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Hello welcome to the blog!


Owner of Bella & Bear Keepakes
Collette - Owner & founder of Bella & Bear Keepsakes

Hey! Welcome to the blog, this will be a place where I can talk to you more in depth about what I do! I'll be writing lots about the keepsakes I offer and my why.

So I'll start with an introduction to me. I'm Collette I am the owner and founder aka the CEO of Bella & Bear Keepsakes. I am a wife and mum to two hooligans, to add to the chaos I have a 1 year old Beagle and 5 rescue hens. I live in rural Cambridgeshire, but have lived all over the UK and in the USA whilst my husband served in the armed forces, we're now very grateful to be enjoying civilian life and life in our forever home! I've always been creative from the moment I could hold a pencil and vividly remember my first ever sewing project a little sunshine cross stitch which I made with my Mum. As I got older I focused heavily on Art & Design at school, creating my first rag doll for my GCSE course work and smashing it with an A grade despite a negative teachers input (Thats a blog post for another day.) I went onto study Art & Design at college however I had to switch my focus to making money!


I found myself having to make huge decisions, my parents were relocating. I'd just started working, was studying art at college and had met my now Husband. I didn't want to relocate and leave my life behind, so I didn't! I left my art & design dreams behind, found a full time job in childcare and studying for my NVQ in the evening. A few months later my then 'boyfriend' and I brought our first house! Roll on a few of years, my boyfriend was given a new posting (he was serving in the Royal Navy at the time) he was off to maintain helicopters in Cornwall! With that we got engaged, 6 months later we got married and a few days after the wedding we packed our stuff up and headed down to the most beautiful county in the UK to start our married life together!


I continued to work in child care, then moving into SEN schools and then social care supporting autistic adults. Three years later we started our family our son Jamie was born, thats when I picked up a needle and thread again. I realised from the moment I left that Art & Design course behind I hadn't done a single creative thing except maybe a few displays in nurseries. I made little decorations and buntings my son's nursery and I REALLY enjoyed it! That's when I accidentally started my own business!


Bella & Bear Keepsakes was founded in 2016 following my son's first birthday when I was faced with the ever growing pile of outgrown clothes and the mammoth task of deciding what to do with them. I didn't want to throw them away, I didn't want to take them to the charity shop, I didn't want to sell them but I couldn't keep them all especially as a military family moving them around with us would have be ridiculous! Thats when I purchased my first bear sewing pattern. I didn't do a practice run with old fabrics, I dived straight in and cut up his precious clothes! I now think what the actual hell was I thinking! Thankfully it wasn't a Pinterest fail! I'd made my first ever memory bear, a bear made from those precious memories of his first year and my first year as a Mum!


Naturally I shared a look what I've made photograph on my social media. Then the unexpected happened, I had an influx of 'can you make me one please?' messages. So that's what I did, I made more people memory bears, I was suddenly taking orders! I'd set up an Instagram page for it! I brought different sewing patterns, lions and giraffes entered the 'collection'! A year later I had another baby Bella entered the world. That's when I decided on the official name of the business, previous to this I didn't really have a name and to be honest I can't even remember the instagram page name at that point. One cold January night in the midst of the newborn blur and night feeds it came to me 'Bella & Bear Keepsakes' Bella for the baby I was holding in my arms and Bear for Jamie as it was what I always called him 'my little bear'.

US Marine Corps Bulldog memory bear, made from cammies by Bella & Bear Keepsakes.
US Marine Corps Bulldog memory bear, made from cammies by Bella & Bear Keepsakes.

Just under a year after Bella's arrival we found ourselves relocating but this time it was a big move. We were off to South Carolina USA! I packed up my sewing machine and off we went! To my amazement I carried on taking orders there too! I made hundreds of US Marine Corps bulldogs from cammies and no end of baby clothes bears. 18 months later I'd made the decision this was going to be a real business I had.


We returned back to the UK I registered as self employed, registered the business it was official. Since 2019 I've been working really hard building my brand and my business, adding to and creating new collection. This year in 2023 I've allowed myself to really dream, to make real plans for the business. I know where I want Bella & Bear Keepsakes to head, I have MASSIVE plans and goals.

Memory Bear by Bella & Bear Keepsakes
Memory Bear by Bella & Bear Keepsakes

But most of all I'm just excited to carry on capturing your memories in stitches and creating keepsake which you can display proudly in your homes! To everyone who's ever supported me and my business I cannot thank you enough.


Collette



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