Bossing Wholesale Workshop

This April I’m hosting my Bossing Wholesale workshop once again for all small creative business owners in and around Bristol looking for some inside know-how on trade shows, pricing and just how to generally master selling to retailers. It’s happening 6:30-9pm, April 18th at Studio Cotton, Bristol.

Bossing Wholesale Workshop in Bristol with Sky Siouki

Having gained lots of first-hand experience of selling to trade I want to pass on what I’ve learnt along the way, much of which has been learnt the hard way! I have exhibited at Top Drawer London twice as well as British Craft Trade Fair Harrogate and now am very proud to be able to say I supply over 50 stockists nationwide with Sky Siouki products and artwork. Selling wholesale has really transformed my business so I’d like to share how it can help to boost your business too in this friendly but very informative workshop.

What I will be covering in this workshop:

  • Trade shows: costs and what to expect.
  • Pricing your work
  • Minimum orders and quantities
  • Shipping options and lead times
  • Invoicing and payment
  • Following up customers
  • Selling wholesale through a website
  • What I have learnt from mistakes

This time I am collaborating with Aime from Studio Cotton, so the workshop will be hosted in her gorgeous new studio on Corn Street. Tickets are only available through Studio Cotton so head here to grab one now.

Studio-Cotton-Sky-Siouki-Workshop

Some of the very lovely feedback I’ve received from previous workshop attendees:

“Really friendly atmosphere where you could ask Sky anything business orientated and receive honest feedback.”

“Sky has a wealth of knowledge and provides info that can be hard to find elsewhere.”

“Sky was very informative and professional. Was great to hear about her work and success.”

Click here to get tickets.

Bristol Etsy Team X Bristol Girl Bosses WINTER POP-UP SHOP

 

Bristol-Etsy-Team-Bristol-Girl-Bosses-Pop-Up-Shop-Banner

 

If you haven’t heard about the new Winter pop-up shop in town already, let me tell you all about it. I feel so proud to have been a part of setting up this incredible project. The shop is a temporary lifestyle store in The Galleries shopping mall and a collaboration of the Bristol Etsy Team, Bristol Girl Bosses collective (which I am a member of), Tribe Aisthetica and Chroma Stationary. The shop will be open everyday between 16th November – 23rd December 2018 and features the handmade goods of over 80 different small locally based businesses! With a lot of hard work and by all pulling together we launched the shop a week ago and the VIP launch party was a huge success! A special thanks goes to The Malago restaurant and Lovely Drinks for providing canapes and fizzy refreshments.

 

Bristol-Etsy-Bristol-Girl-Bosses-Winter-Pop-Up-Shop-Launch-Window

 

We’ve been extremely lucky to have some amazing support from various local businesses in the running and set-up of the shop. KONK! Furniture have been kind enough to provide the entire shop with their beautiful handmade furniture for display which is also available to buy and be delivered once the shop shuts. The Galleries have also been very accommodating and offered us a wonderfully well located and spacious unit right next to Waterstones on the first floor of the shopping centre.

 

 

The first week has been consistently busy and we’ve had an incredible response from the public. If you’re looking for somewhere to buy unique, artisan and beautiful gifts in Bristol this Christmas look no further. Our shop team are always more than happy to help and we have a huge variety of products in the store for any friend or family member you’re shopping for!

 

 

Summer Exhibition at Grain Barge

 

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hanging some of my framed prints in the beautiful Bristol venue, Grain Barge. It’s the first solo exhibition I have put on for a little while so it was exciting to hang some of my newer designs for 2018 together with some older ones. The venue is a barge converted into a restaurant and bar as you may be able to guess from the name! Run by the same team as Tobacco Factory on North Street, they boast a gorgeous locally sourced menu and amazing views across Bristol marina which can be enjoyed from the glass walled bar area as well as the top deck!

