Categories
MAKE TO SELL MAKER STORIES

Mother and daughter’s love of Cricut leads to successful business

We’ve learned that thanks to Cricut, sometimes, dreams really do come true. We were humbled to hear about this Mother-daughter combo, where a joint love of crafting led to a successful Cricut business and couldn’t wait to share their story with you.

Where it all began

Mother-daughter duo Sue (56) and Hannah (33), from Buckinghamshire, had been using their Cricut for personalised gifts for friends, work displays and supporting community groups. They saw the joy handcrafted and personalised gifts brought to people and turned their passion into a family business, setting up Strange Magic Crafts. The duo saw their most successful year yet during the pandemic with the quality of gifts produced with Cricut leading to positive reviews and repeat purchases.

Lifelong crafters Sue and Hannah have always been close. They set up Strange Magic Crafts, a successful craft business, together, in 2018. The business, specialising in customised gifts and drinkware, has enjoyed real growth over the last 12-18 months with products available through their Etsy shop as well as local, independent handcraft stores run by the Craft Coop.

Sue has been crafting for over 30 years, trying everything from decoupage to scrapbooking, but it was when she first bought a Cricut Explore™ in 2007 that she realised the potential and versatility the machine would bring to her crafting. She introduced Hannah and they have been fans ever since, now using Sue’s Cricut Joy™, Cricut Explore™ and Cricut Maker to create personalised gifts for friends, displays at work and t-shirts for local community groups. They saw first-hand the joy that creating a handcrafted, personalised item can bring people.

Building a business with Cricut

Hannah, a full-time teacher, suggested turning this joint passion for crafting into a business in 2018. Huge Disney fans, the inspiration for the business came from creating their own personalised t-shirts to take on trips to DisneyWorld.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK in 2020, Hannah moved back in with her parents, and this gave an unexpected boost to the business. Sue and Hannah were able to spend more time working together on new designs, creating more products and focusing on developing their social media presence. Coupled with an increase in consumers buying local, buying independent and buying from businesses able to provide products that were current, they experienced their most successful year with a water bottle supporting the NHS, their top-seller.

Sue says: “It’s wonderful working with my daughter, and we’re lucky that we get on so well and are equally passionate about crafting with Cricut and building our business. We recognise each other’s strengths so take different roles within the business. There will always be times we have frustrations or creative differences but being family means we can overcome these more easily.”

For anyone looking to start their own business, Sue has the following advice: “It’s so important to learn by reading everything you can and just being patient – don’t expect it all to happen overnight! Try to find your niche and work within that by developing different ideas and designs to see what works. We’ve found that using Cricut products has given our business and products a quality that ensures good reviews and repeat purchases which is so important for us as a small business.”

Find Strange Magic Crafts Online

Strange Magic Crafts Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/StrangeMagicCrafts

Strange Magic Crafts Instagram:https://www.facebook.com/strangemagiccrafts/

Strange Magic Crafts Facebook: https://www.instagram.com/strangemagiccrafts/

Categories
DISCOVER MAKER STORIES

Meet illustrator, artist, and maker Cat Madeira

We’re delighted to announce that another UK artist’s work can now be found in Cricut Design Space.

Cat Madeira’s first image set is called ‘Cheeky Collection’ and you can find her images by searching for ‘Cat Madeira’ in the image sets section of the image library.

We caught up with Cat to ask her about her illustrations, her business – CorazonPomPom – and her favourite creative projects.

Tell us about you… who is Cat Madeira?

I am a crafter/designer/illustrator originally from Portugal but living in Nottingham, UK. I have a passion for crafts and punch needle at the moment, all things rainbow and colourful. 

Tell us a bit about your illustration style and the type of images we can find in your image sets.

My illustration style is cute, punny and quirky. You will be able to find lots of cool designs that can be used together such as the tiger with sunglasses on a T-shirt, the terrazzo shapes to make a mural for your home, or the layered shadow box style designs, and many more.  I mostly design things that I want for myself too, there needs to be that passion in the process of design. 

Anyone looking through your Etsy Shop or Instagram feed will immediately see you love colour. Explain to us where your love of colour comes from.

My love of colour comes from growing up surrounded with folk art, beautiful fabrics (my grandma was a seamstress) so I am naturally attracted to anything bright and colourful. Colour is life. 

Cliche question alert! Where do you take inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from everyday life, objects, cute animals and colour obviously. I also love projects with multiple textures. 

