Dragon breathes new life into Clare's creative business - The Rugby Observer

Dragon breathes new life into Clare's creative business

Rugby Editorial 15th Mar, 2024   0

A DRAGON has breathed new life into a creative Rugby woman’s science fiction, horror and fantasy memorabilia business.

Clare Plumbley, who sells hand-made merchandise through her home-based business Clare’s Funk Ware, came face to face with former Dragons’ Den investor Theo Paphitis after he named her as one of his Small Business Sunday winners.

Clare was ‘floored’ when he reposted her message about her imaginative business to his half-a-million-plus Twitter followers and featured it on his website.

And she recently got to hear his advice first hand when they met at the Small Business Sunday 2024 event at the Birmingham International Convention Centre.

Clare said: “It was an amazing event full of inspiring stories from previous winners.

“I felt so inspired to push myself further and take bigger risks, as Theo says nothing is a failure if you can learn and regroup from it.

“Stacy Solomon was a guest this year, giving great advice on how to promote yourself – and on juggling being a full-time mum with running a business, which I could really relate to.

“I have definitely felt encouraged to do more on social media – and I stepped out of my comfort zone to say yes to a two-day event in Sheffield. No pressure to pass my driving test!”

Clare’s business had humble beginnings when she started making hair accessories which turned into magnets and customised Lego mosaics.

During the pandemic, she started making her VHS nightlights – light-up video cassettes enhanced with figures and toys – never thinking it would grow into a small business.

“I have always liked to make things,” she told The Observer. “I wanted to bring back video movie night nostalgia and share memories with my friends and family while everything in the world was dark, miserable and uncertain.”

When they sold out in minutes at a vintage toy fair, she knew this was what she wanted to do.

“People thought they were fabulous as it was a memory of their childhood,” she added, “although some parents did have to explain what they were to their kids!”

Clare is now taking her business into another dimension on her Etsy store, and by trading her horror-themed Frightlight range at large scale conventions around the UK.

She added: “I feel those hard years of working at local events such as Hamplified and Rugby Bikefest in my early years were worth the rain and cold days!”

Visit www.theopaphitissbs.com for more information about Small Business Sunday.


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