Saturday, 25 June 2011

Price Increases for Chic Unique

After a very long, teary, heart to heart with my business advisor (thatll be the hubby by the way!) last night ive had to review all my prices. For the last 6 months i havent taken a wage for any of the jewellery i make, neither have i charged for postage.
Time is precious and cant be returned and hand crafting jewellery from scratch takes time and lots of it. The design process, then shopping for findings then actually creating the piece is what you dont get charged for if you shop at a high street store and their prices are still expensive.
So from today onwards in ALL my outlets the prices have to be brought up into line with other retailers and finally ill be able to take a wage for all my hard work.
This for me isnt a hobby, its a business i want to see grow and flourish into a brand that people can trust and will return to time and again but to able to do that i have to charge prices that cover every single cost that hand making jewellery from scratch encounters. For you to receive the best service, quality items and unique one off pieces then my prices have to rise.
I did argue, i didnt simply back down and i thought long and hard how business would be effected by the increases but at the end of the day every single item is handmade and designed from scratch for every single customer. i dont mass produce, and i never make more than one of anything unless asked to do so by the customer.
I hope you can all accept that this is for the best interests of myself and my business and in no way means im trying to charge more for less.
I will be able to buy more expensive findings and charms and spend more time on each piece to ensure everyone gets more than what they pay for as you have done in the past.
I hope to see you all again soon

L x

There is a hash tag comp running over on twitter at the mo. Pop the hash tag #chicuniqueuk into a tweet saying why you think you deserve to win a custom item for you choice to be in with the chance of winning, Comp closes on 1st july at 12pm.
Good Luck!
Also some sale items will be regulary added to the store and a monthly comp with run on facebook and on twitter.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

New Products

So to lift the mood after the aftermath of moaning I've spent the day jotting down ideas and sketching (I've not picked up a pencil to draw in over 10 years!!) and I've decided that i am going to design and make some little branded gifts for the website.
i was thinking some cute hand printed wrapping paper and cards that can be bought for a few quid with jewellery that's for gifts at check out.
i also thought about some cute button magnets, a pack of 4 possibly for a few pound.
Maybe some little cross stitch badges
Also i thought a pin cushion, i have a fab idea with cross stitch for one.
Maybe some silk screen printed tshirts/vest tops, knickers and socks.
And lastly some writing paper.
All in a new skool tattoo style working with the swallow and roses theme, adding in the odd cameo etc. All stamped with Chic Unique so its 'official' stock. All will be very affordable but takes the shop that step further into a boutique as we are diversifying .
Would love to hear your comments about this as it will be a lot of work making up large amount of stock etc.
Thanks guys

L xx


At present i seem to do a LOT of moaning.. yesterday was the kids with chicken pox and before now I've had a good old rant about well ANYTHING but today has seriously got my goat!!
I can hear you all now sighing deeply but my two pet hates for the day have been none paying customers and none returning of emails!!
I'm not a name and shame sort of person (plus they may read my blog and that would totally be ARKWARD!!)
But i often get asked to make special customer requests which are usually for holidays or a special occasion and i ALWAYS jump through hoops to make sure its EXACTLY as they want it, if not ill change it!! So when you get the go ahead on a design to make it WITH matching items its exciting but you also expect to be paid for this work! i don't charge a fortune and ALWAYS double check with the customer before going ahead with anything so off i went made this AMAZING set and well I'm still waiting for payment, this goes right back to the beginning of the year and despite 4 promises of payment in the post tomorrow it still hasn't arrived and now I'm being completely ignored. I wouldn't mind so much but she is a crafter herself, I'm sure she wouldn't tolerate this if it was her goods she was waiting payment for!
So would you just pop it on the website and sell it or hold onto it indefinitely? I hate the idea of selling it to someone else but i also know that's the BUSINESS way of doing things, if it had been in a shop it would of been up for sale the following day... (grow some balls woman!!)
Now none returning of emails... i don't always have access to the mac during the day with the kids and what not under my feet but i have one of these new fangled devises where u can pick your emails up any time of the day, and best of all it TELLS you when you've got one! so can someone explain to me why some people find it impossible to return your emails? i mean you wouldn't pick up the phone and just say nothing would you? You wouldn't open the front door and just stare blankly with your gob open to your visitor like some sort of pig ignorant zombie?
So as you can see I'm kinda riled by today, I've had nothing but bullshit, ignorance and brick walls! i even had the strangest convo regards a sale item...not mine there's... totally wasn't the response i expected but for once i kinda just said it how it was! i mean FFS! (was that to cryptic?) also GREEDY FUCKER came to mind to but i wasn't quite THAT honest!
Sometimes i just don't GET people, why they do and say the things they do and why everyone is after making others feel shit or after ripping them off.

I TOTALLY worry I'm not cut out for this.....

