Head Usher

Head Usher

Hi there.
Thanks for joining me. Crack of sparrows here!
Leonie had to leave super early to get up to the TV studios 
because she’s on the early shift, so we got up at 3.30 to see her off with a good strong coffee and a wave.
And now we’re up, we may as well get on with the day ahead of us.
I’ve got a list as long as my arm, so the sooner I get cracking the sooner I can tick some boxes.
Running a company is a thankless job really. It’s a relentless hamster wheel. No sooner have you completed a task than it’s back on your desk for the next month! 
In addition to the business of the business, as you know first hand, 
I am also very involved in PR. Front line.
I’ve got 3 magazine articles to complete this week. THREE.
3 Step by step projects and a Q&A interview.
They sure have piled up!
So today is in my diary as Magazine Wednesday.
And I must make a start on my weekly German blog which gets posted on Friday, so that it is ready by Friday! Always takes longer, because it’s in German, so it’s no good waiting til Friday to think about it.
And then there are all the November TV proposals, which is also a major part of my remit. I was so happy to put all the October ones to bed yesterday, but that just means I can hand it off to production and turn my attention to the next show constructions.
How things have changed. 
How much bigger my little company is than me now! There was a time I WAS the company. I answered the phones and took orders, picked and packed the orders, poured and cut the stamps, drove the van, unloaded the van, did the exhibitions, paid the bills, did the bookkeeping and the banking.
Nowadays I am what one could call front of house
Cambridge English dictionary definition of Front of House:
front of housenoun [ U ] uk ​ us ​ WORKPLACE. › the part of a business such as a restaurant or hotel where the employees deal directly with customers: The front of house service is ultra-efficient and observant, yet human and personable.
Jeannine and Louise at work epitomize this definition. 
This is how I see myself:
In a theatre setting I am the usher, the person who helps you to your seat. But once you are sitting comfortably, I run round backstage, put on my best clobber – and entertain you.
Where am I going with this?
Well, Clarity is a huge creative machine nowadays compared to a few years ago, and of course there are plenty of capable, lovely people in its employment.  So we have several ushers, a whole team of us who work with the customers, with the public directly, on the phones, on the social network, on TV.
Our mission?
We are here to help, and we like spreading joy and a feelgood vibe!
Of course we have to make money; otherwise we can’t pay the bills and the wages! But money is NOT the driver. Never was for me, never will be. And as long as I am Head Usher, the experience will always be more important than the financial reward. 
You can’t take it with you, can you? So all we need at this end is enough money to keep the team safe and happy in our creative theatre. 
The mag work I do is unpaid, the daily blog is unpaid, most of what I actually do doesn’t carry an invoice; I do what’s needed.
When I am cleaning the kitchen at work, I am doing service. 
When I am cleaning the toilet at work, I am doing service.
I don’t do all these jobs to save money on a cleaner;
it’s part of being a team player and rolling your sleeves up. 
And let’s be honest – how long does it take to whizz round the bowl and sinks? The others always pitch in too.
We are much bigger than the sum of our parts.
You see, for me there are two Clarity communities:
the Clarity staff, the people who work for you, 
and keep our boat afloat;
And the customers, the people we work for.
To Dave and myself, both are equally important.   
Clarity Communities:
Claritystamp Youtube Followers : 14,000
On our Claritystamp Facebook Page, we reached 10,000 followers this week. That’s a lot of people! So to celebrate, we have created a 10% blanket discount code
Yes. We do sell a lot of products now:
Stamps, Stencils, Groovi, Pergamano.
We also design and make that product in house, clean it all by hand, and pack it manually.
But when it comes to what is loosely termed Customer Service, there’s a  w h o l e  lot more going on. 
Love & Hugs,

44 thoughts on “Head Usher

  1. You have done so well with your company, all your goodies are excellent, I love them

    Wish I had had the nerve years ago to start out on my own, always loved crafting, but with a mortgage to pay I never had the nerve to go without a full time job.

    Well done Barbara and all your team x

  2. Good morning Barbara, lovely time of the day 😀 It’s lovely to see how clarity has grown over the last few years. I’d call you a very big happy family, a family to be very proud of. Have a lovely day ticking those boxes. Love Nikki ❌

  3. Morning Barb.
    Up early here too to make sure I have secret stuff ready in time!
    For me; you, Dave, my DT teamies, everyone at Clarity Towers and all my Clarity friends are like a huge extended family who share my passion for all things creative.
    Anyway, must get back to doing my little bit for the team; make sure my samples are ready and in the post on time!
    Thanks for all you do.
    Love xxx

  4. Hello Barbara

    It is this thinking which makes Clarity so popular and why we all love you and the team. For me, I feel like I belong to one big, happy, extended family. My friends on facebook and, especially, the friends I have made at the Open Days and on Retreat.


