Thursday, 28 June 2012

Nel Whatmore fabric giveaway

This week we are celebrating getting a huge 5,000 followers on Twitter!  When the lovely Nel Whatmore, fabric designer for Westminster Fabrics, heard we were planning to do a giveaway to celebrate she kindly offered not one, but 2 fat quarter bundles of her soon to be released collection Katherine's Wheel.

We gave away one bundle on Twitter earlier this week (find us on Twitter here) and because she didn't want non-Twitter users to miss out she's given us another bundle to giveaway here on our blog.  The bundle contains 5 fat quarters of the fabrics from the purple and green colourway as pictured above.

The fabrics will be available to purchase on the Cotton Patch website from the start of July.  They also have her previous 2 collections in stock too.

As well as being a fabric designer Nel is also an artist.  If you would like to enter into the draw to win the fat quarter bundle please pop over to Nel's Website and let me know which of the pictures in The Gallery is your favourite.   Comment below with your answer and make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.

My favourite is this beautiful picture called The Crisp Days of Autumn, Ripley.
The Crisp Days of Autumn by Nel Whatmore
The giveaway ends at 6pm on Monday 2nd July.  UK only.  Please leave a way for us to contact you.

WINNER - The winner is Archie The Wonder Dog.  Congratulations, we've just sent you an e-mail to get the delivery details for the fabrics.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Dress Factor deadline approaching

There's just over a week left to enter our summer design competition - Dress Factor.  If you send us a design for a summer garment, bag or accessory by Saturday 30th you could be sent the fabrics to make your design for free and win either a £50 voucher for Abakhan Fabrics (all finalists apart from the winner will get a voucher) or the Janome Memory Craft 5900 QC (rrp.£799) pictured below - the winner's prize!

For full terms and conditions please click here.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Results of the Facebook Promoted Posts Experiment

Promoted post
Following on from my last blog post, I have the results of my promoted post experiment.  Both  the promoted post and the test non promoted post have been online for just over 3 days now and Facebook said the post would be promoted for 3 days.  If there are any significant changes in the next few days I will update this post to reflect that.


Promote Post - Reached 1,302 people  - 39%
Umpromoted post - Reached 1,106 people - 33%
Other posts same day - Average of 22%

Up until yesterday the unpromoted post was doing a lot better and then in the last 24 hours or so the promoted post took the lead.  I did notice that I was still getting 'likes' on the promoted post up until this morning so presumably some people were still seeing it in their timeline then whereas the unpromoted one had moved down my page (and people's timelines).

I did learn that if you hold your mouse over the number of people who have viewed your page you can see how many sew your post because of promotion, also if you hold it over the percentage it tells you what percentage of people saw it because you paid for extra promotion.

Number of people reached through promotion
Percentage of people reached through promotion

My promoted post only reached 6% more of my fans than my unpromoted post did.  Although according to the stats on that post it reached almost double the amount of people it would have reached if I hadn't paid for the promotion.  However £7 to reach an extra couple hundred people seems very expensive to me!

Furthermore it said that for the £7 I would be reaching 2,200 people in the 3 days the post was promoted.  That would be 100% of my fans, so 39% is a long way off that!  I will keep an eye on it and see if the percentage continues to increase this week even though the 3 days promotion has ended but all in all I'm rather disappointed with the outcome. 

I'd suggest saving your money and concentrating more on post interesting posts and images which you know will catch your page fan's attention.  The image of fabrics I posted as my test unpromoted post had 56 likes and 11 comments, whereas my promoted post had 15 likes and no comments.

Reach Stats

Running this experiment has made me keep a closer eye on the reach stats on my posts and I do think these figures could be useful to us page owners.  We've known for a long time that not all our fans see our posts but we had no idea how many weren't seeing them.  Now that we can see those figures we can use them to our advantage.  I've noticed my 'reach' figures vary massively between 7%-40% and I'm starting to spot trends as to what is affecting them  For instance when I post from Hootsuite my 'reach' is a lot lower than when I post directly onto Facebook.  I think it would be worth our while to look back over a week or too's stats and see what reaches the most people so we know what to repeat in the future to keep our fans engaged.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Facebook promoted posts experiment

You may have noticed that Facebook is now giving you the option to promote your posts when you add them.  They claim that by doing this more of your page fans will see you posts.  They have recently added stats to the bottom of each post to show you what percentage of your fan base actually gets to see you post for instance this image below was seen by 630 people, which is 27% of my fan base.

You've probably seen lots of panicy Facebook statuses lately from people stressing that only a small percentage of people are seeing their posts since this was introduced and that it's all a con to make you pay to promote your posts.   However, people are forgetting that it has been like this for a long time, Facebook use an algorithm known as Edge Rank to decide which stories are shown to which people in their news feed.  So the truth is that not all of your fans have been seeing all of your posts for a long time, but the introduction of the new stats on each post is just making this a lot more clear!

So back to the promoted posts, do they make a difference?  We all have certain things we post that we really want everyone to see so is it worth paying to make sure that happens?  I thought I would run a little experiment.  I have a design competition running called Dress Factor, and the deadline for entry is end of this month so I decided to post a picture of the Janome MC5900 sewing machine that you could win along with a link to enter and pay for it as a promoted post.  I want to remind people that they've only got a few weeks to get their entries in so decided it would be worth paying to promote it.

