Gift Design Guide infogram

The ‘Small Business Gift Design Guide’, by Creative Business Gems

Early this year, we went through our Milly Inspired sales data to identify the most popular occasions, themes, and relationship types, in terms of gift purchases. We then looked at other small gift design studios and carried out the same study on their more popular products. The infogram above shows the results.

To help you understand the guide, I’ve defined the key terms:

Occasion Gifts: This is a product that has clearly been designed for a specific occasion, like a Christmas hamper. Alternatively, it could be a more general gift with occasion-specific personalisation or graphics added to it. A photo album with ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ on the cover would be an example of this.

Themed Gifts: These are similar to occasional gifts. However, the themes are less seasonal, and not attached to one specific gift-giving event. Examples might be a personalised print with a friendship theme. It could also be a keepsake box with ‘Memories’ engraved on the lid.

Relationship Gifts: This category includes gifts that physically state the recipient’s relationship to the customer. For example, a keyring that says ‘Happy Birthday Dad’, or a bracelet with ‘Daughter’ added to it.

The results of our study also revealed a number of additional insights I will share with you over the coming months. But for now, here are a few little sneak peeks:
Popular pendants:
1. Letters
2. Birthstones
3. Snowflakes
(Crystals came out at the bottom of the list.)

Common words used in gift design:
1. Story
2. Family
3. Thank You
(The word ‘Gardening’ emerged as the least commercial phrase.)

What do you think of our findings? Would you like more information like this? What kind of information would you find useful? Let us know in the comment field below.

Creative Business Gems Launch Giveaway

Spread the love and win £100 of Hobbycraft gift vouchers to spend on your creative business.

So we are hitting the ground running by starting our first competition right away. It is a simple ‘like and share’ giveaway. All you have to do is:

1. Head over to either our Facebook or Twitter page.
2. Find the competition graphic above posted on that social media page.
3. Then Like our page and Share the graphic.

It’s as easy as that!

Here are the links again: Facebook and Twitter.

The launch giveaway will run all month, ending on the 31sh May at midnight. I will announce the winner here on the 1st June 2017… exciting!

To make sure you hear about future competitions, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter below.

Note: This competition is not sponsored by Hobbycraft.

Creative Business Gems Love list

Look Who Made The Love List….

Over the years that I have been running Milly Inspired I have met some truly amazing entrepreneurs, read books that have changed my whole outlook on running a business, and attended events, workshops and meet-ups that have helped me to reach the next level. What and who these amazing sources of inspiration are is just the type of information I want to pass onto you guys so my aim is to keep a list of my top resources, my CBG ‘Love List’.

This list will change and evolve as I find new resources so do keep coming back to view the most up-to-date list.

The List:

Books & eBooks

1.Shape up your Business by Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker

One of two books written by the founders of Personally, this is the one I found more useful, mainly due to it’s insights and tried-and-tested small business lessons. The book is full of case studies from Partners, so it is the perfect read for anyone aspiring to sell on their site.

One of two books written by the founders of Personally, this is the one I found more useful, mainly due to it’s insights and tried-and-tested small business lessons. The book is full of case studies from Partners, so it is the perfect read for anyone aspiring to sell on their site.

2.How to Style Your Brand: Everything you Need to Know to Create a Distinctive Brand Identity by Fiona Humberstone

This beautifully stylish book takes you through the branding process, from the conception of your business through to communicating to your audience as an established company.

This beautifully stylish book takes you through the branding process, from the conception of your business through to communicating to your audience as an established company.

3. Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.

A self-help book for creatives. This is perfect for anyone wanting to live a creative lifestyle who is fearful of taking that initial big leap. Gilbert draws on her own life experiences as a creative, and other well-known creatives, to inspire you to take that first step. Personally, I find hearing other people’s stories gives me confidence that I am on the right path, so I often have the Audible version of this book playing in our studio.


1. Handmadeology

A hub for all things Etsy. Started by Timothy Adams, this blog is packed full of useful Etsy advice. Plus. you can connect with other sellers via their social media pages.
2. UK Handmade

An advocate and supporter of all things UK craft. I have used their forum numerous times, and their ongoing support for creatives always motivates me.
3. Female Entrepreneur Association

Started by Carrie Green, this lady has created an online meeting place for business women from all over the world. I joined their Members Club a few years ago and love being able to communicate to other female business owners. Plus, the themed monthly information packs they send out to their members are very useful.

You don’t have to join their membership site to find useful content. Have a listen to Carrie’s weekly podcasts over on their blog, or have a read of their ‘She Means Business‘ magazine.

