The Bespoke Gifts Story
My name is Caroline, I have been creating since I was a toddler.
Living in Germany and Belgium during my younger years. My mother introduced me to Fimo, I would make models to try and match the Smurf figurines on my bookshelf then become frustrated at my inability to create a simple character like the adults had done.
Over the years I learned to draw, paint, sew, and cross-stitch.
During my teens Art was a class I took for my exams, I passed. However, during the three-year art class, my teacher was concerned with me.
The ability to draw and paint in colour had lost interest for me, I preferred to create 3D pieces or sculpture as it was known then. During my mock art exam in the late 1980s, the topic was entitled ‘Zips and Fasteners.
For this exam, I took all the zips, eyelets, shoelaces and who knows what.
Made a paper mache skull then attached it to the base of a box I had shaped into an open coffin. The zip was the mouth and everything else was worms, I managed to pass with a grade B.
The final exam was titled ‘Reflection’ for this I created a box and used metal cutlery to show reflection in the water. Of course, we had to draw and paint side projects as part of the collection.
I had taken a photo from a summer holiday in the South of France, my parents had photographed me sitting in the rubber boat, this I drew and painted.
Fast forward to becoming a single parent on welfare due to my son’s disability. It was a struggle not being able to afford to give him the physical things he would like to have to fit in with the other kids.
Then I began creating some small items such as keyrings and bracelets from material that was fun for kids at the time, I can’t remember what it was, next I find myself beading and selling bracelets to friends and family.
This then progressed on to wire wrap jewellery, anything from bracelets to chains to intricate pendants.
Sadly once I made a few dozen boredom kicked in but then I was led back to Polymer clay, only this time the brand is Sculpey and I feel like a grown up.
Resin became my next obsession and skill.
Over the first two years I had learned a variety of skills thanks to jewellers books, youtube and so many other references that I had no where to sell them. The fear of rejection from a face to face sale led me to selling in an environment I knew well.
By this time I had learned enough skills I developed them and mixed mediums to create some interesting pieces, which were sold at Biker Ralleys, Craft Markets and Christmas events.
My son would come to the crafting markets and Christmas events, to see him sell my products and being proud of me was worth the sacrifices we had to make in order to get to that stage.
Markets were working wonders for me, online orders were coming in from USA and Canada, even a quick sale to Brazil had placed a smile on my face...
We expanded into the USA, we have many repeat customers and followers based in the USA so it made sense. Then the pandemic happened.
So here we are, building a website, learning to use Social Media and expanding my brand. The brand began with products children would be able to afford to buy as gifts for their parents. We This is still in place, however now it is also to recycle as much as I possibly can.
Here in the UK we have a community app, it was this app I asked my community to donate their glass bottles to Catori’s Gifts rather than send them to the landfill.
This has become so popular I have a bottle bank in my garden and now creating fabulous planters, pots and vase’s. As an artist I continue to grow to bring new and exciting products to my customers.