 

Grain-Barge-Summer-Exhibition-Bristol-Sky-Siouki

 

The venue makes for an ideal setting for my work as it is very light filled and full of rustic charm since the interior is largely made up of reclaimed materials. Love having a natural wooden wall as a backdrop to the main grid of work shown above rather than the usual white walls I’m used to in gallery spaces.

 

Hanging-Grain-Barge-Summer-Exhibition-Bristol-Sky-Siouki

Owl-Grain-Barge-Summer-Exhibition-Bristol-Sky-Siouki

 

All artwork exhibited in there is available for sale and includes nine of my giclée print designs all framed and ready to go straight on your own walls at home! If you always find it a struggle to get prints framed after buying them, this is the perfect opportunity to save yourself the hassle. The exhibition is on until August 14th so why not grab a pint in the sun, and maybe some dinner too, and have a good nosey at the show!

 

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Bristol Girl Bosses present MUSE: The Exhibition Launch

Last Thursday was not only International Women’s Day but it was also the night of myself and the Bristol Girls Bosses‘ collective MUSE exhibition launch at Blaze! The night was an incredible success, we all couldn’t quite believe the turn out. Thank you so so much to everyone that came and made the night a success and for all the support we’ve received towards our collective, including from those who couldn’t make it too. It was so nice to see other Bristol business babes sharing our leaflets on Instagram and wishing us good luck. Bristol is truly a place of incredible community spirit and I couldn’t possibly love it more for that!

Bristol Girl Bosses Members outside Blaze

 

Here are some snaps from the night and of the exhibition. I didn’t even manage to take many of the shop when it was at it’s busiest as it was getting too hard to move!

Bristol Girl Bosses Muse Launch Night

We were lucky enough to be sponsored by Bristol soft drinks company Lovely Drinks which went down very well, and worked splendidly as gin mixers too. Plus with Blaze‘s help we were able to offer out complimentary brownies and cake from the AMAZING Bristol baker babes Right-Good-Kitchen, much of which was vegan, dairy or gluten free to suit everyone’s dietary needs!

Bristol Girl Bosses Muse Launch Cakes Right Good Kitchen

 

The exhibition is still on for the rest of the month so you’ve got a good two weeks to get down to Blaze over on Colston Street to see it. It ends March 27th. We’ve all produced pieces of artwork inspired by our own ideas about women and femininity especially for the exhibition. There is also a selection of products and our other designs and artwork available there too.

Bristol Girl Bosses Muse Exhibition Blaze

My design is of a female goshawk (shown bottom-left above). The design is exclusively available in Blaze whilst the exhibition is still on, but will eventually be in the online shop in April. I choose to draw a goshawk because the female is considerably larger than the male and is known to be a skilled and powerful huntress. I wanted to use my artwork of bird species in the exhibition to symbolise the various fundamental roles that females play. From beautiful sirens, to mothers and providers, often ferocious but incredibly elegant too.

 

Bristo Girl Bosses Muse Window Blaze

We really hope you get a chance to visit. Blaze is a fantastic shop full of lots of other incredibly talented Bristol designers and makers too. A big special thanks to them for having us! It looks like this may well be the start of more things to come in collaboration with Blaze for the Bristol Girl Bosses too so watch this space for the next party!

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Sky Siouki Events for Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day is just over a week away, so if you’re a bit of a romantic, or maybe you just want to show your mum or best friend some love, it’s time to get gift hunting! I’m diving into my first markets of the year head-first this weekend and doing one on Saturday AND Sunday, both in Bristol, to give you the best chance of getting your sweetheart a Sky Siouki gift.

On Saturday Feb 10th I will be at Fox & West at 172 Wells Road for their Valentine’s special pop-up market, 9am-5pm, alongside lots of other talented Bristol makers including Yay Rae Flay, Corinne Evans Jewellery, Dakota Rae Dust and Jessica Baldry Designs.

Fox & West Pop-up Valentine's Day Market    Tobacco Factory Sunday Market

Then on Sunday Feb 11th I will be back at the Tobacco Factory Sunday Market where I will now be making a regular appearance once a month this year. There’s going to be a Wooden Heart Workshop going on in the spirit of Valentine’s Day plus The Brass Disciples will be playing live!

