Hi, I am Sarah. Wife of one husband, mother of two boys, owner of three ‘pawsome’ dogs. I created Adventure Accessories in 2018, when I took voluntary redundancy and changed direction in life. I have always loved crafting and never dreamed that one day I might be able to sell my makes. Being self-employed gives me the flexibility I need to care for my seriously ill teenage son, while doing something that I love, handcrafting unique gifts for outdoor enthusiasts.
I took voluntary redundancy in August 2016 to care full-time for my youngest son when he was diagnosed with cancer aged 14. The first year was dedicated solely to his care and treatment schedule. I had a breakdown in April 2017 and began counselling and antidepressant medication. As part of my therapy took up my crafts once again to have some ‘me time’.
I decided to try a few Christmas markets that year as my pile of makes was building and I could only give so many away as gifts to family and friends. It was incredibly hard to push through the anxiety but I booked four festive craft fairs and my products proved so popular I completely sold out and had enough orders to see me through until May of the following year. It was from that success we made the decision to open Adventure Accessories full-time and give self-employment a go. It has been a wonderful whirlwind ever since and I hope it long may continue.
"I love the flexibility my business gives me!"
One of the perks of being self-employed means I can be flexible with my routine. However, I try to keep a business day if I can. A typical routine example is 7am check emails and messages over morning coffee. 9am prep any orders that have come through and complete any business admin from my to do list. After lunch is either blog post writing or crafting time depending on custom orders etc. Evenings are then for social media catch up, and twitter chats which I love taking part in.
All of this can be changed around depending on errands I might need to run, Ryan’s hospital appointments, or meeting a friend for coffee. I love the flexibility my business gives me. For example, Fridays are hospital day and every 3 weeks we must travel 106 miles to Cardiff for Immunotherapy treatment. I can either take my laptop or crafts with me to work on while Ryan has his treatment.
My dream would be one day to have my own Creative Cafe bricks and mortar shop. With a space to run craft workshops and a small corner for selling my products or as a craft collective showcasing other local handmade businesses too.
I still receive regular counselling to help me cope with the stress of my son’s cancer journey. My therapy has been a life saver to my own mental health, and I have improved as a result. This coupled with my craft making has helped my mindset and is vital to me.
I use my new venture as an escape from the relentless hospital appointments and was able to have my laptop and crafts with me on the ward as Ryan began his new treatment regime when he relapsed in September 2017.
My routine has been adapted and changed as we have settled into his treatment routine which is still ongoing. I love that I can work when it suits me and being mobile, I can work anywhere. Even without WIFI I can be typing blog posts in Word or taking photography to researching my next topics.
Meet the maker
I have been adventuring since I was a child, from an active and creative family. Alongside adventures with Guides, Duke of Edinburgh and Scouting comes a love of craft making. As a parent and multiple dog owner when adventuring I wanted gloves to keep my hands warm but had to keep removing them to get items from the backpack or to hold on to the dog lead so I decided to crochet my own fingerless mitts for people who want practical yet beautiful adventure accessories. Crochet fingerless gloves are the perfect hiking accessories. Even during summer, mountain climbing, beach exploring, or any outdoor adventure can be chilly. They are also ideal for those, like me, that suffer from Arthritis or Raynauds.
To complete the accessories look I soon started making matching sets of ear warmer headbands to keep the crazy annoying wind from giving you terrible earache and that constant battle of keeping your windblown hair from your eyes and for extra warmth decided to also make slouchy beanie hats. Slouchy beanie hats are lightweight so perfect for adventures all year round. They are more ‘roomy’ than usual beanie hats, so you can wear your hair up or down, whatever suits your mood or adventure. My range now also includes boot cuffs, cowl scarves and lap blankets so there really is something for all outdoor enthusiasts.
I have always kept a journal and even in our now ‘tech age’ I still enjoy the tactile process of writing. Adventure Accessories signature Traveller Notebook Journals are beautiful and practical for recording your travel adventures or planning future treks. They also make a fun novelty gift and you can choose a custom map lining to create a truly unique gift for outdoor people.
After all, life is an adventure so buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Sarah Skilton is the owner of Adventure Accessories, created in 2018, an award-winning handmade business based in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Combining a passion for adventure with a love of crafts, Adventure Accessories creates unique handcrafted, fun and functional, gifts for outdoor enthusiasts. You can also follow Sarah on social media as @AdventureAcces.
Thank you for reading. This guest post is fantastic. Sarah is an amazing human being and is talented beyond what words can possible describe. She deserves happiness and endless love and support. Please do check out her site and socials.