I don't often accept to do product reviews as mostly this blog is about social marketing advice - but I was really intrigued by Vicki Prior's card making company. How did she take her 'kitchen table' card company and transform it into a business now supplying 10 countries and shops like Harrods, Fenwicks and John Lewis!
I'm always keen to hear and share success stories as it gives craft bloggers hope that they may also quit the day job one day. It's inspiring to hear of people who have turned their passion for crafts and handmade into a profitable business. Vicki has done just that with her card company 'Clear Creations'. Vicki was very sweet and sent me some of her cards, she wanted me to see the quality and hoped if I liked them I might tell you all about them.
They are lovely, of course (Thank you Vicki) and so I asked her to write a little post about her card business and how she has moved it on a level. I'm also offering the cards she sent me as a giveaway, so head to the bottom of the post for details.
"I’ve always loved designing and making greeting cards and started making them from the early age of four! Eventually, as I got better, friends and family started bringing my cards into their offices, where I received orders from their colleagues. This encouraged me to take my products to a trade show and sell them to UK shops.
However, my first cards were exclusively handcrafted pieces and I found I had to produce them on a larger scale for them to be more commercial; thus a shift to a printed design ensued. I loved handcrafting too much to leave it entirely behind, so to this day I still insist upon hand-finishing each card with Swarovski crystals and glitters.
In these past six years, business has grown from strength to strength. In addition to selling to shops through trade shows, I now work with sales agents who sell my cards across the U.K., I have also sold to leading retailers such as Harrod’s, Fenwick’s, John Lewis and Waitrose. My cards are also distributed to ten other countries including Canada, Italy, and Holland, to name a few.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced is producing enough cards to fulfil demand while maintaining the handmade aspect and the high quality. Growing and managing the company myself has also been quite a task, particularly prioritizing which tasks need to be done and deciding how much time to delegate to each one.
To those who would like to grow your crafts and hobbies into a larger-scale, I suggest finding a trade show to exhibit at. This is a great way to get noticed and a feel for what’s in store! You will also see how important it is for you to have a product that can be produced and distributed on a larger scale, whilst maintaining the integrity of your product, so that your brand is still communicated to your customer."
Win a card from clear Creations!
I'm keeping one of the beautiful wedding cards to give to my 'sister in law' to be this summer but I'm going to give away the remaining 4.
If you would like me to send one of them to you, leave a comment telling me about your ambitions for your craft business. It will be fascinating to hear about everyone's goals and where they see their business in a few years. Do you recognise the challenges of growing a craft business whilst still retaining the 'craft' element?
I'll pick 4 winners at random when I get back from my trip to Devon on the 30th July, so loads of time to leave a comment! I have 4 second class stamps and 4 envelopes ready to write!
The comment system will ask for you email address or for you to sign in via twitter / facebook - so I can get hold of you that way if you are lucky enough to be a winner.