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» Listings for February 2011

  1. We have been featured in the inspirational blog by Knots and Kisses and firstly i would like to say a HUGE thank you!!!
    The styling feature incorporates one of their favourite colour combinations mixing elegant powder blue and cream pearls.
    They highlight their Vintage Cameo range in the style feature which i must say is stunning!
    They talk you through a gorgeous combination of cream and blue which they highlight in classic, modern and vintage ways using 1950's style dresses, birdcage veils, lace trims and boleros and beautiful pearl jewellery (by me yey!!!)
    They show you how to accessorise with fresh blue linen, cream napkins and old vintage glassware and even a fab sweet buffet.
    Want  to find out more, check out the blog for a fab style board!
  2. A LOWESTOFT couple who started producing handmade vintage-style jewellery just one year ago are celebrating the success of their first year in business.
    Kim Hall and Luke Peek started making jewellery at their home in Lowestoft as a hobby, and set up an online business to start selling it a year ago.....
    tapic                          tapic2<BLOG_BREAK>
    They have already sold hundreds of items through their website and are now keen to expand the business so that they can put their new found skills to good use and make their antique brass jewellery full time.
    Kim said: “We’ve always been quite keen on crafts, and wanted to do something from home so we started buying bits and pieces online to make our own jewellery.
    “It started with one little box and now we’ve got beads, pendants and charms everywhere and make all our own designs to sell.
    “We’ve taught ourselves how to do it and make all the pieces in our spare time. We design jewellery which we like, and which is a bit different to what is already available.”
    Having devoted much of their spare time to building their business online, Trashy Art jewellery is also now sold at the 2nd Avenue Street Boutique in Lowestoft High Street.
    It is the only local outlet for the jewellery, and customers buying their jewellery in the store are among the few who know that the business is run from Lowestoft.
    Luke, who works as a website designer, said: “We have had a couple of online orders from local people, but I’m sure they had no idea that we’re based just down the road. We’ve sent orders all over the world and have had great feedback.
    “People seem to really like what we’re making, and we both said at Christmas that it was nice to think of people finding our little boxes under their trees.
    “We’ve been really busy since the New Year, and several customers have told us that they’re ordering items after getting something from us as a present.
    “Our plan is to gradually change our stock list this year so that every time people come back to the website there’s something different.”
    They added: “We chose jewellery really because it was small enough for us to do it in our flat, so we’ve been surprised and delighted by the success in just a year. We really enjoy it and knowing that people like our jewellery is a great feeling.
    “We’ve fallen into this somewhat by chance, so it’s brilliant that it’s been going so well.”
  3. If you are anything like me, reading the tweets and chatting to Anna from Funky Diva designs leaves me exhausted.
    From being a single mum to 3 active little boys, sewing and creating beautiful handmade bags and her busy day doesn't stop there. There seems to be no end to this ladies talents.
    As well as feeling exhausted thankfully she also leaves me inspired. Her drive and enthusiasm is amazing.

    Well thankfully she has put aside a few minutes to answer our questions and opens the door into her life.
    So sit down, grab a cuppa (and cake of course) and lets meet the lady behind Funky Diva Designs <BLOG_BREAK>

    1. Introduce yourself and your company!
    My name is Anna Ryan and I own Funky Diva Designs, the home of handmade bags, purses and quilts in the Cotswolds!  I am also launching a sewing school in March - Funky Diva Sewing School. After school classes for kids and workshops of adults. fdpic2

    2. What made you start your company?
    I have been a quilter since I was university and discovered patchwork quilts. I have spend many years making quilts for my family and friends and dreaming of running my own business.  After a very traumatic divorce I was trying to decide what I wanted to do when I made a friend a bag for her birthday. Next thing I knew I was running a stall at the local school - I sold out and was taking orders from the boot of my car! After a few changes Funky Diva Designs was born!

    3. Can you give us a typical ‘day in the life of’ – we’d love to know
    what you do day by day, even the what-might-seem-like-boring bits!
    My boys are all early risers 4.30am is the norm in my house! If I have a lot of work to complete I just get up and sew, then organise the boys their day.
    When I have drop my 3 boys off at school and nursery and then I have a coffee so I can plot the days work load and answer emails. If I have custom orders I get started on those in the morning, I tend to do my supplies shopping in the morning too.  If the order book is having a break, I make up stock and load photos onto my online shops. I usually have a break for lunch and use it to catch up on computer based work. 
    In the afternoon I juggle sewing with tutoring maths.  On a Wednesday I have 22 kids at the local primary school learning to sew with me - it is full on! I pack up at 5 to get the boys and then start work again at 7.30pm when they are in bed if I have the energy!

    4. What do you enjoy most or what is your favourite part of your job?
    I love talking to a customer about their needs for their bag and the fabric choices. It is the best feeling in the world when you work through a design for them and they love what you have made! I love it that people email me or come to me at craft fairs and tell me how much they love their bag/ purse.

    5. How do you come up with your designs? What inspires you?
    I tend to dream about designs. They nag at me until I have tried them! I have bought a few designs from other bag designers, but I prefer to design my own things from scratch!
    I get inspiration from the fabrics I buy and looking at other people's bags and spotting where the design could be improved.  Customers themselves give me loads of ideas because they often have been frustrated by their current bag and have ideas for what they specifically need.

    6. How do you manage to mix your busy schedule with home and family life? Some secrets to your success please!
    I am not sure I mix it very well!  I have the 3 boys on my own, and whilst they see their fathers I do not have any time without at least one of them. I try to fit everything into Monday to Thursday when I have childcare of them, but I tend to end up completing computer work whilst they are around and playing. 
    I have also learnt to ignore the mess of the boys because it detracts from the time we spend together. I try to do one child based fun thing a week with them and I have Fridays with my 3YO all alone so we have adventures together and I try to not work - it is very hard! fddpic3

    7. Do you manage to ever switch off the phone or laptop, or always
    sneakily checking emails and calls 24/7?
    The simple answer is NO! I am useless! I think when you run your own business and you love what you do it is very hard to let it go. You want it to be a success.  I want to give my boys the future they deserve and I want them to be proud of their mummy. I want to show them that you can do something you love and make it work.

    8. What top tip would you give to others starting in business?
    Go for it! Don't invest too much money, but do give it your time. Business can succeed without much money - mine does - but you have to be 100% committed to what you are going to do.  It is hard work, but the rewards can be amazing!

    10. What has been your most unusual request and did you manage to fulfil it?
    I don't tend to get unusual requests! Mostly it is about bag size and number of pockets!  I did have an order for a custom Kindle case that was a nightmare, but the actual making of the case was fine in the end. fddpic1

    11. Anything else you would like to share with us, up and coming news, past successes
    I am combining my training as a secondary school teacher with my passion for fabric and launching Funky Diva Sewing School on March 12th in Tetbury. There will be after school clubs for kids as well as one-off workshops. Adults can learn how to sew as well. I am really excited about it, but also very nervous! I am hoping to offer overnight retreats to learn how to make a patchwork quilt.
    Well what did i tell you.....are you feeling exhausted! Yes me too.
    Time to grab another piece of cake I think.
    Thanks for reading and please do take a few minutes of your time to browse the wonderful creations and find out more at...