Tag Archives: charity

My First Ever Craft Fair

7 Mar

Ok so it’s not a craft fair per se but I will be at my first event selling my goodies in public!

On 15th March a charity coffee morning will be held at Newhaven Church in Edinburgh to raise money for Whizz-Kidz which is a disabled children’s charity.  There will also be around 10 tables of crafty goodies for sale.  This is a great opportunity to help raise money for charity and pick up a unique gift – and just in time for Mother’s Day too!

I’m very excited and pretty nervous about it – I can be pretty shy!  Selling online has allowed me to market myself and my products from behind a computer screen but I can’t hide forever!  The event runs from 10am until 1pm so I’m sure I can but on a brave smiley face for three hours!

Renegade Craft FairSo if you’re in the area please come along to show your support and say hello!

That’s 10am to 1pm on 15th March at Newhaven Church in Edinburgh: 7 Craighall Crescent, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH6 4ND

Thursday Feature – Studio 5T2

27 Jun

Today I am chatting to Candy from Studio 5T2, who offers a variety of handmade accessories and knitwear.  Candy’s shop is wonderfully presented with striking photography, which really brings her bejewelled goodies to life!

il_570xN_454596083_2he91. Tell us a bit about yourself and where the inspiration came from to start your Etsy shop. 

We are a team of three people and found out about Etsy from a small space in the Cosmopolitan magazine. They advertise that if we have any talent for crafting, sites like Etsy can help us turn our hobby into a small income opportunity. Since I already knit for charity (knitting caps for children, blankets for the Salvation Army, chemo caps for cancer patients), I figured  that it would be a good way to earn a little on the side to help those in need.

2. Do you have a favourite piece? Tell us about the thought process involved in creating it and why it is your favourite.il_570xN_454499284_lw7g

Our favorite piece and most rewarding so far has to be our dangle sparkle earrings in the form of a tear drop.  Probably because we all work in the healthcare system and we encounter so many life changing events that we see how a tear can touch people differently. Parents teared up to their newborn, loved ones being mourned for their loss, tears from acute and chronic pain, tears from frustration due to bad news, tears of joy when cancer is a sore loser.

So as you can see, I end up seeing that shape as a form of opportunity. Starting that piece was also a healing process since I had to grieve over my loss of a parent. So, the final product is very personal to me and yes, we decided to put it on sale (with the rest of our jewelry creations) to complete my healing process and letting it go.

3. What is it that makes your shop unique?

From the critics we have read so far, our shop can be quite confusing for a regular shopper: knitting products with fashion jewelry! But, that is so us! Life should be all roses and diamonds, unfortunately, it ain’t for some. Plenty of wealthy people do charity work in different forms. So, why can’t we have both! We love the glam and we also love doing some good for those in need.

Charity support goes mainly to three foundations that we have supported for a long time: St-Jude Hospital, Breast Cancer and the National Kidney Foundation in California. Each year, we also try to sponsor a few random participants for the AIDS walk. Some of our knit items that have not sold or sample pieces are sent to the Salvation Army for better use.

4. What’s next in the pipeline?il_570xN_454527318_6ubj

Our next project goal is to expand the tech accessories (iPhone 4/4S is so 2012!), we are in the process of crafting other 3D molds for iPhone 5 and iPad mini cases. We are also looking into having more jewelry pieces added soon. And, a website is under construction. That will be a good way to let the world see “what’s next” and also a more intimate side of us.

5. And finally, let us know where we can find you.

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Studio5T2
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Studio5T2
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CandyLau
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/Studio5T2

Thank you for sharing your wonderful shop with us, Candy!  Not only are you crafting beautiful products, you are helping so many people in the process – it must be so rewarding!

Running the Gauntlet

25 Jan

I came back to the office after my lunch break the other day not feeling refreshed, revitalised and ready to get back to work for the afternoon.  Instead I was in a foul mood from dodging chuggers!

I had stupidly decided to wander back to the office along Princes Street (Edinburgh) which has turned into a complete chugger fest!  (For international readers – chuggers are “charity muggers” – they are employed by charities to ‘encourage’ people to make donations).

These people have always annoyed me – mostly because of their impossibly cheery nature and the way they dance around in front of you to get your attention – by the way, I’m not making eye contact for a reason, waving around and doing a stupid dance is not going to make me change my mind! 

I hate chuggers!

This photo is a perfect example – this chugger is clearly blocking the man’s path and holding out his hand to stop him in his tracks!

What I didn’t realise until fairly recently is that these people aren’t volunteers – they are paid to do this!!! (This may not apply to all charities but certainly the majority do pay their chuggers).  I used to politely say “no thank you” and keep walking, however this was often met with further pleadings for me to stop for “just one minute” or insulting comments such as “don’t you care about animals?!” 

On one occasion I was on my way home from a very busy/stressful day at work and the last thing I wanted to do was chat to an irritatingly self-righteous chugger.  I was only 2 minutes from home (annoyingly the chuggers had spread to Morningside Road which is some 20 minutes from Princes Street) when a chugger from a very well-known charity asked me to stop.  I replied to the effect “I’m sorry I just want to get home” and kept walking which was met with “well these children don’t have homes!”…

What a horrible thing to say to someone you don’t know!  I was so angry but I just kept walking – it’s a moment I often look back on and think “I should have said this or done that (or punched him!)” but it’s too late.  I wish I had told him about the fundraising I’d recently done – I’d held a fundraiser through work which raised a decent amount.  This guy didn’t know me, and for all he knew I could have already been donating to his charity.  I used to donate £18 a month to a charity but it was a bit much when I was on the lower end of the pay scale so I cancelled after a couple of years. 

I keep meaning to sign up for another charity now that I’m earning a bit more, but this is my point – why do I need to justify myself to some random guy on the street?  Why should any of us need to justify ourselves when it comes to charity donations.  It is a choice!  There are so many worthwhile charities, but we each have our preferred cause and if we don’t have a lot of spare cash then donating to charity is going to be much further down our list of priorities than usual.  In addition, why should I justify myself to someone who is trying to make me feel guilty when they are actually taking money from the charity to stand there??  Apparently it can take up to a year for the charity to recoup the money spent on paying a chugger.  I recently read an interview with a chugger who stated that he was paid over £10 an hour! 

Just remember this the next time someone tries to guilt trip you into donating to their charity.  If you want to donate to a charity then great, go for it!  But I would suggest researching the charity online and donating through their website instead of handing your details over to some overpaid chugger whose sole purpose in life is to annoy people in the street.

I’d love to hear your comments and personal experiences with chuggers – good or bad.  If you are a chugger and think I’ve been unfair in any way then let me know –  I’d be interested to hear the other side of the story.