Phrase Necklaces On Sale!

Firstly, thank you so much for all your sale orders! It’s been lovely to have flurries of alerts and lots of love for all the goodies on offer. What’s up next?February 2018 Flash SalesThe popular phrase necklaces will be available at just £10 for one day only, Monday 19 February. UK customers will also get free shipping. So far the most popular one has been the SEW necklace, but I’d love to know what yours is! You can grab a necklace in the shop hereFebruary-Flash-Sale-Phrase-Necklaces-Claireabellemakes

If you want to know what the rest of the deals will be, my mailing list subscribers will be receiving a message each Sunday with news of the next sale. You can sign up here to be the first to know.

Maybe you’d like a custom necklace? I can make them on Monday to be included in the offer too. Just message me with your 3 or 4 letter word and I will set up a custom listing for you.

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Greetings Cards For Just £1!

It’s almost week 2 for the February Flash Sales! Monday’s offer is an amazing chance to stock up if you’re like us and have a ‘card box’.
February 2018 Flash SalesAll greetings cards have been reduced to just £1 for one day, Monday 12 February. They are usually £2.50 each so it’s less than half price! Find the full range of cards in the shop here.February-Flash-Sale-Greetings-Cards-ClaireabellemakesIf you want to know what the rest of the deals will be, my mailing list subscribers will be receiving a message each Sunday with news of the next sale. You can sign up here to be the first to know.

Is it just us that has a card box or do you keep stocked up too?!

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How I Overcame My Creative Business Funk

I’ve been wondering whether to write this post for a while but as I see the blog as my creative place and business diary, it seemed like the best place to share some thoughts on overcoming a creative/business funk. It might seem like a pretty negative post, but I think it’s important to discuss the harder parts of running a small creative business sometimes.

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Let me update you on January. Now I am a person who likes new starts. I like the chance to set new goals and learn new things. I love Mondays and I’m a pretty positive person. However, January didn’t seem to bring me that feeling of renewal or excitement this year. It was really tough, a bit dark and kind of confusing really.

There were a number of reasons it felt like a difficult month. I’m going to share my experience with you because it might help others and to be honest it will probably be cathartic for me. One of the first reasons was pretty personal. I felt very very low for most of the winter season. I struggled with SAD, had anxiety pretty much every day and ended up with a 12 day stomach flu that wiped me out. Funnily enough, my migraine condition was pretty good through January and I tried to visit the gym twice a week, but it just felt like I was battling my mental health each day. SAD is a weird one because it hits me each year and I’ve somehow forgotten it exists. It takes me a good week or two to realise why I feel unmotivated, down and just really really sad.

In business, January is the month I work on my accounts a lot; usually submitting my tax return, analysing income and expenditure, and generating sales reports. I had been putting in some extra hours in my part-time job and most of that was to cover a job that used a spreadsheet all day. When it came to looking at my accounts at the end of each day, I had spreadsheet and number fatigue and it really didn’t help. I pushed through (because tax return deadline!) and have to admit that not seeing the growth I’d planned for was kind of demotivating. Yes, my sales increased a little and my conversion rate was healthy, but I did feel disappointed that I had worked so hard to see lower results than I wanted for the shop.

People don’t talk much about money and that’s OK. I run my business because I want to make money. Being able to do something creative and earn a living from that is what drives me. In 2017-18 I made a conscious decision to let go of all my freelance work to focus more on the shop and product development. It was a scary moment because HALF of my income in 2016-17 was through freelance work. I’m pleased to say that even though I felt a bit disappointed with sales, I’ve built my income up to almost what it was when I was taking on monthly freelance work. I’m working on approaching new stockists to replace that freelance income with larger and more regular orders. It feels like a better way to control my income than relying on other companies and chasing unpaid invoices all the time. I reckon the amount of time I spent chasing payments could be much better spent on developing new product collections. In-Progress-Making

Another big factor in feeling ‘stuck’ in my business, was social media and the general vibe I was feeling from Instagram and other platforms. I wrote a post about this here but to summarise, I had a feeling that everything had become rather judgmental and bossy – possibly as a result of people sharing their opinions on new year’s resolutions and new starts. I decided to take a step back from all business activity in January including social media. I can’t say my sales didn’t suffer (because I had a terrible month for the shop), but I definitely felt better for accepting it was time to post and engage less. I had considered taking a complete break for 1 or 2 weeks with no online interaction and to completely switch off from the business. However, I kept going and engaged when I felt like it without any kind of schedule.

