Claireabellemakes Review of 2015

2015 was a jam packed year. You’ve probably read tons of these posts by now but I took longer than expected to rest over the holidays and only wanted to return to blogging when I felt ready. It is important for me to reflect on achievements and goals, as this space is not only somewhere for you to visit, but also a journal for my business.

Dream-Big-Scrabble-Canvas-Print-Claireabellemakes

So today I’m talking about the year past and thinking ahead a little too. Personally, I spent the latter half of 2015 quite sad. It wasn’t something I wanted or felt I needed to talk about at the time, but I had a general low feeling and I didn’t know why. I was in a funk creatively and I even cried on my birthday (and not because I’m getting old!). There wasn’t a reason I could pinpoint. My anxiety and migraines had even been good so I couldn’t put it down to ill health. Luckily it passed (thanks to patience/hugs from G and friends) and I realised I needed to focus more on my dreams and what I had managed to accomplish. My business word for 2015 was COLLABORATE so bear that in mind as you read ahead and let me know if you think I smashed it or not!

Claireabellemakes is and still remains a side hustle for me, but boy is it tough. I spent most of the year working 60-80 hour weeks, working as hard as I’ve ever worked. And this was the result…..grab a cuppa as this is a long one!

In January I started a new contract with Simple Stylish Makes writing for their blog. Working alongside my blog pals Sophie and Jo has been a delight and I have enjoyed getting to know more about the publishing world.

Simple-Stylish-Knitting-Magazine

My SEW brooch had a little appearance on the Great British Sewing Bee after contestant Tamara wore it! TV FAME AT LAST for Claireabellemakes.

Claireabellemakes-SEW-Scrabble-Pin-GBSB

In February I joined the Etsy Cambridge team which has been an amazing opportunity for meeting local creatives and participating in Cambridge markets in some fantastic historic venues. My local brand awareness was raised!

Etsy-Cambridge-Fair-Round-Church

I was interviewed for the Blogtacular blog and signed a new contract to work with Sizzix UK. I’ve learnt so much about die cutting and I’m completely hooked. I really hope you’ve enjoyed my DIYs and having an additional blog post in the schedule.

In March I attended the Knitting and Stitching Show to work with Simple Stylish Knitting and I also hung out with some local bloggers at the Camb Meet Up. I started book binding classes in a bid to learn something that wasn’t business related.

Bookbinding-Claireabellemakes

I hit 100,000 followers on Pinterest (Now 143k WHAAAAT?!) and made 500 Etsy sales. It was a month of milestones.

April was a busy month as I took on a heap of crochet commissions for titles such as Crochet Barefoot Sandals and some that are still to be revealed.

I launched my Positivity Postcards in the shop and they were featured in the local press in Cambridge along with an interview. Spoonflower and Yahoo Makers also featured my DIYs and this blog had it’s 3 year birthday.

Scrabble-Positivity-Postcards-ClaireabellemakesI started my You Tube Channel (which I absolutely LOVE doing) and continued my book binding classes by making a hardback book from scratch. I will never ever look at books in the same way ever again.

I began my partnership with Rhode Island in Cambridge to relaunch the Spring season of Cambridge Craft Parties. Many flower crowns were made in the months ahead!

Finshed-Flower-Crowns

In May I took the Claireabellemakes shop to London for the BUST Craftacular market. Kate came along for moral support and we had an absolute blast meeting friends such as Zoe from Ladybird Likes and Hannah from PupTart. Getting a London market was a real achievement for me.

This month I also worked with one of my favourite brands Tiger for this DIY and began my relationship with the guys behind The Happiness Planner.

I launched my new cards and prints in the shop and felt really pleased with them! I also joined the Craft Cafe Team to write for one of my favourite blogs, Heart Handmade.

Nailed-It-Print-Claireabellemakes

June was fun as I attended Blogtacular and helped organise the Cambridge Etsy Craft Party and Pinterest workshop. The Cambridge Craft Party fun continued too and lots of people exercised their creative muscles!

