The ABCs Of Friendship

If you want to have good friendships in your life, then it needs to start with you. Some people won’t be worth the effort, especially when they put in very little themselves. But there are some gems that will be the friends that will last and last. But much like a romantic relationship, friendships do take work. So here are 26 things to help you to be a better friend, the ABCs of friendship, if you like.

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  • Appreciate – showing how thankful you are for things can make their day and show that they matter to you.
  • Birthdays – make sure you celebrate them in style on their big day. From looking at a birthday gift collection for the perfect gift, to partying with them, it is all good.
  • Communication – so important for any kind of relationship. Say what you mean.
  • Don’t Be Selfish – enough said.
  • Encourage – a good friend helps you to be a better version of yourself. So be that person for your friends.
  • Forgive and Forget – it can be easier said than done, but is vital for any friendship as we can all say and do things that we regret.
  • Generosity – give of your time and what you have to be better friend. Don’t buy friends, but bu generous.
  • Hug It Out – hugging can be a great thing with your bestie. It can help if you are feeling sad or stressed too.
  • Include Them – we all have family and other friend circles, but include them where you can.
  • Join something together – a club or a team can give you some common ground and more chance to connect.
  • Keep Promises – only make them if you can keep them/
  • Listen – a vital part of communication is listening. Are they trying to say something between the lines?
  • Motivate – from helping them to exercise more to motivating them to get a new job, it is all good.
  • No – sometimes saying no can be a good thing. Make sure figure out the balance.
  • Own Up – be honest, and own up to your mistakes.
  • Practice makes perfect – Sometimes you won’t do things well straight away. Stick at it.
  • Quash jealous feelings – we may envy their style or their other friends. Just don’t!
  • Respect – you are not going to treat someone badly if you respect them. Be sincere and value their opinions.
  • Speak up – if you’re unhappy about something, speak up about it. Then they will feel that they can do the same.
  • Trust – it is a vital part of any kind of relationship. Some people may break it, but allow them to work at it.
  • Understanding – we are all different and all do things differently. Just because they don’t want to go out one evening, doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. They could just be an introvert, for example.
  • Visit – with social media taking over, it can be easy just to send them a snap. Visit and meet up when you can.
  • Work – working at a friendship is important. Make sure that it isn’t just one-sided, though.
  • Xtra Effort – a must for any happy friendship.
  • You – don’t forget yourself in all of this. If it turns toxic, it is time to get out.
  • Zero Negativity – because who likes to be friends with someone full of negativity?
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Feeling Fabulous And Making the Most Of Your Weekends

Don’t you find that the weekends just go too quickly at the moment? You blink and it seems you miss them if you are not careful. Often weekends are there to ensure that you get the rest and relaxation that you need to help you crack on with the next week ahead. But they are also a great opportunity to do different things and really experience the world. So I wanted to share with you some of the ways you can continue to feel fabulous and make the most of your weekends.

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Do something to inspire you

Sometimes it is nice to do something that inspires you, and often things like going to a museum or an art gallery does exactly that. It gives you a chance to learn and expand your knowledge while also feeling inspired pin different ways. Websites like VirtosuArt.com can show you a great gallery to attend, however a quick search online will highlight some of the local attractions you have close to you. You may find that there are some great spots locally you don’t know existed.

Exercise and feel good

Exercising is a great way to spend your weekend and while you won’t’ be doing it all day everyday, there are aspects of activity you can do during the weekend that not only give you all the benefits of exercise but can also give you a fun activity and thing to do. Hiking, walking, swimming and running are all activities that can be enjoyed over the course of a weekend.

Catch up with friends and family

Maybe you want to socialise over the weekend and I don’t blame you. It is one of the only opportunities you get enjoy a later night than usual without the follow up of having to get up super early for work or other commitments in your life. Catching up with friends and family is a great way to spend your weekend.

Cook up a storm

Not all of us get the time to cook up meals from scratch during the week so use the time you have on the weekend to your advantage and really cook something up. Cooking can actually be very therapeutic as well so you may find that it is a relaxing activity as well as fun one.

