon I got to it all by myself.

I'd have appreciated a proper apology from Julian whereby he admitted what he did and played ignorance to the fact you're not really supposed to copy without permission, but I guess at the end of the day, he took it down, and that's what matters!


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Have a Romy and Michele... or KitschenSink... day!

I dream every day from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep about having my own shop.  Have you seen Romy and Michele's High School Reunion?

I love that story.  The theme is mainly about friendship but I think there's another lesson in there too.  Throughout the story the cool kids bully Romy and Michele because they design and make their own outrageous clothing based on Cyndi Lauper and Madonna (circa Like a Virgin).  Ten years on, they have an opportunity to set up a shop selling their designs and it looks so much fun!

In the words of Romy "To give someone... the chance to express herself... we couldn've really changed her life".  Ok maybe that's pushing it, but folding scarves with a pal in your own little empire looks like the sorta thing I wanna do!

Maybe one day?


Saturday, 20 February 2010

Saturday shop scour

I'll keep it brief, I have a cracking headache, possibly from the excitement of this morning's finds and maybe due to a big decision I made this week, but that's top secret for now. Eek!

I went shopping with my friend Kate P today. I found some real gems! Take a look at these beauties. I can't wait to play with them, the possibilities are endless...

...that's right, just a few lucky book finds. But they are just beautiful inside. So much so I want to eat them.

Did I tell you I am in an incredibly good mood of late? No reason. I feel like I have been over-charged and may combust at any point.  It's great. But it also makes me feel a bit seasick at the same time. Never mind.

Right, must go make boxes for the Designers Marketplace stock. Almost done :)


Friday, 19 February 2010

Double booked...

... and I'm f*cked!

I'm so tired. I have double booked KitschenSink. Not by accident.  Next week I am selling at the University of Leeds Fair Trade Fair, which is always a great event and I get a good deal being a member of staff there.  Here's some visuals, please do come along, it's open to the public.

I also wanted to be involved in the Designers Marketplace Pop-Up Shop in Middlesbrough, and the deadline for me to get the bulk of stock to them is 24th of this month, so I am creating a replica of my current stock (which I have done on and off for months) in the space of a few days. Plus I have to attach them all to cards or make boxes, create signage, write up a delivery note and actually get it all to the post office...

If you're in the area, make sure you get yourself down in the earliest weeks as the scheme won't necessarily run for the whole two months, it depends onthe uptake of concessions.

There'll be some very cool goods there though, there always is, including the debut of the anchor pins I have been working on for a while.  Mould taken from an original vintage piece,  cast in resin and available in a selection of bubblegum colours, these are really ace!

Add all this busy-ness to the fact that I also have three Business Link courses to attend next week... I'll certainly be ready for a slice of birthday cake for my little one-year-old friend's party and a large glass of wine at my not-so-little 27 year old's birthday party on Saturday!

It's 'all go' down at the Penthouse...


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Someone's ripped of our website, royal!

It's just a few days since I wrote a post on copying, and I'm sad to say that today I found, via Google Analytics, that a musician by the name of Julian Hasse has ripped off Paul Jamie Kidd's design work on my website, and even gone as far as to use my 'about me' section, simply editing a few words to make it music-orientated.

This sad individual has fallen short of changing the 'payments' page and 'links' page, and also the drop down box with a little extra info about me.

Funny really, this bloke admits to enjoying buying dresses and watching Sex and the City.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  I don't feel flattered. I feel like creative rape has been committed. It ain't nice.

I'll be back with more on how this is going to be dealt with!


*******quick edit/update at 17.48********

I should note that Julian Hasse may not be the person responsible for copying, he may have paid a 'designer', but it's in his hands to deal with. He's been emailed advising him legal action will be taken if it's not dealt with. He has replied that he is out of the country and will deal with it on Friday. Let's see!


We all know what divs Paperchase are, right? If the whole Hidden Eloise debacle wasn't enough, how about the fact that on their Facebook fan page, on their sole update they state "Stationary fitness'. First lesson on an induction with Paperchase: Learn how to spell the type of product correctly!


I love notebooks. I like to have one gorgeous place where I can keep all my to-do lists (and there's a lot of them), ideas, draft letters and business plans... needless to say they fill up quickly.

