Sarah Hurley Book Club: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg


It’s the start of a new year which means the start of a new book club read. It felt only right to start off the new year with something motivational and inspirational. Our latest book club pick is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Since Sarah Hurley Ltd is now a Lean In partner it felt only right to choose this one as our January read!

As Facebook COO and one of  Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business, Sheryl Sandburg’s – Lean In, draws on her own experiences within business and working at some of the most successful businesses in the world. Sandburg tries to help women look at what they can do to help themselves and small changes that could hugely change their life.

Grab a copy of Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg and join us with this months book club read!

Let us know if you have already read our latest pick and let us know what you thought by dropping us a comment below or by getting in touch via our Social Media.

Thanks for reading!

Team Hurley


My Top 5 Christmas Tips for Small Businesses!

Today, I’m sharing my top 5 tips for small businesses to survive the festive season! I’ve made a little video so I can explain them in a bit more detail and give you some  examples. Check out my Business Tips Video here on YouTube!

I’d love to hear the things that help you most at this time of year, leave me a little note below here or on the video if you’d like to share!

Thank you for dropping by today!

Sarah x

Sarah Hurley Live! Mentoring Winners…

As you may have recently seen we announced that we we’re offering three lucky people the chance to have a private mentoring session with Sarah at our new one day event Sarah Hurley Live! All you had to do to enter was to tell us how you thought Sarah would be able to help you with your business or career.

We’re glad to reveal that we have had a lot of fantastic entries, and the whole of Team Hurley went back and forth on choosing our winners. However in the end us at Team Hurley and Sarah decided on the three successful entries simply as we believed that the mentoring sessions would be the most beneficial to them.

Our winners are:

Belinda Poore

Karen Clare

Loti Bradley


Congratulations to our brilliant winners.

Thank you to all of you who entered, we really had some fantastic entries and it was such a difficult decision whittling it down to our lucky three.

We can’t wait to meet you all next week at Sarah Hurley Live! and congratulations again to our winners!

Team Hurley


P.S. Have You Got Your Tickets to Sarah Hurley Live?! Last Few Remaining Here…

Sarah Hurley LIVE! Seminar Preview

Today, we’re so excited to share with you a little preview of the seminar programme at the upcoming Sarah Hurley LIVE! event! (Let me know what you think! which ones you’re most looking forward to etc… we’d love to know!)


Alongside our creative workshops and shopping, we hope you’re as excited as us about the event! If you haven’t yet booked your ticket, what are you waiting for?! Book Now for Sarah Hurley LIVE!

Also, don’t forget there are only a few days now to get your entries in for our mentoring competition. We’ve had some fantastic entries in so far and I’m so excited to go through them all next week.

Thank you for dropping by today!

Sarah x

Top Drawer A/W ’16 and Brand Licensing Show Europe ’16 Roundup

There has been quite a few interesting and exciting exhibitions taking place recently and Sarah and us at Team Hurley were lucky enough to attend the Top Drawer 2016 Autumn/Winter show and exhibit at the Brand Licensing Show Europe 2016. So we thought we would tell you all about it and let you know what we thought about the shows this year.


Top Drawer A/W 2016


Now this was my first time at a trade show, and honestly I had no idea what to expect. Sarah and I had discussed the show before attending and even though she had explained it very clearly, I guess you don’t really know what you’re in for until you actually go. The event this year was held at London’s Olympia in Kensington, and funnily enough it was also my first visit to the Olympia too. When I first arrived I felt a real buzz in the air with all the stands fabulously decorated and ready to lure all us visitors in. When I first arrived it was so easy for me to get distracted by everything and have my head constantly turning to browse at each display. But once me and Sarah had agreed upon a methodical approach of going up each aisle individually in an organised manner, I felt much more focused and able to take in each and every stand.

It was extremely interesting to attend the event and to see all of the different and wonderful products out there. I was also fortunate enough to attend some seminars, one in particular about using Social Media was very beneficial for me and I felt as though I did learn an awful lot!

As a first time visitor here are a couple of tips for all of you who are considering attending this event in the future or one like this.

  1. Firstly plan a strategic approach of how you are going to walk around the exhibit. Make sure you plan first to ensure that you don’t miss out on any hidden gems!
  2. Try and attend as many seminars as you can, that you believe would be beneficial to you. You may think you know it all about Social Media or running an online business etc., but sure enough there may be something new learn.
  3. If you can attend a seminar – TAKE NOTES! You may think you will remember in the morning, but the mind doesn’t always work that way.


