A milestone…

It’s a small step, but I can’t tell you how good it feels. For the last month I have been able to pay myself a regular weekly part-time wage from Very Berry. It’s not a huge sum – but it makes a huge difference to my family and is a huge boost to my confidence. Before my boys were born I had an extremely enjoyable career that I loved, and had always intended to go back to, at least part time, once the lads were established at nursery or pre-school. But once we realised that the boys, to reach their full potential, would need a lot more of our time, energy and care than we had expected, I decided I had to find a way to earn money and work from home.  So I have been growing the Very Berry business for about 4 years, and up until now, any money that I’ve earned has gone straight back into the business to buy materials, pay for domain names, WordPress fees, shop fees, and advertising etc.,

A few times I have felt like packing it in and going to find part-time work outside the home, but I have always come to the conclusion that *this* is the right way. It works for my family because I can be here when I’m needed. It works for me because it gives me a chance to do something utterly apart from the day to day life (slog? It is sometimes…) of being a mum and a carer, and it’s so important to me to get to mess around with gorgeous fabrics and yarns, even if it’s flogging them to other people! It’s also given me the chance to make contact with wonderfully talented sewers, crocheters, bakers, gardeners and bloggers all over the UK and the rest of the world – which is a huge bonus. So although I haven’t had the career path that I had quite expected, I am having (mostly) a rather wonderful time, and now, FINALLY, I am also getting paid for it! So thank you to all my buyers, friends, followers, newsletter-subscribers, occasional-blog-readers, and all the rest. I really really appreciate the kind words, the comments left, the friendly emails, the forgiving customers (we all make mistakes sometimes…), the money spent and the compliments paid.. 

So, to honour the occasion, and as a small thank you to all my customers I wanted to do a special offer at Very Berry Fabrics, my Liberty Lawn shop. My next five customers will receive a free mini-scrap pack with their order, along with a 20% discount card that they can use for their next purchase at Very Berry Fabrics.

To entice you, here are some goodies… I’ve got some very pretty new fabrics in… two colourways of the gorgeous print called Tatum, which are both wonderful in very different ways:

Tatum (blue, pink, red, yellow) - Liberty Mini Single (9x12 inches)

Tatum (turquoise, pink, red, yellow) - Liberty Mini Single (9x12 inches)

I’ve also got some Fairford back in stock, which means the return of the Super-Ditzy bundle:

Liberty Six Pack: Super Ditsies

Enjoy!

66 Comments

Filed under fabric, folksy, selling, sewing, shop

66 responses to “A milestone…

  1. Well done. You’ve clearly worked very hard for the past few years and thoroughly deserve to have success. Congrats to another successful mum-tprenuer

  2. Katy

    Congratulations on making it work – with a lot of hard work on your part! Glad it’s looking good.

  3. Congratulations! It sounds like you are living your dream!

    – Simon

  4. Many congratulations Ali! It’s not easy juggling so many balls in the air at once, but if a jobs worth doing, it’s worth doing well and you certainly do that!

  5. So happy for you :)
    Wonderful to know that with hard work and perseverance you have got to where you are today, I too hope to have my own business one day x

  6. Oh Ali that’s fantastic news! Hope you continue to go from strength to strength!

  7. Stacey

    Congratulations, its not an easy thing to do. I’ve only been selling my patchwork since last summer and have been suprised how disheartened i’ve been after some craft fairs but I’m determined to keep going. I love reading your blog, its fab and you have lovely fabrics in your shop. stacey x

    • Oh Stacey, craft fairs can be awful (I don’t do them any more, I can’t cope with it!), so don’t be disheartened.. Glad to hear you are determined to keep going and hoping that my blogging continues to give encouragement to you. xx

  8. Maureen

    Well done for sticking with it. I always enjoy the FB posts and the lovely items I have purchased from you. You are an inspiration as although you obviously love what you do, it takes determination and hard work. Wishing you continued success. M x

  9. I’m thrilled that all your hard work is paying off! Congratulations and thanks for such an insightful post x

  10. Congratulations!!!!!! I wish you the best!!! :)

  11. A personal and inspiring insight – thank you for posting. Gives me hope! x

  12. Congratulations! Well done with sticking to your guns and keeping going for so long. But spend the money wisely. Don’t waste it on frivolities like shopping and clothes for the kids. May I suggest the following? Wine, Gin and chocolate and with careful and thoughtful spending the possibility of a clothes shopping trip on your own with no distractions other than a very nice lunch could be had!
    It must feel so good.

