Packaging, Press Packs & First Impressions

Packaging, Press Packs & First Impressions

Hello there! 
Thank you for dropping by. 
Tuesday’s Blog rolls back the hours, and takes a look inside Clarity.
Since the principal UK Trade Show is on just now, and we are exhibiting there, I thought it would be cool to take you with me, and show you what we’re up to!
We do the Trade Show every year. It’s where Shop-keepers and Distributors come to look at what’s new. Every year, we have a large stand, and we take our Claritystamp Range. Of course. That’s what people expect. 
So this year, we did it differently. We decided to only take Stencils. No Stamps! 
And we took a tiny stand in the Bright Sparks Pavilion, where newbies go. But it’s where most visitors go, too, because they are looking for the new things….
A couple of people came by and inferred that maybe Clarity was running into difficulties, because we had such a small stand, with no stamps, bla bla bla. Our theory was that if people were coming for NEW, then we should offer them TOTALLY NEW!! It has paid off. It really has worked!
Here’s the stand. Now pay attention! Blink, and you’ll miss it!
The Stand might be small, but it looks really sharp, really easy to navigate. Well, you can hardly get lost in it, can you?! And if I were to tell you “The stand was packed!” you’d understand why!
But here’s the gig. Our very first customer of the day walked on the stand, took one look, and said, “I’d like the lot, please. ”
It was a small enough display that the shop-keeper could actually envisage the entire spread in the shop! Bingo! Half an hour into the show, all expenses already covered. 
Conversely, there is another exhibitor we know. You could buy an Audi Doody for what his stand cost.  And that doesn’t include the floorspace. Or the staff. Or the Hotels. etc. etc. etc. 
We ploughed a small fortune into some new gridwall and shorter hooks, and Jim designed and made 2 fabulous top-to-floor narrow banners, so you could read our company name from 50 yards away! 
Dave forgot the flask! Have you seen the price of coffee at the NEC??  He’s choking on it, one cup at a time.

The only other thing we invested, was 
our imagination and our time.

P for Presentation. P for Press Packs.

This was where my P for Perfectionism kicked in. 
No compromise whatsoever. 
I designed a Press-Pack, and I wanted it to be P for Precisely 
what I wanted! Sometimes, That’ll Do just doesn’t work.
Our Presentation Pack was also what we gave to potential customers. therefore, it had to be lovely. I am so proud of it!
It’s a laser-cut envelope, with blue lining.
The envelope is laser-cut on our beds, too.
But then I wanted to include an actual Stencil, which not only looked great and showed off the Stencil quality, but was something people might even keep and use. 
I think this is just beautiful.
And then, we needed a compliment slip, to match.
And you will notice that the tall banners had the same funky design.
Now, maybe this is standard fare. After all, this is what one expects at Trade shows. Then why am I so proud?
Because we did the WHOLE thing in-house. 
Design, print, laser, assemble – the LOT. 
This kind of Branding and Promotional 
Literature would cost an absolute fortune – and probably never be EXACTLY what you want. So for Jim and myself to take the whole process in hand, from start to finish, is pretty immense. 
At 7pm on Friday (Valentines!), the night before the set-up, we were wondering how smart we were!
Spot the chocolate chip cookies and the empty plate with mustard (we had pork pies and cold sausage rolls on Valentines. We know how to live!)

At 8pm I was ready to set fire to the lot! 
No, not Jim and Dave! 
Just the 200 Presentation Packs.

Jim was talking to the printer,
which didn’t want to play,
and Dave was in charge of music and refreshments.  