Have you always loved illustrating / drawing?

I was very lucky to grow up with a creative family that supported my love for the arts. I remember making my first poster at 7 years old for my school exhibition and I haven’t stopped since then. 

Tell us about your process – does it start on paper or do you work digitally?

It all starts in scraps of paper or on the notes of my phone. I try to write or draw all my ideas straight away even if silly. I will then turn them into digital works with the help of Adobe Illustrator or Procreate. Sometimes they don’t work but I keep everything just in case I can come back later and transform it into something good. Some of my illustrations are translated into punch needle projects too and my Cricut Maker comes very handy to draw onto the fabric. 

Where else can we find your illustrations?

You can find my works in my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CorazonPompom and on my Instagram @corazonpompom. I share some of my processes there too. Of course you can now also find the images that I have designed in Design Space. 

What do you love creating with your Cricut?  

I have a Cricut Maker and I use it almost daily to make some of the packaging and tags for my Etsy shop. I also love to customise items in my house and clothes for my family. I hope to create a lot more things such as a mural one day (with lots of colours obviously). I might have influenced a few family members to make things with their Cricut too so it’s always lovely to be able to talk about what projects we are working on or ideas that we have. I can’t wait to see how everyone uses the images that I have designed! 

We couldn’t wait to get started with some of Cat’s images. Head to our Instragram feed to see a reel showing how we created these ‘roarsome’ cushion covers

Categories
INSPIRATION MAKER STORIES

How to create an organised home – Aisha from Hobbycraft shares her top tips

Do you dream of an organised home? We caught up with one super-organised Cricut fan to share her top tips for staying organised at home.

Hobbycraft fans or followers may recognise Aisha from her posts, tutorials and inspiration on the Hobbycraft ideas blog and social media channels.

Aisha combines her passion for crafting with her job at Hobbycraft. She loves to inspire others to do more with their Cricut machines. Here, she tells us how she stays organised at home.

How do you keep your home tidy? Are there 3-5 things you are most proud of?

As much as possible I try to tidy as I go, so after I finish a task I’ll tidy up afterwards. Although this can sometimes be easier said than done, especially when I get carried away crafting or doing a home DIY project.

We’ve also had to think out of the box a little bit when it comes to storage options. Our house is a 1920’s semi and there are no straight walls and a lot of unusual nooks and crannies. That’s why finding something that’s right can take a bit longer. The reward of finding ‘the one’ and achieving a tidy, organised space is so good though! 

The one room in our house that I’m most proud of is our kitchen, we renovated it a couple of years back. We took it right back to bare brick wall. Before, it was a dark space, with lots of cupboards and not enough storag. Now it’s light, bright and airy, and we’ve been able to re-jig things slightly to include a larder – a dream come true for me.

In here we keep all of our food, and it’s worked out so much better than having everything crammed into numerous cupboards as you can see what you’ve got at a glance. We’re also able to keep the treats well hidden from our forever hungry dogs!

Why is it important to you to keep the home tidy? 

For me, a tidy home not only makes me super-productive, but it also helps massively with my mental health.

Days where I’ve let the washing pile up or have a mountain of craft supplies all over my desk in the craft room, are the days I find my mood is at its lowest. This tends to have a knock-on effect in other areas of my life. Keeping everything tidy also means I save a whole lot of time not having to hunt high and low for things.

How do you use your Cricut machine to keep tidy and organised?

I have the Cricut Maker which I’ve been using a lot in the past year to get our larder super-organised.

We try to buy as much food as possible out of packaging. This means we have a lot of dry ingredients that need better storage. We invested in lots of jars and created labels for them all. When you have six different types of rice, a label is definitely needed!

All of the labels were created in the Cricut Design Space app and cut from black removable vinyl. If we ever wanted to use the jars for other ingredients the labels could easily be changed without ruining the jar.

Labelling has become somewhat of an addiction – I’ve even labelled containers in the fridge!

Do you have any tips and tricks for people to try? 

Take your time – especially when it comes to designing anything for your home. Make sure you explore all of the fonts (or images) in the Design Space app to make sure you’ve got everything 100% as you want it.

I usually cut out one label as a test, place it on the item and then leave it for a few days. I then go back to it before making my final decision. I’m incredibly indecisive so this can take a while!