L xx

Monday, 13 June 2011

Day 23

The last 48 hours haven't been my finest hour at all. Yesterday was supposed to be the summer fair of all fairs... we go along to this massive high school gym full to the rafters of gifts, crafts and goodies. doors open at 11.30 and.... well nothing!! Not a sausage... tumble weed for 4 hours then i loose my temper and we leave!! The general consensus was RIP OFF CENTRAL! For me though i felt incredibly done over! Now i know you shouldn't take these things personally but i jumped through hoops to get that spot and for what? 3 nosey old ladies and someone offering spots at another fair!
This however seems to be more to my liking, Urban Craft Fairs and stalls are only £10 and they are quite regular so 23rd July we will be at Thornton Methodist Church. Fingers crossed there wont be tumble weed this time!! The silver lining to my monstrous FAIL of a fair was a 4 hour catch up with my best friend, yes there was laughter, there was tears but most of all it was adult conversation! A whole day with no TV, tears, tantrums and dirty nappies! That in itself was worth the £12 i paid to spend the day sat in a freezing cold gym with no customers! Maybe sometimes you just have to see beyond your initial disappointment and make the most of a bad situation :)
Coming home to  smothering cuddles was also a total plus point to my day! If only i could get that once a be a new person in no time!!
You may have noticed my mood has lightened its about to turn...
Monday morning comes and low and behold Lis has whacking great big red itchy spots on her back... me and MR Geek Pants debate their origin for half an hour then i call the school. School shriek and ban her from the premises! Slightly over reacting but i often feel like that about my kids too ;)
Come lunch time they have bred under a rock and are as scary as earlier. I thoroughly check the other kids, Zoe has one whack bag in the middle of her chest... GREAT!
Several websites later and a consult from Mr Geek Pants colleague....CHICKEN POX!
Fucking marvelous!!! There goes my relaxing holiday at the weekend and under house arrest for a WHOLE FRIGGIN WEEK!!
Now you would think this isn't so bad... that thought had crossed my mind a few times over already today BUT... by Wednesday they are gonna be bored, fed up, tired and all round grumpy and with MR Geek Pants working the whole week as we go away on Fri i have no time to run screaming for the hills to regain my sanity!
At the moment they are eating me out of house and home and enjoying CBeebies reruns and i sneaked in an afternoon snooze while Emma napped on my knee... this wont last.... I'm terrified!

Now i know before you all shout at me.. i missed my Saturday makes and yes i did make pretty things for the girls bathroom I'm in the process of redecorating, BUT i did paint the stairs and the banister THEN in a delirious state deleted ALL the pics i took of the personalised towels and the mini beach hut wreath i made. yes GUTTED but ya know its set the mood for the week!

AND to top all this off i am SERIOUSLY considering selling Chic Unique and starting over!! MENTAL was what the majority of twitted shouted at me but i will continue to sell wholesale to my loyal little outlets and have a few more lined up but i spend so long working and designing and for very little return if I'm honest. i spend more time giving away for this that and the other than i do selling. Now custom orders however sell by the bucket load, but i spend a fortune on branding etc and the website doesn't really pull in enough sales to renew in Nov.
Ive been considering just reselling for pennies and focus on my sewing...bonnets are going by the truck load and i have done the odd little project here and there at wholesale which is really exciting especially as i haven't even set up shop so to speak yet. I just don't know whats best for me...I'm having a "WHO THE HELL AM I"episode and someone really needs to slap me in the face!!!

L xx

Friday, 10 June 2011

Lip Service

I'm admittedly not the biggest beauty and make up follower but i had a HUGE passion for the nail stickers which as you all already know come in pretty much any pattern, colour or design you desire! I currently have some cream with a gold lace pattern waiting to be applied and i fully intend to indulge my tootsies ready for the sunshine (thats if it EVER comes back!!)
But now there is a new craze sweeping the beauty industry and its Temporary Lip Tattoos. They are applied to the lips in a multitude of colours and patterns and last a whopping 8 hours! Jessie J is apparently a massive fan!
So without further a do, here' s a comment from Total Renewal about this fabulous new service...

You've heard of party stick-on lashes and designer stick-on nails, well there's a new service brought to you by Total Renewal mobile spa. This gets your lips in on the action with some funky temporary lip tattoos by Violent Lips. Celebrities such as Jessie J are going nuts with their lips this is sure to have you standing out from the crowd. Once applied the tattoos last up to 8 hours and come in fun designs such as Rainbow, Polka dots and Leopard prints. Total Renewal send their beauticians  to you at your home or location to have your lips glam'd up within minutes! They are great for partying, festivals, photo and video shoots or just because... As well as this they offer the latest beauty, hair and body treatments to have you looking and feeling your very best and are the one-stop mobile spa. So what are you waiting for get in touch with Total Renewal and experience this new temporary lip tattoo service.
£25 (single application)  £18 (each for a party booking)0203 0925978

Seriously, how COOL are they!!! So what you all waiting for? Got a prom? Wedding? Want to stand out from the crowd? Then get on the phone and book yourself an appointment!! I madly in love already!!!

