Hoppy Birthday Frog & Pencil!

Hello lovelies,

Today marks Frog & Pencil’s first birthday. A whole year since we launched the website and headed out on this crazy adventure with little expectation but with a shed load of passion and grit. I never anticipated to have had such a wonderful year.

I don’t quite know where to begin. I’ve been sat here, in front of this glowing laptop for a while now thinking about Frog & Pencil’s journey and it’s hard for me not to become emotional. I’m simply bursting with pride with how far this business has come in 365 days.

Frog & Pencil went live from scratch. I didn’t have any commissions set up or any particular direction to set off on. I kinda fumbled along promoting my business, working out future steps as I hopped along. Looking back, I genuinely feel lucky that I managed to grab some spots at wedding fairs early on. I thought I had missed the Spring fairs boat but thanks to the incredible duo Dalia and Tim at Norfolk Brides, they gave me a shot. I believe that showcasing my stationery wares at their show last March was a key moment for getting on the Norfolk Wedding Industry map. It may not have generated direct business but being there introduced me to other suppliers and I’m happy to say those relationships have blossomed. So, I want to say a HUGE thank you to the Norfolk Brides Team. I think you guys are awesome and I truly appreciate all your support and advice this year. I hope to work more with you over the years as I think you’re a positive force in the business.

I wasn’t nervous about delving into self employment but I did have a few reservations about other suppliers within the industry. For some reason I had envisioned the wedding business to be ultra competitive and for want of a better word, a tad bitchy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The people I’ve met and connected with are a wonderfully supportive bunch. Frog & Pencil has been welcomed with open arms and by the end of my final wedding fair in November, I genuinely felt like a part of the gang. To me, this is a big deal. I’ve banded together with like-minded creative people who are passionate, have a drive to deliver and encourage collaboration between fellow small businesses. I’m so fortunate to be a part of this scene.

It thrills me to see so many women led businesses cheering on the successes of other women. At a time where it can be easier to tear people down, it’s incredibly positive to be surrounded by these kick ass women! Additionally, I’m heartened by those that are managing to juggle their business with nurturing a family. To me you are (and all Mums) superwomen and it gives me hope for Frog & Pencil’s future when a cub or two may be on the cards. You lot know who you are, so thank you for inspiring me daily.

Running Frog & Pencil certainly hasn’t been easy. There have been moments where lulls lasted weeks with very little interest and it felt like I was in a crappy rut. Knowing my personality, I take a lot of this to heart. However, I’m an upbeat person too and I won’t be beaten easily. I’m learning that being productive keeps things moving, even when it feels horribly slow. Along with reflecting and evaluating my progress, it all helps me to keep on hoppin’.

This will sound awfully cliché but right now, after all this time of never quite fitting in, I feel like I’m in the right place, doing the right thing. I feel complete. I bloomin’ love what I do and it frustrates me that I took so long to realise my own potential, all I needed was some self belief.

It’s funny, when I think back to when I was much younger, as a teenager it was my aim in life to find a career I loved that would make me happy. What that actually was, I didn’t have a clue. For nearly twenty years, this is what I was searching for. I also met Lewie when we were eighteen, so we’ve been together a long time and I constantly fought the thought of marriage. It simply wasn’t a priority. I needed to find that career first. After eleven years together, Lewie proposed and I delightedly said YES. I still hadn’t found ‘the one’ career wise, but I was enjoying Festival work and there was no doubt in my mind about my Bear, he was/is my everything. Getting engaged triggered the concept of Frog & Pencil and it nurtured the confidence and self belief I needed to take the plunge. I guess what I’m trying to say is that saying ‘yes’ to something new can open wonderful adventures. I was blinkered for so long and I often wonder where Frog & Pencil might have been today had I realised what I am capable of sooner. So, if things aren’t quite going to plan, change it up a bit as you never know what’s around that corner, you could discover and realise you’re pretty awesome and are capable of anything; just get out of your own way.

This year has been a beautiful whirlwind and ended on such a high, as a finalist at the EDP Bride Wedding Awards. Simply put, I’m as proud as punch. This year is looking like a cracker too as I have some excellent commissions in the pipeline and I can’t wait to share them over the coming months.

There are so many highlights from the first year but I feel they deserve their own post, look out for it over the next week or so.

That leaves me with a few thank you’s before I sign off. Firstly, a big thank you to the industry and suppliers who have embraced Frog & Pencil. The support and advice I’ve received warms my heart and I am happy to call many of you friends. Your creativity inspires and challenges me to make more exciting illustrations, so thank you for keeping me on my Froggy toes. You guys are my frickin’ rock stars!

To my lovely couples, be it a bespoke commission or a bridesmaid card purchase, thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting a small, independent business. I honestly do a little happy dance every time a new couple is confirmed. It is a pleasure to get to know you and to create stationery that reflects your personalities and also offer an insight into your big day. Remember to always be unashamedly yourselves when it comes to your wedding.

To my treasured friends and family, thank you for all the belief, support, encouragement, words of wisdom, hugs, for every share, like, recommendation and for the laughter. The love in my life is overwhelming and I’m truly blessed. You guys are always there and that means the world. A special mention to Lewie’s folks for their unconditional generosity and to my Dad (a rival to Lew as number 1 fan) for his love, support and for encouraging the potential. I love you all, mwah! xxx

One final and special thank you is for my partner in crime & hubby, Lewie. Without you Frog & Pencil just wouldn’t be possible. You could see what I couldn’t all those years ago, so thank you for you unwavering belief, love and the daily support. Thank you for being the best ‘tech guy’ around and for being just as much as a perfectionist as I am…website v2 is going to be awesome! Thank you for being my wedding fair sidekick and for hashing out all the tiny details with me. To me you are the greatest Bear in the land and I’m one lucky, lucky, lucky Frog. Here’s to our future, I love you millions. xxx

All that’s left to say is what a hell of a year and I’ve loved every moment. It’s time to celebrate, eat cake and probably cry a smidge more (happy tears of course!). Most importantly, I’m excited to get back to my commissions and create more illustrated loveliness.