Cambridge-Craft-Parties-Pamper-Night-Claireabellemakes

In July I was part of the Etsy Cambridge pop-up shop in the Babylon Gallery in Ely and I made this video because it was just ace!

Etsy-Cambridge-Pop-Up-Shop

I worked with Cambridge Video Productions on a promotional video for Cambridge Craft Parties which was a lot of fun and quite nervewracking!

August was so exciting as I achieved one of my biggest collaboration goals of the year. My work was featured in the Lucky Dip Club subscription boxes and I was SO proud.

Lucky-Dip-Club-Travel-Box

The contributors for the We Make Collective were announced and one of them was me! Working with Fran is a dream as she really understands what bloggers need and how to grow a wonderful community. I’m so excited to see the future kits that are released!

Karen from I Don’t Like Peas hosted a wonderful photography workshop for bloggers in Cambridge. I tried my hand at food photography and it was a whole new experience.

Strawberry-Tart

September was holiday time for us as we visited Disney World in Florida. I had two weeks off but spent it packing in as much Mickey Mouse fun as I could. It wasn’t restful but it was amazing.

On my return I visited The Handmade Fair for the second time and caught up with crafty friends such as Hester and Jamie. Blogging chats and duck wraps. WINNER of a day.

Super-Theatre-Handmade-Fair

In October I made the cutest bed for Tammy on the Laura Ashley blog and I sold at my first Crafty Fox Market in Peckham which was a blast.

DIY-Simple-Pet-Bed-Claireabellemakes -for-Laura-Ashley

I hit 600 sales in my Etsy store and things started to ramp up for Christmas.

November was great as I visited the Renegade market – my shopping highlight of the year. I started to work with Creativity magazine who featured my blog.

I went to the Lucky Dip Club Meet Up (SO MUCH FUN AND SUGAR) and had the pleasure of sharing it with a new friend; Jo from Hello Sunshine.

Lucky-Dip-Club-Meet-Up

I had a top secret meeting with an awesome brand. More on this soon I promise!

I also received a silver at the Cambridgeshire Digital Awards which was a great surprise!

Cambridgeshire Digital Awards Claireabellemakes

December was massively exhausting. I did two local markets, a Quill London calligraphy class, worked with Sharpie on a DIY and Pines and Needles to get my house festive.

I visited Kikki K for the opening of their London store and my video of their planner hit 36,000 views on You Tube. Oh My Word Planner Geeks.

Kikki-K-Haul-Gold-Claireabellemakes

I had a two page interview in Simply Crochet and worked again with Creativity Magazine on some scrapbooking DIYs.

Alongside all this, I hit 700 sales in my store on my last Christmas posting date of 21 December. The studio was hit hard but still showed some festive sparkle amongst the mess (which still covers the floor)!

Christmas-Desk

PHEW. What an exhausting but amazing year, and that was just the highlights! I will admit, there was some disappointment along the way, but nothing that doesn’t drive me to improve Claireabellemakes.

I’ll save my 2016 goals for a separate post as this is super long! You deserve a medal if you’ve read right to the end! I’m sure I’ve got some gold chocolate coins here somewhere to dish out.

Thank you so much for all your support. Every like, comment, and follow means so much as Claireabellemakes enters its 4th year of business. Here’s to a year of a little more sleep eh?

Let me know if you are a blogger and you have written a similar post to this – I love seeing reviews of people’s years! Or maybe you can share what your biggest achievement of 2015 was?

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28 thoughts on “Claireabellemakes Review of 2015

  1. Claire (carryoncreating) says:

    Hi Claire! I new you were working hard and doing a fab job but to see it all as one post it is SO IMPRESSIVE – you SHOULD be proud! I wonder what 2016 will bring for you – bet you’re excited. I would love to start a little Etsy shop this year – I’ve decided I need to be doing something crafty and sharing this would be awesome! Would love to be focused on something I enjoy and networking, meeting other crafty folks through doing this would be my aim 🙂 Keep up the hard work and enjoy your massive achievements! I honestly don’t know how you sit it all in xx

    • claireabellemakes says:

