Hello there! Thanks for being here! I’ve got something a lil different for you this week…
If you follow me on Insta (if not why not??), you may remember me banging on about an event called Super Seconds Saturday at the end of February…
Well I’ve been lucky enough to have a goss with Sophie, who is the mega talented brain behind it all, and who also runs her own creative business, Ink and Bear!
Super Seconds Saturday is an online craft fair run by Sophie, which happens twice a year, and is a place for a ton of wonderful businesses to sell their seconds/old stock/misprints at reduced prices. It’s a win win for all: creatives can still make some pennies on the pieces that they can’t sell full price, and us customers can grab ourselves a beautiful bargain!
I definitely made the most of the event – I had my eye on a few shops that I wanted to look at on the day, and ended up finding (and buying) so much more than expected! (Our lovely postie must have been sick of my excited face at the door every day for the next few weeks…)
The event was also a really good place to discover new makers and small businesses that I wouldn’t have found otherwise!
So I am really grateful to lovely Sophie for giving up some of her precious time to chat – ready to find out more?
JANEY: Hello! Please tell us a little more about you and your business!
SOPHIE: I’m Sophie from Ink & Bear, and I’m a screen printer from Leeds. I’m from Hull originally and moved over to Leeds to go to University nearly 16 years ago and I have never looked back! I design and print screen prints inspired by nature, travelling and the sky at night. I’ve always printed on paper but recently I have started to print on fabric too (which I love!).
I’m a big fan of screen printing at Leeds Print Workshop and used to always use their facilities to get my screens ready for screen printing at home (it’s quite a process with lots of chemicals involved!). I screen print in my spare bedroom and love the freedom this gives me to try out new things. When the pandemic hit I knew that I had to change tact as I didn’t want to go without! Learning to prepare my screens at home (by exposing them under very bright light with lots of chemicals!) has meant I have been able to develop my skills – but it also means I make a lot more mistakes which led to me creating Super Seconds Saturday (more on this later…).
I love being open about the screen printing process because whilst it does take a while to set up, I really feel like anyone can do it. I still find the process magical all these years later. Before the pandemic hit I was planning creative workshops and retreats around printmaking and creativity and it’s something I would really like to pick up again when everything feels more normal!
I set up my company, Ink & Bear, 3 years ago and in the last year I’ve really enjoyed being able to invest more time in the business (one of tiny silver linings of the pandemic!).
J: A creative retreat?? Sign me up!! So what is Super Seconds Saturday? And where did the concept come from?
S: Super Seconds Saturday is an online event that happens biannually, and offers people an opportunity to buy heavily discounted goods from 250 independent makers. A lot of indie makers have seconds/misprints/end of line stock that just didn’t go quite right (or is from a few years back!) and normally a lot of these products are sold off at fairs at bargain prices but with few (or no!) fairs due to Coronavirus it means that these bargains aren’t on offer! It’s a unique opportunity for buyers to grab an absolute bargain from 250 makers – a lot of makers are perfectionists so the ‘faults’ are barely noticeable.
I came up with the idea in early September 2020 as I had a lot of prints that I wasn’t 100% happy with (the odd ink splodge here and there and misaligned layers!). I’d also launched t-shirts over the summer and had a lot of samples I hadn’t sold in my pre-order. Armed with all these seconds and sample stock I reached out to fellow independent businesses in the Indie Roller community and found that others were in the same position too. I launched the event at the start of September thinking that I’d perhaps get 10 makers involved, and by the end of September I had over 230 businesses taking part! There was a great buzz around the event and I really enjoyed running it so I decided to run it again in February this year – February was another successful event with 250 indie businesses involved and my hope is that I can run it twice a year from now on.
J: 250 makers! That is marvellous, and after just 2 events! Also, I must agree that those faults are barely noticeable, and buying them also helps to reduce unavoidable waste!
Please can you tell the readers how the event works?
S: In the run up to Super Seconds Saturday, (the next one is in early October – date TBC!) a catalogue becomes available at www.supersecondssaturday.co.uk for buyers to browse which makers are involved. On the actual day all 250 makers put up their seconds listings on their website (many with up to 75% off!) at 10am and buyers can buy direct from the makers’ websites/Etsy/Folksy/etc. It’s fastest finger first and a lot of makers only have limited stock so things sell out quickly! There are certain categories, like ceramics, that are very popular and makers often sell out in minutes! It’s good fun and buyers have fed back that they really enjoy the buzz of it – lots of makers ‘go live’ on Instagram on the day and we all try to make it feel as much like a ‘real’ market as possible!
J: I must say, that element of ‘first come first serve’ really had my adrenaline pumping in February – I was sat there with my bank card at the ready in one hand, and a coffee for fuel in the other! I think the fact that you and the other makers do post so many sneak peeks etc in the run up, was really helpful, because it means that buyers can prioritise and make lists of where to go first! It definitely had the feel of a real-life market, but in the comfort of your own home, and with PJs on!
Please can you give an example of why a product may be regarded as a second, and therefore sold at this event?
