A YOUNG Carnoustie man who took up card making as a means of countering stress and thereby keeping his illness under control has found that his business is booming as more and more people hear of his craft.
Craig Laird (26), 10 Kinloch Street, is a native of the burgh and has lived in Carnoustie all his life. He attended Kinloch Primary School and Carnoustie High School before taking up a post with The Co-operative.
He joined the Co-op the day after his 16th birthday and worked all over Aberdeen as an area trainer. He was then moved to the Dundee Road, Forfar, branch as supervisor before being made trading manager in Carnoustie. Unfortunately, due to ill health he had to step down.
Craig has suffered from Crohns disease since he was eight years old and by the time he was 12 it had got so serious that he had to have an illiostomy.
Craig told the Guide & Gazette: “As awful as this decision was, it was the best as it has given me a better quality of life. I have had many flare ups, operations and many setbacks over the years which included a lengthy operation and setback for the last six months of 2011. I have had such fantastic support from friends, family and work colleagues.”
He went on: “However, there’s one person I couldn’t have got through this without and that is, of course, my mum, Denise. Her support and help has been amazing and she has been my personal taxi service with hospital trips up to four times a day.
Craig explained that stress is one of the main causes for flare-ups in Crohns Disease. He went on: “Unfortunately, in this day and age there’s a lot of stress in life, not just for me but for everyone.
“So my main focus is to keep stress low at all times. I had been encouraged by my consultant to take up a hobby to relax and keep the stress as low as possible. I have always been a ‘crafty’ person and one day I watched a card making programme on a shopping channel.
“As they say the rest is history and about five years ago Card Creations was born. I would craft in the corner of my small living room and within a year it had taken over my flat. So after a lot of saving, I managed to buy a studio that’s situated in my back garden. It has heating and electricity and has given me a craft free flat.
“It did start as a hobby but over time people who were friends of family members started to ask me to make special cards for them. The business has now grown with friends, family and even members of the public asking me to make special cards.”
Craig went on: “Of course I charge, but I do my best to keep prices low and use the best quality materials. Also, my cards are unique: you will never find an identical card anywhere in the world.
“I donate a minimum of 10 per cent of every order to the National Association of Crohns and Colitis (NACC). I don’t advertise as I prefer my reputation to spread by word of mouth as this way my customers will already have an idea of the high quality stock I use.
“I do however have my own Facebook page dedicated to my cards - www.facebook.com/craigscardcreations - and currently there is a selection of cards on there that I have made in my spare time.
“They can range from elegant, vintage, male and of course cute. I have a wide rage of ‘Tatty Ted’ and ‘Forever Friends’ which are all officially licensed images, and to date I have never had a request I couldn’t fulfil.”
He concluded: “I am currently in the middle of saving money to get my ‘Card Creations’ workshop finished with plasterboard and insulation on the inside. My craft has turned into my life. I can’t call it a job, because its fun. I just hope that one day I can work in an area of the craft industry.”