For today’s interview, please welcome Scholastica from Handstitched With Love.
1.Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? Hello, I’m Scholastica – a bit of a mouthful I know! The story has it that my parents wanted me to have a name with the same number of letters as Christopher (my brother’s name). I live with my husband and our two gorgeous girls in Hertfordshire near Welwyn. I love being surrounded by all the greenery, having spent 7 years in London before we moved.
2. Please tell us a little about the nature of your craft/design based business. I make jewellery and men’s accessories by setting small pieces of cross stitch in miniature wooden frames. I do a lot of custom orders – the latest being matching cufflinks for a groom and his groomsmen – all featuring cross-stitched Barbados flags! In the past I have made jewellery from cross-stitched owls to Pac-man to mathematical functions.
3. How did the idea for your business come about? I have always been creative and dreamt of selling my handmade creations – though I was never brave enough to do something about it! Then in 2011 I got quite ill when I was carrying my second daughter, and I did a lot of cross-stitching to help wind away the long hours of being stuck in bed. It was at the point when we were running out of wall space for my embroidered work that my husband challenged me to make something “useful” out of my cross-stitching! I started making cufflinks for friends and family and shortly after Handstitched With Love was born.
4. How long now have you been established? I started selling at the beginning of 2012, so we have just had our anniversary! It’s been a steep learning curve, and I am still very much learning as I go along.
5. How do you decide what to make, and how do you come up with your great ideas? I take inspiration from all manner of things, but have a great love for vintage cross stitch designs. I like trawling antique shops and online for old copies and I particularly like French designs from the early 1900s. Equally fun though is coming up with designs for custom requests – many customers are very creative and I am guided by their ideas!
6. Do you undertake your business on a full-time basis or do you have other work/family commitments? I work as a pensions consultant 3 days a week and try to fit everything around that and looking after my girls. I definitely don’t get to spend as much time stitching as I would like! My husband is brilliantly supportive and he helps out around the house to give me as much time to pursue my dream as possible.
7. Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the business? I don’t really have a typical day and it’s a bit of a juggling act between fulfilling orders and working on new designs to be honest. On the days that I am in the office, I normally spend my lunch breaks responding to emails and working on my shop listings and photos. In the evenings I’m usually stitching with chocolates and a glass of wine! In between there are trips to the post office, filing, researching and a bit of accounts when I am feeling strong.
8. What advice would you give to others who are considering running a craft based business? I am still learning so not sure I’m best placed to give advice, but I think you need to have a real passion for what you do, as it will show through on your creations. And be prepared for long hours spent on tedious admin jobs. Make lots of like-minded friends – there is such a supportive handmade community both on- and offline – and have fun!
9. As this is Art of Crafts I have to ask, do you enjoy any crafts yourself in your spare time? If so, please tell us more. I love all things crafty! When I do get a bit of spare time I love knitting and crocheting, and I have a few cross-stitch projects on the go including name plaques for the girls’ room. The girls love their crafts too, so we can often be found sitting down for a couple of hours in the afternoon painting, gluing and and making all sorts of masterpieces!
10. Finally, if people want to learn more about your business/website do you have a web address, Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can find out more ? I would love it if you want to find out more about Handstitched With Love! You can find me at my Etsy shop (www.handstitchedwithlove.etsy.com ) or on Twitter (@HandstitchedWL).
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