Once upon a time…

Once upon a time…

about 30 years ago, I had a bright idea….

Hi there.

Thanks for popping in. In the run up to the GRAY FRIDAY SALE at Clarity (We leave Black Friday to the rest of the world), I thought I’d use these 4 days to tell you how we evolved in the the Claritycrafts Company that we are today.

It was the early ’90’s, the kids were nippers, and we lived in Northern California. My Brother Steve and I were already very busy with a phonic Nursery Rhyme alphabet poster that I had illustrated, and which was selling like hotcakes coast to coast. Look at Grace and Mark!! Perfect models!

Our Sales Rep at the time had suggested we branch out into either 1. stamps, 2. Stickers, 3. magnets.

Many of you have heard this anecdote…we had gone to Santa Barbara for the weekend, and were strolling around in the sunshine, Steve, Grace, Mark and I, when we chanced upon a shop called Stampa Barbara.

Barbara decided we had to go in and check it out, and what met us was a huge room, stacked out ceiling to floor with wooden rubber stamps. What followed was a two liner between Brother and Sister:

Sister “It would make much more sense if you could see through them!”

Brother “Well, figure it out. You usually do.”

And that’s when Claritystamps were born. The first completely transparent artstamps of their kind. Almost 30 years on, and most artstamps are now see through, but as they say, nobody ever copied a bad idea, did they.

We weren’t an overnight sensation, that’s for sure!! The wooden stamp merchants did NOT like us!! But we persevered, sold at street markets and little shops… Steve and I really worked so hard. And guess what: we still do. Steve and I still work together. He heads up Groovi Production now. It’s never been easy running a manufacturing business, but we’re still doing it – and with a smile!

I’d like to think that our stamp quality is second to none. We still pour the stamps, but nowadays, we use a more automated finishing system. We used to cut them all out by hand (I still have the bent fingers to prove it!)

Our artwork is all original, illustrated by talented friends of Clarity mostly, and myself. Many of our older designs are still as popular and well loved now as then. In fact we revisited the Nursery Rhyme ABC a couple of weeks ago on TV, and sold out of a large stock!

And our brand new designs? It’s quite something actually, to still be designing and making beautiful stamps after nearly 30 years, which still sell out time after time. Of course we have a vast library of great artstamps now!

I was making art samples with brand new stamps this weekend, which are launching in a couple of weeks on Create & Craft. Jazz at Clarity designed these ones. They are part of our new KISS range: Keep It Simple Stamps


Tomorrow, I’ll move on with the story, and tell you how we rolled into the next phase of Clarity: STENCILS,. That’s an interesting development too! It’s funny how things have flowed; you’d think we had a plan!

Mmmm…maybe there are hands unseen, delving into our lives…it certainly feels like it!!

Must dash!

It’s that time of DAHLIA!! Can only mean one thing: THE SHAC Facebook LIVE at 10am. Oh how far we have come. Facebook LIVE?? What is this?!? YouTube?? Baffling.

Back in the early 90’s mobile phones had just been invented. They were the size of car batteries! And my Apple Mac was a Classic II – a little box of a computer, just a bit bigger than the mobile phone!! And weighed a ton! That’s why I still prefer to draw by hand, and not on the Mac. Because that was the only option back in the day!! And it’s so much faster!

Bye for Now.

Love and Hugs

Barb xxx

19 thoughts on “Once upon a time…

  1. I love hearing the story of how you started out. Mark and Grace look so adorable with the poster.
    See you in the SHAC X

  2. Hahaha, Barb – what a really fabulous piece of nostalgia! it must feel like eternity ago but, at the same time, just yesterday!
    You must be so proud of all that you have achieved, and continue to do so – you absolutely do rock! Keep on leering on xxx ❤️👍

    Debbie Lee

  3. Love this story of how claritystamps was born. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s episode. Dashing off to finish a few chores and make a cuppa ready for 10am and the Dahlias.x

  4. My my, well look at that, wasn’t Steve a handsome fella, me thinks he was another attraction to your stalls back in the day, with all those lonely stay at home Mom’s. He reminds me of the blond one from Chips, now who remembers that TV show? Mark and Grace absolutely adorable little models. You certainly had all the ingredients back then Barb and that recipe has stood you the test of time. Funny the signs that show things always happen for a reason.
    It must be wonderful to work 30 years alongside your brother, a proper family business not many can make those claims these days.
    looking forward to the shac.
    have a lovely day, a thank you for sharing your trip down memory lane.

  5. Always good to hear how Clarity started – a magic family company and still is! Although the “extended Clarity family” is so much bigger than it was. I am so grateful to have been there at the beginning when you brought Clarity back home to the UK, Barbara. It’s been so much fun being on the journey to what Clarity Crafts is today – Superb Happy Awesome Crafting!

  6. An amazing Story! I just love Clarity and very proud to be a part of your crafty family.

    Look forward to many more years of Clarity creativity and I love this new floral stamps.


  7. Hi Barb, I love it when you step back in time, it is always great to reminisce. Take care and stay warm everyone. Bx

  8. Love looking back in time even if it is just to see how far you have travelled. You are so right about the older stamps though, still as popular today with a newer audience. Good art always stands the test of time and long may you continue xxxx

  9. The new stamps look great, will add to my wish list, as I need to limit myself with Linda’s Winter Treasures set 5 coming along soon, along with your fab sale. Nice to see the pictures, to go with the start of Claritystamp memory. A company which is simply the best, and is filled with crafty friends, wonderful products and brilliant service. xx

  10. Love hearing how it all began & as you say it has stood the test of time & now there are much fewer rubber stamps.
    The new stamps look interesting & they will be something to look forward to in due course but meanwhile I must double check the mixed media sale before midnight then make my shopping list for Friday.

  11. Great to hear how it all started. It is wonderful to hear how your family has worked together so well and is now expanding to include your followers. A company that projects the love, caring and service as Clarity does deserves to continue for many years to come.
    I have not bought another wooden backed stamp since I started the Clarity journey.
    I have now finished all my Christmas stamping and am waiting for Christmas set 5 to complete my Groovi cards.
    The new stamps you show here look intriguing. I will put them on my list. Also looking forward to Gray Friday as I always find something I NEED – ha ha.
    Looking forward to the next episode of your story.

  12. Great to hear it again and a big plus, we get to see those photos of Steve again (🤪🤩 sorry Sheila!)

    I have the groovi version of the alphabet and must get it out for the grandnieces and nephews, but why did they get named with the same initials 2 E’s and 2 F’s, will have to work out how to do them differently ! X

    P.s. Purrs, meows and love to Erik from Mikey & Sally xx

  13. I can’t remember now, how or when I found your blog and website but I am so so happy that I did. My creative skills have just grown and improved so much. I love your stamps, stencils, masks, and the die cuts. I look forward to hearing more of your wonderful story of entrepreneurship and hard work over the last 30 years. Congratulations on your amazing work, company, your creative inspiration, and all you do to help us continue develop and enjoy crafting and creating.

  14. Love hearing all your stories. Can’t always watch Shac live, but have watched every one. Have learnt so much .

  15. Lovely story with lovely models! Beautiful children, so much to be thankful for. Thanks for all the sharing Barbara, we are very lucky to have you all in our lives. So many of my contemporaries waste away their twilight years..they miss out. .not I….busy busy.

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