Chapter 4…

Chapter 4…

Moving on with our Once upon a time at Clarity, we come to the 4th Chapter in our story: Fresh Cut Dies. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin…

It was 2018, and the Groovi Explosion was happening. We were spinning plates and doing loads of TV shows, and just generally chasing our tails. Stamps were on the backburner because we just couldn’t keep up with design and production, and we were well and truly on the treadmill.

Here we are exhibiting at the big Trade Show in Frankfurt…

Mark was building his life in San Francisco, and had met a lovely girl called Alex (They are still together), and Grace had met a smashing fella called Mark, (who proposed to her last week!) So happy for them both!

It was quite comical that we had 2 Marks in the family. “No problem”, said I, “we can call our Mark Markie, like we did when he was younger.”

Grace: “Just one problem with that: My Mark’s surname is Key. Mark Key. ” Hahahaha. You couldn’t make it up, could you?! Look at all those teeth!!!

Just to add some spice to the curry, Dave and I decided to Name the Date – and get married! So we set our sights on June, and started making plans. Found a fab venue, and booked it. Then came the Invitations.

I have always loved papercuts. It’s just an artform which really appeals to me. So I drew up something neat, and then we cut them all out on one of our 13 laser machines! There was no way I was paper-cutting 100 invitations by hand!

Now I’d avoided the Die revolution thus far. Dies had never appealed to me, until it was explained to me that you could actually make aperture dies like this, just like papercuts! Well knock me down with a feather!! I was in! I hadn’t seen papercut dies like this anywhere, so we forged ahead with what was a brand new die concept. Jim at work figured it out, and we were away!

Our friend Mel had drawn some super stencils for us, which we were able to convert into Die files. Die manufacture is not allowed in this country because of the chemicals involved apparently. So we shopped around and found a partner in China. Top quality, teflon coated and beautiful.

The other advantage to opening this door Chapter 4 was that we didn’t make them. They were designed by us in house, then contracted out to a third party. This was a huge relief, not having to do anything other than design and market! We were even able to cut out prototypes on our lasers, to make sure they were exactly what we wanted.

Our aperture dies became not only very popular, but also helped provide the TV with Fresh Cut products at a time when we were caving under the pressure.

Then I figured out how to trap the scrap and make art from all the bits that fall out! That was and still is FUN!!

I still think that our Fresh Cut Aperture dies are the best thing ever! To be able to make a crisp, classy, arty card with one pass through a Die-cutting machine – BRILLIANT. And I must say, our Designer Papers and Card certainly helped!

Perhaps because I don’t come from the popular Die-cutting world, I see things differently. Same with Groovi. Same with stamps and stencils actually!

Alongside the Groovi Starter Kit, our Fresh Cut Doodle Dies were the biggest, best selling product ever. Here was my idea sketched out….

And 4 months later, here was the product. All on a slow boat from China!

These added something totally cool to our aperture art. Brilliant finishing framers.

We never stop thinking and dreaming. The Paper Engineering side of the Clarity business is going from strength to strength. We have invested in 3 Vintage Heidelberg Windmill presses now (1959), AND an old Intaglio printing press AND a 1903 Platen printing press! So watch this space. We have a plan! And Dave is on it!!

That brings us to the end of this blog, but not to the end of the road! Oh no no no! It was so good to take a trip down Memory Lane with you. You don’t realise just how prolific you are until you glance back over your shoulder. No wonder we’re tired!

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s blogs.

Tomorrow, to celebrate Black Friday, we are launching our own Gray Friday. There will be a substantial Blanket Sale over pretty much all things Clarity. Add to that your Clarity Club Discounts – and you have a website stacked out with beautiful things at great prices.

Perhaps, after reading the blogs, you may better understand what drives us, what makes us tick. It’s pure creativity. It’s having an idea and having the means to take that idea right through to market, one step at a time. Because an idea is just that. But add a great team and sound manufacturing processes to that idea – and anything is possible. If you could be a fly on the wall when the Design team at Clarity starts brainstorming – it’s a beautiful thing!

Sale starts Midnight tonight.

Love and Hugs

Barb x x x

PS. Paul and I will be showcasing some of our best Fresh Cut Dies on Create & Craft TV tomorrow, Friday 25th. 9am and 1pm. Be sure to tune in for some great demos.

22 thoughts on “Chapter 4…

  1. Loved all the history wrapped up in your little blogs.
    Fabby shows and an looking forward to another Amazing sale, inspiration galore!

    Congratulations to Grace and Mark. A lovely event to look forward to. I’m hoping your will be designing their wedding invites. would be rude not too!

    exciting times ahead. x
    fabulous 👌

  2. Have loved all the blogs this week and what fantastic news about Grace and Mark, i did wonder when Grace cut short her Saturday share if this was her good news. Please congratulate her for me its truly fantastic news x

  3. Barb, this week’s Blogs taking a trip down Memory Lane have been brilliant and entertaining, so good to hear the stories behind the wonderful Clarity goodies! Can’t wait to see what you, Dave and the rest of the amazing Team Clarity come up with next! The pictures of your vintage presses are a joy to see – they are art forms in their own right, let alone the magic they produce! Thank you for sharing the history of Clarity, I have many lovely memories of the very early days helping out on the stall and shows and am so glad to be a long-term Clarity crafter! Many congratulations to Grace and Mark, you must be so pleased!
    Now to fill out my shopping list for the super Gray Friday sale!

