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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.

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Floral greeting cards

floral greeting cards

Find the perfect card from our exclusive range of illustrated designs. With plenty of cards to choose from, including blank floral greeting cards and new designs added regularly. The card you need is right here, whatever the occasion.

Bestselling floral greeting cards

Floral Birthday Cards

Sympathy Cards

If you like your sympathy cards to say something on the front then we have some great ones to choose from. If you think a floral illustration does the job just as well then take a look at the floral range.

Artists

We have several artists who illustrate our floral greeting cards designs exclusively for Flamingo Paperie but some of the most popular ones are:

Alison Vickery, Gerry Murray, Claire Henley, Mikki Butterley, Diane Dimerci, Karen Tye Bentley, Lorraine Duff, Claire Winteringham, Vicky Pugh and Laura Stone.

If you think I’ve missed something in this selection please leave a comment so I can add it in, thank you. If you’d like a mixed pack of cards then you can get on in my shop. I’ll email you to ask what cards you’d like in your pack.

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National Handwriting Day: What does your handwriting say about you?

National handwriting day

National Handwriting Day is January 23rd and has been going for 40 years. If you want to know what your handwriting says about you then read on. If you wondered what your scrawl tells others about you then take the test at the bottom.

On National Handwriting Day, take a look at what your style of writing could say about your personality

Is the pen mightier than the keyboard?

The rise of computers may eventually kill off handwriting but, for now, there are still some aficionados out there who refuse to put their pens down.

National Handwriting Day on January 23 celebrates the handwritten word, with the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) encouraging others to use a pen or a pencil to “rekindle that creative feeling through a handwritten note, poem, letter or journal entry”.

“Though computers and e-mail play an important role in our lives, nothing will ever replace the sincerity and individualism expressed through the handwritten word,” said David H. Baker, WIMA’s Executive Director.

The rise of the computer keyboard Almost one in 10 children who go online believe information from social media websites or apps is “all true” – doubling from last year

WIMA adds: “Throughout history, handwritten documents have sparked love affairs, started wars, established peace, freed slaves, created movements and declared independence.”

But what does your handwriting say about your personality? Research by the National Pen Company in the US claims handwriting can give clues about 5,000 personality traits.

It’s all based on graphology, the process of analysing handwriting, which is classed as pseudoscience as it is considered to be without scientific foundation.

Here’s what the research by the National Pen Company says: click through for more via National Handwriting Day: What does your handwriting say about you? – Telegraph

Apparently I’m very private and hard to read. Probably true but not once you take time to get to know me.

Bring back the pen – Virgin.com

The Art of Handwriting – Is it Lost?

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Merry Christmas Bunting Elf on the Shelf Antics

Merry Christmas Bunting Phoenix Trading cards Elf on the Shelf

My Elf on the shelf has been busy.

“Merry Christmas bunting” from Phoenix Trading.

Merry Christmas bunting decoration Phoenix Trading cards

This Christmas bunting makes an impressive addition to your Christmas decorations. With 20 pieces and 4 m ribbon you can decide where to put the stockings, Santa and snowman. You can choose whether to hang in a single line, or split as shown above.

Elf on the shelf has been making up some new arrangements

If you’re stuck for Elf on the Shelf ideas than you these anagrams will help you to fill a few days of mischief. You can find many more anagrams of Merry Christmas online, a simple search will bring up a range of pages with ideas. These were my elf on the shelf’s favourite ones.Merry Christmas bunting decoration Phoenix Trading cards

And if you like my elf you can find more like him at Daisyfelts. I think he’s rather cheeky but friendly looking.

Can you think of any more?

10 Ideas for a Christmas Eve Box

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Is there room for more?

cards and gift wrap in the highlands and islands

I’ve just had a fabulous 2 days at one of the best agricultural shows in the UK, the Black Isle Show. While I do some of my business online, I think it’s really important to get these fabulous Flamingo cards and gift wrap in the Highlands and Islands.

Fireplace paperchainsDespite the rain, the footfall was good, people’s spirits weren’t dampened and everyone seemed impressed with my fireplace (held in place by some paper chains – just shows how sturdy they are!)