I have a criteria for the perfect notebook. Essential criteria: Hardback, spiral bound. Desirable criteria: feint rule. Margins I can take or leave. There are benefits and disadvantages to the margin.
So here's some notebooks I'm lusting after from cooler places than Paperchase. I think I'll be ready for one of these by, say, 17th June-ish??

Listen and Play Recycled Notebook by Swirlyarts

Barbie Journal by 2 Cheeky Monkeys

...and look inside!

This one had to get a mention. I'd probably get this as a gift for one of Team Tea and Biscuits.  You can get them in different flavours, but I'd go for chocolate, for an extra juvenile factor.

I am actually going to buy a binding machine now. I just told a friend and she got really excited about it, so that's one customer sorted! Expect journals from recycled comic books... not for a while though. Bit busy.


Monday, 15 February 2010

What's cooking in the Kitschen?

After procrastinating for a ridiculous amount of time, I finished a custom order for an old friend. He is getting married this July, the colour scheme being purple, and wanted something personal for his outfit.  He plays guitar (maybe bass, not sure!) and so asked for some guitar plectrum cufflinks making.  We sourced some that were a little smaller than the regular cufflinks, so hopefully they'll sit nice on the sleeve!

Also, I have kinda double-booked the stock. Not by accident, I was just presented with two opportunities I couldn't miss.  At the end of the month I am selling at the University of Leeds Fair Trade Fair (as always), but also, at the Designers' Marketplace Pop-Up Shop.  More details on that another time.

So I am making lots, quickly, ready to send to Middlesbrough.  I have started to make coordinating ear-studs. What do you think? Sorry about the lame photos!

Obviously they need sanding...

Also, I have re-bought in the supplies to make some bracelets and bangles. The bracelets will be the re-launch of 'Measure of my dreams', and the bangles... well... you'll just have to wait and see.

Right, must go sand, sand, sand!


Sunday, 14 February 2010

Another cynical Valentine post...

... the once a year opportunity read about the love life of the maker of Kitschen Sink.

Do you remember my angry Valentine post last year? I was all (I'm paraphrasing) 'boys are turds' and 'no one loves me'.  Maybe I had some major sexual frustration going on. I can't remember.

My qualm is now with people in relationships and their attitude towards single people. Let me explain:
  • I'm not having a 'no one loves me' time any more.  I had a fringe cut. Something happened. Boys like the fringe.
  • These days I am quite content with my life. I have no real problems. Boys and relationships bring about problems. Who wants that? Not me.
My Dad said to me a couple of weeks ago 'I think you might get a boyfriend if you didn't have that ring through your lip'.
A friend says he can't understand why I am single. Why? Do I look like the kind of person who should settle for second best?
My platonic boyfriend told me the other day (after I told him I was currently content with my single situation) that I should get together with his friend 'to get him out of his Sunday routine of playing computer games in his bedroom at his mum and dad's house'.  It could be a 'challenge' for me. 
And my Mum's friend attempts to arrange a blind date with some guy from work.

Leave me alone, stop creating work for me, I don't have the time to watch Coronation Street let alone the time to argue about whether we watch that or some shit sport.

That said, don't hold off the flowers (or diamonds). It's nice to have an admirer.

So anyway. Today I'm in Hull, visiting a friend, and we're going to drink coffee and eat cake and laugh.


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Crap Copycat

Have you heard about ASOS ripping off a Lady Luck Rules OK design? It's a really shit rip-off, too. Look.

Image from LLROK

Read more about what went on here.  So I have added ASOS to my boycott list.

The day after, I heard from my Twitter friend Vintage Violet about another big name that's ripped off an indie's work.

This time it's Paperchase who have ripped off the wonderful work of Hide n Seek .

Left: Work of Hidden Eloise/Hide n Seek; right: Paperchase rip-off (image from Print & Pattern)

Read more about Eloise's fight and how you can help her, quite easily, here.

It's difficult for me to understand.  When I sell my work, it's not the money in my hand that satisfies me (although the fur coats/shoes/handbags I buy with it does!). It's more the feeling when someone likes your idea and what you have made so much that they are happy to part with their hard-earned cash to wear it and call it their own.  If I'd copied a design, I wouldn't get that at all.

I bet this goes on a whole lot more than we realise.  I guess we have to hope that if any of our designer/maker peers, friends or fans notice our work being copied, they will let us know.  It's important we stick together and boycott those companies that copy smaller designers without credit for their own gain.