Repurposing – as a result of working on our house, we’ve found that it pays to do your research and explore different options especially when it comes to finding storage solutions.

For instance, plant pots make great pen and utensil pots. Clear jars are ideal for storing washi tapes and ribbons. And kitchen trollies are perfect for housing all your craft essentials.

If you live in a house that’s a little quirky like ours, sometimes it’s worth investing in bespoke storage options. Having something made that works for you and your space doesn’t need to be expensive, but it makes a huge difference in the end.

Find out more

If you loved reading about Aisha’s organisation tips, you may find this post useful too.

Aisha and her Hobbycraft colleagues have also shared some of her favourite organisation tutorials on the Hobbycraft Ideas hub.

Categories
MAKER STORIES

March catch up with Emma Jewell

Hello! 

I’m sure I started my February Diary in the same way, but hasn’t the end of March come around quickly? 

I kicked this month off with my show on Hochanda. I’m still skyping in from my craft room until lockdown restrictions lift. The shows focused on Infusible Ink and Cricut Joy, so I was in my element creating Infusible Ink coasters and tote bags for the show’s demonstrations. 

I’ll be back on Hochanda (recently renamed The Craft Store) on the 9th of April, with two shows, both demonstrating paper crafting with your machine! 

International Women’s Day

I celebrated International Women’s Day at the start of March, with this Make-up bag DIY. Click here to see the video.

Did you know you can layer Iron-on on top of Infusible Ink? It gives a really cool effect! 

Offset feature in Design Space

I’ve also been loving the new offset feature in Design Space. This new tool allows us to outline or add a shadow layer to images and text. I used it to create this fun jumper, layering Iron-on on the sleeves to create a retro vibe.

I can’t stop using it, it’s such a perfect tool for making stickers and cake toppers too! 

Illustrations in Design Space

The BIG news this month is that I now have my illustrations in the Design Space Image library. When I first opened Design Space all those years ago, I thought about how cool it would be to have my own designs in Design Space and that dream came true this month!  

I’ve been keeping this a secret for quite some time, technically over a year, but it’s been a couple of months of drawing everything, usually in the evenings sat on the sofa watching TV!  

I currently have my first Image Set – Girl Gang – in the Design Space image library. This one is inspired by girl power and my own sassy style. Then, launching soon, is the British food Image Set. This collection is full of some British favourites, from scones and English breakfasts to sausage rolls and pasties! The easiest way to find them is by searching my name in the Images Sets section of the image library. They are all part of the Cricut Access subscription too! 

It feels so surreal to go and make something on my machines and be able to make my own designs and even more surreal to know that you are all cutting them too!

I have loved seeing your makes so far. Please do tag me in anything you make with them I would love to see! You can tag me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/emmajewellcrafts/ and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/emmajewellcrafts).

I’m excited to add more images soon with a British vibe, we have some really exciting themes planned! 

Procrastination Paper

I was featured in the March copy of The Procrastination Paper talking about how I became a full-time crafter. (Spoiler alert: Lots of glitter, blood, sweat and tears!)

This is a fabulous monthly magazine that encourages you to take time away from your phone and enjoy a slice of life offline! This Arts and Crafts themed issue also featured some of my fave crafty friends Nerrisa Pratt and Mike, the Crafty Gentleman!

Hobbycraft Workshops

I’m also excited to announce that I am going to be hosting 12 workshops for Hobbycraft in April.

I’ll be teaching you how to use and apply Vinyl to personalise your home. There are available to book through Hobbycraft’s event pages here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/hobbycraft-14689461450 

See you in April!

Emma x 

Join Emma’s Facebook Group community – The Cricut Club UK – or visit her web site: https://www.emmajewellcrafts.co.uk/

Categories
MAKER STORIES

An inspiring story of creating through challenges

At Cricut we are always humbled to hear stories from our members of how their machines and craft supplies have helped them to cope with challenges in their lives.

International Women’s Day seemed like the perfect day to share one such story. An individual story that is typical of so many. This is Lisa Johns’ story.

Lisa, 33 from Cornwall, tells us how discovering Cricut helped her to deal with a medical condition shortly after the birth of her daughter.

Lisa’s Story

“I started having severe migraines when I was 5 months pregnant. The doctors put it down to my high hormone levels at the time. Around 6 weeks, after Lainey was born, I would wake up at 5am each day with migraines again. At one point, I couldn’t see out of my left eye. Then, a few hours later, I couldn’t see out of my right eye.

