Hiya, I'm Claire! Here's a bit of information about me:
Location: Berkshire, UK
Favourite chocolate bar: Tunnock Caramel Wafer
In the words of Oasis, what's the story? Beware, this is quite a long one so grab a cup of tea and a biscuit...here we go...
I have always loved handbags since I was young. Growing up, my family used to call me 'The Bag Lady' because I truly had a bag for every occasion to carry my glitter lip gloss and Tamagotchi (I'm a 90's kid!).
My obsession grew as I did and I decided to pursue my dream career in fashion buying. After studying fashion at university, I landed the dream job in fashion buying at a major high street retailer. However, whilst I was trying to grow my career, my personal life got tough.
After an awfully traumatic death involving a family member, I began to struggle with my intrusive thoughts and started to suffer with PTSD. Four months later, my mum was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer. My PTSD then spiralled into depression, I really struggled at work, I couldn't sleep and I couldn't understand how to feel towards things out of my control. However, with the help of my loved ones, I got the help I realised that I deserved and I'm unbelievably proud to say that both my mum and I made it through. Yay!
During my treatment, I did a variety of different charity activities, including the Reading Half Marathon for both Daisy's Dream and Myeloma UK. Giving back to others and knowing that I was helping others through the pain I had been through gave me so much joy. But then, during my treatment, I was made redundant from my dream job.
Here's a few snaps of the road to recovery...
So onwards and upwards and looking into the positives, I realised that this was my chance to pursue something I had always dreamed of: making colourful, high quality, fashion-led handbags and accessories, but also give back to charities who mean something to me and so many people.
GVG Accessories is a proud, female run independent business, which offers leather handbags and accessories and donates 10% of purchase to the amazing charities. All products are affordable, handmade in the UK from high quality Italian leather, with the colours of leather or lining reflecting the charities branding.
It's my vision to promote, raise vital funds and continuously support a variety of charities which mean something to a wide range of people. Through the colourful leathers, linings and prints, it is my aim that this will get people talking, actively supporting the charities and the importance of giving back.
GVG Accessories donates to a variety of both local and national charities, large and small, to support their work and raise awareness. See the list below for the charities which we donate to so far:
After Kristin, the founder of Coppafeel, was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 23 Coppafeel want to educate young people on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer so that women become pro-active about their own health.
Education and awareness is the core of Coppafeel, who speak to young people in their natural habitat. From festivals to shower cubicles, university campuses to instagram, they will be there to talk boobs and affect real behaviour change.
I want to support Coppafeel to spread the word about all things boobs, cancer and awareness. We should all be pro-active in our health and Coppafeel!!
The Eve Appeal is the UK’s only national charity who specialise in the 5 women only cancers; womb, ovarian, cervival, vulva and vaginal.
Every day in the UK, 58 women are diagnosed with one of these gynaecological cancers and 21 will die, scary right?! The Eve Appeal are determined to change this for the future of women everywhere through funding research and raising awareness.
As a woman, I think it’s so crucial to raise this awareness for these cancers. For me, the statistics speak for themselves, the more aware we are of the symptoms, the higher chance of prevention.
Dementia is the UK's biggest killer with someone developing it every three minutes and there is currently no cure (I know, its terrifying)!
Alzheimer's Society is the UK's only charity that campaigns for change, funds research to find a cure and support those living with dementia today. Alzheimer's society offer a variety of services to ensure nobody should have to face dementia alone or denied the care and support they deserve. They are also investing more money than ever in finding a cure for the disease.
I’m proud to support Alzheimer’s society, members of my own family and so many others have been effected but this disease, that not only on the patients, but also the families and carers. It's time to give those the care who deserve it the most.
The Girls' Network is a national charity aiming to inspire and empower girls aged 14-19 from the least advantaged communities, by connecting them to a professional mentor and network of female role models.
They believe that no girls future should be limited by her background, gender and parental income and support them to realise their ambition, self-worth and develop the capacity to shape their own world.
I am proud to support The Girls' Network, both as a professional mentor and donating to support their amazing work. GVG Accessories is a female run business, and (like Beyonce and the Spice Girls) I totally believe in girl power!
Manchester Mind is a local, independent charity that believes everyone deserves to be supported in their mental health needs. As a proud member the national Mind network, they deliver a wide range of support services helping over 6500 people last year and demand is increasing.
Born and bred in the North West, I grew up in Lancashire and lived in Manchester for 5 years. The city holds a very special place in my heart and I want to be able to support other fellow northerners with their mental health needs.
The death or serious illness of someone close can have a devastating effect on a child or young person. However, with the right support and information, they can be helped to understand what has happened and learn to move forward in a positive way.
Daisy's Dream offers support to both individuals and families within the Berkshire area completely free of charge.
Having gone through a tough bereavement, followed by my mum's cancer diagnosis, it was tough for me in my mid twenties! I can't begin to understand how a child would be able to cope. I want be able to help children move forward in the most positive way for them.
And that's not all! We're working closely with more charities to diversify our product range and support other meaningful causes alongside launching limited edition trend pieces.
Don't just take my word for it, here's some feedback from some lovely customers.
Within my first month of trading in November 2019, I was able to raise a massive £200 for charity and we are continuing to grow. Within just three months of trading, I have raised nearly £400 in donations which fills me with such joy! It was amazing for me to hear that customers were not only loving the product, but visited GVG Accessories because of our charity donations and how I support them through my work. This has shown me that there is a huge amount of potential for GVG Accessories!
Since the launch of GVG, I have been working tirelessly to develop a brand which I hope will support and resonate with so many people. I have managed to get this far entirely self-funded, however in order to maintain this level of growth and ensure that I am continuously offering high quality, fashion-led product and maintain manufacturing by hand in the UK, I REALLY would love your support.
I have big plans for GVG Accessories for 2020. I plan on attending multiple trade fairs, enhancing customer reach through marketing and branding, alongside 'popping up' in pop in shops across the country to accelerate my brand within the market. Most excitingly, I'm currently working with more amazing charities, to develop brand new ranges and products which will support more people across the country.
The money raised from this Crowdfunding project will enable me to fund the upfront costs for production, attend desirable trade fairs alongside working with social media and marketing professionals to build the brand.
So what's in it for you? I'm glad you've asked! To say a huge thank you with a cherry on top, I am offering a variety of rewards for all the lovely people who support me including:
- A variety of handmade personalised product for you to select from, depending which charity you would like to support
- Personal discount codes
- Design a handbag for the range, named after you!
Take a look at the rewards, I would love to send you something special in return for your support.
If you have read this far, thank you so so much for your time.
I am hugely passionate about GVG Accessories and I want to offer fashionable, affordable products whilst supporting charities, who work tirelessly in supporting people and causes which effect so many of us. I really hope that you will support my dream and the importance of giving and supporting others.
Lots of love,
Claire - lover of all things caramel and GVG Accessories' proud founder
This project offers rewards in return for your donation.