Ahhh yes, that time of year again where one reflects on all that happened throughout the year.  I thought I’d get in early before all the other bloggers out there do their New Years round up.  That way you won’t be fed up already with all the reflective posts, and may actually read mine all the way through ;).

I say 2012 was awesome, but the first few months were weird ones for me.  My Uncle very suddenly became ill and was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, despite not being a smoker, and died within weeks of finding out what was wrong with him.  I wasn’t really all that close to him so it wasn’t as traumatic as it could have been, but still a shock none the less.  I think what was most distressing was not knowing him all that well and now not having the chance to get to know him.  For a while I did feel guilty about not making more of an effort to see him, but life takes over so it is not always possible to do so.  The most scary thing is that he was 4 years older than his brother, my Dad, so to think that in four years time my Dad may not be around anymore is just horrible!  But the lesson is that life is short!!!  It can be taken from you at any time reguardless of whether you live a hedonistic lifestyle of drugs, smoking, alcohol/all the other vices; you could still drop dead of lung cancer.  So enjoy life whilst you can!

Anyway drama at the beginning of the year over, by April/May I was back to working on Betty Blue’s Loungerie full time again.  This saw the launch of my most successfully selling item to date, The Black Nell Robe.

Logistically this robe is a nightmare to get put into production.  But at the expense of the sanity of the ladies who work at the factory I use, I decided to ignore their pleas for a simpler version and stuck to my guns and the original design.  I even added a more beautiful version, The Crystallized Black Nell Robe.

Hundreds of hand placed sparkly black crystals of varying size.  They sparkle ever so subtly in the light and add a real touch of luxury and glamour to the already alluring lace design.  I’m not going to lie, I started going a little crazy after hand crystalling 6 of these robes in a row.  I started seeing crystals when I closed my eyes.  All worth it of course when I get lovely emails from customers raving about how beautiful their robe is.

Onwards in my year and onwards with challenging myself.  A good friend of mine maintains it is good to scare yourself every now and again.  By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, it is amazing what you can achieve and that sense of empowerment and achievement is a very addictive feeling.  So I thought RIGHT!  I am going to model my own range of loungerie!!!  I had never modelled before, and never wanted to particularly.  But it was something other people had suggested I do, and it was definitely pushing myself out of my comfort zone!  So I visited the best one woman talent show that I know, Morgana at Iberian Black Arts.  This was the result.

Not bad for a first attempt at modelling, but I am sure I will look back in a few years time and think “Pah!  I can do better!”.  The shots were of a few new products, The Tempest Set, The Hedy Teddy and The Marilyn Rain Bonnet.  And I promise the Hedy Teddy is coming soon!  I’m just a bit slow at getting new things into production; it’s much easier just to change the colour of an item as all the hard work is already done!  But soon I promise ;).

June saw the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of our dear Queenie (who happens to share my name so of course this makes her cool – she should totally be called Queen Betty!).  I decided to join the celebrations by taking part in Victorious Vintage at Portsmouth’s Historic Docks, along with my good friend and fellow business owner Katie, from Katie Vale Designs.

The weather was a little rubbish (this is Britain after all!)  but much fun was had by all, and the country was all in unison and feeling very patriotic for once.  People were actually in a good mood!  We did have this other little patriotic thing in the summer called the 2012 Olympics………..but I’m not really into sporty stuff so we shall skip over those months.

In September Betty Blue’s Loungerie celebrated her 1st Birthday.  It however ran past without much recognition as I was busy preparing myself for a competition!  Back in the summer I had entered a whole host of businessy type competitions with the thought of “you have to be in it to win it!”.  Well I was only picked as a finalist in one of the competitions!!!  It was The Start Up Hub competition run by the Conservative Party.  I was invited along to their annual conference up in Birmingham, where I had to convince delegates to vote for my business to win the award.  It was an hugely exciting day for me, rubbing shoulders with the elite and meeting a few senior British politicians.  I didn’t get to meet the PM though or the Mayor of London :(.   BUT I DID WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!  Here is my winning picture :).

Sitting atop a blue lion with my rosette, as you do.  So now I am an award winning company!  I won a fabulous tablet computer from Fujitsu (which I totally use to look all important and business like) and some business mentoring from one of the other sponsors, which I am due to have in January up in London.  The night I won I was all excited and didn’t sleep a wink, that is how sad I am!  I just sat up playing with my new tablet computer.  Sad but true.  Now I’ve had a taste for winning, I want more so have been entering even more competitions in the hopes of winning titles :).

After the conference I didn’t have time to rest.  It was straight into preparations for my second ever photoshoot, as a model.  I just released the first results of the photoshoot, but in case you missed em, here are the first lot of pictures.

That’s right there are more pictures of a COMPLETELY NEW product to come.  Can’t give you everything at once!!  And this Tempest Set in Cotton Candy, will be available much before the other new item.  In fact I may get a delivery either this week or next, so the above will be up for pre order soon :).

To round off my year, last week I found out I am a finalist for another start up business award that I entered.  I only found out a couple of days before Christmas so am unsure of all the details, and I probably won’t find out everything until next week now because of the holidays.  But this is what I understand it to be.  It is called the Local Business Accelerator Scheme.  Basically it involves about 500 local newspapers around the country (UK).  The local papers, in my case The Basingstoke Gazette, choose local businesses to pitch to them as to why they should win.  The prize is free advertising in the local paper.  Then this is where my memory gets a bit sketchy.  The local business that is chosen then I believe (but could be making this up) goes through to a national final, fronted by Deborah Meaden of TV’s Dragons Den.  The overall winner, wins business mentoring for a year with Deborah, and I want to say they win £10,000 as well, but again I could be making that bit up.  Either way it’s a pretty awesome prize to have mentoring from Deborah Meaden!  And to a company like mine the advice would be invaluable!  I will of course let you all know as and when I do, what the actual details are.  But I do know that I have to do a Dragon’s Den style pitch to the Basingstoke Gazette and a panel of local business owners on 24th January 2013, so wish me luck!  Again I plan on using dirty tactics again to win – namely scantily clad pictures of ladies……………..let’s hope the panel is all male.

Anyway, that was my year in a nutshell.  A pretty sucessful one overall and I’m hoping 2013 will be just the same.  I have lots of plans for world domination in the loungerie stakes, new products to launch and old ones re vamped and made even better (yes that included the Black Nell Robe which is as rare as hens teeth at the moment).  So keep your peepers peeled for news!

Lots of Love and good wishes for the New Year!!

Betty xxx