“The doctors referred me for an MRI which highlighted a small growth in my brain. After 6 weeks, we finally had the news that it was non-cancerous but is growing on the pituitary gland. This gland controls all other glands in the body so hormone production can be affected. We are now awaiting results to find out which of my hormones are affected and whether treatment or medication is required depending on these results.

How did creativity help you?

“I first heard about Cricut when I was pregnant, during the first national lockdown in the UK. I’d been baking for a long time and wanted something new to get stuck into. I started searching for hobbies to do at home and discovered the amazing world of Cricut.

“After Lainey was born Cricut gave me something positive to focus on while Lainey (my daughter) was sleeping. She loves her sleep so I found myself getting anxious and down whilst awaiting the results of my tests.

“Crafting allowed me to escape the negative thinking and keeping my mind and hands busy during the dark days is what got me through.”

Creative escape

We asked Lisa what her favourite projects are and what she likes to make.

“The first thing I made was a wooden sign for my home with our surname on using removable vinyl as a stencil. I then made a wooden sign for Lainey’s bedroom that had her name and ‘We love you to the moon and back’ on it.

“My favourite things to make are home organisation labels , 3D flowers in a box frame, and cushion covers.

“My must-have tools are the weeding tool and Infusible Ink! I was always so afraid of using the Infusible Ink. I was terrified it would be too complicated but oh my gosh, I am addicted! So simple to use and you can create the most beautiful crafts with it! My favourite make is a unicorn image that says ‘Born to be a unicorn’ inside a unicorn head shape (from Design Space), using the rainbow Infusible Ink. It turned out so well!

“The next thing I would love to try is an exploding photo box with Lainey’s first year in photos inside.”

International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, we asked Lisa to tell us about a woman who has made a significant impact on her life.

“The biggest inspiration in my life is my mum. She raised 5 children, worked so hard to provide for us. Along with my dad, she showed us how to face the hard things in life, and enjoy the happy times. My father passed away from lung cancer in November 2016. Then, 3 months later, my mum was diagnosed with lung cancer, on top of an existing lung condition which already made everyday life an extreme struggle for her.

“She fought so hard through chemotherapy as they couldn’t offer surgery due to her existing condition. I watched her struggling to breathe, no hair, and facing the daunting news that they could not operate and she never once moaned, or gave up.

“She got up every day and started the fight again. Her cancer is still there but it is under control. She is as strong today as she was back then despite her illness. My mum is my hero and she has made me the strong and independent person I am today.”

Looking ahead

The entire Cricut team wishes Lisa the very best as she continues to find out more about the growth in her brain and seeks treatment. Lisa explains her next steps:

“I am still waiting to find out what my treatment will involve but I am lucky that it won’t involve chemotherapy or radiotherapy which was a big worry for me at the start.

“The thought of raising a young child whilst going through such physically and mentally demanding treatment was daunting but now it’s a case of keeping an eye on the growth with regular scans and blood tests.”

You can see some of Lisa’s projects on her Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/along_came_lainey/.

We are so grateful to Lisa for telling her story. We know there are many more examples of people using crafting as a form of escape and distraction. And so we wish everyone strength and courage on this International Women’s Day.

Read about more women inspiring Cricut creators in this blog post on our US blog.

Categories
MAKER STORIES

February catch up with Emma Jewell

As we wave goodbye to the second month of 2021, we’re catching up with Cricut UK content partner, Emma Jewell, to find out what she’s been up to.

Hello!

I didn’t think I’d been up to much in February, but looking back it seems I’ve actually made lots of projects and been a busy bee!  

Crazy for cards

I kicked the month off by getting stuck into a bit of card making. I don’t give myself as much time to get stuck into papercraft projects as I would like, so I made sure to set aside an afternoon to have a play. I wanted to use my Cricut Joy to create some cards that weren’t the normal insert card style. I set about resizing some card projects and images in Design Space and created a pile of lovely intricate cards.  

The boom box card went down a storm on my Instagram and my Facebook group and I’ve seen lots of others discovering this gem of a project. Take a look at the image set ‘Crazy cool cards’ in Design Space; there are some great cards in there. 

To adapt the cards for Joy you’ll need to take away any score lines (you’ll need to add the score lines by hand). Also, make sure to search the image section with your machine mode changed to Maker or Explore as this will bring up any cards with score lines that aren’t usually visible for Joy. 

