March Small Business Buys and Ones To Watch

Given that the spending ban I put myself on was technically only for January and February (even though I broke it on more than one occasion), I figured this month I could not only treat myself to some fab new things, but in doing so I’d be supporting some of my favourite small businesses. I also tend to use my own small business earnings as my way of giving back to the small business community, and I’m so happy with everything that I’ve got!

Firstly, I couldn’t not get these adorable headbands from Closet Geek – Bel has really outdone herself with making these the cutest way to show my Disney love in an almost subtle way! I actually bought three, with the other one being a red version of the mint Mickey pattern, but that one’s already been used so many times that it basically lives in my handbag. As well as set designs, there’s also a custom option, and I chose the Lilo print especially for my trip to Aulani next month!

Now personally I think I’ve been pretty good in curbing my ear buying habit, but these wire ears from Ears by Erin just called out to me when I saw them! They’re part of the three way collaboration with Magical Thunder Press (who designed this incredible fabric) and Thrift Co and they’re just so perfect – the fabric has so many tiny details that I didn’t spot in the photos but now I have them I’m amazed to be finding little hidden Mickeys and Disney details, plus I love a big bow.

Because I ordered these ears from Thrift Co while she was running a special offer, Danielle also included a mystery pocket t-shirt, which turned out to be this Alice in Wonderland inspired design, and that’s not the only thing I’ve bought from Thrift Co this month..

I fell in love with this Moana fabric when it was first released, but waited too long to order and it sold out, so when Danielle announced a restock, I was on it so quickly and I’m so glad I did because its so cute! Her pocket tees are so well made and they’re always packaged up with a little surprise too which is always super exciting to uncover.

Now I’ve had to steal this photo from their website because mine hasn’t actually arrived yet, but how adorable is this little embroidered Wall-E?! I have a real thing for that film, and as soon as I saw that Teeq were releasing these shirts I knew I’d be buying one. I went for the baseball tee style, and I can’t wait for it to arrive because I’ve heard such good things about them, so I’m hoping it turns up this week!

Ones to Watch

I love seeing small businesses grow, and these are just a handful of stores that I see amazing things coming from, so go over and check them out right now (I mean it):

  • Quackers and Co – I’m a little bias because this is the brainchild of my amazing friend Sammy, but I’ve seen some of the things she’s got coming and I just know you’re gonna want to own them – I already love my San Fransokyo beanie and have got my eye on a few more!
  • Chasing Childhood – if you’re on the hunt for some ears that are unique and sparkly as anything, Karina is your girl! I guarantee you won’t find anything like her creations elsewhere and you’re gonna love them.
  • Disney Beanie – not only is Charlie such a lovely person but she makes the cutest little handmade pins, and I see things really taking off for her if she keeps doing what she’s doing!

If you’ve got a small business, or have any favourites feel free to drop me the details in a comment and I’ll check it out!

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What I’ve Made Lately

So back at the start of the year (can you believe that was almost 3 months ago now?!) I announced my plan to have a Creative-18. Well, the concept has been a little fluid since then, and while I may not have done something every day as I had planned, the last few months have been wonderful and I’ve never felt so confident with my creative abilities, while also throwing myself totally out of my comfort zone.

My Etsy has somewhat taken over my life in the last two months, and I’m certainly not complaining. January was my best month for sales ever, and I made over triple of what I set as my goal, but it wasn’t until February that things started to get interesting for me.

I was contacted by the wonderful Natasha from EarsEverAfter, who commissioned a custom order unlike anything I’ve ever made before, but what came out of it was something that I am so incredibly proud of, and has sparked further orders for similar items. That’s right, I’ve been making a bunch of little co-ord sets..

Upon finishing Natasha’s set, I instantly decided that I was going to need one to wear to Aulani next month, but rather than a Disney print I found this gorgeous lightweight cherry blossom fabric in my local fabric store and without wanting to blow my own horn too much, I just threw this together one evening! In fact, I wore the top to work with a pair of jeans yesterday I love it that much.

I’ve also had another Disney set commissioned, this time an adorable Winnie the Pooh print! I’m having so much fun being totally out of my comfort zone, and I have a load more custom work in the pipeline so stay tuned for those designs when I finish them!

Another out-of-the-comfort-zone creation was this adorable little girls dress which I made last weekend. I haven’t made kids stuff since my cousins were quite a bit smaller than they are now, so maybe 3-4 years ago, so it was quite strange working on a much smaller scale to what I’m used to, and also going back to using a pattern – for my own designs I make my own patterns or work off the cuff, so a proper pattern is a rare thing for me. HOW CUTE THOUGH? The fabric was chosen by the customer and I decided to do the sash in a single colour as a contrast and I just love it so much! I’ll be making this style of dress available to buy on my Etsy store this weekend if anyone’s interested!