In addition to selling at markets this weekend, I will also have some work available at the launch night of the new Lenten exhibition at The Malago this evening. 5-9pm with free canapes and prosecco, plus a selection of pop-up stalls from the artists with myself included. The preview evening is open to all and myself and curator Tribe Aisthetica want the exhibition to go off with a bang so come along for a mingle!

Lenten Exhibition at The Malago

 

I have also just produced a new A4 print just in time for Valentine’s! Perfect if you’re after something subtly romantic without being soppy. It is called Chaffinch Pair and not yet available in the online shop so come along to one of the events above if you would like to get your hands on one! If you can’t make it but really desperately want one however please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.

Chaffinch Pair Sky Siouki Print

If I don’t see you, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY and thanks for keeping up with the blog!

Sky X

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TOP DRAWER TOP TIPS

Yesterday I hosted an informal advice session about my experience of exhibiting at the Top Drawer A/W 2017 trade show for the first time last September. I learnt an awful lot from it and a lot of people have asked me to hear about it since… So I put out an open invitation to ask me all of your questions within a small group meet up and people actually came!

I love to share what I’ve learnt and it was incredible to receive such a lovely response from those who came. It has made me seriously consider hosting more events like that and whether I could even give my advice as a sideline to Sky Siouki.

Anyway, I thought it may be useful for the people who attended yesterday and for anyone who unfortunately couldn’t make it to summarise my key tips here on the blog. There were some things I didn’t get to say yesterday (a grumpy waiter kicked us out well before the advertised closing time) and some that may not have been heard by all.

Top Drawer Spotted Footer

 

1. HOW AND WHEN TO APPLY

I applied for the Spotted section of Top Drawer which is especially for first time trade show exhibitors and benefits from a 30% discount. The application process was pretty easy via an online form and I got offered a spot the next morning! I applied at the beginning of February and was able to have a fairly broad choice of stand position so I think it was a good time to apply. Trade show spots are allocated on much more of a first come first served basis in comparison with markets so it’s worth getting in early. The Spotted section is popular with buyers because they all want something fresh and new for their shops and so it’s a whole section of brands they’re guaranteed not to have seen before. It’s well positioned right next to the VIP Lounge and the Craft section too.

2. SEPTEMBER (A/W) VS. JANUARY (S/S)

I’m sorry I don’t have a definitive answer for this one as I’ve only done September but we discussed it yesterday. At the show a lot of other exhibitors told me they usually find the January edition the busier of the two shows. From what I can gather, larger retailers will be doing their Christmas buying in January and plan much further in advance. All of my orders came from small independent shops and galleries who were mostly stocking up for Christmas so it could be worth considering what type of retailers you want to attract.

Top Drawer Wild Woodland Trend Board

3. DISPLAY EVERYTHING CLEARLY

I kept my stand layout fairly simple. You are allowed to paint the walls, add wallpaper and screw into them so I put up shelving and a rail to show most of my products. However even then, I found that in practice it still could perhaps have been clearer. Buyers often wanted to look at every design of every product all at once and I had stacked my prints in a wooden box for browsing through as I do at markets. A lot buyers ended up lining them all up on the floor in order to make their choices which wasn’t a problem but it would of course have been better for them to be able to immediately see everything together and just point out which designs they wanted.

Sky Siouki Stand Top Drawer A:W17

4.  KNOW YOUR PRICES

Buyers will ask you the wholesale price of everything on your stand and knowing them through and through rather than relying on skimming through sheets of paper makes it much easier for both of you. I in fact found myself blagging my way somewhat with my pricing. My listed RRPs were set as a 2x mark-up of my wholesale prices. I quickly learnt from interested shop owners that a mark-up more towards 2.5x was necessary in order to accommodate for the VAT most retailers are required to pay. In the end I verbally explained my new understanding of this to each buyer who showed interest and promised to amend my pricing accordingly. Knowing my costs well allowed me to make those promises on the spot so I was glad I’d done some memorising first.