I also got a lot of love for this aperture deer card I created from a shadow box design in Design Space. I have a blog post with all of the steps if you would like to create your own! 

Hochanda shows

In February I worked with Hochanda – the craft shopping channel twice for Cricut. I’m still skyping in from my craft room at home and have spent some time behind the scenes investing in boring things like longer cables to make this look as good as possible.

The main focus for the Hochanda Cricut shows this month was Cricut Joy and card making. This meant I got to showcase some of my favourite card designs in Cricut Design Space! 

Research and reading up

I’ve been feeling a little uninspired (no doubt due to being stuck inside the house) so headed to eBay and bought a lot of vintage craft books to get some inspiration. Some of the projects are so funny, but there are definitely lots of projects I can reimagine for 2021! I’m excited to get started recreating! 

I don’t often get to sit and craft for no reason now, so to remedy this I booked myself onto a bargello workshop with the queen of bargello (and fellow Cricut lover) Nerissa Pratt from the Bargello Edit. She sent out all of the materials and we spent a lovely morning on zoom learning to make a bargello plant pot cover.

I highly recommend bargello, I’ve definitely already got the bug! It’s one of those really easy and chill crafts that comes together quickly and is great to do whilst sitting in front of the TV. 

Upcycling crafts

I have a box of blank items, that I like to grab if I want to make something but haven’t got a project in mind yet. I’ve had this white vase is there for a while and wondered what to do with it, I found this fun balloon animal image in design space and thought it would be so cool on the vase. I might put balloon animals on everything it turned out to be so cute!

Craft haul

I treated myself to a bit of a craft haul from Hobbycraft this month, I can’t wait to be able to wander aimlessly around a craft shop again! I’ve had my eye on a badge maker for a while now and decided it was finally time to treat myself to it!

I’ve been keeping my projects with it pretty simple so far, just making badges out of patterned paper, but I’m planning to use the print and cut feature on my Maker to create some really cool badges! It will be interesting to see how I can use both together. 

Spring projects

Since spring is coming, lots of the projects I have been working on lately have been very floral. Two of my projects for Hobbycraft this month included paper flowers. This pastel spring wreath used 2d flowers to make a 3D project when all glued onto the wreath together.

Then my latest project for Hobbycraft shows you how to create 5 3D paper flowers, poppies, daffodils, lillies, carnations and roses using a mix of techniques.  You can watch the video here.

I created two projects for the Ryman blog this month. I did a tutorial for some beautiful draw then cut floral notecards and a really fun kids crown tutorial. These are both quick and easy projects that could be made on any Cricut machine. 

I hope you’ve had a fabulous February!  look forward to seeing you again in March.

Love and Glitter,  

Emma 

Categories
MAKE TO SELL MAKER STORIES

Combining a business with your job

For many businesses, juggling other responsibilities, whether that be family commitments or other jobs, is a fine art.

We asked Mike Aspinall, the fabulous creator behind The Crafty Gentleman brand, how he manages to combine his business with his job.

Hello. I’m Mike

Crafter Mike Aspinall - The Crafty Gentleman - in his craft room.

I’m a crafter, blogger, and soon-to-be author! I run a craft business and DIY blog called The Crafty Gentleman, where I share hundreds of free projects you can make yourself at home. I’m also one of the ambassadors for Cricut here in the UK (which is a dream role!).

Alongside my craft business, I also have a part-time day job in digital marketing. I work from Monday to Thursday, which leaves Friday as my main crafting day. Unsurprisingly, it’s my favourite day of the week! It’s also usually the busiest day too. I invariably have a lot to catch up on, and cram into one day…

A (Fri)day in the life

It’s a cliche, but every day is different when it comes to running my craft business! Some days will be spent catching up on admin, like invoicing and taxes, emails, and project planning. Others will be spent creating and photographing new projects for the blog. That could be anything from sewing in my craft room, to woodworking in the garden. And other days are spent at TV studios, having interviews, or doing live recordings. I love how varied this career is – it keeps things fresh and doesn’t leave any room for boredom!

My advice for anyone wanting to combine a business with a job is that it’s all in the planning.

Plan to succeed

The one thing about my crafting Fridays that is constant, is that they actually begin the night before. I always take 10 minutes to write myself a list of what I want to achieve the next day. This helps me hit the ground running as soon as I get out of bed, and allows me to be as productive as possible.

