Posted on Leave a comment

Spring Greeting Cards and more

Spring greeting cards

Spring fresh and hot of the press are new cards from Flamingo Paperie. We all need something to brighten up the days just now so these Spring greeting cards couldn’t come at a better time. Connecting with cards is a great way to keep in touch and lift someone’s spirits. A card really is like a big warm hug in an envelope. Click here to see the Spring 2021 Flamingo Paperie brochure.

Easter cards, Spring greeting cards – and why do we send them?

If you’d like to know more about the tradition of sending Easter cards, see Easter cards why do we send them?

Alternatively to shop for Easter cards have a look at the cards on here, and on my Flamingo website. (If you’d like some of both, just send me a list and I can sort that out for you)

What do Jigsaw Puzzles do to your Brain?

You might not realise it but doing jigsaw puzzles can really help your mental health and your brain health.

Don’t forget to Send a card, deliver a smile.

Posted on Leave a comment

Connecting with cards

With a new year, comes new cards from Flamingo Paperie. And they couldn’t come at a better time. Connecting with cards is a great way to keep in touch and lift someone’s spirits. A card really is like a big warm hug in an envelope. Click here to see the new 2021 Flamingo Paperie brochure.

It’s nothing new really. During WW1 and WW2 sending cards and letters increased from the weekly norm as people tried to keep in touch and boost morale. It’s happening again. Not a world war as such but during this pandemic the British people are turning to post to help lift spirits. Find out how people are connecting with cards during lockdown.

Sending greeting cards – the British way

Recently the ITV reported on the surge in mail that postal workers are experiencing. From 100th birthday cards, correspondence with loved ones and mail sent to those in care homes, the great UK greeting card is out to boost morale again. In ‘normal’ times the UK people send more greeting cards on average than anyone else in the world. With the average person in the UK sending 33 cards a year I think the figures for 2020 will be much, much higher. But we’ll have to wait for the Greeting Card Association annual report in a year or so before we find out exactly how many.

connecting with cards

What does Connecting with Cards mean?

This week is UK Mental Health Awareness Week. Sending and receiving cards has been scientifically proven to help with mental health. I’m not sure we need science to tell us that. We all know the joy of a handwritten letter or card arriving on the doormat. Sending a card is an act of kindness. ‘Kindness’ is the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020. But a handwritten card isn’t just an act of kindness it’s more than that too. It means taking a little time to think about someone else. Writing a card means you’ve thought about someone who quite possible feels very alone. And a beautiful greeting card isn’t easily forgotten. Instead it’s given pride of place to be seen and smiled at again and again and again.

Send a card, deliver a smile.

Posted on Leave a comment

10 good reasons to join Flamingo Paperie

10 good reasons to join flamingo paperie

Here are 10 good reasons to join Flamingo Paperie today…

My favourite reason is that Flamingo Paperie is totally flexible with no pressure to meet any targets. It’s really my business, my way.

Getting started

Choosing which starter pack really depends how you want to run your business. Will you be mainly selling your stock, then maybe starter pack 3. If you’re mainly going to do online then perhaps starter pack 1. If you’re thinking of a bit of both then perhaps pack 2. If you’re not sure, get in touch and we can brainstorm what’s right for you and your start up budget.

  • Each pack starts you off with extra profit to get you going.
  • Even the smallest pack contains plenty brochures to hand out.
  • Every pack includes a personalised website that is activated as soon as you join, even before your pack arrives!
  • Every pack includes a year’s public liability insurance if you’re thinking of selling at craft fairs etc.

From over 40% profit on Pack 1 to over 50% profit on Pack 3 plus a £20 bonus on Pack 3 each pack has been designed to kick start your card business.

Want to know more?

Then fill in your details with any questions you have and I’ll be happy to answer them. No question is too small or silly!