Training – online and offline:

1. Paperfest

Originally a yearly event bringing together people from the world of Paper Goods, Paperfest is now part of the London Tradeshow, Top Drawer. Top Drawer runs in January and September each year, and both events are FREE to visit if you run a small business. Paperfest hosts talks throughout the three-day event; these have included speakers from major retailers like Waterstones and Selfridges.
2. Nicole’s Classes

Personally I have completed their Photoshop, Illustrator, Photography 101 and Table Top Photography courses (wow, I didn’t realise I’d done so many). The courses are affordable, practical and some of the most useful I’ve taken. You simply purchase the course you want from their website and select the date you want to start the 4-week course. Once purchased, download their software. When the course starts you sign in and that week’s notes and videos are ready to go. You can also upload any work you have done, so your teacher and coursemates can add notes.

Nicole has kindly set up an offer for Creative Business Gems readers. This will allow you 15% off all her courses with the discount code ‘CBG15’. All you have to do is add the promo code at checkout.

3. Start Small, Dream Big

From the owners of the blog, A Beautiful Mess, these sisters have written several ecourses. I have friends who have purchased different ones and all have enjoyed them. For small business start-ups I’d pick the ‘Start Small, Dream Big’ course. Again, it is affordable and easy to access. The courses are self-study so you can work at your own pace.


1. Holly Booth

Owner of Holly Booth Photography. Holly has been our product photographer for many years. She is now one of the photographers recommends that their Partners use. Holly creates quality, on-trend photos. Based in Derby you can visit her for a day or a half day shoot. Alternatively, you can now post her your products, and she will photograph them for you and post everything back. Plus, she is one of the most cost-effective photographers I have found.
2. Jenny Hyde

Owner of Copper Boom Studios, Jenny and I used to work together at Now she offers mentoring, courses and workshops for Partners. Plus, Copper Boom Studios is available for e-commerce product descriptions and photography.
3. Claire Yuille

Owner of Indie Retail UK, a website and ecourses to help launch your wholesale collection.

So that is our first ‘Love List’. Do you have any suggestions you think we should include in the future? Maybe you run an e-course or host a networking event that would be perfect for our list; if so, then please get in touch.

Gender Reveal Trend

Gender Reveal Moodboard – view Pinterest Board for photo sources.

Gender reveal parties are a new trend, straight from the US. Just like baby showers, this is a rapidly growing trend within the UK, with couples looking for fun ways to reveal the sex of their baby to their family and friends. For more inspiration, take a look at our gender reveal Pinterest Board.

The Million Dollar Blog

The Million Dollar Blog Book Review: if you are starting a blog or perfecting the one you have, then this is the book for you!

The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Cournney-Smith is one of those rare reads that encapsulates not just the general information you expect to find in any book on a specific topic, but also endeavours to include fresh new content unique to its pages.

There are a number of extra aspects of blogging that Courtney-Smith chooses to include, but for me, the numerous unique case studies from some of the most well-known bloggers out there are what make The Million Dollar Blog the most practical book on blogging at the moment. There is at least one case study per chapter. Two of my favourite are:

1.Elise and Emma from Craft and Lifestyle Blog, A Beautiful Mess.
2. Carrie Green of the Female Entrepreneur Association (FYI – all female business owners need to follow this lovely lady’s blog).

I have read far too many books on blogging, and comparing this to others I have read, I can safely say that the reason this book works so well is because of the author’s personal background. Originally, Natasha started blogging to grow her PR business. That meant she took a business-minded approach to blogging. She watched and analysed the posts that generated the best response. It is this process she shares with the reader.

The book starts by introducing the vast blogging options open to the reader, from ‘mum blogs’, like the famous Mumsnet, to news blogs like the Huffington Post, and specialist blogs such as Simple Green Smoothies (all of whom are included as case studies in the book).

As the book progresses, Natasha talks first about the initial creation of your blog, through to the launch, growth, and then the all-important monetisation.

I truly loved this book, and found it very inspiring. Natasha writes with the kind of genuine enthusiasm that motivates you to get blogging right away. If you only want to read one book on blogging, this is the book for you… enjoy!

Have you read this book? If so, let us know your thoughts in the comment field below.

Main photo by – Get the Gloss

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Welcome, I’m Gemma

If you are a Craftsperson, an Artisan, Design-Maker or Micro Manufacturer, looking for product design inspiration then is a blog written for you.

I have run my own Designer-Maker Business, Milly Inspired, for over 7 years now. Today our six-figure company is still growing at 50%. Learn how to get the same results right here!

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