Getting started

Getting started

Opening a Can of P’s

Tuesday’s blog rolls back the hours, and today I thought I might go back in time and shed some light on just how I got started on the Clarity trail. Not because I am getting nostalgic; more because I am aware that so many of you want to get started, to start a little business, sell your artwork, run crafty workshops, even open a craft shop. The burning question is always HOW? Well, I can’t give you the magic remedy, but I can tell you how I went about it, and perhaps you can pick up a few ideas. There are so many, SO MANY factors to consider, perhaps it might make sense to cover one thing at a time. Why don’t we start with my old Can of P’s, the first being Predicament. Your predicament will dictate what you can or cannot do…

I was a Mother with 2 little kids when I got started. The whole idea of my getting a little craft business going was to be able to have a job I could do from home so that I could look after Grace and Mark, and be there for them. It’s a long story, but when Grace was born, I had a sizeable business, a language school, in Germany, and she had a full time babysitter. Long story short, it came to light after several months, that she was being physically abused by this person I had entrusted her to. At which point I made a promise to baby Grace and to myself, that I would never ever leave her in that vulnerable position again. I gave up the business on the same day I got the Doctor’s report.
And that presented me with my predicament right there. At the time it was all very distressing, but had that not happened, I would probably never have turned to art and craft to make a living.
Anyway, back to Predicament. I wrote a list of what I was and wasn’t able to do. From drawing to driving a van. From teaching to translating. I wrote a list as long as my arm of all the things I was capable of. Then I wrote a list of the things I didn’t want to do, or couldn’t do. Like work away from home, travel with a job. It quickly became clear that drawing and teaching were the direction I wanted to go. Can you believe it? That was 21 years ago, and here I am, teaching crafting on TV, using stamps I have drawn! But stamps and stencils were absolutely NOWHERE on the horizon! That came much later! So I guess what I am trying to say is, if you are wanting to DO SOMETHING, it has to fall in with your predicament. The predicament will likely change, as did mine after 18 years, when the kids left the nest. But here’s the next irony: even though I did exhibitions at weekends and workshops in the evenings when the kids were growing up, the business was always based at the farm we lived in. And the year Mark left to go to University, we moved the business into a proper business unit. I stopped working from home.
Tuesday’s blog always rolls back the hours. I think next Tuesday I will open my can of P’s again…Product. Great starting place once you’ve established your predicament.

32 thoughts on “Getting started

  1. Morning Barb, isn't it strange how something so bad, turned into something so good. Life is what you make it. I love your blog and hearing about your life.
    See you at the NEC on Friday :-))

  2. Good morning,
    I love the photos of Grace and Mark, they are beautiful. Thanks for opening your can of P's and sharing a part of you. You are truly my hero. I thank you for sharing your talents. Off to craft. Xxxx

  3. Hi Barbara,
    Love the picture of Grace and Mark. Your story is just unbelievable, like a lot of stories, but wo well done to you, to have "rebondir" (sorry don't know the word in English, but I know you speak….Also….French!!!) and created your business. it is a great pleasure and honour for me to have crossed your road and be able to use your stunning products. Off to…Work!!!! xxx

  4. Thank you Barbara. Inspirational! Although well in to retirement, I love your work from a personal "playtime" angle. When I see all the poor souls in the care home where my husband now is it reinforces the importance of enjoying what you can do whilst you can still do it! I first saw you demonstrate at Earls Court (think that's right) right back at the start of your wonderful journey and although I left crafting for a while I am now enjoying it more than ever. You make me smile!! 🙂 xx

  5. Well Barbara this is a very upsetting beginning to your story and one thing that all parents dread more than anything else, but in it I see your strength, which is one of the things that attract people to you I think? Apart from your skill, teaching and your approachability. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to next week. I am so glad that today of all days I have complimented you on my Blog. Sam xxx

  6. I think we can all associate something in our lives that trigger an association to the start of our craft, but to have the professional lead us along the way and share her story too just show us that we too can achieve our own goals, maybe not so big, but achieveable within our own worlds xx

  7. Thank you for sharing how you got started. Although very upsetting it gave you strength and determination to get to where you are now. It has inspired me to really think about how I can achieve my goals. Thank you for being so open, approachable and inspirational. xx

  8. Well said Sally! I agree with everything you say.
    How courageous of you and what a wonderful mum you are to put youchildren first, I know only to well that there are a lot of women who wouldn't have.

  9. Thank you for sharing your crafty journey and reliving some painful memories, your inner strength shines through and you should be very proud in all that you've achieved. The photo of Mark and Grace is adorable. Looking forward to the next instalment! x

  10. wow what an amazing story and so heartening that something good came out of something bad. Thanks for sharing with us Barbara. Love the photo of your gorgeous children

  11. Do you know I read this and had tears running down my face! A very sad start to your story but you are living proof that if you want something bad enough or if you have a strong enough reason to do it you can work it out! And what a gamble you took but it was a no brainer wasn't it!
    Thank you so much for sharing Barbara. It must have been a tremendously difficult time for you but you certainly came through it and turned you into the strong and caring person that we all know and love.

    And that photo is so gorgeous!

    Hugs and love xx

  12. Thank you for sharing your story -it must have been hard to do. My friend and I have followed your career since we first saw you -she in Savacentre in Gillingham and then we both came to a shopping mal lin Tunbridge Wells. Must have been mid '90s. Since then we've seen you at some local shows until disability made visiting shows impossible so we now watch you each time we know you'll be on TV. You have been responsible for a lot of 'plastic bashing' and also lots of pleasure in trying new techniques! Looking forward to next week's 'episode'.

  13. Well it just goes to show that with determination anyone can make a go of using ones skills, its a question of how badly you want to do it, and for someone as determined as your yourself its possible, especially when we want to protect our family. Well done Barbara you are a credit to Grace and Mark. hugs Shirleyxxxxx

  14. Truly an inspirational story – thank you for sharing something so personal. It's funny how life changes so quickly sometimes if you take the opportunities that present themselves! X

  15. Such a thought provoking post and sound business advice, but more important is the lesson in life. Your children know they were and still are your priority. I am so thankful my parents did the same for me – it sees you through the best and worst of times in later life. I know others are not as fortunate. Such a lovely natural photograph of Mark and Grace. x

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