Generally, I’ll set myself 1-2 ‘big’ goals for the day. For example, a project I want to make, or a series of blog posts I plan to write. I’ll then add in a few smaller, quicker items – like emails I need to send, or some admin tasks to get done. I’ll invariably set myself more to do than I actually have time for, but I’m learning to accept that that’s okay!

There’s only so many hours in the day, and it’s impossible to be 100% productive, 100% of the time.

I’m also a big advocate for batch working (grouping together similar tasks and working on them at the same time). So I’ll often have a ‘sewing day’ one week, then a ‘photography day’ the next. Then maybe a ‘writing and editing’ day after that, and so on. Although let’s keep things real: it’s not always this fun, there’s also the ‘admin and taxes’ days…

My book project

Not only am I combining my business with a job, I am also writing a book…

Recently, a lot of my time has been spent working on my very first craft book (exciting!). The book is due to be published in spring 2021 – you can read more about it here.

I’m currently in the thick of writing the book. I’ve designed all of the projects and made half of them. (I can’t wait to share them!)

I’m definitely starting to realise how much time and effort a book demands, especially as I’m designing, making, and photographing all of the projects myself! It’s a challenge juggling it alongside my other craft work, and my day job. But I’m really enjoying the process so far, and it feels like a natural progression from writing a craft blog for so many years.

Cricut x The Crafty Gentleman

I’m fortunate enough to have worked with lots of really cool brands over the years – but Cricut is, by far, the most significant.

My partnership with Cricut goes all the way back to 2017 when I first worked with the team on a few sponsored blog posts. Since then, I’ve represented Cricut on Hochanda TV, run Cricut demos at lots of events across the UK, designed projects for Design Space, and even spoken at the global Cricut conference in Utah (best week ever!).

The Cricut Maker is my must-have craft gadget. It’s no exaggeration to say that my Cricut machines are some of my most-used craft gadgets. I’d struggle to run my business without them. Especially my Maker, which I turn to again and again. It helps me create customised and professional makes for so many aspects of my business. This includes my online shop, where I sell a range of accessories for crafters, as well as props and tutorials for my blog. I’ve also used it for lots of ad-hoc projects, from organising my craft space right through to making a shop window display for a local business!

(I’ve also written a detailed guide to the various Cricut machines, which is now one of my most-read blog posts of all time!)

I’m endlessly thankful to the Cricut UK team for their generosity and support over the years. They really are a great bunch to work with! Going forward, I’m really excited to continue working with them on future product launches and events. (Hopefully, we can start doing physical events soon…) And, even after all these years, there’s still so much more I want to make with my Cricut machines – I’ve got so many more ideas that I can’t wait to share!

More information for uisng Cricut in a business

To see more examples of small businesses using Cricut, head to our Make to Sell pages or this blog post where we showcase a number of creative businesses using Cricut products including Mike’s Iron-On decals and ready-made gifts for crafters.

Categories
MAKE TO SELL MAKER STORIES

From side hustle to successful business

Whilst the pandemic has presented challenges to many, for budding entrepreneur Laurel Mae it also provided the opportunity to take her passion for creativity in a new direction. Seizing the day, she set up her own business, LaurelMaeArt, selling cute and cozy stationery designs.    

The 25-year old from Derbyshire has always loved getting creative. “I began pursuing art when I was on my gap year and I started selling my creations on loads of different products,” Laurel explains.

Laurel Mae Art talks to Cricut about her business

This continued when she started her career in retail, and she began freelancing and taking commissions for bespoke custom portraits and illustrations.  

Setting up the side hustle  

When the pandemic hit, Laurel was placed on furlough from her job. “It was tough but I wanted to make the best of lockdown,” Laurel told us. “I wanted something to take my mind off things and I’d always toyed with the idea of opening a shop on Etsy. Being on furlough seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a chance and go for it.”  

Expanding her business with Cricut  

Her first products on her Etsy store consisted of custom prints that she designed, but Laurel was keen to branch out. “Ever since I opened my Etsy shop last year I wanted to scale up. I’d heard about Cricut from other people and it was on my wishlist for ages,” she explains. “I managed to save enough money to get the Cricut Explore. Once it arrived I couldn’t believe how many different designs and products I could make using just one machine! It was really exciting, and it definitely got me thinking about all the new things that I could create and sell.”  