In case you needed reminding 10 good reasons to join Flamingo Paperie are:

1 PRODUCT: Exclusive!

2 PRICE: Unbeatable!

3 REWARDING: It’s great to do something fun and worthwhile and earn money at the same time!

4 A HUGE MARKET: Greeting cards are the ultimate consumable

5 FREE ONLINE WEBSITE: We set you up with a full ecommerce website where you can market online.

6 GENUINE REPEAT BUSINESS: In the UK, we send over 33 cards per head of population per year.

7 EASY TO SELL: There are many different ways our Partners reach their customers.

8 DEPENDABLE COMPANY: Established in 2017.

9 EASY PARTNER REWARD PLAN: There is absolutely no pressure to achieve targets.

10 A CHOICE OF THREE FABULOUS DISCOUNTED STARTER PACKS: You couldn’t get a better head start.

Posted on 1 Comment

Is gift wrapping paper recyclable?

is gift wrapping recyclable

You’ve watched Blue Planet, you love turtles and you want to do your bit to be eco friendly. But you are a bit confused by mixed messages about whether you should be using gift wrap, brown paper, newspaper or even wrapping presents at all. Whether it’s for Christmas, a birthday or for any occasion you can gift wrap in style without costing the earth. I’ve put this little post together to help you answer the question; Is gift wrapping paper recyclable?

A really quick test is the Scrunch Test but it’s not quite as simple as that.

So which gift wrapping is recyclable?

Supermarket ‘cheap as chips’ wrapping paper

Probably not recyclable. Even if it doesn’t contain any glitter, foil or added extras, the thin wrapping paper that is often found at the checkout is unlikely to be accepted by paper mills for recycling as it contains few good quality fibres for recycling.

Gift wrap with foil or glitter effects

The paper might be recyclable but the glitter and foil effects make it difficult and too expensive (if it is even possible) to recycle. At least the paper will biodegrade if put in general household waste but the foil and glitter additives might not.

Recycled wrapping paper

Yes, most probably recyclable, providing no glitter, foil etc is added. You can get recycled wrapping paper. However, there is a debate as to whether it is better to produce recycled paper or use virgin pulp from FSC certified sources as the recycling process itself is expensive and energy consuming. Another alternative could be using paper from easily replenishable sources such as bamboo that grows quickly.

stamped brown kraft wrapping paperBrown paper

This shouldn’t be recycled but should go in the compostable bin along with brown cardboard but that’s ok. Good environmental option! Not so good if you want a pretty design as you’ll have to do one yourself and make sure any design you apply is also compostable! Check out my Pinterest board for some ideas. Use vegetable based inks to stamp the paper and add natural embellishments like twigs, flowers and berries that can also be composted.

Or you can buy coloured kraft wrap that is 100% recyclable.

Printed, quality wrapping paper

Yes, this wrapping paper is recyclable. One thing you might like to check is what inks are used in the print. Some companies use eco friendly vegetable based inks that do not harm the environment. Also check if the paper used is from FSC sources.

All of the gift wrap in my Flamingo shop is 100% recyclable, uses vegetable based inks and is from FSC sources.

We can confirm that all Flamingo Paperie gift wrap is recyclable. It is printed on Amber Graphic Material which is ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free). This is a technique which uses chlorine dioxide for the bleaching of wood pulp and does not use elemental chlorine gas during the bleaching process, so preventing the formation of dioxins, dioxin-like compounds and carcinogens. We also use vegetable inks with water rather than the alcohol damping process. Individual local authorities have their own rules on what they will and will not recycle, but we can confirm that our paper is fully recyclable. (statement from Flamingo HQ)

If you are a designer looking to print your own gift wrap then there are UK print companies that have a very high standard of eco friendly printing like Ashley House.

General tips on making gift wrapping paper recyclable

Before recycling or composting your gift wrap make sure you remove all sellotape, tags, ribbons, bows etc. Gift tags might be recyclable/compostable but the ribbon that they are attached often isn’t so make sure you remove it first. If in doubt, ask the company, they will know. Many gift wrap companies have an environmental policy like Flamingo Paperie. In fact all their gift tags, including the jute string, are 100% recyclable. Use washi tape  or patterned kraft tape for a recyclable tape option.