Brand Licensing Show Europe 2016

Exhibiting at the Brand Licensing Show was also a first for me, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it! This years Brand Licensing Show was also held at London’s Olympia Kensington.


As soon as I entered the Olympia I was overwhelmed by the rush of colours. I thought at Top Drawer it was hard to know where to look but the Brand Licensing Show was on a whole other level! There were bright pinks, yellows, red, blues every colour you could think of. Not to mention the huge Pikachu and Powerpuff Girls floating above my head. Our Sarah Hurley Ltd. stand was placed on the first floor, so I happily made my way up the multi-coloured Crayola stairs, still in awe of the fantastic displays.

As I arrived to our stand on that first day it felt so great to see Sarah and Team Hurley’s stand design finally come to life. There was our charming cardboard cut out of Angelica Strange, our washing line of fabulous characters, and an incredibly large Sarah Hurley logo. I was excited but also very nervous as I felt as though I wasn’t 100% ready to speak with people about Licensing just yet. Sarah gave me some great advice prior to the show though, she simply said ‘Listen to what people have to say, ask questions and then tell them what we do and what we could do for them.’ Although it sounded easy enough I was still pretty nervous. However after my first encounter with a visitor on our stand I felt at ease and had gained a huge amount of confidence after that. As the 3 days went on I interacted with a variety of different people and felt extremely comfortable. I was also lucky enough to attend a seminar all about Licensing which I found so helpful and I finally felt as though I knew the basics of Licensing and how it works.


All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my time at this years show and found it really interesting, exciting and even educational!

As a first time visitor here are a couple of tips for all of you who are considering attending  / exhibiting at this event in the future or one like this.

  1. Firstly same approach as before – Don’t be blinded by all the amazing displays and bright colours, if you’re going to take a walk around the show have a plan or you’ll miss some fantastic stands.
  2. Always bring business cards!
  3. A smile goes a long way. Even if people aren’t stopping at your stand be welcoming and friendly and flash a brief smile.



Top Drawer A/W 2016

This was the first year we hadn’t exhibited at Top Drawer for a while, it made such a lovely change to walk around and get to speak to everyone, attend seminars and see it all new again through Chloe, very inspiring! This show is all about getting trade or wholesale customers, it’s a great place to be to meet those big store buyers (disclaimer – the only reason we didn’t exhibit this year is because we couldn’t accommodate any more wholesale customers this year, I would do it again in future if / when this changes)

Brand Licensing Show Europe 2016

I L-O-V-E this show – its one of my yearly highlights and I was so pleased to be exhibiting again this year after a great show last year. After exhibiting at both of these shows over the last 2-3 years I thought some tips for new exhibitors might be quite useful, so if you’re new to to these or thinking of exhibiting, here are my top tips as a (somewhat!) seasoned exhibitor:

  1. Visit the show first – absolutely essential!! You have to know what to expect, what the set up is and where you think you fit. Turning up without doing this could be an expensive mistake – I’m so glad I visited for 2 years before taking the plunge, I felt really ready when we got there to exhibit the first year and made sure I got my moneys worth!
  2. Plan your stand – Make sure you know what’s in every square inch, make sure it’s eye catching and will stop your ideal client in their tracks. We do mock ups of both the floor and wall space to ensure it all looks how it should (and we still tweak it during set up!)
  3. Budget carefully – The stand cost is not the only thing to factor in, you’ll need to look at cladding / wall covering, furniture, lighting, electric, marketing materials, staff, taxis, travel etc… I factor in about another stand cost for the extras (e.g. if the stand is £5k, budget another £4-5k for the extras)
  4. Smile! – I’m stealing Chloe’s tip here but it’s SO important, the amount of times i’ve seen people reading the newspaper on their stand, looking bored or even, at this years Top Drawer, Chloe and I stood on a stand for ages being ignored while the exhibitors chatted amongst themselves – you can talk to each other back at the office when it’s not costing you money! Look up, catch peoples eye and smile.
  5. Speak to EVERYONE – don’t look at everyone as a prospect / sale, get to know people, chat and make connections, even with the exhibitors around you – you never know when you might work together or need that person. Two examples here, I met someone at a show two years ago, we chatted, we have a quick catch up each year, we didn’t ‘need’ each other back then, we were both just being polite. This year we’re working together on a MASSIVE project (I can’t even explain to you how big and exciting yet!!) if I hadn’t of been friendly those years ago, that wouldn’t have happened. Secondly, we were exhibiting near someone this year whose work both Chloe and I had admired for a long time. We were excited to speak to them and maybe look at bringing them in on a big project we’re working on. They were so completely rude and horrible that not only will we not work with them but we won’t be buying any more of their products either, they just lost two customers!

