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ANOTHER YEAR OVER

So  now the Christmas decorations are packed away and the last of the tree pine needles have been vacuumed up (I wish – if it’s anything like last year, I’ll still be finding them in July) and I find myself in true John Lennon style looking back at ‘another year over – and what have I done?’

Well, 2017 was a bit of a mixed bag, but on the whole it was very positive.  I experienced so many wonderful things last year and I realise as I am getting older, I certainly tend to prefer experience over material things.  Gone are the days when I’d drool over the latest phone, jeans, trainers, handbag, computer or whatever.  It took a long time and a lot of hard earned cash for that particular penny to drop.  Oh, quelle surprise…those things never last – what was I even thinking – they aren’t made to.  The whole idea is to keep you hooked – always wanting the next new thing: just take out your wallet and open wide – this won’t hurt a bit (much).

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Now, experiencing a beautiful vista or work of art gives me a much bigger buzz – and for much longer.  They say experience is the best teacher, but it comes at a price.  Unfortunately, this is very true (soz Mr Bank Manager – but please, won’t you look at my gorgeous pictures of Vesuvius?).  I may have to work even harder this year to keep Mr Bank Manager sweet (I know… how about a slice of  Bakewell Tart? No? Well, wait till you hear this piece by Prokofiev…).

Any road up, back to what have I done.  I’ve deliberately left out the negative stuff at the moment – now is not the time or place to go there – instead, over the next couple of weeks here are some of the more positive things we got up to in 2017…..

SPRING AND ETSY

This was quite a big leap into the unknown for us.  Having made a few protest badges because of the political climate in the UK (what with Brexit and austerity), we decided to take the plunge and dip our toe into the choppy online seas.  We had read that Etsy was a tough nut to crack:  don’t get your hopes up they warned, could be weeks or even months before you see a single sale!  Undeterred, we thought we would still give it a go, after all, you don’t know if you don’t try, right?   

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Find our Etsy Store HERE

So last March we opened an Etsy shop, made ourselves a cup of tea, sat back and waited. Anyway, to cut a long story short, our very first week online saw our first sales (we were so unprepared, we hadn’t even ordered enough padded envelopes!) and since then we’ve gone from strength to strength.  It’s certainly taken us by (pleasant) surprise, in 10 months we’ve sent badges all over the world: to 30 different states across America, to 15 different  European countries as well as the far shores of Australia.   Sure, we’ve had a few challenges (with both equipment and customers), one or two requests have certainly raised an eyebrow and we’ve met (phew) tight deadlines, sent out buttons for weddings, schools, baby showers, parties, protests and graduations…. and it’s all been a blast.

 

We still get excited when orders come in and every single one, whether it’s for a single button or a 100 custom-designed badges, is pressed and sent out with the same care and attention to detail.  My colleagues may roll their eyes when they see me hunched over a 1 inch button pin with a magnifying glass, checking for lint and making sure the button is “clean”, but I want our products to be top quality and so far, our reviews are saying it’s all worth while.  Our aim at ButtonChops is to bring back a business sense of high standards, value for money and excellent customer service.  Old fashion ethics in today’s cheap and disposable world maybe, but I for one, was fed up with being expected to accept poor quality items and even worse customer service  (“that’s the way things are now – like it or lump it”).  I wanted to do something about it.

So here we are….

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SUPER DADS

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No… it’s probably just dad, doing dad-dancing to some cheesy old pop song on the radio.  

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Shed Man 38mm Badge or Magnet from £0.99 + pp AVAILABLE HERE

Although he doesn’t wear a cape or anything (I’m pretty sure mum wouldn’t let him out in public like that) my dad is definitely a Super Shed Man – the garden shed is his second home.  Whenever I visit my parents it’s: “Hi mum, where’s dad?” Answer:  “in the shed, he’s been in there since lunchtime”.  Dad knows where everything is in that shed, and believe me – there is a whole lot of stuff crammed in there (mostly stuff they probably don’t even make anymore, but he thinks might come in useful one day).  Even the spiders camping out in the corners are a bit impressed.  But it’s his happy place – and if there’s junk and spiders – so be it.

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Gadget Man 38mm Badge/magnet from £0.99 + pp AVAILABLE HERE

My husband, on the other hand, now he is more of a Gadget Man.  If it’s electronic, whizzy and preferably with a screen – then he’s straight there.  Still, when the laptop stubbornly refuses to boot up or “Wrong password” shouts back at you for the zillionth time, it always amazes me how he only seems to have to look at the thing and it suddenly works.  Now how does he do that?

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Super Dad 38mm Badge or magnet from £0.99 + pp AVAILABLE HERE

They may not all be perfect – but here’s to all the amazing Dads out there.  Your invisible capes make you the super guys you are.

 

 

 

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Dream Big

This week saw the teen’s 15th birthday.  Now, how on earth did that happen?   One minute she’s dancing carefree and barefoot around in her fairy outfit – now she’s almost as tall as me, fused to a pair of headphones and stressing over school exams. Chemistry formulae and electromagnetism have taken over from the fantasy worlds and where she was once covered in chocolate cake smudges, there is now ‘experimental’ makeup.  The hair is never ever right (headbands and hair bobbles have long been replaced by the straighteners) and if they held an Olympic event for dramatic sighing – well, that Gold medal would be handed straight over, no problem.

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Dream Big 1″ button badge available HERE

So the dreams may have changed, but I hope they will continue to be as big as the magical kingdoms she once danced through. And anyway, some things remain the same….she still likes chocolate cake. Oh, and her room is still an absolute tip.   

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Busy, busier, busiest

Well, this has been a looooong week.  Juggling home stuff and badge stuff – supporting teenager meltdown over school vaccinations, getting orders out to Australia and USA, preparing for fast- approaching teenager birthday (assuming her arm doesn’t fall off from the vaccination – joke),  designing, making and photographing new stuff, hospital appointments, 2 school trips to the theatre (luckily teen’s arm is still intact), fulfilling orders to Germany and Belgium….

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Pro~caffeinating 1″ badge available HERE

STOP.  I need a coffee.  Probably more than one.  Tell you what, just line them up, I’ll tell you when…