Enjoy a pamper session

Again during the week we often don’t get much time in the evenings to ourselves, so a weekend is the ideal time to reinvest some time into yourself. It could be that you enjoy a pamper evening where you put on a face mask, give yourself a manicure or pedicure or even just enjoy a long soak in the bath with a good book. Bliss.

Paint the town red

Finally, why not go out and paint the town red? Or whatever colour you like. A night out may not be something you do too often these days, but a girls night out or a date night with your loved one can really inject the spark and happiness back into your life.

I hope that this has given you some inspiration on how you can make the most of your weekends.

Easy Gifts Any Guy Will Appreciate

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Everyone is happy when it’s easy buying gifts for someone, as it makes the process much less of a headache. When you are buying for the man in your life, you might sometimes find it to be a little difficult, especially if they do not easily express what it is that they enjoy and so on. However, the good news there is that there are a number of gifts with pretty much any guy will tend to appreciate, so considering those is bound to help you if you are a little stuck for ideas. In this article, we are going to take a look at just a few of these sure thing present ideas – but hopefully this will be enough to get the ball rolling in your mind if you are currently looking for a gift for the man in your life – whether it’s your other half, your father or your son.

A Good Pair Of Shoes

If you thought that it was only women who appreciate a good pair of shoes, think again. The truth is that most men will also appreciate this as a gift, especially if it is a relatively expensive and particularly fashionable pair of shoes. If you think that your man would like something fairly casual, but still stylish, then you might want to consider something along the lines of a pair of air jordan 11 bred trainers. Whereas, if he is more likely to enjoy a formal pair of shoes you can easily achieve the same kind of effect by treating him to some fancy loafers which could go with his favorite suit. Either of these would be well appreciated, but choosing which just depends on the man in question.

Beard Trimming Kit

Whether or not he currently sports a beard, most guys will appreciate having the ability to look after one if it comes to it. Therefore, getting your man a decent beard trimming kit is definitely going to go down well, no matter his stance towards facial hair. If he does usually have a full beard or even just stubble, having the full set of accoutrements to look after it will definitely please him – whereas a man who likes to stay clean shaven won’t exactly complain for having more in the way of decent razors. Go for a set which includes a manual electric clipper set, as these are handy to have for either the beard or the head hair if it comes to it.

Tool Belt

If your man is particularly handy when it comes to things around the house, then you might find that getting him something in the way of a tool belt is likely to actually go down very well. Tool belts are a great thing to have even if you don’t do much fixing up, so in any case the man in your life is highly likely to feel as though you have got him something useful. Just make sure that it has a good combination of tools for any occasion, and that the belt itself suits him in some way.

4 Ways to Freshen Up Your Home Office Routine for Summer

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If you haven’t noticed by now, summer is on its way! Unfortunately, the shift in the seasons doesn’t often mean a change to our working conditions. And especially for those of us who work from home, it can get pretty monotonous staring at the same four walls day in day out. If the closest you’ve gotten to a beach so far this year is your desktop screensaver or endless shots of #hotdoglegs on Instagram, its time to freshen things up. Okay, maybe becoming a digital nomad is a little outside of the realms of possibility for you right this moment, but there are several little hacks you can try to bring the summer into your home office.

Plan In A Happy Hour

Just because you’re at home all day, doesn’t mean time has to melt into one big block. Why not create your own happy hour to give midweek a lift? Personalise a little ritual for you and how you like to operate – whether that is lunchtime ice-cream sundaes on a Thursday or frozen margaritas on a Friday night. It will give you something to look forward to and add a deadline to work towards. Pair it with an evening away from home – use www.theticketmerchant.com.au to find gig tickets or a comedy show to go to after ‘post-work drinks’.

Change Up Your Schedule

Although one of the joys of working from home is surely being more flexible with your hours, most of us are actually creatures of habit and stick to the same routine. Why not create more of a distinction for summer by changing your working pattern to take advantage of the lighter mornings? Start work an hour earlier and be strict with yourself about leaving your home office to get outside at 4 pm. Or, if you have lots of meetings to attend, block them in for the start of the week using a scheduling app so you can duck out on a Friday afternoon.