Best hop to it & hustle!

Thanks for sticking by me,

Love Cx

P.S – I’m happy to report that after a year I can easily use the correct spelling of ‘stationery’…well, almost! x

Hoppy First Birthday Frog & Pencil!

Celebrating Frog & Pencil’s first birthday. Hop Hop Hooray!

 

Stay Curious!

Hello there!

You cannot imagine the little squeak of excitement that escaped me when I opened up an e-mail last Wednesday from A Most Curious Wedding Fair (AMCWF). There had been a last minute cancellation and they wanted to know if I was free to exhibit…OH HELL YES!

I had been in touch shortly after launching Frog & Pencil to see if they had any spaces but of course, they were full. I spoke with Gem (the lovely gal organising the fair) and she mentioned that I could still promote myself via their directory list and I happily signed up…but holy moly I was over the moon to have the chance to exhibit!

I attended the fair last year, as a Bride, and I took my gorgeous Maid of Honour with me. It was exactly the kind of fair I had been looking for, something a little more quirky and personal – a refreshing alternative to the more traditional fairs I had been to. So, when Frog & Pencil hopped into the world, I knew that this was my kind of event!

AMCWF describes themselves as a fair for the ‘style savvy couple’ but I think it’s so much more that that. The suppliers are cool, unique, chic, individual, whimsical, eclectic and offer couples something fresh within the wedding industry. I believe that weddings are changing, they’re becoming so much more personal and couples can do whatever they want…if they so desire. You don’t have to have a ‘cookie cutter’ kind of day and I love that AMCWF embraces this idea.

The Fair is held in St Andrew’s Hall in the centre of Norwich and it is a stunning venue. My hairy, glamorous assistant and I arrived early to set up, which thankfully didn’t take much time at all – we’re becoming pro’s now! I had seen the list of exhibitors prior to the day and I genuinely felt honoured to be one of the suppliers among them; there were some amazing people showing off their wares! Seriously, Norfolk is overflowing in creative talent; you lucky, lucky Brides!

Doors opened at 11am and there was a queue to get in for most of the day. With a friendly atmosphere and a steady flow of people, it had all the ingredients for a great day. I spoke to many lovely couples and I really enjoyed hearing about their plans. Frog & Pencil received so much love from the public and fellow exhibitors, I was smiling all day with pride…I still am! In the last hour it quietened down and I took that moment to explore the show, peruse the stands and chat to the wonderful faces stood alongside them.

Here’s my Most Curious Wedding Fair gallery – I meant to take more photographs but I was just simply enjoying being in the moment. Sadly, I later discovered that a bunch of my photos were super blurry…I need to invest in improving my camera skills, but here’s a taste of the day.

As I’ve mentioned, AMCWF was jam packed with amazing suppliers and like last week at Wensum Valley, I’d like to share with you a handful of them.

A SPECIAL CROAK OUT TO…

A Most Curious Wedding Fair: A HUGE thank you to Gem and the team for having me last minute, I truly appreciate the opportunity. You were so welcoming and I loved being a part of the day. Go check out their website to see all of the awesome people who exhibit in the London & Norwich shows…and don’t forget to click on the Most Curious Directory to find suppliers who are equally brilliant but were unable to make a show.

The Little Lending Company: Here you can find fabulous decor accessories and props to hire out for your wedding day, or you can choose from the ‘styled station’ range. Penny is so friendly and super creative; she’ll have whatever you need to make your day unique.

The Swaffham & Fakenham Florist: These gals will make your wedding blooms look spectacular! They teamed up with The Little Lending Company and created an incredible stand at the show, so you won’t be disappointed; go check them out!

Flower30: Another very talented florist who had a gorgeous stall. I spoke with Sharon for a while and she’s so lovely! An artist with a bunch of flowers!

Beth Moseley Photography: Beth creates the most beautiful, natural and relaxed photographs! She’s also lovely, just what you need on your big day – give her a bell if you’re in the market for a photographer!

Buns of Fun: I had a great time meeting Emma and she gave me lots of advice about starting out. Her cakes are incredible and each time I went over to introduce myself there were always people chatting to her. Get in quick I say!

Dust with Cocoa: Debbie is another delectable cake maker, they are just gorgeous! She also won ‘Best Stand’ on the day and it did look marvellous. Check out her website for more cakey delights!

Doughnut Lab: Hold on to your hats as these are by far the BEST doughnuts around! We’ve been a big fan of these guys since they launched; we even had a batch delivered for my birthday. They pack all their doughnuts full of flavour, you’ll just want more and more! We certainly had a happy doughnut lab face at the end of AMCWF; yum!

Grace & Fortune: Beth creates delightful, delicate accessories for your hair and I fell in love with her designs. One of these would finish off your Bridal look perfectly…I wish I had known about her last year.

Botanical & Bloom: I’m a sucker for geometric shapes and succulents, so naturally I fell in love with Hannah’s stall. She creates geometric concrete planters which are so chic and contemporary! They’re on my wish list as a home for my new little succulent, Derek.

So, to all you couples out there, click away and absorb all this wedding inspiration and create a day that reflects who you both are.

Till next time, stay curious!

Cx