Sarah Hurley Wins Kalixa Spirit of Small Business Award!





So today I can share some BIG news with you, I'm so excited to announce that a couple of weeks ago I was told I had won the Kalixa Pro Spirit of Small Business Award as the best sole trader! I popped off to London last week to collect my lovely award...

and today, there is a big feature in the Daily Mirror on all of the award winners...


Including me!!


So this is where I'd be SUPER grateful for your help - all of the 12 category finalists now go forward to a public vote to win the overall outstanding Small Business of the Year award and a massive £10,000 prize! I can't tell you how much this would mean to me - it seems bizarre that less than 4 years ago I had just £40 and an idea, a dream, that I could create things that would make people happy, make them want to create things too, that I could make award winning toys that children love and that help them to learn and use their imagination, that I could write stories and books, appear on TV and inspire people to craft and discover things that they are good at. I never imagined I would have over 600 products at this point, sold in lots of lovely places around the world, that I would be on the board of directors for CHA UK helping to build the industry and help other people like me who wanted to make something happen for themselves, that I would be able to employ people (I couldn't even find myself a job back then!!) and mentor other small businesses and watch them flourish and grow and yet just 4 years later here I am! I'm totally thrilled to win this one as it's the first award for me personally (others I've won have been for my products - which of course I love too!!) so I hope you'll spare just a minute to click here and vote for me!

Thank you all so SO much!
Lots of Love
Sarah x


Freebie Friday! Summer Breeze Journaling Cards


This week's Freebie Friday is a a set of Summer Breeze printable Journaling Cards - perfect for pocket scrapping, Project Life, Scrapbooking, Planners and all kinds of things!

You can download this weeks freebie over on my website right here

I'd love to see what you do with yours - leave me your blog links in the comments if you'd like to share :o)

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x


Business Relationships - My Tips!


Today I want to talk a bit about Business relationships, I'm often asked how to find clients, work with clients or deal with difficult situations, so here is my advice...

Equal Partners...

Like any other relationship, business relationships should be a partnership. This can be tricky when you're starting out, trying to impress or make connections and you desperately want to prove yourself and get a foot in the door, often you'll find yourself agreeing to crazy things just to get a 'yes' from that client you desperately want to secure "20,000? in a week? at cost price? oh go on then!" yup... been there! In the end, is it worth it? no! Set boundaries, work in a fair time, for a fair price (this isn't always money - I'll come to this later!) and make sure you get at least some of what you want out of it  (compromise is fine, backing down is not, don't lose yourself) - also be realistic, if you don't get everything done in that time and let that client down, thats the last you'll see of them! Someone I admire in business told me that despite being offered a pretty big deal at the start of their business, one they really wanted, they turned it down but stayed in touch with that company, when they were properly ready they were on good terms with that client and had an impressive track record to be able to negotiate what they really wanted - win / win!

If you walk away feeling like you've been shortchanged, resentment will set in, you won't do your best work and the relationship will become difficult. It's also very difficult to negotiate up again once you've agreed to work under crazy conditions - why would they pay you more or give you more time when you've shown you can do it in less time cheaper?

It goes both ways...

When you're more established, don't push relationships from the other side squeezing people for every last penny or second you can - it will only create bad feeling and fraught relationships. I know some management styles are the very bossy / pushy / lead by fear ones and maybe that works for some in the short term (though it never has for me, I've always left any job / client / supplier that has made me feel like that) I find from my own experience the best way to develop relationships is on an equal footing, my team are fully part of the company and we work together, no suggestion is too small to listen to, we all learn every day - never make the mistake of thinking you're too good / important / busy - to talk or listen to someone, I promise you, you aren't, no one is! Over the last few years I've met some very successful business people, the confident, happy, secure ones will always speak to you and treat you as an equal, the insecure ones living in fear try to make you feel small, don't be one of those ones! As they say - be nice to everyone on the way up because you might meet them on the way back down...

Don't be afraid to walk away...

You don't have to burn your bridges, just a simple 'this doesn't work for me right now but this experience / discussion / meeting has been invaluable, lets stay in touch and hopefully we can work together in the future' is a powerful thing, it shows you can stay in control of your own destiny, that you're confident and you have something to offer

Don't push it...

In my experience if you have to push too hard, it's not for you (yet!). Thats not to say you shouldn't fight for it because you ABSOLUTELY should!! Getting where you want to be is extremely hard work, I won't pretend it isn't, but if you've tried something from multiple angles and you just aren't making headway, if someone you need to engage is just not receptive to you or if you have that gut feeling that every time you try again you feel smaller and smaller and smaller, it's time to walk away. That doesn't mean it's over forever though. You'll often find as you become more experienced those doors open a little bit easier, just hop back a few a steps and try again! You'll also find that those doors that just keep slamming in your face are not the ones you really want once you start making progress anyway - I always say things happen for a reason and if you're being pushed away from something it's usually guiding you towards something else thats better!

It's not always about the money...

Not every good relationship is about the money. Thats not to say you should always work for free, of course we all have bills to pay and last time I checked, they won't take publicity / art supplies / a mention on a blog as payment on account! However, in the beginning of your career, working for free is a great way to build up your client list and your supplies. I chose 3 companies I loved when I started out and offered my services for free, in return I got boxes of art supplies I couldn't have afforded at the time, an impressive client list and lots of valuable experience! All of those also led in to being paid jobs for me at a later stage.

As you move on it can also be good to carve out a specific portion of time each month to do free stuff - maybe something for charity, an organisation, for good PR, in exchange for supplies or just because you enjoy it!

In their shoes...

Networking is a great way to meet people, this can be done at specific events (in the craft industry CHA UK organise some fantastic ones!) or just by getting in touch with people - social media makes this even easier for us now. People often email me to ask for advice on their crafts or business and I'm only too happy to help people wherever I can. However, if you do this then try putting yourself in their shoes, the cheeky and sometimes downright rude emails I get with messages like "how do I get your clients" to "this is urgent, please answer straight away" are most likely ignored!

Hold on tight...

Once you establish a good relationship, keep it! Sounds easy, right? It's all too easy to let your regular people slip because something new and shiny comes along, so you put off your regular person to chase the new opportunity - bad move! Word spreads fast (faster than you realise!) and new clients will always look at your track record - be loyal to those who were loyal to you - thats not to say you can't move on, but if and when you do, do so properly and respectfully.

and finally... Communication is key!

Looking for something specific? tell them. If your client thinks you just want to create something for them in exchange for supplies, thats probably all you'll get. If you want promotion / guidance  / advice then tell them, most will only be too happy to help!

I really hope thats helped and answered lots of the questions I've had recently. I love hearing about the businesses you're venturing in to, it's a very exciting time! - don't forget CHA-UK or CHA are great organisations if you're starting out in the crafting world, sign up for lots of help and advice.

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Sarah Hurley Lookbook Magazine - Volume 5!





Today I'm very pleased to share the latest issue of the Sarah Hurley Lookbook magazine!


This free online craft and inspiration magazine features lots of projects from my lovely Design Team, all the latest news from Hurley HQ, new product peeks and great articles and tutorials!

We would love to hear what you think of the issue. All of the products used in the projects shown are available here in my shop.

As ever, a massive thank you to my lovely design team who made such fabulous projects for this issue, and Lisa who put this issue together! Without them, none of this would be possible. We look forward to your comments and feedback.

Submissions for our Christmas Special and volume 6 are now open! To have your Sarah Hurley project considered for inclusion, please send us a photo of your project here.

Thank you for dropping by today

Sarah x

Freebie Friday! Bulldog Digi Stamp

This week's Freebie Friday is a cute Bulldog Digi Stamp - you may remember he featured in my Britannia digi kit...
You can download this weeks freebie over on my website right here

I'd love to see what you do with yours - leave me your blog links in the comments if you'd like to share :o)

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Sarah Hurley Exclusive for Freckled Fawn!






I'm very pleased to share today that I have once again teamed up with Freckled Fawn to bring you some gorgeous exclusive stickers alongside this months 'Oh Deer Me' kit
You can get hold of these while stocks last over on the Freckled Fawn website - I hope you love them as much as we do! I'll be showing you what I make with mine soon.