Now right back into my comfort zone – skirts.

This is a custom order and how stunning is the fabric that they chose?!

I fell in love with this holographic silver fabric that I found in my local store and within an hour of getting home it was already a skirt – although I’ve yet to have an excuse to wear it! This is available for custom order on my Etsy too.

And finally, a little different from my usual skater style skirts, I’ve fallen for chiffon a little bit because its so lovely and flowy! This skirt is also available on my Etsy now in both mini and midi length.

It may be taking a lot of my time, and I’m probably annoying all my social media followers with constant photos but being creative makes me so damn happy and I can’t wait to see what else I’ve got in me and what else I can do.

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Time Is Money

Its an age-old saying. Sure, its got some pretty cliche connotations now, but cheese aside its 100% true. I mean, would you sit 9-5 in an office if you weren’t getting paid for it? You probably wouldn’t, right?

Well, its the same for small businesses. You see, creatives don’t like working all day and not getting paid for it – the only difference is, we’re doing something that’s maybe a little less traditional. Graphic designers, hand-makers of all different and wonderful things, cake decorators, bloggers – you name it, there are people trying to make money from all kinds of ventures, but the one thing they have in common is that time goes into everything. Hell, I’d love to know of a way of making money that doesn’t take a second of my time.

I LOVE my Etsy store. I love designing and making things and I love the fact that there are people out there that are actually prepared to buy the things I make. I say ‘prepared to buy’ for a very particular reason. You see, day in, day out, I get messages from people asking me about custom designs, or they’ve seen me wearing something on Instagram and want to know how much it would cost to order it from me, and you’d think that I would love getting these messages, right? Sure, I get a little buzz from someone loving my stuff, but I just know that that is the last message I’ll receive from them, because as soon as I let them know the price, they’re gone.

You know, 9 times out of 10, I actually respond to these messages with a price that is lower than I should charge, just on the off-chance that they might go for it. Spoiler alert, they rarely do, even though I’ve already dropped the price. Why do I do it? Well because while its not the best business sense, I hate asking people for money. Worse than that, business sense-wise, it leads me to under-value my time – I mean, there is a skirt for sale on my Etsy store right now where the fabric itself actually costs me more than the price I have the skirt for sale at! I make a loss on that straight away, and then I spend 1-2 hours making said skirt from said fabric.

I blame what I refer to as ‘Primark prices’, even though its the high street in general. You can buy a dress in New Look for £10, so when you see a skirt on Etsy for £30 you feel like its priced a little steep, right? Well ignoring whatever the fabric costs the maker, when you combine the amount of time it takes to design the skirt, cut the fabric, sew it all together, hem it, fit a zip/button/elastic/whatever, you’re maybe looking at a couple of hours of work. So lets put some random numbers to that – say supplies cost £10 and designing and making took 2 hours – and you don’t want to pay more than £20 for it cos ‘that’s what you’d pay on the high street’, well that’s your non-direct way of saying that you think its ok for that maker to get paid circa £5/hour. That sound like a decent wage to you?

You see, I don’t think it does, yet I’ve been under-pricing my creations so as not to seem too steep. Well, I’m done with that. If people don’t want to value my time, then that’s fine, but I’m going to. My time is worth money, and so is everyone else’s.

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Things I Broke My Spending Ban For

After having a bit of fun in the January sales, I put myself on a rather strict spending ban a few weeks ago in an attempt to pay off what’s left of Christmas, January birthdays and stuff for my holiday in April. I mentioned in Wednesday’s post that it’s inevitable that whenever I go on a spending ban, I always end up spotting things that I want more than when I’m free to spend what I like, so of course in the last month there have been a few little exceptions to the ban.

Disney Store picked the most unfortunate time (for me) to release the first month of their limited edition Mickey Memories collection, and it was just my luck that January’s release was the one I wanted to get my hands on the most. I thought maybe I could wait to buy this adorable little Steamboat Willie Mickey, but FOMO got the better of me and I was there on the website at 7:55am waiting for the launch to drop online, and I’m so glad I did because I know a lot of people who missed out on this limited edition cutie, and I’ve already seen some going on eBay for £50-60, when he was only £25. What I am happy about, however, is that I paid for him using some of my Etsy earnings from January, so my bank account didn’t actually see the effects of this spend at all!

My friend Rachel makes the sweetest fandom inspired coffee cozies, and having bought my first one back in December and loved it, I was keen for more. Then she brought out a Porg cozy and I was absolutely sold, plus I bought it when she was running a buy one, get a surprise one free offer, so I also got another design that is also been eyeing up, this little Mickey glove. I love supporting small businesses, so this was well worth breaking the ban. You can buy her darling creations here!