  5. Your company is growing because of all you say above and because you are a warm, genuine and inspiring person. Oh and your designs and products are excellent too. Have a good day xx

  6. You have a wonderful company, thanks to all your hard work and your caring for people. I wish you and all your team well deserved, ongoing success. Have a lovely day. X

  7. Just love everything Clarity, you can feel the exciting vibes coming through your blog, it oozes inspiration, fun and care. Ordered the Groovy Go, can't wait, been tempted for SOOOO long and my darling husband said "go for it". You are such an amazing person Barbara.

  8. And the family feel shines through in everything Clarity, I love sharing in everything from the fringes and love reading about everything in my monthly club newsletter, just a great company xx

  9. Greetings from Peterborough Services ! Should be back by lunchtime….whenever that is. As you have said Barb, money is not, and cannot be the primary driver….there is a whole lot more going on here. We will continue to give the best service we can, continue to innovate and develop new products and try to bring some 'joy' into this mad mad world. As our friend Seth once said " I doubt if Steve Jobs ever waited for a monthly pay cheque" x

  10. Good morning Barbara, I really don't know how you come up with all your ideas – just the NDC club is a miracle to me with the samples, let alone the new plate/stencil/stamp have to come up with and then write for a magazine let alone everything else you do. I know having a good team behind you is a big part of that but, heavens, how you and Dave have grown. It's lovely you've been able to include your family but poor old Steve must never the light of day now LOL!!! Many thanks for the extra discount, it will make my birthday order bigger ! Best wishes to you and your team and long may you continue ! Xx

  11. I personally think it works love my clarity family the warmth that’s there is amazing when come to shows there’s a happy fun buzz amongst the team and customers. Enjoy your day everyone xxx

  12. Morning Barbara!
    I can remember when you used to answer the phones and take the orders. And really it's not that long ago in the great scheme of things but the growth of your company is amazing when you look at how diverse it's become! And all good!
    But what hasn't changed is your passion to bring creativity directly to your loyal customers! And there are many!
    Keep doing what you do best Barbara!
    Love and hugs xxx

  13. I don’t need to write much, because it’s already been said and every comment I totally agree with. You are a wonderful, lovely person Barb, you deserve all the good comments and the awards. You’ve been through a load of S**T in your personal life too and I think going through bad times can make you stronger and more determined to succeed, I know that has worked for me. Just keep doing what you do as long as you love it and all your faithful followers will be right there with you. Love ya xxxx

  14. Good morning Barbara – I hope that by now even more of your boxes have been ticked! You are doing a wonderful job and how lovely it was to meet you in person at Leyburn! That was the true highlight of our Clarity Road Trip – we arrived home on Monday evening, after travelling just over 1300 miles. We met up with more family members and friends back along the way. It was a truly memorable trip – so very many happy memories stored away. Keep doing just what you do – love and hugs, Gilly xxx

    1. Hi bloggy friends – I hope that you are all as well as can be! I have lots of lovely goodies waiting to be played with – just need to get on with all of the washing first! At least the weather is playing ball today. Love and hugs, Gilly xxx

    2. Hi Gilly. Glad you had a good extended trip home and arrived safely.
      I go to Pilates on a Wednesday morning and leave home at 8.45. It's usually the only early morning I do these days. Love to you both xx

    3. Hi Gilly,
      Glad your road trip has been such a success. I hope by now you’ve played with that beautiful parchment and not just stroked it!!! Off to bed now as it’s swimming again tomorrow early. Love and hugs Alison xx

    4. Hi Gilly good to hear you are home safe and sound, you have had a lovely trip haven't you. We said we would definately go back to Yorkshire as it's such a beautiful place. Just ignore Alison, that parchment is definately just for stroking😂😂😂xxx

  15. It is because of your ethos that the company has grown and become what it is today Barbara, and your enthusiasm shines through into everything you do. You and Dave, Steve, Paul and the rest of the team work tirelessly in a friendly but totally professional way to make it all work and it definitely feels like one big happy family. I hope you manage to tick lots of boxes today! x

  16. So excited here as I have managed to book a slot at Paul's Groovi workshop next week at the new Crafters Companion store in Evesham. This is just the sort of thing I was hoping for when CC said they were going to run courses at the shop. I have watched your demos at shows and on the TV for years, but have never been able to attend the open days. Feeling so chuffed now!

