This week I interviewed a friend of mine on her business making handmade bags and accessories, please do support and enjoy!
What’s the business about?
“So I make handmade accessories from vintage material and kind of like left over material so it’s supposed to be more sustainable.”
What do you make?
“So I make handmade accessories, so it’s like bags and I make makeup bags, scrunchies, purses. I do Christmas stuff at the minute so I’ve done some Christmas bookmarks and I’m actually going to do some Christmas face masks because of the new guidelines. So lots of things, different things, I guess I like to make bags the most but I try and do a range.”
When did it start?
“Oh, I think I started it in like September, September yeah because I had my earring business before that, and then I kind of thought I want to do something that’s a bit more me, a bit more like my skills than earrings are, not necessarily niche, but ‘earrings’ was too general you know? And then I also wanted to something a bit more sustainable, so yeah, I started it in September.”
Why did you start it?
“I wanted to do something and I really wanted to make my own business but something that I like doing and I like making bags, and I thought, I also want to do something that’s a bit sustainable because obviously it’s hard to be very sustainable. Also, I love vintage clothes so I thought it’s quite fun sourcing that material and because it’s 60s and 70s materials that’s kind of what I’m going for. I just wanted to do something that I could do well but also something that I’m interested in.”
How/where do you get materials?
“So I get materials from charity shops or like, vintage sales, kilo fairs, and from them I normally get clothes and then I will cut them up, so the gingham bag I have on my shop, that one’s made from like 3 different shirts that I cut up, but some of them I get are old, vintage pillowcases and bedding. Some of that I get online or charity shops where the bedding is pretty cheap. And I do UK friendly packaging and that so it’s a bit sustainable.”
How do you advertise?
“I’m on Etsy. That’s where my shop is so that comes up when you search it and sometimes I do Etsy ads too which is where it just advertises your shop a bit which is good because obviously there’s loads of stuff on there, and I’m on Instagram, I do Pinterest as well, and Facebook a bit.”
How do you see the future of the business?
“Well I’m not too sure but today I’m doing a little handmade craft fair at Reading Uni, so I want to do things like that you know just to get a bit better in the surroundings and then bring out some new products and sell regularly.”
What experience do you have?
“In Uni I learnt a lot of like sewing skills and making stuff in the production line, and then I did work experience in that military shop where they’d get military uniforms and upcycle them, so for example you’d get a shirt and you’d make a bag out of it, so I guess that’s where I got the idea for upcycling. And I do a side job for another handmade business where I help with the marketing, so I started making reels for her and kind of doing Etsy stuff which kind of gave me the confidence to do it myself.”
Where is it based?
How much time/days do you spend on making? Designing? Selling? Advertising?
“I feel like it’s hard to say exact because I spend a bit working everyday, but if I was going to put it into full days it probably be 4 days at least. It’s at least half a week because it takes so much time to do, you have to make it all, take photos of it all, sell it all, you have to write all the listings, then you have to do all social media stuff too.”
Do you have any competitors?
“Yeah, I feel like there’s a lot, and there’s quite a few small kind of businesses on Instagram and Etsy that design their own fabric too, and I do like the idea of designing my own fabrics as well so I guess I would see them as competitors.”
Any advice for other businesses?
“I guess I would say just keep trying, it is difficult like I think it’s difficult to get it out there you know because there’s so much stuff out there, and just make your stuff quite high quality I think that’s what I’ve thought as I’ve went along you know, if you’re proud of it and really like the product then it becomes easier to sell.”
Mia is an editorial writer for Film and Television, with interests in music and social media.