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This week we met Claire Cresswell, the owner of personalised invitations and cards business, Cherry Sealed…
CC: I was a full time Mum before starting the business. When I decided to go back to work I wanted to do something I enjoyed with the flexibility to work around my children. I couldn’t find anything that fitted the bill so I set up my own business. I’d already been helping another woman with wedding stationery in my spare time but I wanted to do more than just weddings. I wanted to cover all celebrations, I do like a party! The idea was there, I just needed to make it happen.
CC:When I first set up the business everything was handmade. Unfortunately, as I learned along the way I couldn’t make everything as quickly as I needed to, to keep up with demand while still meeting the high quality standards I wanted to.
In order to free up more of my time I now do a combination of graphic designing and hand finishing. I still design them at home, I just have them externally printed then I finish them by hand.
CC: Get the boys off to school, tidy the chaos they’ve manage to create in a very short space of time and then I get into work mode. Normal mornings go something like this; drink coffee, respond to emails then update my ever growing to-do list.
I try and divide my week up so I’m focused. Mondays are for card making and invitation construction, Tuesdays and Thursdays I focus on designing and ordering from the printers then Wednesday and Friday are my ‘construction’ days. Weekends are starting to become design days!
CC: In order to grow the business I’m concentrating on improving my graphic design skills and getting more of my cards in shops.
The big goal is to have my own shop full of beautiful invitations, cards, decorations and handmade loveliness…
CC: Having my invitations featured in a wedding magazine.
CC: If it’s a creative business you’re setting up never under value your time. Work out the cost of the materials and the time it takes you to make whatever you’re making. If you spend 4 hours painting something that makes you a tenner remember £2.50 is not even close to minimum wage! Think about how much you want to be paid per hour for your work and always factor that in when deciding if a project is worth taking on.
CC: I had no confidence really when starting up, I’d been a full time Mum for a long time. I really wondered if I could actually do anything of value. I worked out that I would need about £500 to get the materials, equipment and card to make my samples and get me started. My family offered to lend me the money but I got a part time job in the local pub working evenings instead.
I wanted to do it that way so it didn’t impact financially on the rest of the family. That gave me the confidence to go for it without worrying. Thankfully it’s worked out so far, I’ve got my confidence back and need not have worried that my brain had turned to baby food.
CC: I love taking people’s ideas, making them a reality and seeing their face light up when they see them. I love that I have set up exactly what I wanted to. I earn money doing something I enjoy that I can work around the boys.
CC: Getting distracted and time management. Projects always end up taking longer than I think they will. This is normally because in a moment of creative inspiration I’ve decided to make something else to go with whatever. I’m a nightmare! Lists and timing myself help me stay focused.
CC: I’ve always crafted with family ever since I was little. My parents are quite crafty and renovated houses when we were younger. My Mum made loads of things herself like cushions and curtains, she even built tow fireplaces!
My dad is good at woodwork and can pretty much build anything from a few bits of wood. My Grandma paints, knits and sew – she’s big on not wasting anything!
CC: I’m a massive fan of upcycling! I have so many projects waiting to be started. I’ve just completed a sign for my bedroom using a scrap piece of wood my Dad had. I hammered in random nails and sanded the edges to make it look rustic then stained it before painting the letters of the word SLEEP in cream and hanging it above my bed.
CC: If it’s not happening, it’s not happening. You’ll get yourself more frustrated and waste more time trying to force it. Walk away and come back to it when you’re feeling more inspired. Go for a walk, look on Pinterest, drink plenty of water – it’s amazing how it can clear the brain fuzz.
CC: Oh, all over! I love florals and nature, I think that’s why going for a walk helps me get in the creative zone. I love Pinterest but I’ve had to delete it from my phone as it’s like falling down the rabbit hole. I start off looking at floral displays, colour combinations or something like that and end up looking at how to turn logs into furniture that I have no room for!
CC: The kitchen, I love cooking! Everyone always ends up in the kitchen when we have friends round, probably because it’s where the wine is! I love everyone round a table eating, drinking and chatting away.
CC: My dream home would be on the Northumberland coast. Walking distance to the beach with plenty of bedrooms for friends to come and stay. It would be old and rustic, with an open fire and massive kitchen. Ideally it would have room to for an office and workshop.
CC: Glitter and metallics are on the rise especially gold, rose gold and copper. I’m working on some new designs using glitter card and they look fantastic. It’s easy to totally transform everyday items into something special with glitter paint and who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle?