Sunday, 26 January 2014

Insprational Sunday - Claireabella

Hay Everyone

Its that time again its my Insprational people sunday. 

This week it is Claireabella.

now this really speaks to me on personal reason so I love this story. another inspiration for change.

Now I love what a claireabella girl is 

At ClaireaBella we embrace life. Rather than trying to build a customer base, everything we do is aimed at building a family which is a direct reflection of the brands humble beginnings.
An extension of your personality, a fashion phenomenon, every single product is developed with love in the UK with one simple philosophy – Carry Yourself with Style!



Here is the inspiring story of Claire and How she started her business





The Claireabella Girl
ClaireaBella was born from massively humble beginnings. She was born as a character based on myself – albeit how I wish I could look everyday but real life, 5 children and 5 dogs doesn’t allow me to.
The story starts with a trip to Paris with my then boyfriend, now husband Mr ClaireaBella (Jon). We had a drawing done by an artist in Place du Tertre. I loved the way the artist captured my eyes. I grew up as a child with my mum singing “bright eyes” to me from water ship down (an old film favourite), the way he caught my eyes on paper was a true representation and I loved them.

We returned home from the trip and I immediately wall mounted the drawing. I looked at it every day and it made me smile and still does. After a while I said to Jon that I would love to carry that drawing of my eyes with me everywhere, which gave me the idea to draw them onto a bag and build a simple character around those eyes So I painted my first jute bag and I loved it!
 ClaireaBella Medium Jute Bag
At the time I was an officer with Humberside Police and turned to one of my colleagues (and also one of my best friends) and asked her opinion. God love her – she’s a brutally honest girl that always gives an honest opinion, good or bad. She is always the one person whom I go to if I want a real truthful opinion on anything. With baited breath I waited… She loved it and dragged me straight down to the staff canteen with it saying I could make some extra money making them. It was there; in the police canteen that I received my first two bag orders!

Albeit elated, and somewhat proud, I was stressing! I didn’t have the money in my bank account to buy blank bags, or replace the paint I’d used to make my own bag. So, I called my mum who offered to lend me the money to buy the materials I needed to make these bags.

Once I had provided my first customers with their bags they were so pleased that they immediately showed off their new bags to other members of staff, friends and family. To my continued amazement, orders came flooding in. I bought a money box which you have to smash to get any cash out, and the money from every bag I sold went into it in the hope of being able to afford a deposit one day for a holiday for my family.
 
In March 2011 I took to Social Media website Twitter to start tweeting about my bags, as I thought it could be a useful tool to share my designs to the world. No one had seen anything like it before. I was the Original and at that time, the only one on Twitter designing personalised character bags.ClaireaBella Large Jute Bag

Chloe Simms spotted them from hit TV Show – The Only Way is Essex and tweeted me! I nearly had heart failure! I was so shocked and happy all in the space of a minute. Not long after I had sent Chloe Simms her bag, Chloe kindly texted me, telling me to go buy The Daily Star newspaper as she had been “papped” with her ClaireaBella bag.


 As I opened the paper I couldn’t believe my eyes, there she was with the bag I created in a national newspaper with Amy Childs discussing it in her column. I was bowled over! A few days later Chloe was spotted in series 2 of TOWIE with her bag, my twitter timeline went crazy!
 
Jon had not long since built a website and orders were now coming in thick and fast until we had to stop taking them as there were in excess of 100 bag orders to make on my desk (my desk was actually my dining room table).
The stress and pressure I was under was immense! I was working a 26 hour week with the Police, plus looking after my amazing children, house, dogs etc and now bag orders! I sat on our stairs and sobbed! Never in my wildest dreams did I envisage it would evolve into what it had.
It moved so quick, by May 2011 all the TOWIE cast had their own ClaireaBella bags and they were all over the national press.

 
Then the stars of Coronation Street, Made in Chelsea, Eastenders, Geordie Shore and celebs from all walks of life, all cottoned onto the bags, loved them, wanted them, and I was just flabbergasted.
In June 2011 we got in contact with an online gift brand called ToxicFox.co.uk with a view to expanding the ClaireaBella range. We collaborated with them making Hoodies and T-Shirts at the time. They flew off the shelves too, just like the bags! We have a beautiful partnership that grows new products and designs all the time.
In November 2011 the team at ToxicFox.co.uk came up with an idea. It frightened me at first as the aBella character is my baby! I painted her alone! Drew her alone! I had no help! She was the work of my hands only. ToxicFox.co.uk came up with the idea of ClaireaBella Classic bags! Bags painted by qualified artists, that would be trained to my style and whom I would oversee. The key though would be that every aBella (character) design would still be created by me. The ClaireaBella Classic range would mean that I could make my designs available to more of my customers who were unable to access a ClaireaBella Bag although they followed me closely on Twitter and regularly checked my website. I really wanted to give them something back but there are only 24 hours in the day and was genuinely struggling.

I slept on it… Slept a bit more on it… Then said let’s give it a go! The artists trained and worked so hard, until they got it spot on. They did an amazing job, I was so so proud. The Classics launched in Nov/Dec 2011 and are stronger than ever.
In December 2011 we had to have a small extension built onto our family home to accommodate my work with the bags, and also Jon with admin etc. ToxicFox.co.uk also have had to move to other premises that can hold the demand for my bags there also. Crazy!

In April this year (2012) we launched the ClaireaBella brand in the USA in partnership with ToxicFox.com and went out to New York. I met with 18 different editors from different glossy mags! Walking into “GLAMOUR” magazines HQ and seeing the big pink Glamour sign buckled my knees slightly, is this real? Is this happening?
A simple idea to make a little bit of extra money for my family had grown into a fashion phenomenon. I always say “never in my wildest dreams”.

People ask what’s been the highlight? Honestly, for me, being able to buy my children’s school uniform and take them out for tea every so often. That is my highlight. Being able to give my children the best you can give every day is all I have ever dreamed.
My journey has been an amazing rollercoaster of emotions. I never dared dream that in such a short space of time I could have achieved so much. Throughout the highs and the lows – I have been fortunate to have met with, spoken to and ‘tweeted’ some of the most amazing people who are more than fans of my designs. They are honestly like family. Every ClaireaBella product is made to reflect all of my beautiful and amazing customers and I hope that every customer, follower and fan of ClaireaBella knows that I will be forever grateful for the love and support they have shown. You have all helped make my dreams come true. Thank You.

what a rise to success. Now I will defo be putting in a order soon for my 1st Claireabella bag

What do you think? 

MissLJBeauty xoxo

4 comments :

hobovogue . 26 January 2014 at 07:30  

love the story. so heartwarming :)

xoxo hobovogue ღ

kpsays 27 January 2014 at 02:56  

I love these types of stories! Just believe in your dreams, and keep going forward!!!

Lor jay MissLJBeauty 27 January 2014 at 16:06  

it is so nice and she is amazing xx

Lor jay MissLJBeauty 27 January 2014 at 16:06  

totally so inspiring and motivational xx