S: A lot of the makers involved are absolute perfectionists so often it’s really tricky to tell what makes the item a ‘second’ – plus there are quite a few reasons why makers might include stuff in their Super Seconds Saturday sale items! One of the main reasons is because something went slightly wrong in the handmade production process – e.g. resin didn’t quite set even on a jewellery piece, or the label wasn’t printed right on the inside of a hand printed t-shirt. The faults are often minor – I bought from 13 makers during February’s Super Seconds Saturday and I genuinely can’t tell why the items are discounted! Some makers (including me!) will be selling perfectly good items but they are a bit older and therefore end of line stock that we’d like to clear out to make way for new, exciting things!
Makers often sell items that they’ve made as samples to test out an idea, or to use up waste products that otherwise would go in the bin – e.g. there are a few polymer clay jewellery makers involved who make special limited edition pieces from offcuts especially for Super Seconds Saturday to help reduce their waste. I love that each maker has their own reasons for getting involved and it makes the event even more special!
J: Totally! And I’m guessing February’s event was a success?!
S: Absolutely! There were 250 makers involved and a lot of makers sold out of their entire seconds stock! This is a huge help for the makers involved as they can clear space and also raise funds to work on new ideas and collections. A lot of makers said that knowing the event is twice a year will help them to experiment and not be so worried about mistakes as they know they have an outlet for ideas and new things they make – this is so important to me to hear this and I know as a maker myself how important it is to have an outlet to be able to reduce waste and also raise funds for new work.
During my Tuesday to Friday day job I work for an events company and I think it’s so important to take feedback, so I always make sure I get feedback from buyers and makers alike! One buyer said “I loved it and I felt like I had exposure to makers I might not have come across otherwise, and it’s nice to get a bargain while supporting makers. It’s also a good opportunity to try some things at a lower cost, and I would definitely purchase full price times in future because of this”. Hearing feedback like this spurs me on for the next event as I know how much buyers have enjoyed it, as well as the makers involved!
J: Eek that is amazing, and I am not surprised that others felt as positively as I did!
When is the next one??
S: The next one will be in October – the date is top secret for now but I’ll be announcing it over the summer! If people want to keep in the loop and be the first in the know about the date and get a sneak preview of the catalogue they can sign up to my newsletter (www.inkandbear.co.uk/newsletter).
J: The countdown to October is on! In preparation, do you have any top tips for anyone wanting to make the most of buying at the next event?
S: My two top tips, having run two Super Seconds Saturdays, are to plan ahead and to get in early! The catalogue is the perfect place to browse makers who are involved in Super Seconds Saturday so you can create a plan of action for the morning of the event – as a buyer myself I found it really helpful to have all the tabs open on the morning ready to go at 10am so I could refresh the tabs and grab a bargain at 10am! A lot of makers sold out early on, so it’s definitely worth being on at 10am to try and grab the special piece you want. I had my eye on one ceramicist who had sold out entirely by 10.15am!
J: Madness, and I completely agree with that strategy! I managed to buy from all of the makers who I had my eye on before the event by doing just that, and then also discovered a few more on the day who I found through the hashtag on Insta, and through your own shares!
So what about any creative business owners who would like to get involved in the next event?
S: I always love to hear from creatives who would like to get involved! I will be releasing 250 maker spots in August 2021 and these will go to my mailing list first (www.inkandbear.co.uk/newsletter). It will be £16 to get involved as a maker and for that you’ll get a spot in the catalogue, access to a peer to peer Facebook group especially for makers, opportunities to ‘go live’ on Instagram to promote your business and maker expert Zoom panels where makers will be talking about their top tips to support everyone to get ready for the event. With 90% of makers from last time saying they would like to join in again (and 75% of makers saying they sold more than they expected to!), I think spots are likely to go quickly, so my mailing list is the best place to find out about applying for a maker spot first!
J: Wow wow wow, it seems like the coolest club ever!
So, to have a peek at who was involved in the last Super Seconds Saturday in February, and to read more about the event, pop over to www.supersecondssaturday.co.uk, or have a scroll through the hashtag on Instagram (#supersecondssaturday). This also a really good way to uncover new makers and creatives in the meantime!
Also, give fabulous Sophie a follow @inkandbear !
Here’s what I bought during the event in February:
Beach Huts Lino Print by We Are Mountain
Second: Tiny dent, not at all noticeable once framed!
Acrylic Ampersand Earrings from Land of the Cuckoo
Second: Could not tell you what is wrong with these!
Yay Blanket by Tullibee
Ex-display, but as good as new!
Ceramic Daisy Earrings from Tiny Sunshine Shop
Another second that I can’t decipher!
Super Duper Letterpress Print by Porch Press
A slight misprint but again, not noticeable once framed!
If you’re a regular around here, you’ll know that I’m super interested in the ‘new’ online creative event as a result of the panny-d, and wrote a few posts about them back in October during what I called ‘Virtual Market Month’ – have a read here:
1 – GOOD BYE JEANS & AWKWARD HAND SHAKES, HELLO DIY HAIR CUTS & VIRTUAL MARKETS
2 – FOUNDERS OF THE NEW NORMAL
3 – MEET THE VIRTUAL MARKET MAKERS
So from May, the Creative Q&As are taking a lil break, and instead I’ll be posting a few round ups and shopping guides – ready to get back to these chats from June. I hope you’ll stick around, and I’ll see you next Friday!