I was given twochoices for promotion, along with 2 prices.  £4 which they said they couldn't estimate the reach for, or £7 which they said would reach 2,200 people (I have 2247 fans) so almost everyone that 'likes' my page.  I opted for the £7 option. The £4 one seems a bit pointless to me if they can't give you an idea of how many people that will reach.  Maybe it works better for pages with a larger fan base.

I then a few hours later added the picture below that I knew would be very popular, lots of scrummy fabrics from Frumble.  Who could resist taking a peek at these?

It says the promoted post will be promoted for 3 days so I will come back to you with the results of the experiment.  So far even though the fabrics have been on for less time they have reached 518 people whereas the Dress Factor post has reached 483 so not really worth the money at the minute - but whether it will reach more people over time remains to be see.

What do you think about promoted posts?  Will you be trying them?  Or do you think it's wrong for Facebook to be charging you to reach the people who have already 'liked' your page?  How many more people would you want a post to be reaching for it to be worth the money?  What percentage of your fans are your posts reaching?


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

All Craft Media = Craft Magazine Shop?

If you've been following the All Craft Media Saga (which is starting to feel a little like The Never Ending Story...) you'll know that the magazines were purchased from the administrator by Tailor Made Publishing.

Tailor Made decided they wanted to keep Knit, Inside Crochet and Handmade Living magazines and sell the other magazines.  Last week it was announced that the other magazines (which include the sewing and quilting titles - Sew Hip, Modern Quilting & Handmade Fashion) had been purchased by a company called Craft Magazine Shop

So who are Craft Magazine Shop, and most importantly do they have anything to do with ACM owner Kerrie Allman and her family? I hear you ask.  Well judging by the e-mails they have been sending and the blog post announcing the purchase they would like you to think they don't. 

However, that blog post is not the original, the original (below) had a familiar name at the top....

The company are not registered with Companies House so we cannot check who is the owner, they have said it is someone called Derek Barnes but have given no information as to who he is.  The domain name for their new website has however been registered, by All Craft Media at one of their previous addresses - a week after they went into administration!  Funny that, given the business was in the hands of the administrators by then I wouldn't have imagined they would be buying domain names for the next pheonix company...

There's also the matter of the e-mails that have been sent to advertisers by Jenna Rycroft - Kerrie's sister who used to work for ACM.

When someone from the Ravelery group (who have been follow all the developments for several months now) rang the office number for the new company the phone was answered by noneother than Kerrie's mother Shirley Rycroft who used to handle the ad sales for ACM. The new office address is also very close to Kerrie's mother & sisters's address.

So it's not looking like indepedent owners (unrelated to orginal owner Kerrie Allman) to me.  But I leave you to draw your own conclusions when you decide whether to work with them, or purchase their magazines in the future.

Edited to add - Kerrie has just blogged about this on her personal blog here.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Fat Quarterly Retreat

My first ever embroidery
Yesterday I went to London to the first ever Fat Quarterly retreat which I have been looking forward to for ages.  There were over 100 of us, mainly bloggers, all taking part in the fun.  I did a purse making class with one of the Fat Quarterly editors Katy Jones in the morning, although I have to admit I was so busy gossiping to Jenna from Sew Happy Geek that neither of us actually finished our purses - whoops sorry Katy.

In the afternoon I did an inpisring embroidery class with Moda designer Aneela Hoey, during that class I finished my first ever embroidery - the robin pictured here.  I was very proud of myself, Aneela really made it all seem easy, I will definitely be doing more embroidery after that.

My Liberty bag and fabric
Liberty were at the retreat showing off their new Liberty Lifestyle Fabrics which I've previously posted about here.  They gave us each some of the new fabrics for our purse making class, and gave everyone a fine cord Liberty shopping bag which we will all cherish.  I'll feel all posh doing the supermarket shopping now!

I also had a chat with Michael Oakshott from Oakshott Fabrics who make the most beautiful shot cotton weaves and they have some exciting new things planned for the future.  Hopefully we will be working with them to bring you more about that soon.

The best part of the retreat by far was getting to meet all the bloggers that I've been speaking to online for the last year or so, and many of my customers who I have never met in person before.  I've decided not to list them all here as there were so many I don't want to offend anyone I may miss.  But it was so lovely to meet you all - you know who you are! 

All attendees got a lovely goody bag filled with goodies from Robert Kaufman, Oakshott fabrics, Moda, Aurifil, Abakhan Fabrics and Korbond.  Lots of beautiful fabric and haberdashery supplies plus they also gave some great raffle prizes too. 
Contents of the goody bag

Fabrics from the goody bag
I only went for the afternoon as I travelled up from Cardiff and back same day. I wish I had gone for longer, by the time I did a couple classes I tried to say hello to everyone it was time to go again.  If they run the retreat again next year I'd definitely recommend going for both days, or at least staying overnight so you get 1 full day there.  Although when I got home at 10.30pm my little boy was still awake waiting for me because he was feeling poorly and wanted his mum so I guess it was best I didn't stay.  But all in all an amazing day that went way too fast!

My son loved the London fabric in the goodie bag and inisted I made it into a cushion for him so here's a picture of him posing with his new cushion below. 

James with his new cushion

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