Running your own business and working full time…fun right? I know a lot of people are in the same boat as me and in all fairness, the struggle is real! Stitches & Stars is my end goal, so although it’s hard work juggling two jobs, it’s all for the greater good. I do like my day job, the team I work with are amazing and the work, for the most part, is non-stressful. Plus, weekends off and flexitime hours really help with running my own business. The benefit of a steady income is also a huge bonus, and gives me more security.
Adding to this, I also suffer from anxiety, which doesn’t always help when it comes to staying motivated and keeping on top of things. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get through the day, never mind juggle two jobs and my own life as well.
I know that’s a bit of a negative start, but hold on, it’s going somewhere better! Stitches & Stars originally started way back in 2010, when I made handmade beads for The Bead Shop Nottingham. However, after taking a few years out, I restarted and refocused in January 2016 – so really it feels like it’s still a brand new business. Sometimes I find it all to easy to compare myself to others and mentally beat myself up for not doing as well/growing as fast etc but looking back, the last year has been awesome! I actually accomplished more than I expected and I’m so proud of myself and the business.
After a few tweaks, I settled on my logo and branding (big thanks to Mark/Mr Stitches for all his help – technical, advice, support….everything!) and also kept my etsy shop up and running all year!
I launched a new range of products featuring my own hand drawn typography. I think this really helped, as it gave a strong personal connection to the business.
I got 3 new stockists! Two Little Magpies, Maison Royale and Handmade Nottingham.
I donated a prize and helped raise money for Smile & Make charity auction for the Michael Barry Fund.
Along side Mike (The Crafty Gentleman), Amy (Hope the Black Dog) and Hana (The Bead Shop Nottingham) I took part in (and won!!) The Craft Off! Don’t get me wrong, the winning was amazing, but I was just so happy that I took part. I had never met Mike or Amy before, although we were instagram friends, and I didn’t know what to expect from the competition. I loved it! We were given a theme and then had 1 hour to create something, so there was no time for me to get nervous or over think! Despite never having worked together, we all just clicked and used our various skills to build a crafty plant! It was so nice to meet other creative people, and even more excitingly, we’ve made our own little craft group, so now we have crafternoons and a support network. ❤
I took part in 2 big craft fairs – Handmade Notts and the Etsy Made Local Christmas fair. I had been years since my last small craft fairs, and my first ones with my new branding and ranges. Both were well organised and busy, and it was lovely to get to meet other local makers and businesses!
I also got involved with the Nottingham Etsy Team. Throughout the year they held some really useful talks and have been so supportive. I even went to one of the talks all by myself….a small step for some people, but massively out of my comfort zone! This also gave me the confidence to join Stitch and Bitch, a lovely group who meet monthly to craft at The Malt Cross.
So all in all, 2016 was a pretty sweet year! I have a business that makes me proud, keeps me happy and gives me something to focus on and work towards my future with. Just as importantly though, relaunching Stitches & Stars has introduced me to a whole group of lovely, supportive and inspiring people, and given me some brilliant new friends as well. I’ve also realised that if I’m not being creative, it really does have a negative impact on me. My anxiety was being to border on depression, and I didn’t feel like myself anymore. Reconnecting to my artistic side and forcing myself out of my comfort zone have made a ridiculous difference and I’m so much happier for it. Although I’m currently signed off due to my anxiety/stress, this creativeness has given me a lifeline to focus on and a distraction from all the sadness from the last two years.
I also want to give a shout out to Mark and the rest of my family for being so supportive of both me and my business. I know it’s cliche to say ‘I couldn’t do it without them’ but it’s true! Literally in Mark’s case, he’s my tech-wizard and has helped me get into the digital side of it all.
So there, I told you that this was a happy post really! Next time I’ll be sharing my goals for this year, so see you then!