I actually popped into Clintons looking for the next item, not knowing it hadn’t actually been released in stores yet, but while I was nosing around the store I found this amazing vintage Disney poster patterned notebook and I couldn’t not get it.. But the bonus was when I got to the checkout, it actually scanned up cheaper than the label – winner!

Last, but certainly not least, I have been waiting to get this amazing Winnie the Pooh dish for months. Clintons dropped spoilers for this collection back in November and I’ve patiently waited since then to buy it, but as soon as it released on the website it sold out, and I just knew how unlikely it was that my local stores would stock it. Luckily, the lovely Clintons Twitter team were nice enough to notify me when it came back in stock online, and I snapped it up within minutes! This was also paid for with Etsy earnings, so another little victory!

Worth breaking the ban? I think so..

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Why I Can Never Enjoy ‘Down Time’

I love keeping busy. This is handy, because I pretty much always am.

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day..

I have a full time job, but I only actually work 3 days most weeks, opting for 12 hours shifts over a regular 9-5, and this gives me quite a few days off in the week, which is great, right?

To the untrained eye, yes, but as well as my job, I also publish 5-6 new blog posts a week here, as well as running two small businesses on my own, both of which involve designing and creating the products that I sell, so my days off are dedicated to those commitments first and foremost.

Any blogger reading this knows exactly how much time and effort goes into blogging. A single post can take hours to make perfect, from the writing to photography and editing, and even when the post is live, then comes the promotion. In fact, I reckon its not inaccurate to say that probably 50% of a bloggers work is done on social media, rather than in the actual writing. There’s the tweet scheduling, Instagram posts, flatlays, PR emails, networking in the community and so much more.

Then comes the small business work. I have stock and supplies to order and products to design and create, then there’s packaging and post offices runs to go on, and again all the promotion work that goes alongside it all.

Great things take time..

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do but it can be exhausting. I often feel like my work is never done, or there’s more I should be doing, so if I ever take time out for myself, I end up feeling guilty, or feel like I’m forgetting something important. For this very reason I feel like a lie-in is a waste of time, I can’t just sit and do nothing and if for whatever reason I can’t get any work done – hello creative blocks.. – I end up feeling guilty and stressed.

I know that this probably isn’t healthy, and I’m trying to work on it, but I just really want to be successful in the things that I do, and for me success comes from hard work. I don’t expect things to just be handed to me, and I’m more than happy to work for what I want and I just hate wasting time..

Does anyone else suffer from this problem, or have done in the past?

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MK and Chill

Considering that this outfit is quite different to what I normally tend to wear in the parks, I’m so excited to wear this look!

Rather than a traditional Disneybound, I’m opting for a comfy t-shirt and shorts look for my first day in the Magic Kingdom, sporting this INCREDIBLE t-shirt from Great Adventure Supply Co. I knew from the moment I saw this t-shirt on Instagram that I had to have it, and I was not disappointed when it arrived – in fact, I wear it all the time!

Keeping on the relaxed look, I’m pairing it with my pastel candy stripe shorts, which I’ve Disneyfied with my iron-on teacup patch (which you can buy here!), and rather than my usual Mickey ears, I’ll instead be sporting this adorable embroidered baseball cap from Just Peachy.

Hub grass, here I come!

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My Disney Small Biz T-Shirt Haul

When it comes to Disney, there are two things that I love that go hand in hand: planning outfits for Disney trips, and supporting Disney small businesses, and this month, I seem to have only bought shirts!

Despite being purely coincidental, it made for a perfect haul post, so here are the shirts, and small businesses, that I’ve bought from this month:

Maple and Whisky Clothing Co

Most people know Maple and Whisky for their amazing Disney inspired candles, but did you know they also have a sister-store that sells cute Disney inspired clothing? I’ve been eyeing up a few designs for a little while now, but when I saw that all of their tank tops were down to £6 each, I jumped on the offer and bought three! My favourite design of theirs is the Pirates of the Caribbean dog, but I also decided to nab the Tangled and Up! inspired designs too.

Thrift Co

I got chatting to the lovely Danielle from Thrift Co through Instagram and we organised a little t-shirt swap in which I received this adorable Halloween pocket tee and I can’t wait to wear it to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in November!

Cheery Human Studios

Another t-shirt that I can’t wear to wear on my trip to WDW in November is this amazing Magical Foodie t-shirt from Cheery Human Studios, which I’ve already featured in one of my pre-trip outfit posts! I needed something to wear to Food and Wine Festival, and this is perfect!

The Happiest Fitness Co

Ok, so I didn’t technically buy this because its my own design, but I love it so much that I figured I can still share it, right? This shirt is so comfortable and I’ve been practically living in it since I launched the design, plus of course I’ll be wearing it to meet Pooh in November!

What are your favourite t-shirt stores?

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