    • Haha Jane, it does feel good…. and actually, one of the good things will be that it will allow us a few more treats (and hopefully a bit more holiday this year). Thanks for your support and encouragement.. xx

  13. How wonderful, congratulations Ali! You’re such a clever and talented lady- truly inspirational.

  14. Ann

    I’m really chuffed for you! You have inspired me when I’ve not known whether I should carry on or just give up. You truly deserve your success x

  15. Deborah Garretty

    Congratulations! I’m sure at times you must have wondered if you were doing the right thing? Well, you obviously have. I really love to read your blog and all my fabric purchases have been a delight. Thank you from one truly satisfied customer.

  16. Congrats, glad it’s all finally paying off for you :)

  17. Well that’s great Ali! As it happens I have a post scheduled for tomorrow that’s sort of the opposite. I decided my hobby really cannot be a business for my own sanity and I feel much better than ever for making that decision. I’m glad you’ve found what works for you without it being a burden but without it being fruitless. After 4 years you really deserve that.

    • Kerry, I am so glad you have found a way forward that works for you. I don’t think I’ve made it yet, but at least I am now in the position that I don’t feel my business is just a drain on the family resources. Have a great weekend! xx

  18. So pleased it as all coming good for you xxx

  19. Well done. How much time per week would you say you devote to Very Berry?

    • Thanks! That’s a tricky question….! Officially the minimum I HAVE to work is 8 hours per week (for tax credit purposes), but I do lots more, at least a couple of hours every day (including w/e). *But* because my work segues into my hobby, there are loads of extra hours when I am on the web, or reading, sewing, crocheting and thinking! So it’s probably more like about 5 hours a day ;-) . E.g. Last night I did some patchwork piecing whilst I was watching TV for a couple of hours – the finished piecing will become a cushion which will be featured on my blog, and hopefully bring more people to my shops. I don’t count that couple of hours as work, but if you were being really picky……

  20. Congratulations! With fabric prices so high, and handmade often undervalued, it is wonderful to hear some good news :-)

  21. I’m so happy for you. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and have found your service to be excellent. (I’m about to email you about some possible yardage. Love Jacqueline Grey)

  22. That is such great news for you and yours: all your hard work has really paid off

  23. Carole

    So pleased for you Ali x

  24. Chris Butler

    Congratulations – it’s not easy plate spinning but you appear to be doing a great job!

  25. This is a huge achievement and as a Mum of an almost 6 year old I know only too well how difficult it is to be “all things to all people”. I too vastly underestimated how much the time and care is till required even after they start school – in some ways the support they need increases.
    I love following your blog, am inspired by your business, and I’m just one of many many who feel that way.
    I wish you continued success and happiness in all your ventures.

  26. Hurrah for following your dreams!

  27. It’s great that you can do something you love, and finally get paid for it, long may it continue to grow and flourish! :o)

  28. Allie Hack

    Fantastic and well done you! I know how hard building these things up can be and with a 4 and 2 year old myself I know what challenges beset us all. I have made your granola and been inspired by your blog, so keep at it for us lurkers!
    I would love to purchase some of your fabric but not sure how the build a bundle feature works. I think I am being daft but I am interested in both the Tatum prints above and the contrasting fabric you have on the reels… could you let me know how to order those.

    Thanks and good luck for the future xx

    • Hi Allie, thanks so much for your lovely comment – so glad you like the granola! I will send you an email from my Very Berry Fabrics address to answer your question about the Build and bundle thingy.

  29. Congratulations! It’s wonderful that you have reached this wonderful milestone. Well done and I wish you continued and growing success.

  30. Oh it’s brilliant that you can do something that you love and make some money, even if it’s only small at first….things can only get better.

  31. Well done, keep it up and I love reading your blog. I totally understand what you are going through, as I have just set up an online wool shop, selling unusual and exotic yarns, but I know how hard it is to find something to do, which you are truly passionate about and to make it work

    Plus, I also have 2 demanding kids that need a lot of my attention, and I know how easy it is to get despondent and to juggle everything! But you have great products and your prices are unbeatable, and you have a lot of fans. Thank you for providing us with your lovely and affordable Liberty prints.

  32. Congratulations – I know the feeling, every sale is a joy! Well done and keep up the gorgeous fabric photo’s!

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