A New Year, A New Plan… Moving Our Business Forward

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We are back!!!

Happy New Year, I Hope you all had a wonderful festive period with your loved ones and are having a great start to 2017.

Today we re-open Cards And Candles For All Occasions after our extended, one month, Christmas break and along with those closest to me we have decided that I need to make some changes to the way I run the business.

As much as I love the handcrafted work I do and dealing with so many amazing people, both customers and suppliers, over the past few months I have been forced to stop and look at my own health too. Since launching Cards And Candles For All Occasions in April 2010, I have been working full time hours every day of every week, some times working straight through the night to meet customer deadlines or get things all done and the realisation has now come to me that I cannot continue in this way.

At thirty six years old, I have been suffering with Fibromyalgia, Depression and Anxiety for a number of years and especially over the past eighteen months my health has been deteriorating, there are days where I feel unable to function but I sit at my desk doing the best that I can to fulfill all of my commitments to our business and customers.

The end part of 2016 was particularly difficult for me as my health was not in a good place due to the hours I was working, I was taking on more orders than I could handle as I did not want to disappoint anyone and in turn this was adding to the need for working excessive hours and stress levels were rising. It was getting to the stage whereby I could barely function effectively as I was so exhausted, in huge amounts of pain and I constantly felt stressed. Something needed to change.

I took the decision to have an extended break over the Christmas period to give myself some time to recharge (I slept most of Christmas, only really waking up for my pain medication), re-evaluate the future of Cards And Candles For All Occasions and plan the best way to move forward with my business. The thought of closing the business was considered and discussed, but this is the last thing I want to do. I know what I want to do, I just have to put those plans into action.

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Over the last couple of weeks we have made a lot of decisions about the future of Cards And Candles For All Occasions and how we plan to move the business forward… in order for me to be able to continue with the handcrafted business which I love, the biggest change I have to make is to reduce the hours in my working week.

Until now I have pretty much been working seven days a week, every hour possible and it is having a detrimental effect on my health – the increasing pain, the insomnia and exhaustion, the mental effects of Fibromyalgia, they all contribute to making me miserable and the thing I have found hardest of all is accepting that I cannot keep up with the lifestyle and working life I held before Fibromyalgia took over.

I never thought I would end up in a wheelchair with a chronic illness at just thirty five years old!! But here I am, this is the life I have and now I have to move forward with a plan to make the most of what I have, make things so that they are manageable and in the bigger picture remember to look after myself too.

I need to find a suitable “Work + Life = Balance” otherwise, as a friend stated this morning:

You need to stick to the plan sweetheart or you will be permanently closed. Invest in you xx

The last thing that I want to do is to be forced by my health to close my business, but I can totally agree with the above comment as the way I was going before Christmas I was heading for a serious burn out and I cannot afford either physically, mentally or financially to risk this in the long-term.

Today is a big day for Cards And Candles For All Occasions as not only are we re-opening for 2017, but today is also the day we are implementing the changes which have been decided upon which will allow me to continue to work with you, our wonderful customers, on the unique, handcrafted and personalised products we all love.

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As I have said above, the biggest change we are making to Cards And Candles For All Occasions is our business working hours, with immediate effect our working hours are as follows:

Monday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Tuesday – open from 12:00noon until 6:00pm

Wednesday – CLOSED

Thursday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Friday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Saturday – CLOSED

Sunday CLOSED

We hope that you will understand our reasons for reducing our working hours and in time, once we adjust to our new schedule we are hoping that it will make us more efficient in dealing with your enquiries and processing/handcrafting your orders. My hope is that by reducing my working hours it will help to improve my mental and physical health allowing me to be more productive when I am working, therefore if all goes to plan there should be minimal disruption to our customers.

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The second change that we are making to Cards And Candles For All Occasions to help in moving forward more efficiently is lead times for our orders, with immediate effect we have listed below the minimum amount of notice we will require for each product we sell to allow us to source materials, design and handcraft your product ready for dispatch:

Standard Greeting Cards
Minimum 10 days notice

Keepsake Cards (eg. Bookatrix, Easel Drawer, Handbag)
Minimum 14 days notice

Exploding Box Keepsake
Minimum 21 days notice

Ecosoy Candles
Minimum 14 days notice

Wooden Gifts (eg. Themed Frames, Plaques, Candle Holders)
Minimum 21 days

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and look forward to working with you throughout 2017 and beyond.

xxx Love Laura xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions website

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Silent Sunday: Badger’s Woodcrafts Tealight Holder

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Badger’s Woodcrafts Website

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January Round Up 2012

Good evening to all of our lovely friends, followers and customers

As you may have noticed, blog updates have been few and far between for the last little while… with one thing and another things at Cards And Candles For All Occasions and Badger’s Woodcrafts have been pretty manic since Christmas.

Healthwise, both Gordon and myself have had a few ups and downs, fighting chest infections, dealing with Gord’s diabetes and battling through other things too… we’re now on the road to being well again and back to business as usual đŸ™‚

In the last few weeks we’ve had a meeting with the team of judges for Staffordshire’s Local Business Accelerator and also a potential new stockist, orders trickling in and new ideas being discussed for the year ahead.

At the Staffordshire Local Business Accelerator we were in the shortlist of five companies who met with the judges to discuss our business, future plans, what we’re looking for, etc with the potential of being taken through to the next round where there is the possibility of winning twelve weeks mentoring and twelve months of advertising. Unfortunately, we did not progress any further than being shortlisted to this stage however after discussing our business background, plans for the future, ideas and options we now have many more avenues to explore and hopefully will soon be able to share some of our ideas with you.

Last week we met with a local lady who is leaving her current employment to pursue her dream of opening her own shop which will include a Farm Shop for local produce, a convenience store and a section dedicated to local crafts available for sale… everything is still in the planning stages at the moment but we are hopeful that this will be something which we will be able to go ahead with soon and have our products available to a wider market. We shall keep you posted!!

We have also just found out that our family who are visiting from New Zealand in April (they will be staying in Scotland as most of my family live up there) are getting married in Fort William while they are over… my aunt and uncle have been together years so the announcement that they are getting married was a huge surprise for everyone, but fantastic news. We are taking this opportunity to have a weeks holiday in a holiday park in Fort William, spending time with our family and relaxing. We are both really looking forward to this as our last holiday was in 2007!!

Today finally sees the end of the dreaded Self Assessment Tax Return paperwork… lots of to-ing and fro-ing, conflicting information, confusion and purchasing of new software has meant that we have spent the last week or so surrounded by mountains of paperwork, getting more confused by the minute and thinking that we would never see the end of it but all that’s left to do is double check all the figures then press SUBMIT and cross our fingers. Accountancy never was my strong point.

We are in the middle of a greetings card order from a fellow crafter which we hope to complete this week, as well as working on Valentines cards, new stock and updating our websites so still just as busy but loving every minute of it.

Don’t forget that you can follow Badger’s Woodcrafts and Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook to keep up with all our news and ideas.

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Badger’s Woodcrafts on Facebook

Thank you for all of your continued support… we will be back soon with some new stock and news for you all, in the meantime remember if there is anything specific you are looking for then we are only an email away!!

xxx Love Laura and Gordon xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions

Badger’s Woodcrafts