It’s been a bit of a whirlwind of a year and sometimes it’s nice to sit and allow yourself to realise that despite often feeling like you’re just fighting fires … that actually somewhere along the away some things were achieved. I wanted to take stock of some of the things in my business and my personal life that happened to me this year and write them down as a record to look back on and smile about:
* I had my first book published and in its first 6 weeks sold nearly 900 copies
* I sold my work to The National Portrait Gallery as stock for their gallery shop
* I undertook 2 full day workshops teaching teachers new techniques in the manipulation of paper, not a small feat!
* I accepted a position as a visiting tutor at the School of jewellery, Birmingham
* I had record numbers of sales to customers for First year wedding anniversary gifts for their loved ones
* I did nearly 500 demonstrations of hand weaving and knitting with paper yarn to over 60 primary school children, on my own over the course of 8 days!
* I was asked to be a short course tutor of ‘Making sculpture paper jewellery’ a course that I wrote and designed myself for West Dean College, Chichester
* I launched a new website with the skills of my web designer Matt and learnt Dreamweaver and HTML in the process
* I got my very own Mac and learnt to love it pretty quickly
* I designed and made private commissions to several special clients worldwide
* I sent copies of my book to my old high school teacher (as a thank you for his guidance in my career) and to my aunty whose husband proof read my first chapter but died during the writing the following of the chapters (the book is dedicated in his memory).
* I managed to get to number one and two in Google when typing ‘paper jewellery’ and number four when typing ‘Sarah Kelly’ – I’ve still not managed to pip a very famous American contemporary christian singer/artist with the same name
* I saw my best friend become a mummy after being such a beautiful pregnant lady
* I was in turn then asked to be a Godmother to her very beautiful little girl who I love so much already
* I had to go in to hospital for the first time in my life, so I quickly dealt with my fear of all things medical. I had two operations with two general anaesthetics and morphine in the space of a month … I survived both but I’m three wisdom teeth down : -/
* I then decided to commit to a studio in the Big smoke, where I would base Saloukee HQ from … beginning January ’12 : )
* I surfed in Hebridean waters on the day of the Royal wedding with my two brothers and stood up several time, it wasn’t until later in the summer in Biarritz that I finally felt what it was like to catch a ‘real wave’
* I ran over three miles none stop for the first time in my life without collapsing!
* I swam 100 lengths in under 48 minutes and raised over £200 for Marie Curie nurses
* I made maiden voyages to Norway, Ireland and Greece for the first time where I caught mackerel, drank Guiness and scuba dived
* I learnt to snowboard and even managed to get over the fear of the button lift and of turning … my first road trip in a borrowed motorhome will see in our New Year : )
* I went to my first wedding abroad
* I watched my big brother pass his PGCE, move out for good and become a real life teacher – god bless those 7 year olds!
* I was able to see my little brother and his wife move back to England from the Outer Hebrides after many years of strength in such solitude
* I saw friends fall in and out of love, marry, fall pregnant and get very grown up
… and all in all I came to the end of it feeling happy with where I came from … and I wanted to leave on this note … this is something I wrote for a blog on starting up a business some time ago which still feels poignant and relevant to business and life every time I read it …
“Be flexible, take every opportunity that comes your way, don’t be knocked by those that don’t believe in what you do or simply don’t get ‘it’- there’s enough people out there that will, learn to take criticism and not be offended, learn to laugh when you want to cry, surround yourself with positive people, take time for yourself, be passionate and open to new inspiration, love your friends and family more than ever…they will be the ones to help you through when times are tough. Be stubborn, vigilant and confident in your product and quite simply don’t ever give up…it will happen if you’re determined enough!”
Hoping for exciting, new prospects in 2012 … just you watch this space!
Best Christmassy wishes, Sarah and Saloukee ; ) x