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

cacfao-logo-clear-background-png

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.

1

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.

working_hours

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

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Twitter

Craft Fairs Can Be Unpredictable

christmas-craft-fair-300x168

Over the last few weeks I have been reading a lot of comments about people attending their first craft fair as a seller, or just selling at craft fairs in general and a lot of the same comments are coming up. People are not selling as much as they expect to.

Something I think really needs to be remembered is that Craft Fairs are UNPREDICTABLE.

Attending events as a stallholder/seller is a constant learning curve and is ever changing in the best way we can do things.

Personally, I feel that is is very important to have your business name visible on display and eye-catching so people see and remember it.

A lot of the time people browse these events with no intention of buying so if you can grab their interest then you then have the chance of them coming to you in the future when they are looking for something you sell.

I see craft fairs as a great marketing tool – people who attend craft fairs are, more often than not, interested in handmade goods so they are largely our target market. If I was to pay for an advert in a magazine for example, then there may only be a small percentage of readers interested in handmade goods.

I definitely think that adding a variation of height in your display is a great benefit as it helps to draw people in, as does having bright colours, unusual textures and designs and a display which looks suited to the season of the event eg. Christmas, Easter, Summer.

craft-fairs_

To me, if a lot of your products blend in to your chosen colour of table cover… I would consider a change to choose a contrasting colour of table cover to give your products maximum impact in standing out against it – I know I am more inclined to stop if something catches my eye than if everything seems to be blending together colour-wise.

Also, in the past a lot of the events we have attended, it has been specified by the organiser that the table cloth must cover the front and sides of the table to floor level as it looks neater, all stalls look more uniform in this and anything stored under the table is not visible. We find this really useful as we can keep our storage boxes, carrier bags, extra stock, snacks and drinks, etc under the table while knowing they are out of sight of potential customers.

Having attended craft fairs with our handcrafted products for over seven years we are now more selective about the events we attend – in the beginning we would attend every event we could afford or fit in the diary but over time we learned which areas, types of events, etc work for us.

If we go to a “Craft and Gift Fair”, “School/Church Fayre” etc we know to expect a mix of handmade, Bodyshop, Usborne books, Phoenix cards, etc as well as some tabletop sale type of things and a lot of the time the handmade stalls are not really monitored so there is a lot of duplication.

We have learned over the years that “Craft Extravaganza”, “Craft Fair”, “Handmade Market” type of events are far better for us as people who attend know what to expect, the stalls are 99% crafters and most crafters are very supportive of each other.

At ‘proper’ Craft Fairs the number of duplicated crafts is usually very low as the organiser wants to have as much variety as possible available for their customers and visitors as well as giving everyone a fair chance of selling on the day.

The worst thing which can happen for as a seller at any event is to arrive and find out of the twenty stalls in attendance there are five of the same type of thing eg. handmade jewellery or handmade cards.

I would also say that when you are booking a stall it is vitally important to ask the organiser questions, eg.

* What is the expected footfall at the event?

* Where is the event being advertised?

* How many of each ‘type’ of stall is being allowed?

* What size table will be supplied?

* What are the opening and closing times for the event?

* What time is the venue open for us to begin setting up our stall?

* How long is allowed at the end of the day for packing away?

These are my main questions when looking at an event but there are often many other things to consider and as you get used to attending events you will compile your own set of ‘standard’ questions for event organisers.

Something else to consider is when the event is being held. We no longer attend craft fairs after the last weekend in November or first weekend in December as we learned through our experiences that people usually have made their main purchases by this time and from the middle of December onwards we never do well at events as a lot of visitors are there to browse (or get in out of the cold lol).

As a stallholder it is also important that you advertise the event where you can, whether that be on social media, your local shops, a poster in your car, your business newsletter or even a small note in with orders you post leading up to the event.  It is also useful to have a list of future events you are attanding printed on flyers that potential customers can take away with them too.

The main thing to remember is that the organiser can advertise in every way and everywhere possible, they can get people to visit the venue but nobody can control the amount of money (if any) people are willing to spend. This varies from day to day and from event to event.

Regardless of how you feel on the day, even if you are making no sales and feel like giving up, it is important to always try to engage with visitors to the event as they pass/stop at your stall – even if it’s just a friendly ‘hello’ or a comment about the weather. Anything to start the conversation flowing as people are more likely to stop at a stall where they feel that the seller is approachable.

Sometimes it is difficult to remain positive and smiley throughout the day, sometimes we feel like giving up and going home but just remember that you never know if that one big sale is just around the corner, or going to come in five minutes before the event closes.

Positivity is key – if you are friendly and approachable on the day then it is more likely that a potential customer will contact you after the event if their buying circumstances change and they find themselves in the market to buy the items you sell.

🎄 Happy selling, have a wonderful Christmas and here’s to a crafty 2017!!! 🎄

Love from Laura and Dan

Cards And Candles For All Occasions

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Handcrafted 21st Birthday ‘Make Up Bag’ Card

We were contacted by a customer looking for a unique greeting card for a 21st birthday… we were asked if we would be able to create a make-up bag themed card, this was something we hadn’t done before but we are always happy to accept a challenge from our customers. The colour scheme was to be black and silver with coloured accents.

~1

We started with an eight inch square card and use black pearlised card to create the base for the make-up bag which was to be the card front, this was then matted and layered using silver pearlised cardstock. The top part of the make-up bag closes with a velcro fastening, when this is lifted it reveals a silver mirri card ‘mirror’ as would be in a girls cosmetic bag.

2

3

We used the Cricut Plantin Schoolbook cartridge to cut the “21” in black and silver cardstock, as well as “Charlotte” in black cardstock. The “21” was then layered to give a three dimensional effect. “Charlotte” was added to the closing part of the make-up bag. We added a Happy Birthday Sentiment to the front.