Bonus Tip – Rent a chair, for the love of every nerve in your feet, rent a chair!! We didn’t do this the first year, we thought we’d be super alert and on our feet ready for everyone – wrong! (cue Lisa saving us with a late night dash to Argos to buy camping stools on day one after the show!! lol) It’s ridiculously exhausting doing a trade show, factor in 8-10 hours on your feet and it’s ridiculous, grab a little sit down in the quiet moments!

Thank you for reading today. If you have any thoughts, comments or top tips you would like to share with us, drop us a comment below or get in touch with us via social media.

Sarah & Team Hurley


P.S. Don’t forget to book your Sarah Hurley LIVE! tickets today!

Sarah Hurley Partners with Lean In!


Today we are beyond excited to announce something we’ve been keeping a secret for a while! As many of you know, I know travel all over the world speaking on business topics, I try as hard as I can to offer mentoring and guidance through my work with CHA-UK and as I travel and meet fabulous entrepreneurs from all over the world. Encouraging women not only to start and grow their businesses (entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone but success is!) but to be strong, succeed, shine, support and empower each other. It’s something I firmly believe in. All too often women tear each other down, belittle others achievements instead of being steadfast, strong, supportive and as proud of each other as we are for ourselves, a victory for one is a victory for all in the end.

So today, I’m proud to say we have partnered with Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In a cause that is a natural fit for us and helps me and us at Hurley HQ to give back even more. As Lean In Partners, we will be able to connect with more of you from all over the world, encourage, support and inspire.

We will be sharing more about our partnership over the coming weeks and months and those of you coming to Sarah Hurley LIVE! will have some sneak previews of exciting things we’re working on too.

For those of you who may not have heard of Lean In, please do check out their website or pick up a copy of the book (we will of course have this as part of the Sarah Hurley Book Club soon!

What is LeanIn.Org?

LeanIn.Org was founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to empower all women to achieve their ambitions. We offer inspiration and support through our network of 900+ partners, an online community, free expert lectures, and Lean In Circles, small peer groups who meet regularly to share and learn together.

Since the organization’s launch in March 2013—following the release of the bestselling book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead—the LeanIn.Org community has grown to over 1.2M women and men and more than 29,000 Lean In Circles in over 147 countries. LeanIn.Org is a private operating nonprofit organization under IRS section 501(c)(3).

About Sarah Hurley

Sarah founded her eponymous brand and company in 2010 with just £40 and a vision. The brand has since gone from strength to strength and Sarah now leads an International team developing her product range that now comprises of beautiful and useful creative kits, gifts, stationery, children’s products, homeware and more, an established creative lifestyle blog and associated social media channels and Sarah Hurley Publishing, producing a range of online and print titles. Sarah also works with other companies in the creative sector as a Brand Ambassador and Product Development and Marketing Advisor in addition to guest presenting on Shopping TV, writing for a series of magazines as a creative and business expert, is a published author, business advocate and International public speaker.

Elected to the CHA-UK board of Directors in 2014, Sarah (currently head of Events and Education committee) took her place alongside other leading industry experts for a three year term to secure, develop and strengthen the UK creative products industry, organising leading industry events and developing educational programmes.

You can join our newly formed Lean In circle group Spark! here and / or our Facebook group here for all the latest developments


Book your Sarah Hurley LIVE! tickets here!

Thank you for dropping by today and sharing in our excitement!