And why was it left until the last minute? 
Because we had a thousand other things going on at the same time – and they looked just like stencils !!!!!
I like that we make and do, that we roll our sleeves up and sort it out ourselves. I like that it looks really professional when we are done – and not at all home-spun. We may never build a slick empire like this, but who said we want to? 
At the end of the day, before Paul Church and I left for Kent, I was presented with our awards. 
Many, many thanks if you voted for us.
As I was walking back through the busy hall to show Dave and Jim, I had to smile. All those huge stands, all that show, all those men in suits, all that money! And there was I swinging a carrier bag sporting 3 craft awards for Clarity – the tiny outfit somewhere in the middle.
 Never judge a book by its cover, eh.
much love,

91 thoughts on “Packaging, Press Packs & First Impressions

  1. Hello Barb, what a wonderful insight into the world of Clarity. Big is not always better, and dynamite comes in small packages. Lovely pics with the awards. Thank you for yet another great read this morning, so pleased that the orders are flooding in. Bx

  2. You Packed a Punch!!!! Brilliant – well done – your hard work and dedication – mirrored by all your team speaks from afar – who needs big flashy stands!!! Its quality that counts xxx

  3. How fantastic your Press Pack looks, and how proud you must be to have done it all in house. It must be great to work in the Clarity team, hard work, fun and appreciation – a great combination. Love the new stand and all the stencils, I keep looking at them and thinking there's another one I want. Well done on your award and Clarity going from strength to strength. Jx

  4. What makes you different is that you are innovative and give your crafters what they need – not just want. People can understand your approach – and by doing all yourself you keep the control. You and Dave also know how to treat people well – as I know from experience.
    You have worked hard for what you have got and have not forgotten that. You have a great team.

  5. If only I could get my hands on one of those press packs – I have so many ideas buzzing in my head for that stencil! Seriously though, I think what you did was a very confident thing that we can all learn from

  6. You are a clever thing, aren't you? I just love your stencils, can't stop buying them and everything else…..hey ho! I look forward to reading your blog every day along with the rest of your disciples! See you tomorrow then……

  7. Amazing post! It was really inspiring to read and just goes to show that smaller and well thought out plans can pay dividends compared to following the norm – sometimes bigger is not necessarily better. Congrats on the awards and well done to you and your wonderfully supportive and creative team. I'll be going to the Hobby Crafts event at the NEC in March. Can't wait to see what you guys are bringing to that.

  8. Good morning clever you. You have such a good head for these ideas… I am glad it was so successful… Love the animation on the blog, great fun. Congrats again on your well deserved awards… You rock

  9. So glad it's going so well Barbara. I'm not surprised though, it all looks great and you have a fab product. Love the stencil and the presentation pack – clever idea.
    Thanks for sharing it with us, it's a really interesting read. x

  10. Great read today, wish I could have been there! However you make me feel as though I've been! All those lovely stencils on parade. Your work is beautiful and your a mist deserving winner of all your awards and I wish you and Clarity continued success in the future x

  11. WOW!! Never knew you had so many stencils, Barbara!! Clearly, I need to visit your website a lot more! Congratulations on your success, and on the awards you soooo deserve!! Jo x

  12. Hi Barbara. Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS on your awards. They are well deserved : ) I am so glad that you stood up and decided to do something different at the show. So many companies come unstuck by thinking that they have to do bigger each year and yet their stands are never very busy. People see through the brashness. You have made a point by down sizing stands to be in the right place with a product that comes from a strong, honest and decent company, as your order book proves. How many orders did the Bla Bla people take I wonder? Love the press pack too (fab stencil) What a lovely change from the, oh so original!, printed pen, coaster, key ring and business card that we used to be given, by the dozen at both the Agricultural and Sign shows we used to attend! ( when we were stall holders we just gave away a decent cuppa, fresh home made cake and lots of welcoming smiles along with blooming good products and service) Well done. How proud do you all feel : ) Take care.

