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

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Twitter

Customer Commissioned Orders – 8×8 Birthday Cards

One of our regular customers recently contacted us for a selection of handcrafted birthday cards which were to be eight inch square in size, each with a very specific theme.

Each card has an personal message on the insert and has been designed and crafted to our customers requirements.

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We hope you like these designs and if you are interested in looking at more of our work, or would like to discuss the design of a greetings or keepsake card to your requirements then we would love to hear from you đŸ™‚

You can find us on Facebook

Or visit our Website

Wordless Wednesday – Handcrafted 8x8inch Greetings Cards

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Handcrafted Exploding Box Keepsake – Special Memories

One of our lovely regular customers recently contacted me looking for something special to give to her Mum who is terminally ill.

She was looking for a handcrafted exploding box keepsake which could incorporate some of her Mum’s special holiday destinations, favourite musicians, tv programmes, etc so we decided that the twelve internal sides of the exploding box would have photographs of each of her Mum’s likes including her favourite flowers, cream tea, cruise ship holidays and a photograph of her great-grandsons.

The recipient is a lover of cream tea and loves to bake cakes for her family, hence our chosen centre piece of cup and saucer (she only drinks from a china cup and saucer, no mugs for this lady!).

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Our customer received her order yesterday and is over the moon with the finished piece, so I just hope that her Mum loves it too đŸ’–

I am quite pleased with how this keepsake has turned out and would love to hear your feedback.

xxx Laura xxx

My Latest Work – 21.06.2016

Good morning all, I hope everyone is well.

First let me apologise for being awol over the last few weeks, I know my blog is looking rather neglected – this has not been deliberate, I have been having a difficult time with my health and once I finish working on customer orders I don’t seem to have any energy left for anything else.

So far this week has started a little better, so let’s hope it continues this way!!

Recently we have been receiving a lot of customer orders for our handcrafted exploding box keepsake gifts, these are so versatile as they have so many areas for decoration so can include many more elements than a standard greeting card. They are perfect for any occasion.

The most recent handcrafted exploding box keepsake gifts we have completed are here below…

The first one is for a wedding – this one is personalised with a message to the bride and groom and includes names of all their bridesmaids, as well as photographs of the wedding venue, their colour scheme and a crystal swan centrepiece.

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The second one is for a very special lady who lives in France so I was asked to make this very “Paris-themed” and the centre-piece is a model of the Eiffel Tower, the elements around the sides are all things relating to France and that are important to the lady’s life.

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I hope you like out latest handcrafted keepsake designs and would love to hear your comments đŸ™‚

To keep up to date with what we’re doing you can join us over on Facebook, our page is www.facebook.com/cardsandcandlesforalloccasions

Have a great week!!

xxx Love Laura xxx

#HugsForNoah needs your business’s HELP!!!

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As per my post on 11th October 2015, Hugs For Noah needs YOUR help to make his 2015 Gala Dinner as special as possible for his guests.

Noah’s family have arranged a lovely meal at a beautiful venue with fantastic entertainment and they will be launching Noah’s ZipZac wheelchair giveaways.

Why do we need you?

We are looking for businesses to donate small gifts to be included in the gift bags which will be given to each guest on the night as a thank you for their ongoing support.

We are looking for items, including but not limited to:

Bath and body products
Baby products
Small children’s toys
Perfume/aftershave
Keyrings
Pens
Jewellery
Chocolates
Sweets

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We are also looking for luxury items (value £50+) to be included in the luxury raffle which will take place on the night with tickets being sold at £5.00 each.

if you can help then we would be very grateful if you could contact us at admin@cardsandcandlesforalloccasions.co.uk

Or contact Noah’s mummy on Twitter at Shellybobbins on Twitter

** All donations must be received by Wednesday 28th October 2015 **

#Hugsfornoah 2015 Gala Dinner – We Need YOUR Business’s HELP!!

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* WE NEED YOUR HELP *

* CHARITY EVENT *

Good morning all and Happy Sunday, how is everyone today?

Our friend is currently organising the third annual Gala Dinner for her son’s charity which will take place on Friday 30th October 2015 in Carlisle.

Each year we approach businesses in the hope they will help by donating small gifts for the gift bags which are handed out to each guest – this not only allows us to give a ‘thank you’ gift to everyone attending for their support but also helps to promote small businesses.

In the past we have had toiletry samples, candles, keyrings, jewellery, etc and we always encourage the businesses to supply business cards, etc with their details so it’s a great advertising tool too.

This year we are looking for 135 ladies gifts and 135 gents gifts… we are hoping to find some business to help – would YOUR business be able to help with either the ladies or gents gifts?

The details of this years event are “HERE” đŸ™‚

Each year the gift bag contains a selection of items from small businesses and I always blog after the event to thank and promote those who have been involved… again it helps with promoting their business.

Here is the link to my blog review of the first gala dinner in 2013 which will give you an idea of what was involved, etc.

https://eljay1980.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/hugsfornoah-gala-dinner-on-24th-may-2013/

It would be great if you were able to help and get involved and if you can then I will do everything I can to support and promote your business.

If you think you may be able to help then please either inbox me through my Facebook page (Link Below) or email me at admin@cardsandcandlesforalloccasions.co.uk to discuss how your business would be able to help and support this amazing event for http://www.hugsfornoah.co.uk

Love and hugs xxx

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