Brighten Up Your Desk

If the same old view is getting you down, how about changing your desk décor? Colours and images have the power to affect our mood and productivity. Use boards on Pinterest or sites like www.mydomaine.com/tags/office-decor to browse for home office inspiration. Hunt down cute printables, poster art and introduce fresh flowers to give your desk a lift and let yourself know its summer outside somewhere.

Lighten Up Lunch

If you’re still sticking to the same can of soup each lunchtime or a hastily grabbed piece of toast, its great to find some fresh, healthy lunch ideas to switch it up. The beauty of home working is the ability to prepare something new to eat at midday. And instead of wolfing down a sandwich at your desk while checking your emails, prioritise going outside to eat or for a quick walk. Even if its only 20 minutes, it breaks the day up, gives your brain a blast of oxygen and stops you missing out on all the nice weather. Studies show it can actually make you more productive and creative, so you’ll gain that 20 minutes back easily. Hit refresh and instantly feel better!

Stunningly Unique Gift Ideas to Wow That Special Someone!

Stunningly Unique Gift Ideas to Wow That Special Someone!

Choosing the right gift can take time and effort, and is often much trickier than you might think. You have to account for the tastes of the individual, but you also need to think outside of the box as well. If you want your gift to stand out and mean something more you have to go with something a little more unique and offbeat. Look, buying or giving a gift can be a very challenging process because you want to get it right.

The simple fact is that many of us are not very good at buying the right kinds of gifts, even for the people closest to us. You might know their tastes and interests, and you’ll almost certainly have bought gifts for them in the past, but it can still be a challenge. So, here are a few unique and original ideas for gifts fit for any occasion, that will certainly blow them away!

DIY Hamper

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Sometimes a little extra forethought can go a long way to showing a person how much they mean to you. This is why you need to consider a DIY hamper – it’s original, it shows effort, and you can make it as eclectic as you want to. Yes, there are hampers you can buy that have already been put together, but these are likely to be more expensive. Buy the hamper/basket on its own, and create your own quirky hamper, perfectly suited to the recipient’s tastes and interests.

A Flight in a Fighter Jet

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What do you get the person who has everything? Well, it kinda depends on what your budget is, to be honest! But, a great place to start would be to give the gift of a flight in a fighter jet! How many people do you know who have ever had this experience? Exactly, unique and fun! Of course, this is going to be wildly expensive, so you’ll have to have a pretty large budget, and make sure you shop around of course too!

Houseplant

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Houseplants are becoming less common these days, but they are excellent for people who may not have a garden. If you want to help someone inject some color and life into their daily routine, an Orchid of the month might be the way to go. Houseplants are a great way of livening up a home (or office), and there are proven health benefits related to them as well. So, make sure you consider a houseplant or flower as a gift with a difference, and one that is suitable for any occasion too!

Record Player

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A lot of retro things are making a comeback these days, and record players have definitely enjoyed something of a resurgence. If you have a friend or family member who’s a bit of a throwback and likes things from the past, this is a wonderful idea for something to buy them. Record players give a more raw sound when listening to vinyl, and this appeals to music purists. They also look fantastic on a stand or sat on a cabinet, so this is definitely something to consider.

Whisk Them Away

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So many people give something tangible as a gift, but it’s often more fulfilling to gift an experience. This is something that shows thought, but will also allow for the creation of new memories and experiences. If your friend/partner/family member is having a tough time, giving the gift of a break from work could be just the tonic needed to help them relax and calm down. A mini-break is a wonderful way of giving an original gift and knowing it’s going to go down well.

Experience Day

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These days more and more people are beginning to see the value of experiences over possessions. You might be considering the mini-break, but you could also cough up for an experience day as well. This might be something like a flying lesson, a skydiving session, or cheese making class. Whatever it is, there are plenty of quirky and funky ideas to choose from here, and you can give somebody an experience that is both original and thrilling!

Yoga Classes

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There is so much stress and anxiety in modern life these days, and we all have that person in our lives who gets overwhelmed all the time. Well, this is the person who needs to relax and find inner peace, so they would definitely benefit from the gift of yoga classes. You’ll be able to buy packages with several sessions attached so they can really start finding their quiet place and working on achieving inner peace and enlightenment. Yoga classes are popular across the world, but you don’t see many being handed out as gifts, so this is a good place to begin.

