After I decided to do supply work to free up my time as I wanted to spend more time with my little boy, I also knew this extra time I now had on my hands would allow me to do what I loved most and that was to be creative.
I began looking for different ways that I could be creative and start a business, I had no prior experience of running a business and I know I would need some support and guidance so I begin researching opportunities in the franchising world. I attended the national franchising exhibition at the NEC and discovered that there was an array of businesses to choose from such as restaurants, cleaning companies, care homes, beauty businesses but I was most drawn to companies that created businesses with Mums in mind.
As we know there are now a huge range of baby and toddler classes for Mums and Dads to sign up to ranging from music, dance, sensory, ballet and swimming. I researched many and came away believing my creative skills could be used for any of the classes and being a Mum would also enable me to relate to other parents. I attended franchise taster days and spoke with a couple of franchise investment people at banks such as Natwest.
After collating my research, I realised that signing up with any of the lovely ‘mummy’ franchises meant that I would have to stomp up a considerable financial amount to kick-start the venues, then there were ongoing fees to consider such as a franchise ‘member’ fees, that included marketing, a % of sales and hall hire, the buying of equipment and on-going training.
By luck or fate, which ever you believe in more, I came across The Keepsake Company, as I read more I realised that they offered everything a franchise does such as training and ongoing support but without the huge, ongoing financial costs. I contacted the lovely Victoria Casebourne, who further put my mind at rest and said that I could grow my business as fast or slow as I wanted and that at the end of the years support, the business would be mine to keep, I wouldn’t have to hand it back to them whereas if I changed my mind after going with a franchise the ‘area’ and business and equipment would be their property and I would be left with nothing and would have to start over.
It didn’t take me long to decide that becoming a member of The Keepsake Association was the best choice and after paying my initial joining fee, a few weeks later I found myself in Somerset on a two day training course where I learnt new skills using Fine Silver Clay and was shown how to hand make a piece of keepsake jewellery like the one seen below. My favourite tool came to be this fine needle tool that I use to inscribe a name on a charm to give it that extra special personalised touch.
The very first charm I made after my training, I made for myself and it was a fingerprint charm chain using the fingerprint of my son. When I finished polishing it, I was amazed that I had now made a precious keepsake that I could keep forever and when my son if big and too old to hold my hand I can still hold and touch that dinky fingerprint on my chain. I was then that I realised the importance of capturing these memories for other parents as well. They would one day have children who have all but grown-up, to think that you could keep a piece of jewellery with your child’s handprint, footprint or fingerprint would be amazing. It truly is a unique gift to provide for someone.
One of the first charms I made for someone is this artwork/doodle charm I create for a competition winner, Kimberley. I was blown away by the review she gave me, it meant the world to see those kind, honest words about the work you have lovingly made with your hands. Kimberley sent in a picture of a doodle one of her children drew, I captured the fine detail of this pen doodle onto an oval charm for her to cherish forever.
It’s been four years since I started my business and I have learnt so many new skills and each year I continue to take my business one step further to where I want it to be. I don’t look back as there’s no progress in looking back at what once was or what might have been, instead I choose to look ahead and work towards my goals of achieving all that I desire for I know it can happen if you put the work in x