As they oohed and aahed over the cards, I asked quite a few customers, ‘Have you heard of Flamingo Paperie?’ and to my surprise many of them said, ‘No.’

Who is Flamingo Paperie?

Flamingo Paperie (formerly Phoenix Trading) have been going for 22 years. You can’t buy Flamingo cards in the shops. However there are 1000s of Partners across the country selling cards in workplace baskets, holding coffee, cake and cards in people’s homes, setting up stalls like mine. Ultimately these people become ‘The Card Lady’ (or man) to their friends and relatives.

Yet many have still not heard of Flamingo Paperie and don’t know a Flamingo Partner.

People want to buy these cards and gift wrap in the Highlands and Islands so we need more Flamingo Partners.

Do you love cards? Are you a stationery addict? Do you know even a small handful of people who would love to have access to good quality, reasonably priced, ethical, and charitable greeting cards? Would you like to make a little money selling these fabulous products? Would you like to be able to buy these cards and gift wrap in the Highlands and Islands?

If so, then you could be the next card lady (or man).

You can become a Partner from as little as £45 starting you off with cards, a
few brochures and some business stationery. These are at a high discount to get you started so if you’re a card lover you will save money whatever happens.

Perhaps you want something bigger than that?

Then start with the £200 business pack. This contains over £500 of cards and stationery, more brochures and plenty of business material to get you going.

Or if you’re somewhere in the middle then there’s a £95 pack too. Which ever pack you choose the start up covers stock, business materials and your first year registration fee. It also covers your public liability insurance (usually about £50 a year) and a free personalised ecommerce website.

Statutory Notice – It is illegal for a promoter or participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits for getting others to join a scheme. Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved. The promoter of the Flamingo Partner scheme is Flamingo Paperie 60 High Street, Wimbledon Village, London, SW19 5EE

Start now!

Black Isle ShowBlack Isle Show

If you’re attending the Black Isle show this year I’ll be there in the craft tent. The Black Isle Show is always the 1st Thursday in August. So it’s 2nd August 2018. Pop by and say hello! Even if you need just a card (it’s never just a card!)

 

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No-brainer!

Phoenix Trading cards

Phoenix Trading cards friends and family packIf you love Phoenix cards, then this really is a no-brainer for you!

If you send more than 25 cards a year then this will save you money. You can decide to share it amongst friends and it may even make you money!

It is illegal for a promoter or participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits for getting others to join a scheme. Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved. The promoter of the Phoenix Trading scheme is Phoenix Trading Unit 6 307-309 Merton Road London SW18 5JS

Phoenix Trading cards work from home

Ask me how!

or Join Today!

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Valentines Day Paper Chain Hearts

Valentines Day paper strip hearts

I’ve been having fun making some of the paper chain hearts for Valentines Day and made a wee video to show you how to do some yourself.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj0eluRY3ME]

I used Phoenix Trading’s butterfly and hearts paperchains. They are really sturdy and I love the fact they have patterns on both sides. However you could you wrapping paper and this double sided wrapping paper would look very cool. Just cut or guillotine in to strips and away you go.

These also make great Christmas decorations too, and you can string several together to make a pretty garland.

More Valentines Day ideas

Follow me on Pinterest for more Valentines craft ideas

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Artist Profile – Amanda Loverseed

Amanda Loverseed

Just as Phoenix Trading were always looking for new artists to add to the fabulous range of Phoenix cards that they produced, so too are Flamingo Paperie. I thought it might be helpful to share some information about Amanda Loverseed. Amanda is one of the artists that design Flamingo Paperie cards, stationery and gifts.

One of her current designs is the Reindeer Stable Christmas Card. You can see a video of a slightly different way of displaying it here.

Reindeer Stable

Amanda Loverseed’s designs

Amanda Loverseed is probably one of our most well-known and perhaps most recognisable artists. That is to say her artwork is easily recognisable as it is very distinctive!

She works mostly in pen and ink and watercolour, making her work very detailed and very bright. She likes working in a variety of styles and on different subjects, one day drawing black Skull and Crossbones and the next Blue Butterflies. And yet her work always has that distinctive ‘Amanda’ look and most of her work has a signature snail too!

