Please introduce yourself and your business
My name is Chiara Stone, I’m 30 and married with a little boy who is two and a half. My background is in design and I am a self employed graphic and web designer. I wanted to explore my creative side more so started CLS Creations in my spare time.
When did you establish your business?
Well CLS Creations really came about when I started making personalized Christmas decorations, these were felt stars which could be personalized with a photograph, and people loved them and the sold really well. I always like to learn new skills and I came across the U-Handbag site, bought a kit and made my first clutch bag, from there I started making my own patterns and the business grew.
What prompted you to start your own business?
I always liked the idea of working for myself and after my son was born it just made sense to become self employed. In 2009 I started my Etsy shop and put some of the bags I’d made on there, but I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing and didn’t know how to promote myself, plus my son was still only a year old and I was getting the web design business off the ground so closed the shop for a while.
We moved house a year ago and I finally had the space I’d craved and more time now my son was older to really be able to invest more time in CLS Creations.
What are you doing when you’re not creating ?
Building websites, spending time with my husband and my son. Managing the British Sellers on Etsy team and when I get the chance a bit of reading.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I used to be very shy, wouldn’t approach people, I wasn’t very good at starting conversations with new people and now I’m the complete opposite.
What is your favourite…? Colour: Animal: Season: Movie: Book: Blog?
My favourite colour is turquoise,
Animal is a seahorse I’m fascinated by them,
Season is definitely spring especially after a long winter,
Film is tricky, I have a few The Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, Green Mile, Legally Blonde. Books, well I love Harry Potter but I would have to say my husbands first book Illmoor Chronciles The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, it’s so funny.
And blog, I really like http://www.newdressaday.com/ it’s so interesting to see the results and how you can adapt a piece of clothing to look completely different.
When did you first start working in your chosen discipline?I have always loved to sew, I started off with cross stitch when I was younger, I remember designing a cross stitch of my Nan’s life as a birthday present for her and sewing it in the playground at high school, I’m amazed I didn’t get bullied as it wasn’t your usual break time activity.
Then in my early 20’s I made teddy bears, a hobby I introduced my mum too, she was much better at it than me and makes the most incredible artist bears.
But the bag making has really come about in the last couple of years, I’d quite like to try my hand at screen printing soon.
What inspires you?
Lots of things inspire me, nature, animals, retro styles; I quite like kitsch and cutesy things so a lot of my products reflect that. Functionality also inspires me as I will think what would be the best way to use this item what features would I like it to have whether it’s a new design for a bag or one of my new craft accessories.
What’s your favorite piece of work that you have created?
Hmm that’s a tricky one, but I think probably the Pink & Turquoise Cherry bag, I almost kept it but then decided to make myself something else instead.
I’ve had lots of comments on it, but it’s still waiting for a new home.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m quite excited at the moment as I am working on a new range of wristlet bags, the Cherry one is already featured in my shop and there will be more like this to come. I also want to produce a range of little bags for little girls and I have started to play about with diamantes too as I love a bit of sparkle J
How did you hear about Etsy?
Do you know I’m not sure now, I think someone else I knew told me about it.
What do you like about being part of Etsy
I love the community and the variety of talent, I think Etsy is the place where you can find absolutely anything, no matter how weird or wonderful, Etsy will have it. I’m so proud of the British Etsy Team and how many talented members we have now, it’s approaching 1,700 now. I had no idea the team would become so huge when I started it back in December but there are a lot more British shops on Etsy than I thought!
Where else do you sell your work?
I also have a folksy shop, my own website http://www.clscreations.co.uk, and I sell on http://www.mudpool.co.uk as it’s currently free to list on there and there is no commission.
What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
Well I would like my businesses to continue to be successful, I would like to push the boundaries of my creativity and continue to learn new skills, and on a personal level another baby may be on the cards in the not too distant future, we shall see how things go.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
Follow your heart and be true to your art.
Always make sure you have the best possible pictures of your products, every so often stand back and try to be objective about your shop and think about how it looks to a potential customer.
Where else can we find you online?
Etsy shop link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CLScraftcreations