A Personalized Movie

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Look, you don’t need to be Quentin Tarantino or anything, but this is actually a really great idea,. You can put together a movie of your friend’s life, or, at the very least, a trailer. This might be tricky without them finding out, but the ROI on a gift like this is so high. Tap up their parents to get a copy of those old home videos, scour Facebook for uploaded video clips, and check your old WhatsApp media. You might have enough material to put together something highly personal, but also very original as well.

Scrapbook

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This is along similar lines to the personalized movie, but it might be a little more doable. You certainly need to consider making a scrapbook for your friend, lover, family member. This can be filled with pictures, memories, and ‘remember when’ anecdotes from your lives over the years. This is not the sort of gift they are going to be getting on a frequent basis, and it’s something that relates solely to the two of you; for this reason, it is more personal, exclusive, and heartfelt.

Buying gifts for people can be a tricky challenge, and there’s always at least one person who is impossible to buy for. With these people, you need to make sure you give them something different, something uncommon, something they haven’t had before. If you can do that your gift will be something they treasure for years to come.

Budget Product Photography tips

With so many people having side hustles, blogs and websites – it is more important than ever to make sure you have the right tools for the job – but what happens when you’re on a budget with a job to do? Product photography can make or break a product launch, and if you’ve been called up to the plate, you need to knock it out of the park.

Light is one of those things that you need to get right. If you can’t afford reflectors or lighting kits, you can set up a reasonable kit with LED lights, and homemade reflectors.

You can make a reflector in a pinch like this:

  •    Grab some aluminium foil and some card. Wrap the foil around the cardboard, and use to reflect light from your light source to where you need it. Once these have been made, you can, of course, use them over and over again, and they can give some excellent results.

Ideally, you will be shooting in soft natural light, which is arguably better for every type of photography. Here are a few quick tips:

  •    Outside for soft natural light
  •    Diffuse light using a blank piece of white paper over your light source
  •    Avoid using the cameras inbuilt flash whenever possible
  •    Your mobile phone torch can help to lighten up dark spots – use a tripod to help keep it steady

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Backgrounds with the right color and patterns can make a product pop. If you don’t have the funds to have countless backdrops or high-priced vinyl boards, then you can pick up swaths of materials and gorgeous wholesale fabric to make your own.

Making your backgrounds:

  •    Select your fabric swatch, pick the card size you want, trim the fabric to be slightly larger than your backing board. Hot glue the fabric in place – et voila – gorgeous and budget-friendly backgrounds.

Great background ideas:

  •    Faux brickworks,
  •    Wooden panels
  •    Stone

Editing. Editing is something that you sadly cannot skimp on. What you can do is invest money wisely in the top-rated editing software. Pay close attention to the saturation, the clarity and dust or marks that have appeared while you’ve been shooting.

Context is king, and sometimes a product is going to look better in a lifestyle shoot, sometimes it is going to pop on the fabric background from earlier. Either way, you need to be prepared. Rather than have to spend out on models for the lifestyle shots, ask a few friends if they wouldn’t mind helping you out.

Remember the buyer. While you are spending time setting up the shoot, looking at the angles, the light and everything else – remember the critical person is the end buyer. Try to think about buying the item yourself, what type of detail would you want to see? Is there anything that makes this product unique? What can you show the customer to clinch the sale?

Have fun, photography – while a fantastic hobby, and occasionally a reasonably lucrative job, it takes a while to get some of the expensive equipment together. In the meantime don’t be scared to have fun and experiment.

Surviving a Digital Detox

Do you look at your phone as soon as you open your eyes in the morning? Worse still, do you check it if you wake up in the middle of the night? Do you find that you can’t sleep unless you checked your social media feeds? Or, do you spend time with your friends, totally ignoring them while you sit scrolling through twitter? When was the last time that you ate a meal or went somewhere without taking a photo for Instagram? Well, the good news is, you’re not alone. Social media and smartphone addiction is becoming a very real problem in modern society. It can lead to insomnia and stress. It can make you feel jealous and like your life isn’t as good as what you see online. You could feel anxiety if you leave your phone at home or can’t get to it for a few hours and it can even ruin your real-life relationships.

