Take a Sneak Peek Behind the Scenes of Always Sparkle
Say hello to …
Alexa Stretton from Always Sparkle
Tell us a little about yourself and your company?
I’m 31 and live with my husband and little boy in Cheshire. Growing up my parents owned their own card and gift shop so I have always appreciated lovely cards and gifts and I worked in the shop most weekends and holidays when I was younger and whilst studying at University. I then worked in sales for a Gift Company after graduating and from there my desire to have my own business using my own creative talents grew. I have always loved art and design, and Always Sparkle stemmed from my love of typography and decorative items that feature words and quotes – my house is filled with them! I decided to start Always Sparkle after having my little boy as I had the time to dedicate to developing my designs and the business. Always Sparkle launched in November 2012. We started selling on Etsy, but now we have our own website where people can order prints to be shipped all over the world and we now also offer our products to wholesale customers as well.
Describe your typical working day …
Every day is very different when working for yourself as it depends on your workload. I love days that I can dedicate to developing my product range and designing new prints and cards to add to my collection. All the art prints we create are made to order as many are personalised designs. I love the fact that I am creating a unique gift for someone that I know they won’t already have and that I hope they will love when they receive it!
What is the best thing about your job?
Getting to use my creativity everyday makes my job really enjoyable and unlike other jobs I’ve had in the past, I actually cannot wait to come to work as I know this is my own business and I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far. Being your own boss gives you lots of freedom to try and new ideas and new ways of working and this is something I love.
Your products …
What is your personal favourite product in your collection?
‘Life is a Journey’ is one of most recent print designs and so far it is my personal favourite as I think it is very inspirational and is a great art print for both men and women and for the home or workplace.
What are the most popular products in your range?
This personalised retro style wedding ticket print (shown at the top of the post) has proved to be very popular so far and is a really thoughtful and unique gift to give to a happy couple on their wedding day or for an anniversary present. The ‘If you never chase your dreams’ print has been our best-selling non-personalised art print and I think customers love it because it is very inspirational and the saying is very true!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on adding to Always Sparkle’s product range by launching a collection of greetings cards and canvas tote bags and I’m very excited about the new products. These will be available to purchase form the middle of August 2013 at the Always Sparkle website and we can’t wait to show them off! We will be launching four Christmas card designs (sold in packs of 5) and 27 different greetings cards for all occasions and two canvas tote bag designs. We are proud to say that all our greetings cards and bags are made in the UK.
What do you hope to achieve in the next year?
I would love to be in a position to exhibit at one or a number of trade fairs next year to develop the wholesale side of my business as well as further adding to my new card and bag collection. My business is not even a year old yet so I have still have lots of work to do to get my products noticed and recognised but so far so good. Always Sparkle have been lucky enough to have our Royal Baby themed art prints featured on the Today Show in America which was a real WOW moment for us. We have also been lucky enough to have had some of our art prints featured in a number of magazine publications and blogs including Woman magazine, Sunday Express ‘S’ magazine, Period Homes & Interiors magazine and UKTV.co.uk/home design blog.
Your inspiration …
What inspires your products?
Words, sayings, quotes, typography and my love of design. What other card and gift designers do you admire? I really admire Caroline Gardner and her gorgeous collection of cards and stationery. I would love to have a company as successful as hers in years to come.
Thank you Alexa!