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.

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

Updating Our E-Commerce Presence

CACFAO Owl Banner

Today has been a busy “behind the scenes” day, we have been doing some background work on the website, updating our Etsy store and also setting up a stall on SuperMums Craft Fair. We have lots of new products to photograph and add to our online stores and website, however we need to do our stock take and photograph/re-photograph all of our items before uploading to our shops.

I Sell On Etsy

We have previously had our items listed on Etsy and found it to be very successful, especially our baby loss range of candles… these seem to be a very popular product which is very sad as it shows just how many people have been affected by baby loss. We have listed more of our baby loss awareness candles and baby bereavement greetings cards as this is something very close to our hearts and we feel that if we are able to provide the smallest bit of comfort to a family who is going through this distressing situation then it is all worthwhile. On our Etsy shop you will also find our decorated themed box frames… this is a small selection of the themes we are able to create and if you have something particular in mind then please email us at admin@cardsandcandlesforalloccaions.co.uk

Etsy-com

A few weeks ago a friend recommended the SuperMums website to us… an online craft fair with very reasonable hosting costs and a very supportive group of people. So today we took the step and signed up. At the moment we only have our decorated themed box frames listed for the same reasons as our Etsy shop – we need to do a stock take and photograph all of our items.

Supermums Logo

We would love your support, we have items for Mothers Day, New Baby Boy, New Baby Girl, Baby Loss and Retro Lego home decor so why not pop over and visit us… please tell your friends about our new products and we would appreciate a visit from the Sales Fairy 😉

Go Shopping at Cards And Candles For All Occasions on The SuperMums Craft Fair website.

Pop over and browse some fab handmade goodies on Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Etsy’s website.

Come over and have a chat on Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook page.

Visit our website at www.cardsandcandlesforalloccasions.co.uk

Follow us on Twitter at Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Twitter.

Funsters, Stoke was FAB!!!

Last night we attended the Christmas Fayre being held by Funsters, Stoke on Trent.

It was the first time we’d been in this venue and the first year that they have held this event so we were a bit unsure about it as Funsters is located behind everything else in Stoke, but we set up our stall and sat down to see how the evening progressed.

The play area was full of lots of kiddies having fun, the cafe was full of parents and children enjoying the refreshments and there were lots of people doing some Christmas shopping… it was a FAB event!!!

Now we are busy preparing for tomorrow’s event in Kidsgrove – very busy times but we love every minute of our work 🙂

Funsters Stoke

Cards And Candles For All Occasions – website

Kidsgrove Victorian Market – 30th November 2013

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Tomorrow we will be at Kidsgrove Town Hall for their annual Victorian Christmas market… there will be lots of opportunity for Christmas shopping, treating yourselves and supporting local charities including Staffordshire SANDS.

We know for certain that the following will have stalls:

1. Cards And Candles For All Occasions – www.facebook.com/CardsAndCandlesForAllOccasions

2. Badger’s Woodcrafts – www.facebook.com/BadgersWoodcrafts

3. Felt Sew Great – www.facebook.com/FeltSewGreat

4. Kelly’s Enchanted Castle – www.facebook.com/KellysEnchantedCastle

5. Staffordshire SANDS – www.facebook.com/staffordshiresands

and lots, lots more

Come and see us, say hello and join in the festive fun at:

Kidsgrove Town Hall (Victoria Hall)
Liverpool Road
Kidsgrove
Stoke on Trent
ST7 4EL

Saturday 30th November 2013

This event is open from 10:00am until 4:00pm

At this event there will be Santa’s Grotto, Victorian Tearoom, Handmade local products (including us!!), Traditional and Vintage stalls, Dress Up Competition and lots of festive entertainment.

Come along and SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES and join us at this fantastic event… can’t wait to see you all!!

xxx Lots of love from Laura and Gordon xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions – website

Badger’s Woodcrafts – website

It’s that time of year – Northfield Farm’s Christmas Open Day!!

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Can you believe it’s that time of year again?

Tomorrow is the Northfield Farm annual Christmas Fair – lots of food, crafts and shopping opportunities on the farm!!

NORTHFIELD FARM CHRISTMAS OPEN DAY 2013

WHERE WILL WE BE???
Northfield Farm
Whissendine Lane
Cold Overton
Oakham
Rutland
Leicestershire
LE15 7QF

Saturday 23rd November 2013, 9:00am until 3:00pm

Northfield Farm Poster2

WHAT’S HAPPENING???

It is the annual Christmas Fair and Open Day at the farm.

Free Entry for all!
Hot and cold snacks and drinks
Full butchery open
Gorgeous piglets to meet
Hands on wood-turning sessions,
and delightful food and craft stallholders …
We have butchers, we have bakers and
we have candlestick makers!

