Another month has gone by, in fact, almost two have hurried past, since my last guest blog post from Cat at Cat’s Dance School based in Edinburgh. This month we have Sarah from The Crafty Bear telling us all about her 5,4,3,2,1, Things. Over to Sarah.
Hi I’m Sarah, the mamma bear behind The Crafty Bear, a small business lovingly crafting gifts and keepsakes. Most of my items are new baby gifts or nursery décor items but I also create items for weddings and for grown-ups. I live in County Durham with my husband and 4 year old daughter, who thinks my craft room is “our craft room” and loves to come in and “work with Mummy”. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
1. My biggest inspiration is my customers. Most of my items are custom made and I love the whole process of getting the initial order, creating design ideas and then crafting the perfect item just for them. Probably my most challenging brief to date was a seaside themed set of nursery letters – but in dark red, brown and white. I think the finished piece is one of my favourites.
2. My daughter is a massive inspiration for me in everything I do. She is our baby bear and the inspiration behind my name – The Crafty Bear.
3. I also take inspiration from what is going on in my own life. I’ll often create something for us that then becomes a product that I offer in my Etsy store, such as my hair accessory organisers that came about from my own need to store my daughters many, many hair clips!
4. I love the outdoors and we can often be found at the beach or in the garden. I am currently dreaming of warmer weather and working on a beach themed collection.
5. My fifth inspiration would have to be a bit of sparkle. I’ll add it to any design that I can!
4 Tools I Love To Use
1. Three years ago my husband bought me a Silhouette Portrait Cutting Machine for my birthday and it quickly became my new favourite toy! It has allowed me to do so much more with my business and there are very few projects where I do not use it in some way.
2. My other key tools are my paint brushes. I’m a bit obsessed with buying new ones.
3. As part of my business I run local craft workshops and recently found some amazing plastic boxes with lots of compartments and lift out trays. They have made setting up for each workshop and transporting all my bits and pieces so much easier.
4. My fourth tool I love to use would have to be my camera. Essential for sharing design ideas with customers to ensure they get the perfect pieces.
3 Things That Make My Work Unique
1. The biggest thing that makes my work unique is you. Nearly all my items are bespoke with my biggest sellers being my nursery letters. Each set is made to order to a unique brief. Briefs to date have included owls, hot air balloons, space, Greek Gods, woodlands, cars, seaside, nautical and American sports.
2. The other big think that makes my work unique is me. When you buy from The Crafty Bear you will only be contacted by me and I will make your items for you. My relationship with my customers is key to my success.
3. The final thing that makes my work unique is the wide variety of items I can create using the same design and craft skills and my trusty Silhouette Portrait. My Etsy shop contains nursery letters, hair accessory organisers, jewellery organisers, weight loss boards, decorative letters, box frames, wedding décor, children’s drink bottles and wine glasses.
2 Mistakes I’ve Made In The Past
1. It took me some time to find my thing. I knew I wanted to run my own business and started off as complementary health practitioner. I started making gemstone jewellery as a spin off from this and then wedding jewellery before The Crafty Bear evolved into what it is today. I enjoyed what I was doing but the business never took off. Now I have found the thing I love and The Crafty Bear is going from strength to strength.
2. The biggest mistake I have made on an item was on a princess castle hair accessory organiser. I forgot to drill the holes in to attach it to the wall before I started. I had finished making the piece and was packaging it up to post when I luckily realised. But in my haste to drill the holes I didn’t support the item properly and snapped the turret off the castle. Cue a very embarrassing and apologetic email to my customer and having to start the order from scratch. I won’t be making that mistake again. I hope!
1 Project I Am Proud Of
1. The project I am most proud of came from a repeat customer. I had made her a set of nursery letters for her own child and several years later she came back to me with a request for a single white letter with a bluebell design. It was only after I sent the item to her that she told me it was a memorial item for a friend who had lost her daughter. I felt really honoured to be trusted with such a special item and I truly hope that it has bought some small amount of comfort to her friend.
It’s been a pleasure writing this guest blog for RowRow and Kades as it has allowed me to really think about what I do and why and reminded me just how lucky I am to be able to do something that I truly love.
Thank you so much to Sarah for her list of 5,4,3,2,1 Things! I am loving those wooden letters!
Next month we have Loretta from True Love Keepsakes popping by!
See you soon x