Updated: Aug 23
What made me start creating Keepsake Bears from clothes? In this blog you’ll read about how I started creating Memory Bears in Hertfordshire, my journey over the last five years and helping families across the UK and my future for my little BIG business.
It’s hard to believe that 5 years ago I was sat in a car travelling to our family holiday designing a logo for my new business venture. Just a few weeks before I had been looking for a business to make a Keepsake Bear in Hertfordshire from my eldest daughter’s old baby clothes.
I was struggling to find a local Keepsake business. There wasn’t anyone who made Memory Bears in Bedfordshire, so when I stumbled across a sewing pattern to make my own Baby Clothes Keepsake Bear it seemed like a lovely idea to create my own. I had a sewing machine and figured it would give me a project to work on whilst on maternity leave. Yes, I don’t think it registered I had a 6-week-old baby at this point as well.
Where my love of creating Keepsake Bears began
I ordered the sewing pattern and decided to give it a go with some other baby clothes to use as a practice Keepsake Bear. After all, I didn’t know if it would turn out well and didn’t want to ruin my favourite items of Elizabeth’s.
This is the first Baby Clothes Keepsake Bear I ever made. It was at this point, my husband Matt, suggested creating Keepsake Bears as a business. I had considered the idea when the pattern arrived, but I wasn’t sure if I was brave enough to give it a go. So, with some encouragement I shared a photo on social media, and it was a huge hit. Soon after I was receiving requests from friends asking me to create them a Keepsake Bear too.
Before I knew it, I was designing a logo, working out how I was going to run my business around my family life and the name of my business.
The idea of Tracy’s Treasured Keepsakes came to life.
Having a new-born baby, I only really considered my customers as being parents who were looking to have their own old baby clothes made into a Keepsake Bear. But whilst I was away, I received a call from a grieving mum who had lost her 21-year-old son. She was looking for someone who made Memory Bears in Hertfordshire. We spoke about what she was looking to have made and I told her that I’d love to help.
After finishing her Memory Keepsakes, it was in this moment I discovered how much my work meant to this mum and her family. This is when my passion for Memorial Keepsakes began. I loved the idea that my work could help grieving families across the UK at any point of their grief journey.
Over the five years I have created XXX Memorial Keepsakes alone. Whether they were Memory Bears, animals, cushions or quilted blankets. .
"It’s hard to put into words the feeling of handing back something so special. I am always so humbled when someone trusts me with such a precious task"
In 2019 I returned to work but due to the success of the business I was able to retune on a part time basis. At the start of 2020, I am proud to say I joined 100’s of other large and small business at The Baby Show at the Excel in London. The Baby Show is the UK’s leading Baby and Parenting show with everything you need for pregnancy and after birth. To be amongst so many well known brands was amazing and I loved speaking to so many new and expectant parents about my Baby Clothes Keepsakes.
In July 2020, I was fortunate enough that even with so much uncertainty that my business was stronger than ever and I was able to focus on my business full time. I was able to reduce my 8 month waiting list and take on more work each week.
But the last year has been the most exciting for my small business
As I approached the five year milestone in business, I began working hard behind the scenes to share my passion outside social media. In March 2023, a local newspaper, The Comet shared by business growth success with a fantastic feature online and in print. To see my photo and story within a newspaper felt like a huge achievement for my small business.
But my biggest goal for 2023 was to become an award winning business, so when I received two awards in the space of a week was amazing.
Award winning success
Tracy’s Treasured Keepsakes received New Business of the year and Most thoughtful, sentimental gifts business in Bedfordshire. Attending the Biz4Biz awards was such an amazing experience, you can read about it in my latest blog – Tracy’s Treasured Keepsakes – Journey to award winning success.
Therefore, I though it was fitting to have share my own awards for the keepsakes over the last 5 years. With so many firm favourites this was very hard to choose, but who has time to watch an hour long video.
1. Most Fun to Make Award A Memory Bear made to look as though its wearing a Mrs Claus outfit as Karen's mum loved Christmas
2. Most Supportive Customer Award After having her own bear made Cath is my biggest cheerleader & always
recommending me to friends
3. Most Emotional Keepsake Award Julie's Memory Bear made from her baby girls clothes made me cry during our consultation call
4. Best Returning Customer Award Since having 3 memory bears Made, Elaine has ordered several more since
5. Largest Order to Date Award A single order from Kerry made up of 19 Memory Bears, 2 Memory Elephants, a cat & a Lion
Future Plans for Tracy’s Treasured Keepsakes
In September 2023, I will be attending The Best Businesswomen Awards in the hope to receive ‘Best Creative Business’. If there was an award made for me then it’s this one.
The entry into this ward was slightly different whereby I needed to answer a set of entry questions and submit evidence to prove why I am the Beat Creative business. It was a great exercise and allowed me to step back and take a look at how much I have achieved.
Over the next few months I have a small rebrand planned. An award winning business needs a suitable logo, my current one has served me well over the last 5 years but I feel I need one that reflects my passion. So watch this space and keep an eye out for my new rebrand later this year.
Thank you to every one of my customers and followers, my business coach Penny at The Platt-Form for her help over the past year with my PR and Marketing, lifting my confidence when I needed it and building my knowledge on certain areas of my business and of course my family.
If I’ve achieved this much so far, I’m excited to see what the next 5 years and more will bring.
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