L xx

Help Dora Help Campaign

Nick Jr. launches nationwide initiative to get pre-schoolers exploring 
Nick Jr., Nickelodeon’s leading pre-school channel, announces the launch of the Help Dora Help to bring exploration to life in nurseries and pre-schools across the UK. The campaign, supported by The Princes Foundation for Children and the Arts, consists of a free activity pack, giving nurseries and pre-schools educational activity resources, and the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £20,000.
The free activity pack, developed by Nick Jr. education experts, follows the Early Years Foundation Stage development goals and provides stimulating learning opportunities with the theme of Dora the Explorer’s adventures. It contains six activity session plans, a practitioner’s guide and other teaching aides to encourage pre-schoolers to use their imagination, solve problems and develop their sense of physical adventure.
The award fund allows pre-schools and nurseries to apply for a grant of up to £20,000 for educational and learning purposes. Runners up will be awarded discovery and learning equipment packages and Dora the Explorer will visit a selection of the successful nurseries. There will also be the opportunity for the nurseries to be featured on Nick Jr. 
Tina McCann, MD Nickelodeon UK, said: “As a broadcaster dedicated to offering pre-school audiences the best entertaining and educational content, we’re delighted to continue our support of pre-school education in the community with Help Dora Help. The campaign mirrors the very essence of what Dora the Explorer and Nick Jr. offer children - early years development and personal discovery.”   
Nurseries and pre-schools can apply for the free Help Dora Help Activity Pack and Award Fund at

Applications to the Help Dora Help Award Fund will be accepted from all UK pre-school settings, please see for full terms and conditions. The Help Dora Help Award Fund is a sum of up to £20,000 to meet the requirements of the winning pre-school setting. 
Closing date for applications is 22nd July. Applications received on or before this date will be posted on the Nick Jr. website gallery before being reviewed in August by a judging panel, which includes a representative from The Princes Foundation for Children and the Arts, Nick Jr. presenter Helena Dowling, education and parenting expert Collete Ford and Nickelodeon management. A shortlist of five nurseries and pre-schools will be selected who will be approached to take part in filming a Help Dora Help clip to be shown on the Nick Jr. channel and website throughout October with viewers invited to vote for their favourite nursery to win the funding. 

This fabulous campaign for nurseries and pre-schools was brought to my attention by the lovely Louise Harris at Rock ad Roll Baby World and fully intend to pass it on to the fantastic pre-school my daughter Emma currently attends.
The work some of our nurseries do on a daily basis even staggers me and the help and support Emma has received whilst in hers has been outstanding and we clearly take them for granted. Cuts are being made left right and centre and Sure Start Centres are closing all over the country and this amazing campaign could save your much loved nursery or pre-school.
So pass on the details, to your local nursery or pre-school and get them involved!! You may not need them now but one day you will.
Would love to hear your thoughts...

L xx

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Day 19 We Baked

Today had a stressful start.. we finally had the meeting we have been waiting for, for months about what support they can offer at school. Everything went better than expected and it has really put my mind at rest and FINALLY i have found what all that niggling was inside for the last few weeks! i almost feel reborn i feel that relaxed right now!!
I always clean or bake when im stressed and after 2 hours talking to people that didnt know emma and how wonderful she is i felt i needed both! i gutted the house AND did a mammoth bake!
I made Jaynes perfect cookies with fudge pieces AND made fudge muffins too and for a quick distraction before tea for the girls i let them decorate some.

As you can see PINK ICING! who doesnt love coloured icing on their cake!!

This was Zoe 's (almost 2) attempt, it did have a cherry on the top but she gobbled it up while my back was turned! I believe she has a cupcake maker in her!!

These wonderful Willy Wonka esque creations came from Emma! Think ill need the hoover at the ready after she's had one of these!

And these calorific cakes our by Elissa! Shes painfully skinny btw not that you could imagine that after seeing these!!!
So whatever inspires you.. find it and get baking, let the kids get messy and most importantly of all dont worry about the cleaning up and LAUGH! its amazing how something so trivial can bring so much joy to everyone!!
The caterpilla/monster/alien cake we made for Elissa for her 5th birthday was THE BEST cake ever!! (ok i throw my hands up it wasnt the best exicuted cake you have ever seen and the decorating was a bit to be desired but we had to reinact said cake for months after wards so couldnt of been that bad!)

L xx

Saturday, 4 June 2011

day 14... fathers day makes

So i had all these fabulous ides for fathers day this year as we where hand making but i realised a few days a go that we are away that weekend and with wholesale orders mounting up and the usual jewellery work i wont have time to do what i had in mind so me and the girls rustled up something cute for him today!

This is a photo that i took this afternoon and edited with a light sepia tone filter and printed on to photo paper. mounted it into the frame (these r 1.99 from b and m bargains!) they super glued our message in scrabble letters to the glass and the wooden frame.
We then made this cute card!

I hand cross stitched the little picture of daddy and we stuck it onto some photo paper. We then printed out a cloud and some cute little birds and glued them down. We then used magnetic scrabble letters from the travel edition to spell out our message and pop the girls names on. Its no Picasso but its cute... i just hope he likes it!! And the girls had fun!!!