As well as continuing to offer prints, Laurel started branching out and making stickers for her Etsy shop. That was when things really started to take off. “Print designs are quite a niche audience,” Laurel adds. “So when I started creating and selling my stickers, I noticed that I was able to reach a whole new audience with my designs and I saw a huge increase in sales.”   

The success of her online shop has seen Laurel branch out into a variety of different products including notepads, bookmarks and pins. “I wanted to be able to scale up the business, but I’m completely shocked by how quickly it has grown. Without Cricut I definitely wouldn’t have been able to make new items. I’m really proud of how successful this first year has been, and I’m so excited to see where the business goes next!”  

Laurel Mae’s top tips to growing your own business:  

For those looking to start their own side hustle, Laurel has a couple of tips. “It’s very easy to look at what other people are doing, but don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Success takes time, and it is important to remember that you’re just starting out. Stick to what you’re doing and don’t worry about other people!”  

Laurel also says it’s important to have targets. “Set yourself clear goals and build your way up from there. When I created a shop on Etsy, I set myself achievable milestones; I said that I’d sell a certain amount of products before I’d buy myself a Cricut. Once I reached that target and Cricut arrived in my life, I’ve been able to create even more, and reach more and more people.”   

You can follow Laurel Mae on Instagram and Tik Tok and her Etsy store is Laurel Mae Art.

For more articles on Cricut for business, visit the Make to Sell pages of the blog.

Categories
DISCOVER MAKER STORIES

January catch up with Emma Jewell

We asked Cricut UK content partner, Emma Jewell, what’s she’s been up to this month, in the first of her series of crafty diaries.

Cricut Content Creator Emma Jewell

Hello! 

I can’t believe it’s the end of January, it feels like it’s been a very long version of January! Here’s what I’ve been up to this month! 

As you may know, I present the monthly shows for Cricut on Hochanda – the craft-focused TV shopping channel – demonstrating the machines and everything they can do alongside a presenter in the studio.

I normally head to Peterborough to film the live TV slots, but due to the lockdown things are a little different this month! I am Skyping in live to the studio from my craft room, I have a webcam and monitor set up opposite my craft desk so that I can see the presenter in the studio, and they can see me. It feels very strange to be broadcasting onto live TV from home, especially as it meant I could keep my fluffy slippers on the whole time!

My 2-year-old niece found it a little confusing though, she kept shouting at her TV because I was ignoring her and not replying to her questions. I think she thought I was on Facetime as usual from the craft room! 

Emma Jewell Hochanda shows
My view when I’m broadcasting live for Hochanda.

One of the products we focussed on in this month’s shows was Sportflex Iron-on which is great for using with your stretchy fabrics and things like leggings and tighter t-shirts as it allows your design to stretch with the fabric. I’ve been enjoying making lots of samples for the shows with Sportflex, like children’s leggings, T-Shirts and Sports Bras. I particularly enjoyed this “I sweat glitter” top I created using a design from the Cricut Design Space library.

We recently invested in Ring Fit Adventure, a fitness game for the Nintendo Switch, so I might start wearing it when I next do a little work out in the lounge! 

Since we are in lockdown here in the UK, we’ve been trying to stay occupied and stop it from feeling like Groundhog Day every day. One of my fave ways to trick myself into thinking that I’ve left the house is to sleep in a different room on our air bed every couple of weeks and pretend like we’ve been away for a mini-break. I’m not sure why but it definitely works! 

I’ve also been doing a bit of embroidery in the evenings to stop myself from getting stuck scrolling on my phone. I have been drawing out designs onto fabric using the fabric pen in my Maker to create a template which I can wash off once I have stitched up my design. I find it a really calming way to switch off in the evenings. 

Just before Christmas I introduced a new love of my life into the craft room – my Dreambox. This purpose-built craft cabinet of dreams by Create Room arrived flat packed in December and is now fully built and filled with all of my supplies. It took me over 4 hours just to sort everything into it; it felt particularly important to get everything in rainbow order! 

I love that it gives me a fancy background and a part of the craft room that always looks tidy!  

Emma Jewell sits behind a desk in front of the Dreambox by CreateRoom

It’s already starring in the background of lots of the content I have been creating, I filmed a set of videos to help you get started with Cricut Joy. This getting started series will help you unbox the Cricut Joy, get set up, as well as show you around Cricut Design Space and the Cricut Joy app so you can get making with your new Joy machine. 