Presents and balloons paper tape

For further information see Recycle Now

Also wondering what Christmas cards to buy? You might be interested to know that all our Christmas cards are charity cards as well as being environmentally friendly.

Posted on Leave a comment

Val Goldfinch

Val Goldfinch is one of my favourite artists. Not only because her illustrations are beautiful, often of nature or childhood memories. Many of them have also been made in to jigsaws, and I am a self-confessed puzzle addict! So here is a bit more about Val and her designs.

Val Goldfinch has lived in Towcester for over 25 years and has painted since childhood. She trained in Graphic Design at Nene College, but now concentrates on her distinctive and detailed watercolours. Val produces a wide variety of work for both personal commissions and worldwide publication.

Val specializes in combining several images in one painting especially with a theme featuring images in alphabetical order often specific to a town or an area. Her favourite subjects include buildings, inside and out, gardens, nature, seaside and local scenes.

Val Goldfinch cards

Many of Val’s illustrations have been made in to cards by Flamingo Paperie. You can see their current range here.

Which is your favourite? Please share in the comments below.

Val Goldfinch Jigsaws

Some of Val’s best known illustrations are the ones that have been made in to jigsaws. Often from her alphabetical style and always on a theme, these are (from personal experience) like doing lots of mini jigsaws inside one big one. Full of little details, often with evocative memories, these are delightful for avid puzzlers and beginners alike. Quality jigsaws made in the UK by Gibsons. Available from Cards and Gift Wrap here.

Val Goldfinch advent calendar

For a real treat, you need to have the Winter Alphabet advent calendar, illustrated by Val. A traditional advent calendar with 24 doors to open. Beautifully illustrated on the outside and with individual illustrations behind each door.

Winter Alphabet Advent Calendar by Val Goldfinch
Winter Alphabet Advent Calendar illustrated by Val for Flamingo Paperie

More information

If you’d like to find out more about Val’s work, commission a piece or contact her then visit her website.

You’ll also find her on Facebook and I know from experience that she’d love you to message her and tell her how much you love her work or how much you’ve enjoyed doing one of her jigsaws. It would make her day!

Posted on 4 Comments

The Dreaded Day

The Dreaded Day

The Dreaded Day. The one I have been fearing for over 20 years.

But first, here’s a (very) brief history of Ivor Ross.

My dad!

This is my dad, on my wedding day, probably one of the best days of his life as well as ours.

I’m an only child so you won’t be surprised to learn that I was the sunshine in my dad’s life. He thought the world of me, and I of him.

My dad was born in 1928, the 6th of 9 children. Just too young to serve in WW2, he saw all his older brothers go off to fight and luckily all come back alive and physically unhurt, mentally – well – who knows. He did his national service and saw active service as part of that overseas. A sort of jack-of-all-trades and master of none he held various jobs and kept a pretty mean garden, growing plenty of fruit and veg for eating at home. There’s nothing quite like peas grown by your dad! A keen sportsman, good at football, bowls and billards and woe betide anyone who tried to take him on at whist. (Unless you were his brother or sister as they had all been brought up round a card table by their mother, my grandmother). Oh and he told tales – tall ones!

He married my mum in 1974, at her suggestion…. and I came along in 1976.

That’s my dad in a nutshell

So why am I telling you all this and what has it got to do with the Dreaded Day?

Sadly dad died less than two years after this photo was taken. Bowel cancer didn’t kill him in the end but while he was ill they discovered he had it. It wasn’t really suprising. His father, my grandfather, had died from it and 3 of his brothers and sisters had already died from it too.

I was 24. Not particularly young but not that old either.

Clearly there was a higher than average incidence of bowel cancer in the family, they said. I should speak to a genetic specialist, they said.

I did.

They got samples, tested them, looked for genetic markers but found none. At least none that they know indicate a genetic link. But the indicators are still there. There’s a high likelihood I too might develop bowel cancer.

What next?

But it’s OK cos I was only 24. All the occurrences within my family were older, way older so I didn’t need to worry about it – just yet.

At least not until I was 45.

