Monday, 25 October 2010

Christmas Crackers Giveaway! Ho Ho Ho.

As Christmas is fast approaching I have decided to do my first blog giveaway. This year I have designed and published 8 gorgeous glistening Christmas cards for the Fay's Studio shop. These cards are all a bit of fun and I have tried to capture the tacky side of Christmas and put them into a range. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a knitted jumper from your Granny, a cracker full of useless miniature inanimate objects, or a chiwawa dressed up as Santa would it?!

With that in mind I have 8 of these cards to give away, that's one each for 8 winners. I thought I would have more winners this time to give you all more of a chance.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning one of these little lovelies is to leave your comment here on the blog about which card you like and why, and it could very well be yours. It would also be lovely to get some more followers on my blog so please mention this giveaway to your twitter, facebook and blog buddies.

I will be announcing the winners mid November so that gives you plenty of time to post your thoughts.

Don't forget these cards are all made in the UK using only FSC certified materials and the packaging is 100% biodegradable too. So they are not only funny but also friendly, I think a little bit like the creator. I hope you love them! x Fay

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Makers And Designers Emporium.

Tucked away in the Cotswolds is the beautiful market town of Cirencester. Here lies one of my very first stockists who have sold Fay's Studio greeting cards for just over a year. It isn't often that I get to visit Cirencester and so I used the opportunity at the weekend to pop in to say hello to one of the lovely owners, Louise, who was extremely busy in the mad Saturday rush. I was really pleased to see my cards on the shelves, some of which were down to the very last one!

M.A.D.E (Makers And Designers Emporium) is full of the most wonderful British designed and made gifts by over 100 artists and makers. It is stocked full of textiles, homeware, ceramics and wood, jewellery, accessories, stationery, giftware, wall art and photography. It really is a one-stop shop for all of your gift needs and it's very difficult to leave without buying anything.

Whenever I see my cards on the shelves I am always really delighted. It reminds me of all the hard work that has gone into designing and making each one. Here on the top right is my 'Let's See The World Together' card which had nearly sold out, and my 'I'd Be Lost Without You' and ' You Are My Cup of Tea' cards on the second to last shelf also going well.

M.A.D.E is separated into three rooms. The room pictured above specialises in new baby and childrens gifts and cards. It is a wonderfully bright and colourful room full of gorgeous items for the new arrival. I also have a passion for visual merchandising in retail, so to see a collection so well put together with lots of thought and consideration for the product and the customer is great to see.

Making use of every space and utilising each product to make a display, I was thrilled to see my 'Congratulations' greeting card tucked in beside some gorgeous pamper gift boxes for a new Mum.

And here it is again on the card display on the right hand side of the second shelf. This section is a lovely mix of pinks, whites and blues all tied in with new baby clothes and gifts. M.A.D.E make use of every bit of space they have and it is done with real expertise and flair!

Up on the wall behind the paper octopus sits my 'Wonderful Daughter' greeting card (centre of top shelf). This selection is for the slightly older child, and my design fits in perfectly here.

Finally, just between room 1 and 2 is a wall of gorgeous gift wrap, ribbon and more greeting cards. Here you will spot my 'You Are The Cherry on my Bakewell' greeting card, looking lovely amongst all the other patterns. I also have my 'Twit Twoo' and 'You Make Me Dizzy' cards in the shop, but as they were just by the till and it was an incredibly busy day I didn't get the chance to take a photo. But why not visit yourself just to see how wonderful M.A.D.E is. I will be sending in my Christmas stock very soon, and if I have the opportunity to visit nearer Christmas I will take some more photos then. I hope you enjoyed a look around one of my stockists, I will try to do this more often.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The role of a Young Ambassador.

In May 2009 I went through the Prince's Trust Business Enterprise programme to help me get into self-employment with my dream of becoming a greeting card publisher. From Monday to Wednesday this week I have been away in Saxmundham, Suffolk on an induction, following an invite to take on a role as Young Ambassador for the charity. Myself and twenty others from the South West and South East regions joined together at the lovely surroundings at Leiston Abbey to take part in the training to become a spokesperson for the Prince's Trust. Each individual had been helped by the charity on some level whether this was getting into an apprenticeship, work experience or help with a business idea and we had all been asked to take part in this residential to learn more about the role of becoming a Young Ambassador.

Not usually one to enjoy team building exercises I found myself having a great time with every aspect of the course. I was also surprised to find myself amongst a group of really inspiring young people who were really friendly and together there was a real sense of fun and achievement. It was also a very humbling experience to see that so many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds had turned their lives around with help from the Trust. There were many a heated debate about the levels of unemployment and lack of help for young people, and the stories of each Young Ambassador were not only heart breaking but heart warming too.

Each Ambassador left the induction at a 'passing out parade' where we each received a t-shirt, pin badge and a set of business cards to hand out at events. My role as a Young Ambassador takes place over the next year where I will be asked to attend a variety of events, meetings, conferences, judging panels, etc using my experience to tell supporters of the Trust how I have been helped to achieve success after a spell of unemployment.

I already have my first event invite, which is to talk to a group of teenagers at a high school in Bristol about my experience of self-employment. I will have to do a presentation about the pitfalls of working for myself and running a business, and conduct a group discussion with the young entrepreneurs. I hope to be able to use my experience to offer advice and guidance to other young people, by talking through my journey of where I was and where I am now. I will be helped to do this by a day of public speaking training, learning some really important techniques when talking to large groups of people. There are lots of opportunites available as a Young Ambassador and I am sure the next year will add many experiences to my CV. I will post about the events each time they take place. It is a fantastic opportunity to travel, meet lots of people and develop my skills as a public speaker. It should be easy to talk about my business and experience as I know it well, but sharing this with a room of 500 people may be slightly nerve wracking. I'll keep you updated on the events!