Have you been watching ‘The Wonderful World of Crafting‘ on Channel 5? It’s a fascinating insight into people’s passion for craft and although the show focuses on selling at craft fairs, there are tips that you could apply to any creative business, as the wonderful Rosie Wolfenden from Tatty Devine is on hand to share her advice on how to create saleable products and build a brand around your craft. Plus episode one features the legend that is Kaffe Fassett (actual Kaffe Fassett!) sharing his wisdom and passion for colour with quilt maker, John. More importantly though, we’ve already seen two brilliant Folksy sellers starring on the show: Toni Godolphin from The Crafting Cow, who is one of the three crafters featured in episode one and makes gorgeous crochet products and kits, and Sheeba Kukreja from Hatchfully Yours who makes intricately carved decorative eggs and has small parts throughout the whole series (we’re looking forward to seeing more from Sheeba in future episodes).
It’s been really enjoyable watching Folksy sellers on the small screen, but what’s it been like on the other side of the camera? We spoke to Toni and Sheeba to find out how they found themselves on TV, what it was like being filmed making and what they’ve learned from taking part in the show.
The Wonderful World of Crafting is on Channel 5 every Thursday at 8pm during October and you can also watch it on catch up. Click play below to watch a clip from the show introducing Toni and her crochet alpacas!
We talk to Toni Godolphin and Sheeba Kukreja about ‘The Wonderful World of Crafting’
Hi Toni and Sheeba! Congratulations on being on the show. Can you tell us how that happened? Was there an audition process or how did it work?
Toni: A random post appeared on my Facebook feed about a new TV show that was looking for crafters, so I sent a short email about myself to the production company and explained what I did. I then totally forgot I’d sent it until I got a call in February to say I’d been shortlisted to a list of 26 makers. I was a little taken aback but they only needed 12 people, so I didn’t hold out much hope. Then over the Easter weekend I got another call to say I’d made the final 12. After that it was a waiting game for Channel 5 to agree to take the programme on. Finally in June it got the go-ahead.
Sheeba: I stumbled across the advert from the production company, Pi Productions, on Facebook too, and decided to apply, realising that there would be hundreds of other people applying and my chances were low. To my surprise, I got a call and they asked me to take part in a Skype interview. That then lead to another few interviews, the last one being a screen test in London where I met the selected (and very talented) crafters.
What happened on the day of filming?
Toni: The filming for my part took place over several days. You hardly see anything on the show compared to the number of hours filmed! We all had one day designed to inspire us, and I wasn’t as lucky as the others because for my inspirational day I ended up at the local market, practising my stall layout [the others two crafters in the episode visited a puppet studio and Kaffe Fassett in his home studio]. You didn’t get to see any of this on the programme, which was probably a good thing, but I had a giggle doing it.
Sheeba: The filming for my slot took place at my house in September. I was nervous, as you can imagine, but the crew came in and made me feel so comfortable. It was a rainy day so we ended up doing the filming in my lounge. They filmed me carving one of my eggshell baskets, following the process from start to finish and adding some flowers and Swarovski crystals to the finished shell. After that, they asked me questions on camera about my passion for carving eggshells and how I started. The crew were very friendly and made me at ease straight away. They then took shots of all my sculpted shells displayed on my windowsill, including my Taj Mahal on an ostrich egg, which is a work in progress.
What did you learn from being on the show?
Toni: The show has been amazing. It’s given me the stepping stone I needed to push my creative business. I’d been trying to establish it for a while now and couldn’t seem to get anywhere. I also know now how much hard work goes into creating just 15 minutes of TV footage!
Sheeba: I feel so grateful for this opportunity and that they chose me to be a small part of the show. Egg carving isn’t a new craft but it isn’t as popular in the UK as it is in some Eastern European countries. People confuse what I do with Fabergé style eggs. Fabergé eggs were made by the famous Fabergé family for the tsars of Russia and the royal family before the Russian revolution. They are highly decorated and embellished – what I do with eggshells is carve them very intricately and keep any embellishments or decorations to a minimum. The focus is on carving delicate lace patterns on the eggshell sculptures enhancing its natural elegance and grandeur. It’s been amazing to be able to share my craft and hopefully show more people the craft of egg carving.
Was the advice you were given useful?
Toni: I think in my head I already knew what I had to do, but the show gave me some focus and I am ready for the world now! The most important lesson I learned is to be myself. It sounds strange, I know, but I think part of selling your product is selling yourself and if people don’t like you they won’t buy. I tried to embrace the whole experience and show the real me and my passion for craft.
Sheeba: In my case they couldn’t really give me any advice because they said they didn’t know much about egg carving and I was the first person they’d met who did anything like it!
Are you planning on doing any more craft fairs, Toni, and is there anything you would do differently next time? How about you Sheeba? Have you considered sell your carved eggs at craft fairs?
Toni: The craft fair I went to was Clare Priory Craft Fair and I think visitors there were looking to buy the completed item, whereas I went with lots of craft kits. Next time I do a craft fair, I’ll go along beforehand to check out the audience and make sure I am heading to the right people. I probably will do some more, but at the moment I really want to finish a few more crochet patterns and get those out to the public. The dream is to have my own pattern book, so I need to get these done before I can look at the next part of the process.
Sheeba: I haven’t been to any craft fairs with my eggs yet, as my focus so far has been selling online. I think it comes down to costs and the profit you can make. Having said that, I would love to try selling at a craft fair soon. When I do, I would make sure the craft fair is relevant to what I do, or vice versa, as I think that’s very important. It’s also important to have a feel of the craft fair you want to sell at by going as a visitor yourself and analysing the market. But I’d love to take these carved eggshells to a craft fair one day.
What’s been happening since the show aired?
Toni: It’s been mad! Sales have been amazing, I’ve had lots of brilliant comments and I just want to keep building my business now.
Sheeba: I’ve been getting interest from various publications and I’ve been interviewed by BBC Essex Radio about my time on the show too.
Did you watch The Wonderful World of Crafting? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Did you pick up any useful tips you can apply to your own creative business? Did their experience of craft fairs match your own? Are there any aspects you would have liked to hear more about or see more of? If you missed the first episode, you can watch it on catch up or follow the whole series on Channel 5 every Thursday at 8pm during October.