I was advised to start getting regular colonoscopies every 3 years from the age of 45. Bowel Cancer is one of the most treatable cancers provided you catch it early. My limited understanding is that it takes time for the polyps to develop into cancerous lumps so catch the polyps early and you can even avoid the cancer altogether.

At 24 I had hoped that they would develop a less intrusive scanning method by the time I turned 45.

They haven’t.

I’m 45 tomorrow.

So I’d like to use my 45th birthday to raise a little awareness of bowel cancer, remind us that it needn’t be a death sentence and raise some money for Macmillan Cancer Support who help so many people affected by cancer.

The Dreaded Day

How you can help

If you’d like to make a donation then the easiest way is to buy a quiz! If you like a tea-time puzzle, my mum has been printing quizzes with the help of a couple of puzzling friends and the latest one is available to buy and download here. Just £1 and the full £1 goes to Black Isle Committee of Macmillan Cancer Support. My mum has been on their committee for over 20 years and has raised over £14000 with the quizzes alone.

If you’d like to make a larger donation to Macmillan Cancer Support then simply buy more quizzes (it’s up to you if you download it or not!). E.g. if you want to donate £10, buy 10 quizzes, the full £10 will go to Macmillan as I will cover any payment processing fee myself.

I’ll also be donating 10% of all my sales from both my Cards and Gift Wrap shop or from my Flamingo Shop to the Black Isle Committee of Macmillan Cancer Support over the next week.

Help me literally kick cancer in the butt on this dreaded day!

Posted on Leave a comment

New Flamingo Paperie cards for Summer!

Flamingo Paperie cards for summer

61 new Flamingo Paperie cards for Summer!

Isn’t it great to see such a huge range of new Flamingo Paperie cards for summer, especially after all those new cards we had in March too. Flamingo just keep coming up with fabulous, exclusive new designs for all your occasions.

These are available to order online right now. Don’t forget to join the Customer Club first, if you haven’t already, to get a free joining gift.

Summer Brochure

I will be getting new brochures about mid-May and posting two to everyone on my brochure mailing list (one for you and one for a friend). If you’d prefer a paper copy of the brochure to sit and browse through, just tick the snail mail box when you join my Club.

Presents Happy Birthday by Jessica Hogarth

It’s never easy to pick a favourite from a new release but this one caught my eye. Don’t you think it’s the sort of card that can be sent to anyone of any age or personality? And I love Jessica Hogarth’s designs. (I have a few other things of hers in my Cards and Gift Wrap shop – see other Jessica Hogarth items)

Jessica has a few designs in the new Flamingo Paperie summer range.

Happy browsing!

Janet xx

PS If you’d like to save up to 30% off all your cards and gift wrap join my team as an independent Flamingo Paperie Partner. You will save yourself some money and you can build your own side line business when your friends, family and colleagues see your cards and want to buy from you! Your starter pack will contain cards and brochures as well as a personalised ecommerce website to kick start your business.

Posted on Leave a comment

Happy Days!

Big Day across mainland Scotland today I am so lucky to have an online shop as well as my bricks-and-mortar garage pop up. How exciting that sooo many shops are able to open again today across Scotland. Today is a good day! (and I am sitting in my wee pop up as I write this!) Let’s hope for even more Happy Days to come.

Spring Cards Bundle

Spring Bundle

Need a quick card top up?

How about a beautiful bundle of 10 spring themed cards that could be used for any occasion.

20% off and free UK delivery. Grab your bundle now »

The Happy Newspaper

Happy News – Happy Days

I often get asked to send The Happy News as a gift – here’s what one customer who did just that said:

Just been wanting to say thank you so much for all your time and efforts in making the post as lovely as possible for the receiver.  The happy newspaper and the colourful envelopes, stickers and handwritten note were very appreciated – they all sent me photos! Also, I thought you’d find it funny to know my dad got the Pierce Brosnan stamp!

Yep – sometimes I have to lick James Bond to send your orders – it’s tough but someone has to do it! Give the gift of Happy News »

Coming Soon…

I got a very sneaky peek at the new Flamingo Paperie cards coming in May.