Sarah x

Making the Most of Business Events

SH NETWORKINGIf you’re not a natural networker or social butterfly, business events can be a scary prospect! but there is truly no better way of connecting with people and getting your business out there, as well as getting in front of those people you just HAVE to meet. People buy from people, its a fact, so having met you in person, that email, sample product, proposal or phone call will be much better received than if you went in cold. I’m not a natural at this, the first time I went to a trade show by myself I rushed round and got the heck out of there as quickly as possible! Now, I love attending trade shows and really look forward to being there. I remember being invited to my first ever networking event, I didn’t know anyone and the prospect of walking up to a group of people and introducing myself made me feel a bit sick, now I make it my mission to meet at least 3 new people – not too daunting! and I often meet lots more. So here are my tips for making the most of your next event…


  • Be Prepared!

Make sure you know where you’re going, what time to be there and your route, turning up late and flustered will only make you feel worse! If you’re early you can grab a coffee or go for a walk around the block to calm your nerves. Research the event, know what the purpose of the event is, who will be there and if you can email those you want to meet beforehand letting them know you’re attending and look forward to meeting them. Finally, take lots of business cards!

  • Have a chat up line

OK, not really! but you should have a short snappy intro that doesn’t sound cheesy or salesy. Start with your name, your company name and a brief summary of what you do. Like, really brief, one or two lines if you wrote them down. I remember meeting someone at an event once who told me the whole story of her, her products, every element of her brand, by the end I’d tuned out and couldn’t even remember her name – let people ask you questions to find that out, then you also know what they are interested in and can structure your answer! For instance, I once met someone from a large retail chain, I COULD have stormed in telling them every single fantastic product I make and could supply them, instead I told them my chat up line, something along the lines of ‘I own a group of companies in product design and development, licensing and publishing in the creative lifestyle sector’ they asked me if I could design products for them – not something I’d ever considered but actually better than what I’d have pitched! Listen more than you talk, it’s a winner!

  • Tell them it’s your first time

When you receive your invite, let the organiser know it’s the first time you’ve done anything like this but you’d  love to attend, ask if they have any advice. Quite often, if they know you’re on you’re own, they will catch you as you walk in and introduce you to a couple of people to get you going. Let them know it’s your first time too and they will often keep the chain going – pretty soon you’ll have a whole bunch of new friends! When I organise events with CHA-UK we always look out for people on their own and make sure we look after them, as an organiser we want people to be happy and get the most from the event so they come back!

CHA UK One Big Show Morning - Sarah Hurley

  • Set a Goal

You won’t want to break it! Whether it’s to introduce yourself to one particular person or set a target of how many new people to meet, you’ll be fired up to reach that goal. One trade show I attended a few years ago I set myself a goal to meet a particular person. I was so nervous that day and REALLY wanted to go home, it made me march up to that person and hand them my business card just so I could get out of there! When you set yourself a goal, you’ll make yourself do it so you don’t let yourself down, remember why you’re doing this!

  • Make eye contact

Don’t spend the whole event looking at your phone, look around, look for other people on their own or in smaller groups and make (non-creepy!) eye contact and smile, you’ll find that all people on their own at these events tend to find each other and remember, everyone in there wants to meet new people too!

If you’d like to put this into practice ASAP,  CHA-UK have an event this weekend with lots of networking and fun! You can book your tickets here and if you’ll be on your own, let me know and I’ll come find you and help you start your network!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Sarah x


Happy New Year! 2015 in Review…

Happy New Year everyone!

As we finalise our plans for 2016, I’ve been reviewing everything thats happened over the last year – it’s been a busy one!! So here goes…

January – My first trip to L.A., all by myself, proper scary but so exciting and I’m so glad I done it! Also my first International talk (and my biggest!) with lots of lovely people coming to see me talk about Creative Blogging for Business. B and I also went off to Creativeworld in Germany as he prepared to launch his own company, BeeBees Boutique, we had a LOT of fun in the snow, meeting some lovely people, meeting with some of our existing clients and tying up some great brand partnerships.

February – This month I launched Spark! and met with my lovely team at the Stitches show in the UK, another busy month of travelling.

March – B launched BeeBees Boutique in preparation for leaving his day job and joining the company full time, a big scary step!

April – We relaunched the ‘A Few of My Favourite Things…’ Kits as a bi-monthly craft kit due to popular demand. I also attended some very exciting meetings at the London Book Fair. Our first CHA Creative Exchanges event was launched and we had a fantastic time (looking forward to this years one!!)

May – We doubled our office space (had a very messy paint fight while decorating it) and invested in new equipment to allow us to grow the business even further. This month was also the month I reported that we had grown the business by 500% in a year – this was SO exciting and such a big moment for me, it’s still something that gives me butterflies.

