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.

about-your-online-order

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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Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Twitter

Featured Business: Shellybobbins

Shellybobbins Shop

Are you looking for a piece of unique handcrafted jewellery? Perhaps something special as a gift for a loved one’s Christmas or birthday? Why not pop over to the very lovely Shellybobbins® blog and Shellybobbins® Facebook where you can see a variety of Shelly’s wonderful work.

Shelly is a good friend of ours and as such we are always watching out for new designs and there are some new items which I just can’t help but treat myself to, especially the gorgeous handbeaded bracelets Shelly makes to order using three different colours of glass pearl beads, which you can discuss with Shelly in your own favourite colours, with between five and seven of your chosen charms (the number of charms used in your bracelet will depend on the size of each one).

Once you have chosen the colours and charms theme for your bracelet Shelly will put the colours and charms together and email you a photograph for approval before assembling your bracelet by hand… a very delicate and time-consuming process which is all done by hand with great care and attention.  Payment is made to Shelybobbins® via Paypal.  Shelly always sends photographs for approval before dispatching your order and is a joy to correspond with – nothing is too much trouble for Shelly when working with her customers.

Here is a small selection of the silver charms which Shelly has available for these gorgeous charm bracelets, but don’t forget that you can also have handmade fimo clay baby feet on your bracelet if you prefer:

Jewellery charms

For my gorgeous bracelet I chose to have four tiny baby footprints handmade from Fimo by Shelly, a silver cross, heart and angel all hanging on beautiful blue and white glass beads. The quality of these bracelets is second to none, the craftsmanship is superb and to be honest I think it was an absolute bargain at just £22.00 which includes gift wrapping and first class delivery within the UK!!

Laura's Shellybobbins bracelet

Shelly’s wonderful handcrafted jewellery comes in beautiful gift wrap as standard with the following branding/label however for an additional charge of £5.99 you can have your beautiful purchase delivered in a personalised, embroidered envelope for that extra special touch.

Shellybobbins Jewellery Label

Shellybobbins® has a beautiful colleciton of handcrafted jewellery and below is just a small selection of the beautiful accessories and jewellery handcrafted by Shellybobbins:

Shellybobbins Footprint Brooch
Shellybobbins Lollipop Brooch
Neutral Natural Colour Beaded Bracelet
Chocolate Heart Beaded Necklace and Earrings Jewellery
Pink and white beaded fimo footprint bracelet
Blue Fimo Footprint Silver Angel Wing Necklace
Pink Fimo Footprint Necklace
Shellybobbins Red Heart Beaded Necklace and Earrings Jewellery
Shellybobbins Fimo Button Brooch
Shellybobbins Blue Beaded Necklace and Earring Jewellery

Why not follow Shellybobbins© on Twitter at twitter.com/shellibobbins®

On Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheShellybobbins®

Or on her blog at www.shellybobbins.blogspot.co.uk/

Shellybobbins® is recognised in the media for her excellent work and is a very proud Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday ( #SBS) winner 🙂

Shellybobbins SBS Winner

Made With Love Easter Bonanza – 23rd March 2013

Banner - Cards And Candles For All Occasions (March 2011)

Here we are mid way through March, can you believe it? In just a few days Cards And Candles For All Occasions will be attending our first craft fair of the 2013 season and we are so excited!!

Saturday is Made With Love’s Easter Bonanza which is taking place at:

Pye Green Community Centre
Pye Green
Hednesford
Cannock
WS12 4EP

This event will be open from 12.00noon until 4.00pm and looks to be another fantastic day!!

Why not pop along to say hello, treat yourself to some handmade loveliness and see our new range of Hugs For Noah candles – this will be our Noah’s candles exclusive appearance at any craft event so we are very excited!!

Please share this event with your friends, family and anyone who you think would be interested in coming along to support this great day, organised by the very lovely Made With Love girls 🙂

We look forward to seeing you there!!! xxx

Made With Love 23032013

4th December 2008

Good morning, good morning, good morning!!

Here we are three weeks from Christmas, hardly any Christmas shopping done BUT we’ve got all of our orders finished, our Christmas cards written and our Airmail parcels ready to post either today or tomorrow.

We have got a pamper evening tomorrow for which Gord has plenty of candles ready but I’ve got a shortage of Christmas cards… I’ve used them all for ourselves as we need to send about 150 cards!!  So I’m going to be busy tonight making more cards as we’ve got a two day fair in Northampton next weekend as well – 13th and 14th December 2008 at Delapre Abbey.

The first of the Christmas gifts that I ordered from a Crafts Forum member arrived on Tuesday from Pauline@weddingtreasures who has just finished a commision piece for me.  I’d asked her to make one of her snowman toppers for me to incorporate the colours which we had at our wedding in 2004, our wedding theme was ivory and a deep red with the men wearing the black watch tartan.  Pauline gave Mr Snowman a black watch tartan hat and scarf and made the presents in the red and ivory colours that I had requested, the personalised this with a message for hubby.  Mr Snowman is absolutely stunning and as I couldn’t bear the thought of him being left in a box, hubby got him early so he now has pride of place with the decorations!!  Thank you soooo much Pauline!!

Between now and Christmas we’ve got quite a lot to do as we’ve got more Christmas decorations to sort out, a few ‘special’ cards, most probably bookatrix, to make to give with gifts the last weekend before Christmas, a dolls house to build and decorate, we need to replenish our stock and also fit in our Christmas shopping at some point… we’re hoping to pop over to Nottingham in the next few days as I want to go to Hobbycraft and The Range as hubby is getting me some crafty bits for Christmas.  As for hubby’s Christmas then I’ve no idea what to get him… I’ve got a few little stocking fillers sorted but as for his main present I’ve got no idea.

Once we get Christmas sorted then we’ve got four birthdays within the first two weeks of January so we need to get those sorted as well… a busy time of year as in amongst all of that it’s my birthday on 29th December!!  Maybe by Easter I’ll have time to sit down and relax, then again, we never know sa we’ve already got nine craft fairs booked up for 2009 so need to make sure we’ve got plenty of stock for those!!

Well, for now I need to go and get ready to go to the post office and go Christmas shopping and see what I can get done cos it’s going to be a busy busy busy few days!!