There is mud, so please wear appropriate footwear, wrap up warm and join us.

For full details of the venue please visit www.northfieldfarm.com/

Or to browse the Cards And Candles For All Occasions website, visit www.cardsandcandlesforalloccasions.co.uk

We hope to see you all there… please tell your friends, family and loved ones about this event, it is always a brilliant day and shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the area!!

Northfield Farm

6 Towns Radio and Staffordshire SANDS

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Thursday 17th October 2013 was an exciting day for the committee members of Staffordshire SANDS, as we were invited to the studio of 6 Towns radio, Stoke on Trent to be interviewed about the charity and explain what Staffordshire SANDS is within the community.

Josephine Ashton and Laura Jane Quick we happy to be interviewed on the 6 Towns Radio Parental Patter programme to explain why Staffordshire SANDS was set up, our involvement with University Hospital of North Staffordshire and how we can help bereaved families who have lost babies during pregnancy, birth or shortly after.

A few weeks ago Laura sent an email to Six Towns Radio, Burslem, Stoke on Trent asking if they would be able to help promote Staffordshire SANDS in any way and before receiving this communication they were unaware that our organisation existed. When Carol Lovatt contacted Laura to find out more about our charity, she explained that although she had never heard of Staffordshire SANDS she was very interested in finding out more about the charity, promoting our work and assisting in any way she can.

It was an honour for Laura and Josephine to be invited onto Carol’s radio show which runs every Thursday from 12:00noon until 2:00pm, the show is called Parental Patter and can be found on Facebook… the show is described as:

Parental Patter on 6 Towns Radio is a show specially for new mums, new dads, grandparents and individuals involved with caregiving to children from 0-18, featuring professionals offering advice on a wide variety of subjects, from breastfeeding, potty training to health, wellbeing, education and entertainment.

The show is guaranteed to help you with the daily joys and challenges of parenthood and is presented by Carol Lovatt.

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The interview began with Josephine and Laura explaining that Staffordshire SANDS was set up in July 2012 and although a part of the UK SANDS group, we are solely responsible for our own fundraising, advertising, raising awareness and working within our local community. That said we do have to adhere to the regulations and protocol of UK SANDS.

Staffordshire SANDS offers support to bereaved families who have lost their baby during pregnancy, childbirth or during those early days… we raise funds at various events to allow us to be able to provide the University Hospital of North Staffordshire with memory boxes which are given to bereaved parents, each box contains small items which can be kept by the parents or indeed laid to rest with their precious baby. Staffordshire SANDS are currently looking for experience knitters to get in touch to help with knitting small baby blankets to be included in these memory boxes.

We had a very relaxed and informal chat with Carol, explaining all about the work Staffordshire SANDS does within the community and the support we desperately need to reach a wider audience and get to the families who need our support. Staffordshire SANDS is not just for bereaved parents but for anyone who has been affected by baby loss… grandparents, siblings, members of the wider family network and close friends. We are here for anyone who may need our support.

Staffordshire SANDS is lucky enough to be the chosen Charity Of The Year of the Kidsgrove Mayor, Councillor Kyle Robinson and as such we have many events coming up in the Kidsgrove area, proceeds from each will be going directly to Staffordshire SANDS.

31st October 2013 – 8:00pm until 2:00am
Ghost Hunters Of Stoke On Trent are investigating Kidsgrove Town Hall
Tickets are priced at £25.00 and this is an over 18’s only event

1st November 2013 – 7:00pm until 11:00pm
Halloween Party at Kidsgrove Town Hall
Tickets are priced at £5 per adult, £3 per child or £14 per family

7th November 2013 starting at 7:15pm
Kidsgrove Community Choir presents an Evening of Seasonal Music
St Thomas’ Church, Kidsgrove
Tickets are £5.00 per adult and £3.00 per child

9th November 2013
1940’s Dance at Kidsgrove Town Hall
Tickets are £9.00 each

30th November 2013 – 10:00am until 4:00pm
Victorian Christmas Market, Kidsgrove Town Hall

31st December 2013 – 8:00pm – 1:00am
Kidsgrove Mayor’s New Year’s Eve Party
Tickets are £10.00 per adult, £6.00 per child under 11years

Staffordshire SANDS will also have our information and merchandise stall at the Huggies Day Nursery Christmas event on Friday 1st November 2013 alongside many other local businesses, this is taking place in the premises of Huggies Day Nursery, Bradwell.

If you have suffered the loss of a baby within your family and would like to speak to someone within the Staffordshire SANDS committee please contact us via the following methods:

Staffordshire SANDS on Facebook

Email us at staffordshire_sands@yahoo.com

Visit the Staffordshire SANDS website

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