June – We launched Sarah Hurley Publishing. I was invited back to the US to speak again at the CHA Mega Show in 2016. I also attended the CHA-UK One Big Show where I held some more seminars, mentored some lovely businesses and met some fantastic contacts. This is also where I was approached by Hochanda who asked if I wanted to join them!

July – My first visits to Hochanda offices to discuss working with them and tour the studios. B left his day job and joined the team full time. Altogether some very exciting milestones this month – it was a good one!

August – My friend and TeamHurley member, Clare came to visit with her family, we had lots of fun around London which was fantastic. I also found out I’d been awarded a place in the Smallbiz100!

September – We exhibited at the Top Drawer show in London, meeting some major new clients including one very exciting retailer we’ll be telling you more about in the new year… Amy joined the team as my PA and I also had a very exciting meeting at NotOnTheHighStreet HQ in London to discuss our plans for growth with them, a fabulous day!

October – I got to see inside Somerset House during a meeting with a client there, we exhibited at the Licensing Show in London – where I had my picture taken with Postman Pat and a My Little Pony! and we celebrated the companies 5th Birthday (5!!)

November – We had a fantastic meeting at Pinewood Studios with a contact who discovered us at the Licensing Show. A Swedish TV crew came to film us for the day for a documentary (I’ll be able to say more about this in a couple of months!) and I signed the contracts finalising big bits of our International growth / expansion plans (eeek!)

December – I was invited to Downing Street after my SmallBiz100 win, an invite from the Chancellor of the Exchequer was a pretty exciting email to receive!! We celebrated Lucy’s one year TeamHurley anniversary. I spent lots of time at Hochanda, it was a great atmosphere in the run up to Christmas although I did feel a bit sneaky having such a good time when my team were back at Hurley HQ working literally around the clock to get orders out – we had an unprecedented Christmas, over 3 times what we had forecast! I feel very blessed my team are so fantastic and handled everything when I wasn’t able to be there! Of course we topped off the year with a fantastic TeamHurley Christmas party.

So there you have it – a massively eventful year for all of us at Hurley HQ and one that we VERY much enjoyed though it was massively stressful at times. Some big milestones achieved. We had tears and laughter, I learned important lessons (both business and personal!) and ended the year snuggled up, celebrating with my favourite people – ending the year achieving my dreams, loved and happy  makes me the happiest I’ve been years!

Wishing you much love, luck and happiness for the new year!

Sarah x

Five Years!

This week marked a big milestone for myself and all of Team Hurley – Five years! FIVE! of the Sarah Hurley company… I still can’t quite believe it, it still feels really surreal and like only yesterday I was in the corner of the living room packing my handful of orders and deciding if I should order 10 jiffy bags or be REALLY brave and order 25 (we now order them in thousands – crazy!) On the one hand that feels like yesterday and on another it feels SO long ago because so much has changed in a relatively short time. Back then I could barely pay myself, I definitely couldn’t afford heating and used to often work in gloves and woolly hats, now I have a fantastic team (and heating! lol) and can even leave the office for days at a time (when I’m at Hochanda for my TV shows or travelling for meetings) and they can handle everything in my absence, amazing!


(from left to right – Noddy, Amy, Fuzzybutt, B, Me! & Lucy)

Before you think ‘ick, show off, bet she had it easy!’ I promise you, I didn’t!! I started my business with just £40 and in the worst time of my life (you can read more about that from my year three review here on my old blog) I’ve had struggles along the way, rejections (lots!), bullying, copying (lots and lots!), late nights (really LOTS!), tears, tantrums and heartbreaks but the one thing that remained is my focus and determination on doing what I LOVE, what I know you LOVE and what I feel to be right.

I feel blessed to be able to work with the most fantastic group of people who completely GET my vision and want to make it work as much as I do, these goofballs are truly amazing…


and I just know the next five years are going to be even more incredible that the last five – I can’t wait!

To include you in our ongoing birthday celebrations (that have been going on most of the week here at Hurley HQ!) check out my blog post coming later today and my Facebook page where this weekend we’ll be sharing lots of celebratory goodness with you – without you and your support I wouldn’t be here so we want to show our appreciation 🙂

Thank you for dropping by today!

Sarah (& Team Hurley!) x