  4. Clarity makes some of the NICEST dies on the market! I do wish that the single die with 10 frames could have been 10 dies with one frame each. Though the concept is nice, they are hard to cut and I find that there are 2-3 sizes I use all the time and other cut frames just sit in a folder. Love all that you make & do for the crafting world!

  5. Just caught up with the blogs – fascinating to read and see the events and growth in the last 25+ years. Do your lasers do embossing folders??? I use them a lot and every Christmas old favourites come out for backgrounds, frames etc. I’ll miss the club dies but understand why they have to go. At least we’ll still get Clarity dies. How lovely to read that Grace and her Mark will be getting married. Congratulations.

  6. I have loved this trip down memory lane. 💕
    Watching the second of today’s shows and am fascinated by the advent demo. I will be ordering set 5 as soon as it comes up on this site.
    Congratulations to Grace and Mark. Wonderful news.

  7. I’ve really enjoyed your blogs telling us the history of Claritystamp now Clarity Crafts. The scary part is that I remember so much of it all happening. And what’s more scary is the timescale of things.
    It’s amazing how designs cut across all the different products and all work together so well.
    Thank you Barbara and Dave for continuing to persevere with the business and developing the products that we as crafters will love and enjoy using.
    Love and hugs as always. Xxxx

  8. Love all the dies from the original aperture ones to the doodle frames. Look forward to seeing what Dave has hidden up his sleeve to make use of the presses. Seeing all the letters in the tray reminds me of what my Gt Grandfather would have dealt with as he was a Printer Compositer in the late 1800’s.
    Meanwhile congratulations to Grace & Mark on their engagement – like others who read her claritymattersblog at the weekends I was hoping this was the reason that last weeks Saturday’s share was sidelined for a week for something that had happened out of the blue.
    Off to check out the sale & the 2 shows with the new Christmas plates.

  9. I have enjoyed this weeks blog and they have been a lovely insight to all things clarity, thank you for sharing.
    Congratulations to Grace and her Mark on their engagement-good times ahead x

  10. I love my bird collection of the fresh cut dies, so useful for any occasion. Loved reading this weeks blogs and how your lovely business has evolved.
    Are you now checking out the wedding hats! How exciting congratulations to Grace and Mark. Now there’s a reason to diet ready for those wedding photos Mother of the Bride! Only joking just be happy x

  11. Hello Barb, one of my favourites, looking back in time about the birth of Fresh Cut dies, and the purchase of the presses. Didn’t Dave drive up north to fetch one of them? Congratulations to Grace and Mark, that will no doubt be a very happy and elegant wedding. Take care and stay warm everyone. Bx

  12. Have loved this weeks blog and agree with all the other comments that have been made. Many congratulations to Grace and her Mark. A friend of mine had a brother, husband and best friend all called Nigel consequently we always spoke about Nigel (brother), my Nigel (husband) and Nigel Nigel (friend). xxxxx

  13. Sorry I’m late (too busy watching you last night – Groovi is fascinating isn’t it?) That Advent calendar is just wonderful.
    Anyway, much love to Grace and Mark II – and Erik!
    Maggie (Bendy Yorkite)

  14. Wonderful news! You must be so thrilled for Grace …how lovely to have something so special to look forward to, especially with life’s bumpy ride at the moment. Many Congratulations to Grace and Mark.
    Hope Erik is healing and not too impatient to be out & about with his bro.
    What a walk down memory lane and such achievements along the way. You have such an incredible creative mind, always busy creating something. It’s amazing.
    Gray Friday! Yay! My craft room looks like a bombzitit so started the long slog of reorganising and even discovering!
    Take care everyone.
    Love, Linda 🌸

  15. Great blogs this week with your trip along memory lane. Love the pics of the presses. Congratulations to Grace and Mark, on their engagement, lovely news. xx

  16. What an amazing story. There is always something good about remembering how things started, and how blessed you have been. Hard work, but such wonderful achievements.
    Keep going, you give us all sooo much inspiration. bless you all.

  17. Fresh Cut dies are definitely my favourites, something very different to what else is on the market. A fantastic Clarity innovation, as always.
    Huge congratulations to Grace and Mark, what wonderful news for the whole family 🙂
    Love, Cx

  18. What an amazing journey, and excited to see what else us in store. Sounds exciting, as is Grace‘s news. She’ll make such a beautiful bride. You better go buy a hat 🥰😊🥰.

    Thankyou Barbara and all the team for your support, guidance, tuition and all your brilliant products.

  19. Thank you Barbara and the team for all the brilliant products you have developed over the years, all the tuition via TV and Facebook. Where would we all be without you?
    Congratulations to Grace and Mark. Time to go and buy a hat and celebrate!
    I have enjoyed reading your story this week, what an amazing journey. Let’s all look forward to a better 2023.xx

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