61 new cards and a new flowers craft kit (Californian Poppies – of all colours and looks amazing!).

I’ll have brochures towards the end of the month but if you’re in my Club I’ll email you the online brochure and link as soon as I have it.

Have a good week – hope the sun shines like it did over the weekend – wasn’t it gorgeous?!

Janet xx

Posted on Leave a comment

Flamingo Paperie April offer

April Flamingo Paperie April offer for Customer Club members.

If you are already a member of my Flamingo Customer Club, then you should have had an email from them about the Flaminog Paperie April offer.

  • Place any order on my Flamingo website before the end of April and they’ll send you 2 free cards
  • Place any order over £30 on my Flamingo website and they’ll send you 6 free cards (and it’s free postage!)

Don’t miss out!


With the children back at school (yippeee!) I’ve had a little time to do some more designing.

There are a few new products in the Homeware section of my website. These are all printed to order by Redbubble and I can easily tweak designs to suit. Just ask! Check out the Homeware section »

Simply Green

I developed this leafy pattern for a future paper tape design but thought it looks quite nice on a mug too – what do you think?

Leafy tape will be in the future, there are a couple of new Christmas designs being printed just now – watch this space! See all mugs »

This week I added a few new Wrendale and Sally Swannell cards to my shop, why not have a browse and see if there’s something you like (I think the giraffe might be my favourite – well you know how I feel about cake!)

The Mystery Box is back!

Got a few birthdays coming up?
Seen a subscription box you liked but missed it?

I have lots of gift wrapping items left over from my subscription boxes but not enough to make complete coordinating boxes. So instead I’ll mix and match you a bumper mystery box of gift wrapping.

Alternatively – subscribe for a monthly box of coordinated loveliness! Have a great week – hope the sun continues to shine for you.
(It’s actually got a bit cold and dull here – but no snow so I’m not complaining!)
Posted on Leave a comment

Spring is here!

Spring and Easter

It’s officially Spring and Easter is just around the corner.

And here are some beautiful Easter Shakies (middle picture) and some packs of smaller Easter cards from James Ellis. James Ellis have made a commitment to go 100% plastic free. Not only are the shakies now fully recyclable, the packs of smaller cards come in card wallets instead of plastic cellos – hurrah!!!

And it’s not just cards! If you’d like to send someone a Spring or Easter gift to make them smile then there are some lovely gift items as well as cards. The Wrendale gardening journal is a great place to start. OR perhaps you’d like a rabbit papercraft kit, a Sally Swannell Hen House mug, a Daffodils and Ducklings jigsaw or a rabbit face covering!

Best Sticker Ever?

I like to design stickers but I don’t think any of my designs will come close to this sticker I received yesterday.

There is hope!

What’s inside?

You asked what was inside the new Flamingo Paperie notebooks…

Have a great week!

Janet xx

Posted on Leave a comment

My Etsy 2020 Gift Guide

No doubt 2020 has been a difficult year for many independent artists. Many of them sell on Etsy so here’s my guide to the artists I know on Etsy and some of my favourites from their ranges.

Tree Rex Christmas card

Citrus Bunn specialises in quirky pun based illustrations. The Tree Rex is one of hers and my best sellers.
Look out too for Moled Wine and Polar Beer, also available as coasters.

Jessica Hogarth specialises in coastal scenes but also her London designs are fabulous and so evocative at Christmas.

Alison Hullyer does fabulous Christmas cards but she also does the most beautiful tea towels and coasters. This goldfinch teatowel is one of my favourites.

Amanda Loverseed’s designs are well known and her cross stitch kits would make the ultimate gift for your craft friends. Here’s the cut thru Nativity Cross Stitch Kit but there are lots more to choose from.

If you love stationery and notebooks (and let’s face it you can never have too many!) then you’ll love Klara Hawkins notebooks. Here is a set of two A6 Boho Birds Notebooks but they also come in A5 sizes too.

Wrendale Designs are always popular in my shop and with the fabrics they make there are some beautiful creations on Etsy including this robin mask.