I’ve also been playing a lot with some of the newer Cricut products, in particular crystals vinyl and the rose bubbles vinyl, both have such a cool finish once cut. I love anything sparkly, so these are right up my street! 

I’ve been creating a lot with Infusible Ink too. I’m not sure I’ll ever be over how magic it is! I’m particularly loving the new blank cushion covers and cosmetic bags that launched at the end of last year – although I’m not sure there’s room on our sofa for me to make any more cushions! I’m also a big space fan so find myself reaching for the new galactic transfer sheets over any other designs. 

Planning and organisation is always top of my list for January, to get on top of everything for the year, so I created a video and tutorial for Hobbycraft on how to create planner stickers for your planner using the print and cut feature on your Cricut Maker or Explore Air 2. I love making cute but super functional stickers to fit my planner, I actually designed this set with Bridgerton as my inspiration; I have already watched it twice! 

Is anyone else watching The Great Pottery Throwdown, on Channel 4 at the moment? I love a crafty TV show (and pretending I’m an expert in things I know nothing about so that I can shout at the TV) and I really love seeing people being their creative best, it’s magic! I’ve also been getting into Blown Away on Netflix, a glassblowing competition which is absolutely mind-blowing and slightly stressful when the piece they have been working on for hours shatters, but I’d definitely recommend it if you are after something creative to watch! 

Until next time,

Love and Glitter,  

Emma x 

Follow Emma on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/emmajewellcrafts/ and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/emmajewellcrafts, join her Facebook Group community – The Cricut Club UK – or visit her web site: https://www.emmajewellcrafts.co.uk/

Categories
MAKER STORIES

I started crafting in lockdown

This article first appeared in Papercrafter Magazine, issue 156 (January 2021).

We spotted this article in Papercrafter and couldn’t wait to share it on our blog. Jess’s story is very typical of many Cricut members, where a life event or setback prompts a new hobby. In this article Jess shares how Cricut and crafting helped her to cope with lockdown and we just love the projects she’s been making.

Say hello to Jess Hallas – she is new to the crafting world and is very pleased to meet you!

Crafting in lockdown was the perfect saviour for me. Prior to that, I was juggling full-time work with part-time volunteering for a not-for-profit organisation, so everything was very fast-paced. Then suddenly I was on furlough, and whilst I was still able to do volunteer work from home, I had so much spare time on my hands.

In those first couple of weeks of lockdown I struggled. My other half is in the Emergency Services so he was still going out to work, meaning I had too much alone time. Crafting put some routine back into my life – which I now realise I definitely needed – as well as a sense of purpose. And most importantly I enjoyed it so much, and still do.

I’d had crafts in my mind for a little while. My other half proposed to me in September 2019 and we started venue searching. I soon realised I wanted to design and create our wedding décor. Lockdown finally gave me the time, literally but also mentally, to properly think about what I wanted to do.

I’d had my eye on a Cricut machine for quite some time, so I sold some hair styling equipment (which I never used anyway!) and in exchange I finally bought the Cricut Maker and have not looked back since.

So far I’ve made some wedding crafts but also lots of lovely cards, cake toppers and birthday banners for friends and family.

Pastel colours are my favourite; they’ve stuck with me for the eight months that I’ve been crafting. I’d like to think the cards I make are stylish but also fun, like the dinosaur one (above). I can see my style changing and evolving through my craft journey, but I think that’s the beauty of it! For my friend’s daughter’s birthday party, I made some farm-themed place cards for all the party food, and they are without a doubt my favourite make so far. A lot of love went into crafting them. They were very intricate with lots of layers, but it was an enjoyable couple of evenings spent creating them and it opened up my eyes to the amount of joy I could feel from making things.

I am beyond excited to continue on this crafting journey. I’ve been back at full-time work in a new job, but it hasn’t stopped me crafting; I now make time during evenings and weekends.

I really would love to try out as much as I possibly can. Quite clearly, I love papercrafts and that is what started me on this adventure, so I now want to explore stamping, foiling and embossing, and combine those with die cutting.

During lockdown I also did my first embroidery kit (so relaxing!) and I have a polymer clay kit to try out too. I’m part of the crafting world now – I can’t wait to see where it takes me and I’m definitely never going back.

You can follow Jess on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/craftwithjess/

You can follow Papercrafter magazine on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/papercraftermag/