Inside the make-up bag we used diecuts from the Lea’bilities cosmetics cutting dies… these were cut from metallic red and silver cardstock before being affixed inside the card.

4

The completed card folds flat with velcro fastening on the front so can be sent in a standard eight inch square envelope, it is a standard ‘open and close’ card design with plenty of space for the sender to write their own message or greeting.

1

I have been assured that Charlotte loved her card and the unique-ness of it, our customer who ordered this card also loved it so much so we received a card in the post, full or praise and positive feedback.

Feedback like this makes me very happy now as this is why I love my job – I can make customers smile and that makes me smile 🙂

xxx Love Laura xxx

Visit Cards And Candles For All Occasions Website >HERE<

Find Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook >HERE<

Follow Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Twitter >HERE<

Wordless Wednesday – Home Decor and Gifts

DSCF0162

DSCF0163

DSCF0167

DSCF0169

DSCF0170

DSCF0172

DSCF0174

DSCF0182

DSCF0184

DSCF0185

#HugsForNoah #DIYSOS is on #BBC1

#HugsForNoah BBC DIYSOS 28082014

It’s official… at long last the BBC home makeover show #DIYSOS featuring the amazing work on the #HugsForNoah family home is being aired on BBC1!!

Have you seen the DIY SOS: The Big Build – Cumbria advert on the BBC as yet? No, well here is a sneaky peek on YouTube!!

I am guessing that you are all aware of baby Noah’s story but for those of you who are not, then please watch this short video which explains Noah’s health condition:

We first met Noah’s mummy @Shellibobbins via Twitter in 2010 and here is a blog post we wrote explaining why we support this amazing little boy and his family!!

>Click Here< Cards And Candles For All Occasions supports #HugsForNoah – Do You?

Wednesday 27th August 2014 saw the launch of the new #HugsForNoah website which is with huge thanks to Gingerweb Design and Bonnita Graphics – I think you will all agree that Noah’s brand new website looks fantastic!!! What a great job on a very important website for a very special little boy 🙂

By visiting www.hugsfornoah.co.uk you can read about baby Noah’s story, his family’s daily struggle and all the progress Noah makes on a daily basis. You can also shop for #HugsForNoah merchandise all of which gives a donation directly to this amazing charity.

Cards And Candles For All Occasions are very proud to support #HugsForNoah and to enable us to help while doing something we love, we created a special range of #HugsForNoah handcrafted candles… these are available to view and purchase through Noah’s website or by visiting our website directly at
“#HugsForNoah on Cards And Candles For All Occasions”

So set your recorders, programme your TiVo/Sky+ and get your tissues ready to watch a very emotional episode of DIY SOS: The Big Build in Cumbria on

THURSDAY 28TH AUGUST 2014 at 20:00 (8:00pm).

Tivo #HugsForNoah 28082014

We will definitely be tuning in and the TiVo is already set.

xxx Love you loads Noah xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions’ Website

Badger’s Woodcrafts Website

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Badger’s Woodcrafts on Facebook

Badger’s Woodcrafts – Hairband Display Stand

We have been ever so busy here at Badger’s Woodcrafts HQ, now we have finally moved into a unit rather than working in our back garden we are far more productive.

We are proud to tell you that we are now sharing premises with Buzzworx, Cards And Candles For All Occasions and Kelly’s Enchanted Castle.

We were recently asked by Kelly’s Enchanted Castle if we could design and make a bespoke headband/hairband display stand for their range of hand made hair accessories and as we are hoping to expand our product range to include display and storage solutions for crafters, this was something we were eager to get to work on.

Kelly’s Enchanted Castle Website

The only things which were set in stone with regards to this order were that one rail needed to fixed for stability and to display alice bands and the other needed to be removable to add the crochet headbands for display. After chatting over designs and styles with Kelly and sketching out some ideas, we unveiled the finished piece on Friday and everyone seems very happy with the result.

This display stand is thirty inches in length, the bottom ‘alice band’ rail has been covered with a velvet fabric, while the top removable ‘headband’ rail has been painted in a purple acrylic paint.

Badger’s Woodcrafts on Facebook

Badger’s Woodcrafts Website

These stands can be made in any length to suit your requirements and we would be happy to discuss the size of display you require.

Kelly couldn’t wait to try out her completed display stand and here it is with a few of her handmade hair accessories to show the structure.

Price for this item is dependant on size, please email us at info@badgerswoodcrafts.co.uk to discuss.

BW Hairband Stand

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Cards And Candles For All Occasions’ Website

Are you looking for someone who is an expert in the field of custom camper and van conversions and maintenance? Perhaps you are looking for some carpentry, joinery or vinyl sign-writing work to be done? Would decals for your business displayed on your vehicle help to boost your business? Or maybe you even have the vehicle you want, the in-car entertainment you’d like but are looking for someone to install it for you? For any of these needs, then look no further than www.buzz-worx.co.uk where a talented team of hardworking enthusiasts will be happy to discuss your requirements.

Buzz-Worx on Facebook

Buzz-Worx Website

Handcrafted Freestanding Angel with Gemstones

Pink Angel

Our newest item to be completed is this freestanding angel. She is approximately 15cm tall and has been painted in a lovely shade of pink with pearlised lilac wings, being finished with a gemstone butterfly swirl.

This item is available for immediate dispatch and is priced at £11.50 including recorded delivery postage.

This item can also be made in your own choice of colours however the gemstone detailing of each piece is unique.

If you would like to purchase this item or if you would like to see some of our other work, please visit our stall on the Super Mum’s Craft Fair:

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on The SuperMums Craft Fair

Please email is at admin@cardsandcandlesforalloccasions.co.uk to discuss custom orders.