Claireabellemakes 2016 Review

We all know that 2016 wasn’t the best for the world. At one point I had to stop watching the news because it genuinely upset me too much. I even considered whether writing a review/celebration of achievements post was insensitive and indulgent, but it is something I feel I need to do for my business and life as a moment of reflection. I guess what I am trying to say, is I write these posts as a diary for my business, rather than to shout about what I managed to get done.


2016 was a year where change happened. My words for the year were Learn and Grow and I felt as though I really embraced them. I made things happen, I did things that scared me and I took financial risks.

So here’s 2016 in review for Claireabellemakes. Grab a cuppa and a biscuit, lots happened!

In January I started putting my words into practice and learnt how to use a saw, hammer, router and chisel at a Mackay’s woodworking class. I built a wonky birdhouse and carved a wooden spoon.

I also took some time out with family for a short break and began to make plans for quitting the day job.


In February I planned my dream life at a kikki.K goals workshop, started working with Jenny Hyde on her new business venture and re-launched the Glitter Heart Pins in the month of love.


March was a month of collaboration when I was featured in Caboodle Magazine and contributed to the Lucky Dip Club box. I also started working with We Make Collective as their social media manager and worked with Rustoleum and Thornton’s for the blog. CHOCOLATE AND BLOGGING = two favourite things!


We also took a trip to Edinburgh – our first time in Scotland. We walked a ton, ate a deep fried Mars bar and soaked up the scenery and culture.


In April, Claireabellemakes turned 4 and the Glitter Heart Pins were featured in Mollie Makes magazine. I worked with John Lewis, Neal’s Yard and Purl Alpaca for the blog and launched the Motivational Pencils.


May was really exciting as I appeared on TV with Crafty Beggars! It was definitely a scary moment for me, but I’m glad I said yes as it helped me grow. I was thrilled to be featured in Handmade Magazine this month and also to attend a fantastic event at local business Catesby’s.


June was a month where I didn’t take my foot off the pedal much. I launched a collaborative print collection with Kate and a print collection for Sew Crafty. I designed prints for the Blogtacular goody bag and attended for the second year (it was a blast!). I sold at the Cambridge Made market and took 3 days off to go glamping at the beach with G.


In July I embraced the Cambridge summer and punted the river with some of my favourite creative pals. I took a photography workshop with Me and Orla and hosted some craft parties in Cambridge.


In August I sold at the Craftacular summer market and attended the first ever Happiness Planner Event in London. I worked with George at Asda for the blog and pushed myself to pose for an outfit post which was totally out of my comfort zone.

Asda Dress Selector Claireabellemakes 2

September was the month I quit my job as a PA! By far the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but it was so freeing and I don’t miss it at all. It was a busy month attending the Handmade Fair, taking a brush lettering class and planning the Cambridge Creatives Photowalk with Jo. A fun and exciting month indeed!


In October, I officially started working with Copper Boom Studio as In-house Creative lead. I style photoshoots for clients like me who run their own small businesses. The team are amazing and it’s so inspiring to be part of a start-up that nurtures our industry.


November was a month for Christmas prep for the shop. I launched the new card collections and the Wheelie Festive Bikes. I attended Renegade market and got my head down in the studio. I also celebrated my birthday with a mini break to Bristol and Bath with G. We shopped handmade markets, ate lots and enjoyed the festive spirit. Once we returned, I sold at the Christmas Craftacular market and packed tons of orders.


December went by in a flash with the busiest month ever for the Etsy store (passing 1000 sales and making the most income)! I sold at the Cambridge Etsy Made Local market and was featured on the Just A Card blog. One of my highlights of the year, was the final event of 2016. I ran a craft workshop for Disney UK in London. It was a scary moment (I don’t usually host workshops for children!) and an exhausting day, but I loved it. I hope it is a brand I can work with again. I shared a DIY for this Christmas decoration afterwards as it was inspired by our makes.


PHEW. Writing all that down makes me realise why I ended the year with a few too many PJ days. I knew that 2016 had to be a year of hustle to really change my business life to work solely on creative projects.

My word for 2017 is balance. I mean work-life balance. I still have a lot to learn on this subject, so perhaps I’ll take my 2016 words forward too 😉

Thanks for sticking around to the end! What was your biggest achievement of 2016? I’d love to know!



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