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Sarah Hurley's World of Imagination Shortlisted in Prestigious Toy Awards!





More exciting news to share with you all today, I'm over the moon to tell you that my World of Imagination Make Believe Shop Playset has been shortlisted for a Slow Craft Toy Award! These are very prestigious awards, backed by John Lewis, supporting traditional toys and engaging play rather than computer games and flashing lights (though those are fun too!)
When I was developing the range I looked for a way to involve craft, learning and good old fashioned fun in one cute case and hopefully I achieved it! Now it's up to a panel of 6 prestigious judges including top parenting bloggers, authors and representatives of John Lewis and The Guardian to decide the winner, we'll be waiting on the edge of our seats at Hurley HQ!

if you're a blogger, journalist or writer and would like a copy of our press release please email us here and we'll send it straight over

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Sarah Hurley Digital at Snap Click Supply / Jessica Sprague!





Today I get to share some super exciting news, you can now find my designs over at Snap Click Supply, the home of Jessica Sprague digital!
You can read more about this over on the Snap Click Supply blog or check out all of the available designs over on the Snap Click Supply website!

Thank you for dropping by today
Sarah x

Papercraft Inspirations Projects!





Today a brand new issue of Papercraft Inspirations hit the shelves featuring some of my Halloween cards on the cover!
Remember when I said I'd had a commission from Papercraft Inspirations that made me squeal with excitement? This was it! I love Halloween and don't get to do nearly enough crafty projects so working on these was an absolute dream!

The magazine also comes with a free Paper Bow card kit - not to be missed, get your copy in store or to download to your iPad right now :o)

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Freebie Friday! Printable Polkadot Recipe Cards

To coincide with this weeks Bakeware launch (see previous post!) this week's Freebie Friday is a set of two co-ordinating printable Recipe Cards...
You can download this weeks freebie over on my website right here

I'd love to see what you do with yours - leave me your blog links in the comments if you'd like to share :o)

Thank you for dropping by today!
Sarah x

*NEW!* Sarah Hurley Bakeware




Today we're launching a whole range of new products - so exciting! When Lisa first started working here she suggested we launch a bakeware range - I wasn't sure, I'm not a super duper baker and I like everything put together for me so it's super easy. Luckily thats exactly what she had in mind!
Lisa has since spent all of her free time baking, cutting and icing cookies to put together this fabulous range of cookie kits and accessories especially for the Sarah Hurley Bakeware range! (big thank you to Lisa for all the hard work and congratulations on our first collaboration, whoop! choccy cake all round - if we hadn't eaten it already, lol)

Each kit contains everything you need to get started (except ingredients!) with a cutter, icing bottles, instructions, recipes and hints and tips, they are perfect for adults and children (or to do together!)

You can check out the whole range here on my website or here on notonthehighstreet.com

We'd love to know what you think of the new range!

Thank you for dropping by today
Sarah x

Pimp My Filofax Blogger Challenge





A couple of weeks ago I had an email from Filofax asking if I would like to take part in their Blogger Challenge #pimpmyfilofax - of course I said YES!
Just a couple of days later a lovely big parcel plopped through my door...
and I opened it to find this...
I must admit, my first thought, after 'eeeeeeeeeeeek!' was 'oh, it's purple...' as you've probably guessed from my projects and blog, I have quite a particular colour scheme, white, teal, pink, grey, hints of yellow and lots and lots and LOTS of gold. So I started thinking... could I...? dare I...? and so of course, I did! out came the gold spray paint and just a few hours - and lots of masking tape - later (I had to do it in sections...) my beautiful filofax was GOLD!
Once that was all taken care of it was time to prepare a page to use for my challenge entry, I got busy with craft supplies and wash tape, including some journaling cards form this months 'A Few of My Favourite Things...' kit to create my page for the week ahead...
 Here are a couple of close ups...
 
You can check out all of the #pimpmyfilofax Challenge entries and vote for your favourite (by liking it) right here on Facebook.

I'd love to see what you've done with your planners and Fliofaxes - if you'd like to share, please leave me your links!

Thank you for dropping by today
Sarah x