One positive thing was that I was feeling creative outside of the business. Throughout the month I worked on a lot of personal projects such as quilting, knitting and journaling. G and I smashed through The Office boxset (US version) which help to lift my mood too. Accepting that I was feeling stuck was helpful and I chose to focus on activities that felt enjoyable.

One of things that really helped me to work through the lack of inspiration, was to talk to other people. I told G I felt like giving up and just having a ‘normal’ life and he reminded me of all the things I enjoyed and what I would miss. I had definitely lost sight of why I started the business and G said I would miss the creative community a lot if I didn’t do what I do. I knew he was right.

I also talked to people who had felt this way before – from that creative community G reminded me of. Friends and fellow creators were so understanding and just listened rather than trying to force me to find solutions. A few people said they thought I was burnt out, but I really felt rested and not exhausted physically or mentally. I found that letting the feelings run their course was the best thing to do. I accepted how I felt, spent my time doing things I wanted to and slowly let my creative business brain wake up again.

At the end of the month my inbox was starting to look exciting again, with a couple of stockists interested in my work and some sponsored content on the horizon for brand collaborations. I had already taken some time out to Bullet Journal my goals for the first 2 quarters of 2018, ready for when I had the motivation to work again. Thankfully, the start of February has felt more inspired and I have started the month with ideas, sales forecasts and strategies in place.

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In April I will celebrate 6 years since I started Claireabellemakes. I do feel lucky that in all that time I hadn’t ever felt like giving up and that I’ve been motivated and excited about the business the whole time. So I will accept my January funk as a blip and be thankful that I’m paying the biggest tax bill I have had since it all started back in 2012 (thanks freelance work!).

Thank you for reading if you got this far! I’m definitely feeling much more positive about everything now and ready to tackle what 2018 has in store.

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Glitter Heart Pins On Sale!

It’s Flash Sale February here! I’ve been busy working away in the studio to bring you a different deal every Monday throughout February. Each offer will last one day only and some items will be less than half price. Ready to hear about the first sale?February 2018 Flash Sales

It’s the Glitter Heart Pins that are first up! These sparkly beauties have been a best seller since their relaunch – especially at markets. I think the glitter is even more sparkly in real life you guys….

On Monday 5 February they will be just £5 all day (usual price £8). They also always have free shipping in the UK so it’s a mega bargain! Snap one up in the shop here.February-Flash-Sale-Glitter-Heart-Pins-ClaireabellemakesIf you want to know what the rest of the deals will be, my mailing list subscribers will be receiving a message each Sunday with news of the next sale. You can sign up here to be the first to know.

I’m also working on some new stationery items and brainstorming cards for new collections. Shout if there is anything you’d like to see!

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The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show Ticket Giveaway

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED.

This year I’m working on completing all my unfinished craft projects. It’s a huge pile of half knitted jumpers, an almost completed quilt, some endless cross stitch projects and loads of crochet goodies. And don’t even get me started on how behind I am with scrapbooking and journaling! Plus I definitely want to start sewing more clothes….have you seen the new Mila Dungarees Pattern from Tilly and the Buttons?! My pal Zeena looks so great in the launch photos!

This craft determination for 2018 is one of the reasons I am planning to attend the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show in London next month, to give me a burst of inspiration and motivation. I’ll be taking my Mum along too for a nice crafty day out!

Keep reading for giveaway details and a discount code if you can’t wait to snap up a ticket!Yarn-Knitting-and-Stitching-ShowI am definitely counting on you guys for tips on how not to spend all my money. I mean, look at all that yarn!Dressmaking Studio Knitting and Stitching ShowThe show has 190 textile workshops to take part in and a whole heap of galleries and stands to shop from.Mr X Stitch - Wrap CoverI love these kind of events for catching up with the creative community and soaking up new ideas. Kate Whitehead KNIT&STITCH 4I have 5 pairs of tickets to give away for the show! They will be redeemable any day except Saturday 3rd March. All you have to do to enter is follow my Instagram and leave a comment here on this blog post. I will draw the winners on Monday 12 February. 

If you just can’t wait, you can use the code CLAIRE18 here to receive £2 off advance adult/£1 off advance concessions. This makes tickets £11.50 instead of £13.50/£12.50, plus a £1.50 fulfillment fee per transaction. I think that’s a pretty affordable day out for some crafty inspiration don’t you?!
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What craft projects are you working on this year? Are you interested in seeing how many I manage to complete? Good luck in the giveaway!

THE WINNERS OF THE GIVEAWAY HAVE NOW BEEN CONTACTED.

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*Photos in this post were provided by the Knitting and Stitching Show.