  17. Honest and genuine, full of warmth and caring that's how I'd describe you Barb and Dave too. From experience of speaking to various people at the office I can honestly say you have a great team too, always friendly and helpful…like you they go the 'extra mile' to help sort out any probs etc. You and your comany are a shining example of how a business should be run so a big "Thank You" one and all xxx

  18. Barbara, I can't be the only one who would like to meet your foot soldiers at Clarity, and maybe you could do this through your blog one day a week? Just a little photo and a quick bio, together with a couple of lines about their current role at Clarity would be such a lovely introduction to those we sometimes talk to on the phone, and some who soldier on behind the scenes keeping us all happy. I'm sure this would make us feel even closer to your lovely workers, and help us to understand all that goes on at Clarity Towers. I'm not talking about an in-depth psychoanalysis of your team members! Just a couple of lines telling us about themselves and what they do, would be great. Also, it could be a day a week that you don't personally have to do a blog. Find a couple of 'interviewers' in the team, and let them share the responsibility. I know every hour must be precious to you, and this might work in your favour as well as ours.
    Forgive my rambling, I just wanted to get my thoughts down because I've been thinking about this for some time, and I just wanted to share this idea with you. When you printed a photo of the team having their Christmas meal together, I spent ages looking at it wondering who did what. They looked so much like a family, I just wanted to know more about them all. Please have a think about it Barbara. Knowing a little about the person who owns the voice at the end of the phone will enhance that conversation so much. We recognise the lovely people who appear on the television, and we sometimes feel that we actually know them in person. Wouldn't it be wonderful to know the whole team in a similar way?
    I hope this echoes some of your blog thoughts today Barbara xx

    1. It would be really interesting – and maybe a video clip of them at work? Imagine seeing the stamps poured or Groovi plates etched – or how the initial design is transferred into either form.

  19. We feel the closeness of everyone there and get the benefit of fab products and customer service that is second to none! Not to mention all the inspiration etc. etc. etc. Thank you! xxxxxxxxx

  20. You really do have a fabulous team and great ethos at Clarity. And good for you two getting up so early to say cheerio to Leonie! Hope by now you have lots of ticks on your list x

  21. May I just congratulate Clarity Towers & Hochanda? Just got home from work to find a happy parcel containing my Groovi Go – ssssooooo excited!!! Excellent service to deliver so quickly. Can't linger, must go & play…….😁😁😁

  22. Hi Barb,
    I have to say that Clarity is probably the best company I know! The staff at Clarity Towers are exceptional and so helpful – nothing is too much trouble. There appears to be a really good work ethic and that stems from you and all of your hard work. I cannot fault Clarity at all – simply brilliant! Love and hugs Alison xxx

    1. Hi bloggy friends,
      Managed to sign up for Linda Page’s Groovi workshop at CC in Aycliffe so really looking forward to that. Had nice surprise when I went to my “ weigh in” this morning – exactly the same weight – I was convinced I must’ve put on a few pounds last week whilst on holiday! Love and hugs to you all, Alison xx

  23. Everything that has been said already I agree with. You and Dave are 2 in a million. Your company second to none. Long may it all last. Thank you Barbara and Dave and all your lovely team for all your hard work. Never known anyone like you, that listens to your customers wants and needs and then makes it all happen. God Bless you all.xxx

  24. Hi Barbara
    I hope you got loads ticked off your list after your early start. Your customer service is brilliant, as are your products. Every time you contact Clarity there is a lovely friendly member of staff at the other end of the telephone, you gave lovely smiley friendly staff at shows and your newsletter is like talking to an old friend. Good service is always a reason to return to a company and beautiful top quality products go hand in hand with that. You always care about things, the staff, the products and the customers and at shows you great us all like old friends. Keep doing what you do, it obviously works.
    Love Diane xxx

  25. Hello Barb, well you certainly keep busy, and for that we as your customers and fans thank you with all our hearts. And your team are brilliant in everything that they do. So keep up the good work. There are so many businesses and corporations where there is just no sense of belonging. Take care all. Bx

  26. I think your hard work is appreciated also the fact that you are always happy to greet everyone as a long lost friend. your team are fab and it does all add up to a great company. Not sure where you and Dave get your energy from though. Hope once all the exhibitions are finished you can get just a little time for yourselves. xx

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