  13. You are a very clever lady, Barb! You are not afraid to take risks and you are certainly capable of thinking outside the box! Most people would put on a big show and then fail rather than put on a smaller show and dazzle everyone in an instant!!! I am a great believer in keeping control and doing as much in-house as possible!! I would loved to have seen you swinging your carrier bag past those large stands and suits!! Helen xxx

  14. Hi Barb,
    Loved the blog today – a real insight. What a great idea to take just the stencils and I bet you were so chuffed when that first customer said she would have them all! Just goes to show how popular they are. I have quite a few but need more! Now if only someone made storage for them!!! Lol! Love Alison & well done again for the awards. Xxx

  15. Fabulous blog Barbara. You, Dave and your team deserve every award and reward that comes your way. It's amazing what a fantastic brain, commitment and hard work can do. Well done to you all and thank you for the insight into the NEC. I just wish I could walk up to your stand and say "I'd like the lot please"! Wow! just imagine what that would be like. Of course, hubby would have to move out to make room for them all but, hey, it's all about priorities. Pat x

  16. p.s. We are still here ! It's the last day and looking forward to getting home tonight..
    Thank you for all the kind comments. We have had great feedback from our Trade customers and
    going forward, we hope to continue to, Innovate, Invent and Improve, because here at Clarity
    We do see things differently ! Dave…

    1. Well said Dave! Barb will need to progress onto the letter "I" after exhausting the letter "P" in future blog posts after giving her a few to get her going 😉 xx

  17. To succeed you need passion, drive, energy and a belief in what you are doing and you have oodles of that, plus some fantastic people around you, oh and I suppose us your followers lol. Well done to you and your team, you deserve the accolades you have worked hard for them. What's really good is that your feet still seem firmly on the ground!

  18. congrats on the awards and the idea – I'm not surprised the stencils did well – they're so very popular just now – can't wait to get my hands on some clarity stencils – I'm hoping you'll be at port sunlight this year!!! Hugs rachel x

  19. I just have to say well done and congratulations to you and your team i love reading your blog every day and know our hard it all is i used to run a small bakery and we did all things in house.
    well done on your awards.

  20. Hi Barbara… One word springs to my mind….wonderful!!
    I am so glad your idea paid off but I'm not totally surprised as you and your team have worked hard to get to the point you're at now! Long may your success continue and I for one am proud to be just a tiny part of your team. Loads of love and hugs xxx

  21. I just love your trade packs! Such a great, innovative idea. Your passion never ceases to amaze me. I am slowly collecting your stencils mostly through Maria's monthly classes. They are the best! I never miss a day of reading your blog. Thank you.

  22. The highlight of my morning is reading your blog and all the insight we get into what makes Clarity such a success. I think the presentation pack was a stroke of genius and worth all the hard
    work involved. Any chance of us humble customers getting our hands on the stencil? Please!
    Shirley G

  23. Such well deserved awards. Big isn't always better and what they loose is the personal touch that makes Clarity and our Barbara so well loved and respected. Happy Tuesday everyone. xx

  24. Well done, tempting to play with the big boys but sooo much cooler to do your own thing well done. Oh and by the way sometimes people take holidays!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Barbara, you deserve every accolade I can think of. Fab u lus is the word for today. I can't begin to imagine how hard you work. You deserve every minute of your success. I loved reading the story today. Well done. Lynne.x

  26. I will try again… Very very clever! I often say simplicity is the best option and is regularly the most impressive outcome! I am always saying to my daughter when she is creating art work 'less is more'! Just wish I would listen to my own advice!

  27. I spotted what looks like Jammy Dodgers too. Really living it up. No wonder you are proud of yourself, your team and the company. Everything you do is done to such a high standard, and to have full control over it all is a real triumph. Those awards and all those orders are so well deserved and we rejoice with you. You never lose sight of us, your customers and friends. xxxx Maggie

  28. Well done Clarity! For your well deserved awards and the sales coming your way Kerching! Nobody does it better. Love the moving picture of your stand and what a triumph it looks amazing, not surprised you did so well. Carry on with Clarity. Joan x

