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

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Exciting news – we are now stockists for…

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We have very exciting news for you all… as of today we are now *exclusive* stockists of handcrafted cards by a very lovely lady called Teresa from The Fat Cactus.

The Fat Cactus is owned and run by Teresa Morgan who is a fantastic designer of papercrafted items, who we met several years ago through visiting our local craft shop where she worked. A few weeks ago we got talking about her work and after Cards And Candles For All Occasions management discussions, we approached Teresa to ask if she would be interested in working with us to which she is delighted to explore this new avenue.

Teresa is on the design team of many designers and you can find out more details about this by visiting her *blog*

Over the next few days we will be adding our initial range of Fat Cactus handcrafted greetings cards to our website in the section “Handcrafted By The Fat Cactus but here is a preview of what you will be able to purchase very soon.

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We would like to take this opportunity to welcome Teresa onto the Cards And Candles For All Occasions Team and look forward to a long and fruitful working experience together.

We hope you are looking forward to the launch of The Fat Cactus range and will join us in welcoming Teresa to our business.

xx Love from Laura and Dan xx

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Handmade Greetings Card – Sorry You’re Leaving

One of our lovely customers recently contacted me to place an order for a “Sorry You Are Leaving” card for one of her colleagues.

A regular theme for greetings cards ordered by this customer is of flowers and butterflies, however this time I was asked to create a card in colours which I haven’t used in her designs before.

I opted to use shades of blues with subtle highlights of other colours – I really like how this one has come out and it’s nice to be able to work with a popular design but in completely different colours from usual.

Our customer loves this card and is looking forward to her colleagues reaction when she sees it 🙂

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Handcrafted greeting card by Cards And Candles For All Occasions

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Silent Sunday: New Baby Grand-Daughter Exploding Box

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Silent Sunday – Have A Magical Day

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Thanks for looking, love Laura xx

Handcrafted Greeting Card – Goodbye and Good Luck #Handmade

One of our fabulous regular customers contacted me to ask about a “good luck” card for her supervisor at work who is leaving England to head off to live in Spain (it’s alright for some!).

At the moment they are unsure whether he will be living the life of leisure or will look for some work once he’s settled but just now he keeps winding up everyone at work telling them he’ll think about them slogging away while he is sunning himself on the beach with a beer in his hand.

The brief I was given for this card was it to be an 8x8inch card with a humorous style, depicting a man on the beach with beer – to reflect his statement above.

This is what we came up with:

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This card was created using a design sheet from Gordon Fraser which was downloaded from the CraftsUPrint website – I printed several copies of this sheet to allow me to decoupage the key elements.

Our customer loves this card and I hope the recipient does too – I have been assured that he will as he is a very fun, jokey type of person 🙂

We can create other designs to suit your requirements via our website, so if there is something you would like please just get in touch.

Thanks for looking, love Laura xx

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Handcrafted Keepsake Gift Box – Baby Boy’s Christening

Our newest keepsake card design is proving very popular and I have to say I am loving working on something a little bit different… this is an 8x8inch easel card which is mounted on top of a handcrafted drawer which incorporates the card and gift box in one.

This particular design is for a baby boy’s Christening and incorporates a Sugar Nellie digital stamp which has been coloured using Promarker pens, before being die cut using an X-Cut scalloped circle die. There is also a die cut, layered cross with floral embellishments and a Christening themed verse and personalisation.

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (4)

We also added a lacy Christening gown as the baby boy’s parents are following tradition and he will be wearing their family heirloom gown – it is such a lovely change to hear of a baby who is wearing traditional wear at their Christening, made even more special having previously been worn by other family members.

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The base of this keepsake is made using pearlised cardstock, this is an opening drawer which means a gift can be placed inside the gift box or this can be used for other keepsakes by the recipient.

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Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (5)

This design of keepsake card can be handcrafted to any colour scheme, theme or occasion to give a unique and personalised gift for your loved one.

If you would like to discuss your requirements for a keepsake like this or indeed any of your greetings card or keepsake card requests, please email us at admin@cardsandcandlesforalloccasions.co.uk

xxx Love Laura xxx

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