This Time It's Personal!
Hello, and welcome to my FIRST EVER blog! Grab yourself a cuppa (or a glass of something bubbly - I won't judge!) and read on to find out more about ME.
Firstly, I want to introduce myself.
I’m Clair Clarke the Owner-of and face-behind Freya Grace Boutique Limited. I am 39 years old (just). Daughter, Wife, friend to many & Mum to 2 beautiful girls (11 & 7).
Originally born in Aberdeen, Scotland I grew up in a small village 30 miles south of the Granite City. I'd always loved art, design & crafts. My Mum was a nurse (and still is!) and My Dad was an engineer turned architect/builder after he designed and BUILT our own family home - yes, totally! I’m quite squeamish when it comes to all things biological and nurse-y, and the only thing I enjoyed about the hospital where my Mum worked was eating the biscuits and sweets at the nurses’ station whilst chatting to the other nurses on shift. So, it was no surprise that I followed my passion for design, which I got from my Dad. After leaving school I went on to study Architecture then onto Telford College in Edinburgh to study Interior Design (I realised after my 1st year of studying Architecture that I spent more time deciding what to put IN the buildings rather than how to build them, plus I'm terrible at maths!).
I now live in Redditch, Worcestershire and no, I’m not an Architect! It's funny where life takes you. I never thought I'd live anywhere other than Scotland – and certainly never thought I’d be running my own business from home -but fate intervened in 2000 and here I am 19 years later 'A Scot Abroad'!
(find out in a later blog how I ended up living in England and how on earth I ended up running my own business - it's quite a read, you'll definately need the stromger stuff for that blog!)
So, back to present day. I manage and run Freya Grace Boutique from my purpose-built Studio in my own back garden.
Sounds fancy doesn’t it? It’s not really.
It can be cold and lonely some days – however, I can work my own hours around my family (Mr FGB, Me, Pest no.1 & Pest no.2) so that I can do the school runs, brunch with friends and attend any last minute school ‘things’ without having to ask weeks in advance for time off. Plus, no one complains if I come to work in my slippers or if I fart a little too loudly (I mean sing…sing a little too loudly!).
I used to work from the kitchen table (this will become a recurring theme, so get used to the The Dream Kitchen references!), but when boxes and packaging started taking over the entire house, I knew I had to find a space for my growing business. Plus, our Kitchen table is over 24 years old
– not in the ‘nice’ antique-y way that you’re probably imagining –
no, it was my Husbands' desk that he had in his shared flat when he was a student! It’s a horrible yellow pine colour with a huge scratch in it from where we accidentally placed our wardrobe on top when moving into our current house and a rogue screw scratched the entire top of the table!! It’s permanently hidden by various wipe-clean table cloths (messy kids!) as well as a mountain of post and school newsletters. It has wobbly legs and the plastic ‘feet’ no longer serve a purpose, so any time it moves it makes a terrible sound on the tiled floor - like nails down a blackboard! Eeeeekkkkk.
I’ve never bought my own kitchen table – let alone my own kitchen!
I’m 39 years old and all I want is my own Kitchen!
The inner designer in me screams to have The Dream Kitchen.! I’ve had my ideas pinned to the fridge
For. Like. Ever.
but never quite managed to afford The Dream Kitchen refurb! So, you could literally help build a dream by buying from FGB!!
Anyway, sorry about that…Back to the Studio…
I looked locally to rent an office space; however, rents were really high, and after doing some research into Garden Offices, I quickly realised that renting was money down the drain. So, I bit the bullet, picked my Big Girl pants and asked the Bank (of Mum & Dad) for a loan! It’s just a little office space, separate from the house so that I can distinguish between ‘work life’ and ‘home life’ – although sometimes the home life comes to visit and drinks all my hot chocolate!
Occasionally I catch myself typing ‘We’ or ‘Us’ on my social media channels [Facebook. Instagram. Twitter] rest assured, there is only ME. I have literally taught myself how to do EVERTYTHING associated with running a small business. From web design to social media and blogging right through to filing an HMRC VAT return! I am self-taught, so do forgive any mistakes – there’s still a lot to learn.
It’s me who replies to your emails, me who sources and buys all the products you see on the website, me who packs & ships all your orders, me who promotes the business and me who attends any events or craft fairs ‘we’ might book. (see…there’s that ‘we’). I am taking all the credit and I’m very proud of this. I take pride in the fact that I source stylish and affordable gifts. I personally pick each of the products you see on-line. I also support other local small businesses to bring you something you may not necessarily find on your local high street. [Are you a Small Business and would like to be featured on the website? Click HERE for details]
Remember, when you buy from a Small Business a real person does a happy dance - saves for their Dream Kitchen - THAT Dream Kitchen won’t pay for itself you know!
On a positive note, I am one step closer to The Dream Kitchen, our dishwasher broke earlier this month, so we’ve had to buy a brand new one! It makes every other appliance in the Kitchen look like it’s from the Stone Age with it’s smug A++ rating and sparkling grey exterior, but, every cloud! I just need the rest of the Kitchen to match it's cool grey smug-ness!
Hey ho, buy from a Small Business an-all-that!
Much love, until my next Freya Grace BLOGtique adventure. (Stick with me, it will get better!)
Friday 24th January 2020.
Freya Grace Boutique…for home…for gifts…for you.