  29. Well done Barbara!
    Think your presentation packs were genius!
    Your art is not consumerist pap -it has an artistic and philosophical source , out of which flow wonderful products that we all want to get our hands on !!!
    Wish I had more cash , but the products I have bought from clarity have personality and I will never tire of them,

    1. Wow, Ruth. What you said there absolutely summed up my whole life. I have always aspired to be artistic and spiritual – the two go hand in hand for me. Thank you for noticing. xxx

  30. Fantastic Barbara. Hard work does pay off and you´ve the satisfaction that you did it all yourselves. Many congrats on the awards. They are very well deserved.
    Love Val in Spain x

  31. It is good to think differently and I think that you have made the right choice by going smaller at the trade show as I always think that subtle is better than shouting and showing off with a huge space.(the stands are so over priced!)
    I just love the moment of clarity stencil. It sums up just what has happened to you and your business through the hard work work of you and your team. Congratulations on your awards; you thoroughly deserve them. xx

  32. Well done to you all! So pleased you took a chance to be different and it paid off for you with all the orders. When I started my small business my neighbour said to me "just do it your own way" and it was the best advice I ever had. Hope 2014 takes Clarity from strength to strength, and doesn't put too much stress on you all in the process – keep it fun! Susan x

  33. I hope Clarity never loses that spirit of do it yourself because I think that's what I love about you and your products. I know without hesitation that whatever I buy from Clarity will be top quality. Some companies get so big and have to rely on other places that the quality is often affected. I also think that Clarity really does care about us the customer and that only happens if you are proud of what you do. Any chance the moment of clarity stencil will be available to buy? Xx

  34. This post sums you and Clarity up for me – Classy – Professional – Hands On Grafters, no I didn't spell Crafters wrong! I am so pleased it worked well for you and Congratulations again on your awards you really deserve them. I wasn't too happy about the shorter hooks though how can you get a box full on them?? I love your pack designs, I have to find some brown bags for use when selling my goods, wouldn't a bespoke stencil be good?? I might have to shorted my name though? xx

  35. Lovely Blog again to day …. the secret is … never stand still you keep reinventing yourself which is brilliant ….. I hope they appreciate what they had in their press packs …Limited edition Clarity Stencil … I know a whole host of people who would kill for one of them. Great to see you with your awards …. small is always beautiful 🙂

  36. Barbara, what a super post. My god the courage it took to take a new position, spend the money on the stand and go with stencils only. How long did it take for your knees to stop shaking. I'm trilled for you Dave, Jim and all the team that you pulled in off and in such style. Congratulations. xx

  37. Thank you for this insight to life at Clarity, your promotional pack looks amazing and the fact that you produced the whole pack is very impressive. I hope you have sufficient free wall space to display all your awards!! x

  38. Barbara I do so love this blog its not always showing cardmaking but an in sight into your life and sorry but my life seems very dull compared to yours I dont know where you get all the time to do everything never mind design, makjng gorgeous cards and write a blog. Love looking into your blog dont always manage every day but try to.

  39. Aren't enough different words to say how wonderful a job you are doing, behind the scenes too as well as satisfying all your fans and their needs. A job worth doing is worth doing well….my Dad used to say. Many MANY congratulations! X Marian

  40. I find your blog so refreshing Barbara, you think outside the box, and you and your team work so hard to achieve your vision. It is so lovely to see behind the scenes because I'm sure none of us realise just how much hard work, determination to succeed and the sheer love of what you do there is, and congratulations on your awards which you greatly deserve. x

  41. You must be over the moon at how well you and your team come together to get the finished article.We are so honoured to get an insight to how things get done.Congratulations on your stand success and all the awards – you deserve them.Hugs Debbie x

  42. Great kudos to you for having made your presentation packs all by yourself! And weren't you ever told that small is beautiful! Your stand looked great, and paying for it in the first half an hour meant that all the rest of the time was for you. Well done for that and getting the awards too. More power to your elbow!

