So I decided at the end of last year that I really wanted to start a blog, to talk about my small business but also to tell you a little bit more about me and the things that go on behind the scenes!
I know that a lot of people have found me via online markets especially over the past year or so as we haven't really been able to have any in person ones until very recently. I've really felt like i've missed out on meeting people, speaking about my business in person and for people to have the opportunity to get to know me as a person too. So I thought that the best place to start would be a little introduction to me and how I started this little business.
So here goes...
I'm Jemma, 27 and I live near Warrington in the North West of England. I began my business properly in about 2017 but had been making as a hobby for a number of years prior, especially since finishing my degree in 2015.
I studied Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design at Leeds College of Arts (now known as Leeds Arts University). I studied there for 3 years after completing my foundation course at my local college and up to that point I thought that I wanted to study Fine Art. When I started my foundation course I loved the time that we spent experimenting with all the different processes and after a recommendation from my tutor Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design was the route that I decided to go down. I absolutely loved my time at university and learnt so much that I have taken away and developed further into my own work. I also met some amazing people and friends for life.
After completing my degree in the summer of 2015 I wasn't really sure what route I wanted to go down. I had done some work experience over the past few years in London but just didn't imagine myself living the London life. However, I had taken away so much inspiration from my time working with small businesses and dreamed that one day I could be doing the same. Similarly to a lot of people just finishing University I went into the world of retail and stayed there for 4 years. It taught me some amazing life skills, communication skills and I again I met some fab people who I am still in touch with today. It was during this time that I started to work on my own products and eventually at the start of 2017 took them to my first Makers Market at Salford Quays. I loved speaking to people about my work and how I started to make it and it really gave me the confidence to do more and take my work to more places.
Fast forward 4 years, I am now working part time at a Wedding stationary/gift company and working on my own business the rest of the time in my little studio space (mum & dad's spare room). My product range has grown and now includes a variety of leather jewellery, accessories, embellished pouches and embroidery hoop artworks. Everything is hand painted, embroidered and embellished by hand making it completely unique as no two products will be exactly the same. You can find my products in a number of stockists in the North West & further afield including Merseymade - Liverpool, GK Gallery - Salford, The Hive - Dunham Massey, MrsBArts - Northumberland & Design 44 in Stratford-upon-Avon and Derby... fingers crossed there will be more coming soon. I also sell my products via Etsy, AndSoToShop & Friends of Joules.
It has been a real journey to get to this point, I would be lying if I said that there haven't been any bumps in the road but being able to do the thing that I love and you loving it too definitely out ways all of that and makes it so worth while. I think the biggest challenge for me building my own small business has been that I have definitely learnt as I have gone along. There wasn't really a set way of doing things and coming out of university it felt like the craziest thing to start your own business when you should be getting a 'proper job'. I am so glad that I have persevered and I am so grateful for all the support that I have received along the way, whether that be feedback, kind reviews, purchases or simply just following along with my journey - it all really means the world.
A few random facts about me, some a little controversial...
I'm not a tea drinker or coffee for that matter, my hot drink of choice is a hot chocolate.
My hair is naturally curly...who knew. You'll most likely see my with straight hair as I straighten it pretty much everyday - saying that I've been trying not to over the last lockdown.
My favourite dog is a miniature Dachshund - i've loved them for years & can't wait to get one when we get our own house.
I can't hack spicy food, my limit is a lemon & herb at Nando's.
Favourite biscuit....a bourbon...i'm a little bit of a chocoholic.
I hope you have enjoyed finding out a bit more about me & my small business.
If theres anything in particular that you'd like me to cover please let me know