If you’ve forgotten how to live without your phone and other devices and you are worried that an over-reliance is affecting your health and your relationships, then it might be time to try a digital detox. But, it’s not going to be easy. Here is what you need to do to survive.

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Get Away

One of the best ways to survive a digital detox is with a holiday. Head to Courtyard Guayaquil for a total change of scenery and a break in your normal routine. They’ll still be a temptation to overshare and let everyone know what you are doing. But, it’ll be much easier to get used to when you are away from home.

Start a Project

Keeping busy is always a good way to cope with any kind of detox or lifestyle change. You might want to take a class, start training for an event or just work on your fitness. Give yourself something to do that’s away from all devices. Make this your priority and give it all of your focus.

Get Your Friends to Join In

The hardest part of a digital detox is seeing everyone else glued to a screen. When you are out with friends or your family, explain what you are doing and ask them to join in, even if it’s just while you are together. You’ll soon be having that much fun offline that you’ll forget all about it. It’ll give your friendships a great boost and bring you all closer together too.

Take a Really Good Look Around

Look at all those people taking photographs and sharing every detail of their life. Why are they doing it? What are they getting out of it? Even when their snaps are photoshopped to perfection, it doesn’t make their life photoshop perfect, and they’ll still be jealous of other feeds and photographs. Are these people really appreciated what’s around them, or enjoying their meals or activities or are they more concerned with what other people think? Take a good hard look.

Remember, the point of a digital detox isn’t never touching a phone again. It’s about remembering that there is more to life and breaking what could become a dangerous addiction.

5 Must-Haves For Every Budding Photographer

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When you’re looking for a new hobby to take up and you’re naturally a creative person, you’re going to find that photography is one of the things that you’re drawn to. It’s a fun pastime and can often lead you on to great things. More often than not, when you do get into photography, you’re going to want to be able to take things a step further and maybe turn it into a bit of a career. However, when you first start out as an amateur, there are always going to be a few things that you need in place. And no, we’re not talking camera equipment, as this is all something that you’ll already have. Instead, we’re going to consider some of the more business essentials that will help you here.

  1. A Website

First of all, you should definitely think about getting yourself a website set up. It’s not always easy to promote yourself to those locally offline. But when you get online, it’s much easier to share your work and showcase who you are on social media. However, you also need a website to link back to with your information and contact details. You should also look to share some of your work in a portfolio (more on that in point five).

  1. Testimonials

If you’ve done some paid work, freebies, or even some work for friends, then try to get some testimonials. When you add these onto your website, your potential customers can see what other think of your work and it can often give you the credibility you need as a newbie.

  1. A Promotional Video

While a picture can speak a thousand words and it’s going to showcase the work that you do, you can always offer more. Creating a promotional video is going to help you here. Get some info, only at Lifetime-Media.com, on what this might include. When you can showcase your work or the process in a visual way like this, it’s going to customers another peak into how you do things.

  1. Business Cards

Most of your promotional tactics are going to be online these days, but they definitely aren’t the only option that you have. In fact, if you really want to make sure that you’re making the most of every business opportunity, then business cards are great. Take a look at some stunning designs that you can find on PasteMagazine.com to inspire you. Then create an on-brand design that you can keep with you and hand out whenever the opportunity arises.

  1. Good Friends

Finally, you’re also going to find that you might need a little helping hand when you’re looking to get started. You’ll know by now that you need a website to promote yourself and ideally you’re going to have some photographs on there in a kind of portfolio. And this is where your friends can come in. Do some test shots and trail some shoots with them. It’s okay to show off any free or paid work that you have already done, but if you have some gaps or you want to mix up the photography styles, your friends are going to really help you out here.

Getting Personal On A Budget

Dressing and decorating in your most personal style is the best way to make both your house and body feel more like home. And when you’re comfortable with your most intimate surroundings, you’re going to feel a lot happier in yourself. Because of that alone, it’s entirely worth it to try and get as personal as possible. But what if you can’t afford to? What if your entire house is decorated with thrift store pieces and you’ve been wearing the same jeans for at least 3 years now.