What Amanda said about herself:

‘I have always worked as an illustrator. I studied illustration at Cambridge College of Arts and Technology and immediately, after leaving college, had my first two children’s books accepted. It is particularly interesting to work on designs that require research such as the ‘Kings and Queens’ poster.

I live up a track in the middle of a field with my husband and two cats, Millie and Spinach. I have a wonderful view of the South Downs from my studio window and, whenever I get tired with drawing, I walk along the track and the two cats come with me. If I am out and about I am always looking for inspiration, such as a quirky building or car that will make its way into a ‘Cut Thru’ design or an idea for Christmas cards seen in the spring.

I love illustrating for Phoenix and the creative freedom it allows me and enjoy working with people who care passionately about the quality and integrity of their products. I am delighted that a chance meeting with a Phoenix Trader at a Christmas fair in 1999 should have led me to work with such a friendly and dedicated company.’

I’m glad that meeting happened in 1999 as it’s a privilege and joy selling her designs!

Choosing our artists

Everyone who is a Flamingo Paperie Partner gets to vote on which designs get through to each new product launch. This means that 1000’s of people could be voting on your design. Not as subjective as you think is it?

Alongside her cards her designs are often made in to cross-stitch kits, most notably by Bothy Threads. In particular her cut-thru designs that have also often appeared as Phoenix cards too. Some of these have been made in to giant posters and jigsaws. One of my favourites was her cut-thru spaceship!

Find out more about how to become a Flamingo artist. Go on – give it a try – and I look forward to seeing your work in the next Trader survey!

And if you’d like to know how you could have the privilege and joy of selling her work too then ask me for more information about becoming an Flamingo Paperie Partner today.

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A world of pure artistic imagination

Today I received a golden envelope in the post. Inside was a Phoenix Trading golden ticket, uniquely numbered and addressed personally to me. Sadly there was no chocolate bar beside it.

Phoenix Trading Golden Ticket

What’s more the ‘prize’ is for someone else.

Anyone who joins my team this month will get my Phoenix Trading Golden Ticket. This means you will get either £15, £30 or £75 of products free with your starter stock pack. (The amount depends which pack you choose to start with either the £35, £75 or £200).

So if you appreciate the best artistic talent, love cards and stationery and are self motivated. If you want to build your own business or just want to get your hands on great products yourself. Get in touch quickly.  I only have one ticket and the first person who meets those criteria will get it.

The ticket is valid until the end of this month so get in touch soon or take a look at my Why Phoenix? post to find out more.

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Artists Wanted!

artists wanted

Ever wondered how Flamingo Paperie find their artists? If you have ever thought your work might look good on a card then you’ll be interested to know that it’s Artists Wanted time.

What sort of artwork fits the Flamingo Paperie artists wanted profile?

Flamingo Paperie artwork is a real mixture of fun, contemporary and fine art. It’s difficult to say exactly what they are looking for because trends and fashions change. The easiest place to start might be to look at our current range to give you an idea.

Or see my latest video with a snapshot of the Christmas range from 2017.

How do I submit my work to Flamingo Paperie?

You can post your artwork to them at Artist Submissions
Flamingo Paperie
60 High Street
Wimbledon Village
SW19 5EE
Or you can email robin@flamingopaperie.co.uk.

Flamingo Paperie will consider ‘paper’ copies of artwork or digital artwork. Though I know first hand that the creative director loves to receive ‘real’ artwork through the post!

What happens after I’ve submitted my artwork?

Once you submit your artwork to Flamingo Paperie, they will send feedback on whether they think your work is what they are looking for. If you are successful then Flamingo Paperie shortlist your work on to a survey that the creative team get to vote on!

So get out those paints and brushes, go on – give it a go! Or pick up the phone and get that artist friend of yours to send her work in. Tell Flamingo I’m the one who told you that there were artists wanted and when you let me know that the artist is successful, I’ll send you something to say thank you. Good luck, hope to see your work in the next product survey!

If you’d like to know more about our current artists then take a look at the artist profiles of Alison Vickery, Alison Hullyer, Julia Rigby and Amanda Loverseed.

View the artists terms and conditions here.