If you like Fabrics and home furnishings then you’ll love Karen Tye Bentley’s designs on fabric. The Sugar and Spice range is a lovely range.

Kate Mawsley does some of the most delicate illustrations you’ll find and as everyone needs a Christmas mug I think this was a great find. Exquisitely called ‘Little Bits of Christmas‘ this is a quality Dunoon mug.

And as if that’s not enough there’s a fabulous Etsy guide to the best Christmas Cards available.

Please note I am an Etsy affiliate and may receive reward if you purchase anything through one of my links but this is at no cost to you. All opinions within this article are my own.

Posted on Leave a comment

Flamingo Paperie FAQs

Flamingo Paperie FAQs

I thought you might find it useful to see some of the most common Flamingo Paperie FAQs that I get asked. Of course if you have any other questions please just ask.

Flamingo Paperie FAQs


Q: How much does it cost to join?
A:We have three Special Offer Starter Packs, priced at £45 for PACK1, £95 for PACK2 and £200 for PACK3. For further information, please see the Join Me section on our website.

Q: Can I register to be an Independent Flamingo Paperie Partner over the phone?
A: No, please register online.

Q: Does my agreement need to be signed by my sponsor?
A: No it is not essential.

Q: Can my daughter (who is 17) become a Flamingo Partner?
A: No, you have to be at least 18 to become a Flamingo Partner.

Q: Do I have to be VAT registered if I would like to become an Independent Flamingo Paperie Partner?
A: No, you only need to register for VAT when your ‘taxable supplies’ exceed the statutory limit – currently £85,000.

Q: Can I place an order for extra items when I join?
A: Yes you may order extra items and we will ship everything together provided the total is under the statutory limit of £200 that you can spend with us in your first seven days.

Q: How long will it take for my Starter Pack to arrive?
A: We will normally ship your Starter Pack the day after receiving payment. We ship on a next day delivery basis to addresses on the UK mainland except the Highlands of Scotland where deliveries normally take 2-3 days.

Q: Do you require a minimum amount to be spent in order to use a debit/credit card?
A: No.

Q: How much will I pay for delivery of my orders?
A: We have the following two rates:

  1. A flat rate of £6 (incl VAT), regardless of the order size, for a next day courier service (from shipping date).
  2. A Letterbox Card Pack rate of £3 (incl. VAT) which is for up to 25 greetings cards only. This pack will be sent via Royal Mail and is specially designed to fit through an average letterbox; delivery will be one to two days (from shipping date). We know that there is always going to be a need to place last minute orders and this Letterbox Card Pack will allow you to make those emergency top up card orders to keep your customers happy and give you tighter control of your business.

Q: How long do orders take to arrive?
A: We will ship your order no later than the 4th working day after receipt. However, please note that there are some areas within the UK where it is not possible to have your order delivered on the next working day.

Q: Can I advertise on the internet or in publications?
A: Any advertising or promotion, direct or indirect, must be approved by one of the company directors. Permission to advertise on internet trading sites such as eBay is always refused. When Partners advertise without our authority, there is a real danger that, inadvertently, claims are made about our proposition which misrepresent the offer and do not comply with the statutory notices that someone promoting a direct selling business needs to adhere to. There is also an issue of artist’s copyright where images are used without permission. It is in the interests of the Company, and all Independent Flamingo Paperie Partners, for the Company to protect its brand and reputation. As far as the internet is concerned, all Partner activity must therefore be influenced by the principles set out in our Fact Sheet 2: Principles for use of the internet.

Q: Can I sell to shops?
A: In the UK, we operate only as a direct selling business and do not supply any retail outlets, although as a company we are approached regularly by shop proprietors. We think that sales through shops would create conflict between distribution channels and we make a clear statement in our literature that our products are available exclusively through Independent Flamingo Partners who operate a direct to consumer service, with the exception of our guest range from Emotional Rescue that can also be found in retail outlets. If you are outside of the UK please see Sell Flamingo Paperie greeting cards internationally

Q: Is there a minimum order?
A: No, you may order as much or as little as you want.