So if you haven’t been lucky in your antique store surfing or your online shopping, it’s time to start working with your budget instead of against it. Just like you would take care of yourself physically with some quick tips and tricks, you can do the same for your mental health as well via your surroundings. Here some ways on how to do that.

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For Your Wardrobe

Your wardrobe can be quite an expensive place, and being able to change it whenever you need to is something only a rich person can do. However, getting more personal with your style, and finally wearing the things you want to doesn’t have to take much money. First of all, always buy second hand. Second of all, buy hefty fabrics you know will last a good amount of time; these can be much more easily repurposed and redesigned whenever you’re tired of wearing them the same way for months on end.

You can get your own custom made or pre designed clothes here that you know will be well worth it to invest in. Feel free to view here such items here, and take a chance on these products at the end of the week when payday rolls around. You deserve a treat after all! And wearing something you think is fun and loved as soon as you saw is going to be one of the best ways to celebrate your achievements.

For Your House

Decorating your rooms takes a lot of money, and you’re always going to be building up your surroundings. Being able to look around you and truly feel satisfied with what you feel is something you don’t get when you’re first moving into a place; don’t feel bad if you’re lacking a house plant or a bookcase from the corner of your living room.

But on the other hand, decorating can make us happy, so you shouldn’t have to wait until your budget stretches that far for an indefinite amount of time. You can easily pick up a sapling plant from the garden center for a couple of bucks at most, or you can get a roll of wallpaper for a couple more to make yourself a feature wall. Or hang up your photos!

Getting personal with your lifestyle when you’re on a budget can mean a lot of things, but if you get thrifty with your habits and wait for sales, you’re going to be much better off than most.

From Amateur To Pro: 6 Steps For Jewellery Designers

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Making jewellery is something that many of us experimented with as children. We’d string beads onto string, struggle to make clasps work, and delight over our own creations— but for the majority, making our own jewellery is something we quickly moved on from. It was a fun childhood hobby, and nothing more.

However, for some women, the delight of making jewellery doesn’t wear off. Attempts from childhood are replaced by genuinely impressive crafting skills, and the hobby is just as enchanting as it always was. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s worth asking if your amateur hobby has the potential to become a career. It’s easier than ever to start a business selling handmade jewellery, and if you want to try such an endeavour, here are six steps that will help you on your way…

STEP ONE: Establish the market

Before you enter into the business of selling jewellery, you have to be sure there is a market for what you’re producing. Browse local craft stalls and online sites like Etsy to see if your designs are truly unique compared to what is currently available. If you’re making similar pieces to other designers, it might be worth experimenting with styles until you find your niche.

STEP TWO: Decide where you want to sell

You have two options for selling handmade jewellery: online, or at craft stalls. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and you may find that your best choice initially is to try both and see which works best for you.

STEP THREE: Work through the finances

If you have little experience in business, then you will need to learn how to calculate costs, profits, and expenses. While this can be a lot to process at first, there’s plenty of free assistance available for business financial management online, so you should be able to get up to speed relatively quickly.

STEP FOUR: Choose the right display equipment

Whether you’re photographing items to sell online or arranging them for display on a stall, you’re going to need to ensure that your pieces are presented well. This means opting for display equipment like hand mannequins for bracelets and rings, and bust mannequins for necklaces and earrings. This equipment will help to display your pieces correctly, and in a way that is attractive to potential buyers.

STEP FIVE: Think about advertising

Your pieces have to be known about to be able to sell, so you’re going to need to spend some time increasing visibility via an advertising campaign. There’s a useful starter guide here that can help you choose the advertising direction you wish to take.

STEP SIX: Sell!

With all the finances in place and a decision made on the markets you’re going to target, the next step is the biggest of all: go ahead and sell! It’s best to start small with just a few pieces and, should things go well, you can build your range from there.

In conclusion

Whether your jewellery designs become a handy side hustle or a fully-fledged business, it’s well worth exploring the possibilities of sharing your jewellery-making talent with a wider audience. Good luck!