5. PUT IMAGES ON YOUR ORDER FORMS

When a buyer decided to make an order it felt like a real whirlwind. Suddenly all of my products had been moved around and I would be rushing for my clipboard to take notes of what they were asking for. It made such a difference when a buyer would point at items listing quantities of each to be able to quickly find the matching item on my form by recognise the image rather than reading for the names. We’re all human and they were of course happy to repeat, but it’s a huge show and you can understand every buyer has an awful lot of stands to go to so time was somewhat of the essence.

Top Drawer Olympia

 

6. KEEP IN CONTACT

Being my first ever trade show, I didn’t know what to expect and was overwhelmed by how many orders I received during the show. I didn’t have any stock prepared before hand and in future I will certainly stockpile a certain amount pre-show in order to shorten dispatch times. I don’t want to say I’d recommend doing that to everyone first time, as everyone’s experience will vary depending on their product. The key thing I learnt from it though was to keep every buyer well informed of the progress of their order and reassure them that it would be on it’s way soon.

 

I’m going to leave it there because I reckon I could go on and on and on listing more tips otherwise. Those were some of the main things I was asked yesterday and learnt though. Plus there are certain things I feel more comfortable sharing personally in a small group rather than publishing publicly on the worldwide web.

Hopefully there will be more advice sessions to come as there certainly seems to be a high level of interest for them. I’m by no means an expert but I enjoy doing what I can to help and encourage other business owners and am very happy to be honest and open about these things.

Please do leave a comment below to let me know if you’d be interested in more advice sessions and on what other topics.

Sky x

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Bristol Girl Bosses!

If you follow my Instagram you may have caught on that I have recently become part of a little collective of Bristol based girls in the designer-maker business called Bristol Girl Bosses. I wanted to post about our group here just to help spread the word really and promote my fellow group members’ work as they all produce such lovely things that you may well be interested in.

 

Since we started an Instagram account we’ve been astonished by the support people have shown and number of posts with our hashtag #BristolGirlBosses that have begun popping up. The group is really just about community and support for us. Being an independent one woman brand can be really challenging on a pretty regular basis so having a group of like-minded ladies to talk to and seek advice from means an incredible amount to us all. I’m so so happy to be a part of our little community. We have been trying to meet up about once a month for food, skill-swapping and idea sharing although it’s often tricky getting all eight members together at once when we’re all so busy!

 

Bristol Girl Bosses June Meet Up

 

WE ARE (in alphabetical order):

Corinne Evans Jewellery – Corinne makes stunning handcrafted silver and copper jewellery inspired by nature.

Fiona Clabon Illustration – Pictured below scurrying away at some collaging! Fiona creates colourful collage illustrations and sells prints, coasters and cards.

Jessica Baldry Designs – Jess is a surface pattern designer and papercut artist. Her glass framed floral paper-cuts are my fave!

Skirt All Week – Swedish seamstress and dress-maker extraordinaire. I’m forever amazed by Sabina’s gorgeous self-made outfits each time I see her!

Sky Siouki – That’s me. Hopefully if you’re here you’ll already know I create wildlife inspired artwork and sell a variety of printed gifts and homewares.

Stephanie Male Illustration – Steph creates a variety of printed and handmade products often with a macabre edge about them.

Warmlii – Bee makes traditional Swiss cherry stone pillows handmade with organic cotton.

Yay Rae Flay – Rae creates quirky illustrations and laser-cut jewellery featuring fun things like jammy dodgers and avocado on toast! She’s waving below.

 

Bristol Girl Bosses_Yay Rae Flay at Springfest

Bristol Girl Bosses_Fiona Clabon at Springfest

So that’s us. Six of the eight of us held stalls at Bristol’s SPRINGFEST last weekend so you may well have met a few of us there. The two pictures above of Rae and Fiona are from our day there. We’re all big fans of the Made In Bristol events so hopefully lots of us, if not maybe even all of us will be selling at the Colston Hall Made In Bristol Gift Fairs too!

