Dawn Stone runs personalised gift business, Forever64 and is based in Wallsend. We chatted to Dawn to find out more about her business and where inspiration for the unusual name came from.
Hi Dawn, how did the name come about for your business?
It came about in a round about way. We lost my dad to cancer in 2018 and one of the last things he said to me was that he wanted me to stop working for other people and live my life for me. I’d raised my daughter to adulthood and he wanted to me to make use of my time and enjoy life. I thought about that and realised that running my own business was essentially what I wanted to do.
So, I started up Annesley Gifts in honour of my dad. But I soon found that people were struggling to find my business online because they couldn’t pronounce or spell the business name very easily. I asked around and found that people weren’t referring others to my business for the same reason
I was sat one day, thinking over the problem of the name and Forever64 kept running through my head. I couldn’t figure out why but I just kept coming back to that name. Then I realised my dad would be forever 64 because that’s the age we lost him at. So, I renamed the business Forever64. It’s a great name because it’s short, memorable and people can spell it! But best of all, it still honours my dad, so it’s very personal to me.
Tell us about some of the things that you make at Forever64
I have a wide range of gifts and clothing items which can be personalised. I do mugs, make up bags, Christmas decorations, t-shirts and hoodies. One of the best sellers in recent weeks came about as a joke to start with. When Facebook went down a few weeks ago, the next morning I posted a picture of a t-shirt with ‘I survived the great social media outage of 2021’ on it and people loved it. They asked if they could order it so I set it up as a proper item and it’s been really popular.
As a fairly new business I’m still working out what people like and want to buy. My current focus is on personalised Christmas decorations, Santa sacks, Christmas mugs and things like that. I’ve also got chopping boards, t-shirts and tea towels on the website too.
What did you do before you set up Forever64?
I worked in admin for more than 20 years while I was raising my daughter. It paid the bills and kept a roof over our heads but it was never an area I felt I could progress in and I didn’t get any job satisfaction from it.
How do you find being your own boss?
Losing my dad in 2018 triggered a bad mental health crisis for me. I suffered predominantly from anxiety and being able to just have a bad day and give myself some space to recover and not worry about going into work was everything for me.
On the flip side of that I often find myself switching the computer on at 8am and I’m still working at 10 or 11 o-clock in the evening. But I love what I do. I take pride in every order that I receive. If something isn’t perfect it doesn’t go out. I’ve had people ask me in the past why I haven’t sent a certain item out because it looks perfect to them. But if I see even the slightest imperfection, I don’t send it out – it gets made again. I put my heart and soul into my business which I’ve built from scratch. I’ve saved money and bought new equipment and I’ve put everything into it, financially and emotionally. It’s my baby.
Every order that comes in gets the same love, care and pride. I look at every item I make and take pride in the fact that I’ve made it. I’m very proud of myself.
How can people find you?
I’m on Facebook and Instagram – if people search for @Forever64Uk they’ll find my profiles and I try to keep them updated with new products and news as it happens.
To place orders or send messages, visit the website – www.forever64.co.uk