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Market Traders - The long story - our project

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About Us

Something to read if you've no knowledge of who we are, or the things we do!

 
We are a family business, founded in 2010 and run with the primary aim to provide a continual funding source for The Craft-E-Kittens. In the past 6 years we have gained a wide array of experience and widened our customer base greatly, both online and within the market trader / community event scenes.
Initially Furwebs was known as CraftKittens1 and was solely produced for and managed by Karen (Kitty).
In the beginning we were focused mainly on selling beaded jewellery (handmade) as this was a skill / hobby that developed over time and was easily fitted around daily duties of caring for the cats, however as time passed there was a growing aspiration to follow a childhood dream of running a Toy Store and Handcrafted gifts outlet which led to Kathy (Kitty's Mum) and Johnny (Kitty's fiance) both opting to venture into the unknown and also becoming Sole Traders in 2011 with separate genres of craft for us each to focus on.
 
There have been many, many events that we have attended over the years, each to help us reach our fundraising goals for the cats, although much of our funding recently has been raised online in various stores and outlets selling all manner of items including donated or our own personal goods to fund the purchase of supplies, food and equipment for the cat cabin.

Sockys Rainbow Sanctuary Fundraising Store

Back on September 6th 2014 we had the opportunity of trying our hand at becoming market traders at the local Blunsdon Indoor Market with our Travelling Toy Store and a selection of Handmade Gifts.
Up until that point, we had been working on building an incredible base of recurring community events to add to our calendar and it was taking its toll on our enthusiasm for stallholding. We assumed that having [the closest we could afford to] our own bricks and mortar store for our following of customers to gather around and recurringly shop with us for all of their trusty needed supplies would be an awesome step in the right direction. It was something which we managed to hold for an immense 8 months before having to give up our pitches due to financial and daily stresses and strains. *(basically having to divert such a vast amount of time, money and energy into keeping the stalls stocked, manned and rent paid that we had literally zero time for the cats cleaning / play sessions, medicine times were slipping into feeding times and our general family life began to suffer.)*
We learned a great deal from our time, but May 3rd 2015 saw us packing our last few displays, products and possessions to work our way through pre-booked events away from the market to try to find a happy mix of family time, cat sessions and fundraisers.

2016 was a huge gamble in terms of the amount of events we decided to push for, as such we were booked solid for community events from January through to July, ultimately deciding to cancel attendance at our final four events leading in to August in order to give ourselves time to prepare stock and stall layouts for our largest annual event (Shrivenham Village Fete, Final August Bank Holiday every year).
Unfortunately things didn't entirely turn out as we had hoped due to an insanely unprecidented Thunder Storm and Flood rains which wiped out our 18ft (six gazebo) pitch along with 90% of our stock. We managed to raise almost enough to cover our initial £90 pitch fees but after such a loss it was a long time before we managed to regain our position and begin to sell again.
In November 2016 we took the plunge to place a large wholesale order from a long time favourite supplier which as you can imagine was quite terrifying given our previous loss on such a large scale. We knew it was the right step as soon as we saw the delivery truck arrive with large pallets of lovely good quality stock and we immediately set about scrambling to list our new wares on the website (our previous providers), which took three long weeks of near 24/7 sorting, product photography and listing. The decision to do Christmas events came about when we realised just how close we were to the holiday season and had little chance of regaining a large enough following online alone to begin to build up profits to cover winter expenses for the cats.
Those of you who have followed us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram may be aware of how much work we have put in to our recent event schedule but it is often hard to tell from a distance. From November 19th through to December 17th we had almost a solid month of events, with almost every day having at least some form of event to attend (Sometimes more than one!). This was incredibly tiring for all three of us, including Des (Kitty's dad) who is the event driver / volunteer. By the end of the calendar I (Ktty) decided that we HAD to take a long period of rest to get over the rough months previously and . . . . well, rest!
Right before Christmas eve, a note was posted upon our Facebook page stating that we would not be completing any further orders until after Christmas day, but a crucial lapse in action was to follow this through to the actual eBay store, Etsy Stores and websites of ours - which led to further Christmas orders being placed on December 21st/22nd/23rd. After this I ( Exasperatedly) posted an adjustment to Facebook announcing that we would now not be opening for orders until January 9th 2017 (which sounded SO far away).
By pure accident, things took yet another twist in fact landing us on January 9th to discover that we had to move to new system providers and here we are. The store is empty currently at the time of writing this, I (Kitty) am working my way through the set up of the general aspects of the system before drawing together the troops (Kathy & Johnny) to start on our latest venture Furwebs Market 2017!

Our main aim : Fundraise for The Craft-E-Kittens
Who we are: A mad family of cat lovers who do anything and everything for our special needs babies!
Why do we do what we do: Because every cat deserves love, to feel safe and cared for. Not just the "normal ones".
Are we funded by any governing bodies etc: Not at all, not a penny. We have to fund every penny of our cause by selling our wares, producing our own handmade gifts and often spending our own personal funds to cover expenses for the cats.
Do we ever give up: Not if there is a fighting chance of helping cats that are in need of special care, and we have the ability to help!

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