 

Following the amazing response we’ve had on Instagram we’re really keen to try to accommodate for others to foster their own collectives. It’s been so beneficial to us that we’d love for others to have the same support within their own independent groups. We hope to eventually arrange some kind of networking or skill-swapping event that may facilitate this for other Bristol ladies in business.

We are also doing Feature Friday plugs via our Instagram account for other Bristol Girl Bosses outside of our collective. To submit your work to be featured just use our hashtag #BristolGirlBosses. The hashtag is gaining lots of popularity already so it seems it’s a good one to use anyway!

Bristol Girl Bosses Hashtag Instagram

TOP 5… Father’s Day Gifts from Bristol Designers

Father’s Day is less than two weeks away already so I think now is probably a good time to give you all a firm nudge and make sure you get your dad something nice! I’m really excited about this week’s blog post because while I was sat here scratching my head thinking ‘where am I going to find some good, unique Father’s Day gifts?’ it suddenly occurred to me that I know lots of amazing Bristol makers who offer brilliant man suitable gifts to feature!

So not only does this feature solve all your father’s day gift idea woes, it also promotes lots of lovely and talented fellow Bristol based designer-makers – the majority of whom I know personally and can totally vouch for as incredible ladies who fully deserve your support! What could honestly be better than that?!

 

Fiona Clabon Motorbike Coaster Father's Day Gifts

1. Norton Motorbike Coaster by Fiona Clabon £4.50 – I’ve always admired Fiona’s retro inspired collage designs even before I knew her! …And what dad hasn’t always dreamed of having his very own motorbike – even if it does only support his morning brew! This coaster would make a great affordable gift, or you can get the whole retro themed set or perhaps a gardening design instead if that’s what your dad is into.

 

Karve Design Timepiece Cufflinks Father's Day Gifts

2. Timepiece Cufflinks by Karve Design £25 – These cufflinks are something truly unique and special made using real watch parts! I’m usually next to the lovely Chitra of Karve Design when I do The Frome Independent market and so it’s lovely to see her incredible jewellery and accessories are always popular since each piece is entirely unique.

 

Girl & Bird Personalised Map Print Tablet Case Father's Day Gifts

3. Personalised Map Print Tablet Case by Girl & Bird £24-£27 – Annah of Girl & Bird sews all of her products by hand herself so you can even opt for a personalised choice of map and backing colour for this tablet case! She has a huge library of maps available to choose from so if your dad is at all like mine and likes his gadgets, he can be sure to keep his iPad protected in style with a beautiful case like this.

 

Little Paisley Designs Garden Birds Mug Father's Day Gifts

4. British Garden Birds Mug by Little Paisley Designs £12 -Eleanore much like myself is a big nature lover and sells a beautiful array of products featuring her cute and colourful wildlife illustrations. My dad has always been an avid bird watcher, these days especially, so whenever I see gifts covered in birds I always know they’ll most likely be a hit with him!

 

Alice Shields Save The Honey Bee Clay Badge Father's Day Gifts

5. Save The Honeybee Badge by Alice Shields £12.44 – The last of my five amazing Bristol designer ladies is one I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting but am a big fan of her work. I love that she is donating 10% of sales of this handmade product to the Bee Guardian Foundation and I expect lots of dads would appreciate that too! Besides birds my dad also loves bees, as well as all other insects in fact, so the message to ‘save the honeybee’ certainly seems like a good one to wear on a badge. Plus it’s a gorgeous design and made of earthenware clay!

Thanks so much for reading. I hope I’ve helped you find your dad a gift this Father’s Day or at the very least introduced you to some brilliant designer-makers from Bristol to order from in future! Don’t forget to browse the Sky Siouki online shop for Father’s Day gifts too! My next TOP 5 feature will be something super Summery… I’m thinking cocktails?!