Q: Do I have to order every month?
A: No, you order whenever you want. There are no requirements to reach monthly sales targets unless you wish to earn extra bonuses. We have Partners who join for the sole purpose of fundraising for their chosen charity for three months a year and we have Partners who, from day one, structure their business to take full advantage of all the reward benefits extra sales can bring.

Q: Do I have to purchase a specific amount of products each month?
A: No, you can order as much or as little as you wish. To qualify for bonus payments, however, you need to meet the volume criteria in the months in which you wish to be paid bonuses.

So now you’ve read all the Flamingo Paperie FAQs – are you ready to join me?

Posted on Leave a comment

My dream

My dream

When I was just 4 years old I started work. My auntie ran a newsagents though it was so much more than just a newsagents. She sold everything and always told me that if they didn’t have what someone asked for they’d find an alternative. My dream even then was to have my own shop. I just didn’t realise it.

I was always quite good with numbers, it runs in the family. I’ve always kind of felt guilty about it. Fellow pupils at school who seemed to work so hard for their maths exams and I never had to. Numbers just made sense and it doesn’t seem fair but that’s life and there are countless other things I am not good at that they were. Anyway, because of my ‘gift’ my auntie used to show off when I was as young as 4 by getting me to serve the customers and give them the right change. There were no contactless payments or automatic tills, if the sums were very complicated it was added up with a pen and paper.

Image by Shirley Hirst from Pixabay

I loved everything about that shop. From stocking the shelves, seeing if I could squeeze just one more packet of crisps on to the rack to making up 10p sweetie lucky bags (10p of sweeties in the bag, about 20p in my mouth!).

As I grew I got to know more of the business. I helped with stock taking each year and my favourite bit was sitting in the freezing cold stock room out the back in front of the electric bar fire with notepad and calculator adding up endless lists of numbers. We’re all a bit weird in one way or other right?!

When I grew up

I thought I’d become an accountant but a desire to ‘make the world a brighter place’ drove me in to engineering. As I began my university life studying civil engineering, so my auntie retired and so ended my dream of running that little shop.

I could have taken over the business, never gone to university. But then I’d never have gone to Africa and worked as a water and sanitation engineer and helped a few to improve their village life. I’d never have met my husband either, moved to the beautiful Isle of Lewis and had 4 children and made the choice to give up my career.

…and then I might not have started working from home, selling things.

My dream come true?

Funny how you can look back on your life and see choices made without realising the true reason for making those choices. It was only after selling from home for about 5 years alongside being a full time mum that the penny dropped. I loved retail! I wanted a shop!

But times have changed since I was 4. We now have internet, supermarkets and global imports on a scale never seen before. Newspapers and sweeties are still sold in shops but even newspapers have gone online and sweeties are no longer a ha’penny. My personal opinion of newspapers has also changed, perhaps why I sell the Happy Newspaper!

So I never thought a physical shop was a reality now. Too many high street stores are short lived, too many empty town centres. Times have changed. Furthermore, living in a fairly remote location in the Outer Hebrides I knew I had to embrace the online market. And I have. Combining some local fairs and events with a growing online presence I have built up my Cards and Gift Wrap business slowly, year by year, reinvesting everything back in while raising my 4 children. Always with a pre-school child by my side, ‘helping’ mum.

And then, just a small thing, covid-19 happened. My online business thrived but the fairs and events were gone. My shop-in-a-basket that served many local workplaces vanished. Time to think outside the box. On top of that my husband started working from home more and we were homeschooling all in the same room that I had hoped would be my ‘stock room’. Something has to change.

Maybe, just maybe…

We’re lucky to have a big garage which is already in two sections. Maybe, just maybe…

Could we convert one part in to a pop up shop?

That’s why I’ve launched a Kickstarter. Not just to raise the money for the materials to make the garage dry and waterproof but to see if there is enough local interest for me to have a physical presence. To see if 40 years on I could have my own ‘shop’ and realise my dream.