Looking at things in Christchurch

September 8, 2014

Last Monday I got up at 4.45am (Mum threw a pillow at me because I was sleeping through my alarm) and flew from Christchurch into a finance course. Then the week was a whirlwind of work and birthday and baking and work and drowning in email and some more work.

And here we are, Monday again. Here are my photos from Christchurch – I love going to other places and looking properly. It’s something you rarely do in your own home town.


Lyttelton pennants at Henry Trading. I wish we had these in Featherston.


The Shroom Room cafe, we had a great vege breakfast despite all hankering for bacon.


Painted signage on a brick wall.


Beatrix Potter at The Eco Store (dump shop)


Art at the end of New Regent Street


The Catherdral


Art in The Square


Buckets of daffodils – cheap and plentiful


Retro shopping


The Tannery – a beautiful place where you could spend a lot of money


Particularly good camellia

An invitation to lunch in Christchurch

August 11, 2014

At the end of this month I’m taking a short vacation in Christchurch. I’ve planned it around the Readers & Writers Festival and Mum is coming up too so it’ll be a good chance for family time mixed with inspiring ideas and outings.

The first day I arrive I thought it might be nice to invite you to lunch. I know I have lots of blog readers and Emma Makes fans in Christchurch and thought that meeting you was a good idea. You’re paying for your own lunch I’m afraid but if you RSVP I’ll bring you a goody bag.

If nobody turns up (I know my invite is on a week day) then I’m happy to eat alone. If not, see you there.

Lunch on Wednesday 27 August
Addington Coffee Co-op, 297 Lincoln Road, Christchurch

RSVP here.

Addington Coffee Co-op

Where is the New Zealand craft scene heading?

June 30, 2014

Earlier in the year I wrote a piece for a website about the indie design and craft scene in New Zealand this year. I forgot to post it here at the time so thought I would now. We’re halfway through the year after all so we can see how I did on my predictions … just for larks.

“I’ve run by own creative business – Emma Makes – for a few years now and have spent a lot of time developing and promoting it and becoming part of the New Zealand craft scene.

Over recent years there’s been a real saturation in the market of craft and design – it’s relatively easy with services like Felt.co.nz and Etsy.com to make and sell your own goods (which is a good thing) and shops like Typo have jumped on the bandwagon with craft-inspired goods that are mass-produced.

Bunting from Typo.

Here’s the direction I think 2014 will take –

Selling becomes more personal
I believe that increasingly the pull of the craft fair is over. We all remember the halcyon days (only a few years ago) when customers would turn up because there was a craft fair on and we’d all sell hand over fist all day and go home exhausted and laden with cash. But those days are over.

The big name craft fair no longer exists in that form. Craft fairs are ubiquitous now and selling needs to become personal. Smaller, quality fairs; a sense of occasion; a place people can relax in and properly meet the makers and learn the stories behind the goods they’re buying. Above all there must also be a return to quality in favour of a large fair that’s just mediocre.

Savvy makers will have a strong following that they’re regularly connecting with and will make sure these people are invited to any events they sell at.

It’s not just about numbers
One of the creepiest notifications I’ve received on Facebook recently was to tell me that two people are watching my business page. This is a new Facebook service where you can keep an eye on the increase and decrease of fan numbers on another page.

Increasing your Facebook fan numbers is easy – you can buy them. What really counts is customer engagement and I think during 2014 people will begin to increasingly come to realise that engagement with customers means less focus on what *they* want and more focus on what their customers want.

As a customer I don’t care if you have 400 fans or 4000 (good God stop posting your number count); I care that you’re responsive to me, that you post interesting information and that I can talk to you about questions, compliments and concerns quickly and easily.

A return to special
Why should I buy handmade? Because it’s different than mass-produced, because it stands out from the crowd, because if it breaks the maker will probably fix it.

Foldover clutches by me – Emma Makes

2014 will see a rejuvenation of the handmade/indie design “point of difference” and I see there being a clear separation in businesses with their own strong brand and those that are making without a thought to their point of difference.

Anyone can buy Cabochons on Etsy and stick them onto a brooch back. Many people can buy a commercial pattern, sew it up and sell it as their own.

What will separate the wheat from the chaff this year is those people doing their own thing.  People who’ve got clear direction in their business, are creating their own work and have made a dedication to craftsmanship.

We’ll dial down the neuroses
“Comparison is the thief of joy” is a mantra to live by. We’ve had Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest long enough now that in 2014 I see people settling in to social media and being less neurotic. We’ll become clear on why we’re using social media, use it for our own reasons and stop caring if we haven’t blogged every day because we got a bit tired.

Homogenous will look less attractive as we accept and develop our own style that is interesting, thoughtful and grounded. The time for copying and selling work based on someone else’s is over: those who develop their own look and can stand out alone will be the cream that rises to the top this year.

Let’s say goodbye to
*Bunting necklaces
*Twee and/or baby talk on blogs

Let’s welcome
*unexpected prints
*floral on floral
*Honesty and authenticity”

*Looks like I missed out the popularity of pineapples and watermelons as design features. I’m not sad about that.*

You can find me online at www.emmamakes.com and www.facebook.com/emmamakes

A new free resource for makers

June 9, 2014

If you like to make stuff then you’ll probably be keen to know that Te Papa has recently opened up 30,000 images for download. Read the full story here.

That means that you can now download images from their Collections Online site for free and use them in your projects. I don’t use a lot of photos in my work so am feeling a bit dim in coming up with great ideas but at the very least I can see something like these below making a nice series of cards.

More inventive people might screenprint these onto clothing as patterns or create patches from them. If you’re a fan of patterns and old fabrics then you’ll probably enjoy the swatchbook listings too – I did.

Whatever you make or use these images for, Te Papa is genuinely interested – so tweet them @TePapaColOnline or email copyright@tepapa.govt.nz 

A Friday night occasion in Palmerston North

May 28, 2014

My friend Helen has an enviable eye for great vintage finds – and this Friday night you can benefit from that.

She’ll be running a vintage stall under the name  ‘Black Doris: Vintage, Handmades & Curiosities’ at:

Brown Foxes Night Market
Friday 30 May
Palmerston North City Library

Helen put a sneak peek of her stall on her blog yesterday and here’s a couple of my favourites.