Hopefully a more cheery post next time!


Update: It's just a few hours after I wrote this post. Hidden Eloise's story has made the national news and Paperchase's latest statement says 

"Above all, we would like to apologise to any customers upset or angered by this allegation against us. Paperchase takes all reasonable precautions to check that designs we source or buy from individual designers or agencies are from reputable sources. In this case, we would like to confirm that Paperchase bought the artwork in question, in good faith, in October 2008, from a well-known central London Design Studio along with a number of other designs.

The illustrator who is making the allegation made us aware of her concerns in November 2009 and we duly responded to her in early December, since when we had heard nothing….until today. Back in November 2009, we spoke at length to the Design Studio in question and they categorically denied any plagiarism.

It is worrying that such an allegation can create such reaction and again, Paperchase apologises for any ill-feeling caused".

Monday, 8 February 2010

Are you a bangle? Or a bracelet?

I had a creative thought this morning involving bangles. I want to work on some right away, but, of course, I need to source supplies and wait for them to arrive first!

Do you prefer bracelets or bangles? Do you know the difference? I would say that a bracelet drapes around the wrist and a bangle is a rigid shape.  I am definitely a bangle fan. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a bracelet, especially if it colourful with massive plastic charms.  But more often than not I'd sport a bangle (or 6).

Here's some bangles I'm lusting after right now (oh and PS, I get really annoyed when people tag their bracelets as bangles, divs!):

I'm a bangle and I'm 27 years old. Are you a bracelet or a bangle?


Sunday, 7 February 2010

Handmade...2: Taking stock

Today we (that's me and my pal Kate P) manned a stall at Handmade 2 at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.

The turnout was really impressive. The location of the event is in a student digs area of Leeds, and the club is liking a working men's club but lots of students go. It's well known for live music, so the crowd is pretty cool.

Kate and I had a fun afternoon of chatting to other stall holders and making some gift boxes and drinking tea out of sweet little tea cups!

The only down side of the event was that the fantastic work that was being sold was underpriced.  Many of the stall holders were students, or new graduates, and I do think they did their sums, but mainly only as far as thinking that they had covered supplies and time, which works, but then if a shop approached them and said they'd like to stock them and take a commission of 50%, leaving them with £4, they'd be quite as happy.  This isn't the case for them, and that's fine. I did it that way for a while. But no one wanted to pay KitschenSink prices when they could have got a whole bag o' swag for the price of a Vintage Comic Bubble Heart Necklace.

Stall holders to note are Hello Memo (awesomest illustration and friend of the owner our stockist Cherry Cherry), Pink Gin Jewellery (inspired by her tattoo background) and AmyPanda (the organiser and maker of cute felt brooches. Her stitching is very very neet!).

I've been making a few new pieces too. I'll do a what's cooking post soon!


Tuesday, 2 February 2010


This Sunday, KitschenSink will be at Handmade 2, at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds from 1-5pm!

Stalls, tea, cake. More info here.

See you there, it's going to be a blast!


Monday, 1 February 2010

Snow Brawl!

Have you heard of Roller Derby? It's flippin awesome.

I was contacted some time ago by Dot Rotten of the Leeds Roller Dolls, after she bought one of my pieces at the University of Leeds, to ask if I'd be interested in hosting a stall at future bouts (this aspect hasn't taken off as yet). Anyway, I was also offered the opportunity to advertise in the programme or donate a prize for the charity raffle. I went with the latter!  Of course, I had to go to the bout, to see what it's all about!!

It took me a good ten minutes and a few pointers off a friend (who picked up the rules remarkably quickly) before I knew what the aim of the game was.  A colleague, after explaining it to him, described it as 'female British bulldog on skates'. Yes, that's about it. And it looks pretty brutal. All whilst Disco Dave spins Beastie Boys, The Prodigy and all the malarky, at deafening levels!

Here's the girls (and male refs) after a nail biting match! The Central City Roller Girls won by a whisker!

The cool raffle prizes! I was after the bottle of Sailor Jerry (out of shot somewhere)

And here's a quick shot I took of the inside of the programme (yes, my website is spelt wrong! Doh!)

I quite fancy taking it up myself, if I can find the time!

Can't wait til the next home bout!