Create Nourish Inspire Interviews is a new blog post series, where I interview people who inspire me because of the way they follow their heart and seek to do what lights them up. I find out more about the journey they have taken and discover how they embrace their creativity, nourish their soul and find peace in everyday life.
This week, I’ve been talking to Claire Wilson from Cambridge, who runs Claireabellemakes (a creative online business). I’ve been following Claire’s blog for years and I have been very inspired by the way she has followed her love of creativity and grown her online business, whilst seeking to help other creatives find their path.
Hi Claire, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you have created a business doing what lights you up?
I started my business Claireabellemakes back in 2012 with a craft blog and an Etsy store selling small handmade accessories. I learnt along the way by taking classes in photography, WordPress and Etsy. Since then, a day hasn’t passed where I haven’t done something creative. Even if it was just for 10 minutes! My shop has now evolved to sell greetings cards, accessories and gifts.
How has your life changed since you decided to do what lights you up and did you have to overcome anything along the way?
I started everything when I was still working in a full-time PA job, so for 4 years I balanced both and it was pretty hard going! Especially with a migraine condition too. After a brief stint working freelance full-time, I realised I missed the structure and money from a job and I took on a part-time role alongside the business. The freelance time was a good learning experience, but I do feel as though I have a much better balance now. As a result, I now actually take days off and my migraine condition has improved.
How do you nourish your soul in your daily life and does creativity play a part in this?
As creativity has become my job (or at least part of it), I try to find crafts or creative projects I can do that are ‘just for fun’. I do a lot of crochet and knitting and have recently started quilting. I also journal on a weekly basis, which helps me to switch off and make something unplanned.
What helps you to find peace in everyday life?
I make sure to walk outside every day to get some light and my post office run to send orders is great for this! I take long relaxing baths a couple of times a week to switch off and maybe read a book. One of my favourite ways to stay healthy is to ride my bike – that’s the best time for me when I can really breathe! I often have some great creative ideas when cycling.
What piece of advice would you give to people going through a tough time or struggling with their health?
When I am struggling, I try to tell myself it won’t last forever and that a period of respite will come soon. I do let myself have a pity party if I am struggling, but only for 10 minutes and then I distract myself as quickly as I can. Having a positive mindset has really helped me get through chronic migraine, but I can totally see how it can lead to spells of depression and anxiety. Arming myself with as much knowledge as possible really helped me come to terms with the condition and enabled me to seek out treatments that were actually effective after 20 years of struggling. Joining online communities has really helped me too – it’s useful and comforting to know you aren’t alone. I do think there is strength in not letting yourself be defined by your illness too. I am a creative who happens to have migraine, but it’s not who I am.
Who or what inspires you?
Gosh so many of my fellow makers inspire me! The creative community really keeps me pushing forward. When I see someone doing well, I don’t compare myself. I try to figure out what I can learn or do to grow to that level. I’ve always been someone who enjoys learning new things, so being inspired by others gives me motivation to improve!
If you could make one profound difference in people’s lives, what would it be?
I would love for people to feel that they can do whatever they set their mind to because they were inspired by what I have done. I really do think if you are disciplined enough and you have a hunger to learn, you can achieve your dreams. It takes a lot of hard work and I still have a ways to go, but I hope I can inspire other creatives through my journey.
Thank you so much Claire. You are a great inspiration not only in the way you have followed your dreams and worked hard to achieve your business goals but also in your positive approach to your chronic migraine condition.
If you would like to find out more about Claire’s creative online business – Claireabellemakes – with her gorgeous range of colourful and inspirational greeting cards, pins, gifts and accessories, visit her website, or connect with Claire on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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