  43. Barbara, firstly, well done on the awards. I think you and your team are fantastic and what comes across is the personal touch. I know that doing everything yourselves saves money, but I think at the bottom of it all is that no-one can do it as well as you guys!! Keep up the good work and well done again! Jean.x

  44. Hi Barbara, this is the first time I have commented on your blog despite visiting it very day. Can I say, what a tonic you are your ideas and work are inspiring. I have not as yet purchased a Clarity product of any kind but can assure you this will be remedied soon. Congratulations on winning your awards, they are well deserved by yourself and your team. Keep up the good work and glad that your idea re the trade show in Birmingham was a success.

  45. Always look forward to reading your blog each day well done on all your awards .no body deserves them more than clarity and your fabulous team .I would love to buy the stencil moment of clarity .looking forward to it comming on sale .big crafting hugs sheila xxx

  46. Well your gamble paid off Barbara! Sometimes a limited range or one particular section of a product range pays dividends and in this case it certainly did. I would love to be able to purchase the stencil 'moment of clarity' as it somes so much up. Congratulations on your awards to both yourself and all the Clarity Team

  47. That was clever to take the chance on a different stand, you have a quality product though and it will always stand out in a crowd. Oh how I would love to be the customer who said I'll take the lot, mind you I would want all the stamps as well. Just greedy. The presentation packs looked amazing worth all the effort. Well done Barbara and Dave. Lynne xx

  48. I love the down to earth, honest simplicity of the Clarity team. Loved the stencil too, it was so swish. Please can we have a normal sized 'Moment of Clarity' stencil too, the wording is so meaningful.:-)

    1. A5 defo Barb…. I actually thought it was a new stencil that you were on the cusp of introducing to us but have just re-read the blog and took a closer look at the photos – that envelope was real inspiration – clarity and inspiration, happiness is a destination !

  49. Oh, well done-for the awards, for taking the risk and for doing it all yourselves! The packs look amazing and the stand so inviting. You deserve the success, but don't get too big for we little people! Take care, Jan x

  50. I've already posted a comment today but have just got home from work and I've read your blog to my husband because I'm so impressed with what you've done. We both work at the same place and we both agree that if our company bosses had even half your talent and good business sense then we wouldn't spend nearly as much time banging our heads against a brick wall!

  51. fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. I love reading your stories, you all work so hard. Congrats on the awards and I absolutely love your presentation packs and that stencil xx

  52. i was also thinking that it would be a good idea to have that stencil but that size might be just right as it would be used as a sentiment. how about it being an ndc stencil maybe with a tiny midget stamp? congrats on the awards, hugs xx

  53. Many congrats again on the awards, so well deserved, its all about Team work. Very savvy plan just taking the stencils, you're very well known for your stamps so a very good decision just to take the new stuff, well done also on the fab press packs, love the stencil, A5 would be fab xx

  54. Congratulations to you and your team Barbara, I love the stencil and these days it is a saying that i often find myself using as it defines just so much with a few words. You are a lady much to be admired and judging this book by her cover would be plain stupidity and I am sure I am not alone in saying this as we never know what you will do next !! The only thing we can be sure of is that whatever it is if it carries the Clarity name then it is sure to be the best you can get. B.Gray and Co wouldn't let it be any less than that xx

  55. Well done Barbara ! Sometimes when confronted with a stand that is very overcrowded you tend to focus on one are and the rest passes you by. Simplicity is best and you had it in the bag here.

  56. Fab! Fab stand and really inspired to put yourself into the newbie area! Gorgeous new stencil company and then they will see the stamps too and hopefully come back for them!
    I've worked in PR companies and this is the slickest presentation I have seen – it's better than what the so called 'designers' come up with lol! xx

  57. Well done again!. Was drooling a bit over the picture of those lovely stencils. So glad I managed to bag some in the last sale before I went off-line. Will get another fix of them when you come up to Glasgow. xxxxx

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