      Thank you Claire! It was quite exhausting to document it all actually haha! I am excited about 2016. I think you would be great as an Etsy seller!! Let me know if you ever need any help or advice xx

      • Claire (carryoncreating) says:

        Oh, I bet! But it’s good as a summary of all of your achievements – good to look back on too! Thanks Claire, that’s so kind. I really struggle with starting things, I get put of and then convince myself I’m not good enough BUT I’m ignoring that and I am going to do it – or at least try! I’m hoping that if I start being creative then the creative juices will flow and I will get more ideas. Are you still working FT on top of all of this? If so you are superwoman! I struggle with having the energy and time to be creative after work, but again I’m going to fight it! Claire xx

        • claireabellemakes says:

          If it helps, when I started my Etsy store in 2012 the products were nowhere near as polished as they are now and my photos were AWFUL and poorly lit. I think evolving and improving is all part of the process, so don’t doubt yourself in the beginning as you will learn! Getting started is the hardest part for sure. Yep still working full-time, it’s super tough. Good luck xxx

          • Claire (carryoncreating) says:

            Definitely superwoman! 🙂 Thanks for that, it does help to know and I have seen various other businesses or blogs grow and develop over time, and without that journey they wouldn’t exist! For me right now it’s about getting involved in the community and making friends, and making things because that’s what I enjoy doing and sharing this would be great and are good reasons to start I think. Thanks again Claire and good luck, can’t wait to see what you (and Tammy) get up to this year xxx Happy new year to you! xxx

          • claireabellemakes says:

            Getting involved in the community is really important and I spent 6 months that too before I opened my shop. It really helps so that people invest in your makes! Happy New Year Claire, thanks for all your support x

  2. anne corr says:

    That makes for an impressive year in my book!! I think my stand alone moment for 2015 was when I received an order in my Etsy store which was for a Special Collection in an American University! (www.etsy.com/uk/shop/modestly) That was a new high for me. I really struggle with promotion and you are clearly ace at it! It doesn’t help that I am strongly on the Introvert side of the spectrum. Found your blog via Twitter, which is amazing since I am rubbish on it.

    • claireabellemakes says:

      That’s so awesome Anne! You should be shouting about it from the rooftops I think. Self promo gets easier the more you do it, I promise. So pleased to have you here as a blog reader, happy 2016!

  3. Dr Nick says:

    Let’s see: in June you also took the photos at our wedding, which everyone still says are the best ones they’ve ever seen! You clever old thing x

  4. Karen says:

    My goodness Claire, you are bloody brilliant! Most people couldn’t achieve all of this in a lifetime, and you did it in a year, and as a side-project! Looking forward to seeing what 2016 holds for you, and hope I can come along for the ride!
    Thank you for including the photography picnic in your round up, that makes me happy 🙂

  5. Verity says:

    Holy moly! This is an amazingly impressive list, you must be exhausted! Exhausted but proud of yourself I hope 🙂 Am I right in saying that you’ve done all this around a full-time job? If so, even more impressive. Since starting my full-time job, my blogging has come to a screeching halt which makes me pretty sad. I feel more motivated reading this though! You totally nailed collaboration as your word of 2015 for sure!

    • claireabellemakes says:

      Christmas was definitely a recharge time for me! Yep, still doing the full-time job, but I can’t say it’s a breeze to do both, quite tough at times. Glad to have motivated you by sharing this – I wasn’t sure if it would be a bit egotistical, but it’s been nice to reflect. Thanks for reading Verity and have a great 2016 x

  6. Laura says:

    Wow! Congratulations on achieving so much in just one year. I love following your adventures and I hope that 2016 is just as exciting for you (though perhaps with a little more time to rest too!).

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  9. Eleanor says:

    Aw, I really loved reading this article. I do my blog reading before I start my day-job and your posts amongst others always fire me up to plan what I need to do on my business when I get home. Not to go all gushy and fan-girl on you, but you are definitely an inspiration of what can be done if you work hard enough (and you work DAMN hard!) and I definitely wouldn’t have got as far as I have with my own ventures if it hadn’t been for your help. You’re one of the best people on The Internet – fact. 😀 Exx

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