Designing & making is not a career or a chore, it is who I am. From deep within me I feel the urge to design & develop ideas, often taking inspiration from the strangest things that perhaps should not be considered artistic at all. Everything in life to me is artistic whether it is rain running down a window or a piece of litter on the floor, I somehow manage to see the beauty in just about anything.
My style of work is continuously growing & developing as is my career trajectory. I completed many years of school where art was always my strong point leading on to an art & design course specialising in textiles. From my art & design Btec I completed a two year Foundation Degree in Costume Construction, where I learnt many valuable techniques such as millinery, tailoring, corsetry, correct sewing skills; Plus I worked on several live briefs. In February 2015 I gained an Upper Second-Class Honours Degree in Applied Arts where I specialised in Textile Illustration. I will endeavour to push forward my designs hopefully building up a list of stockists to distribute to and also take part in crafting events up and down the country.
It may seem like I have had a smooth journey and that I have got business all figured out but this is not the case hence why I have asked for help from the Prince’s Trust. I have hit many huge hurdles in life and I don’t mean business wise. Back in April 2013 I suffered a subarachnoid brain haemorrhage which has totally turned my life upside down. For a few months I had numbness in my legs and double vision that needed correcting. During this recovery time I started doodling, designing cards and other items I could make. After 3 months I returned to work as a waitress and in September I returned to university. November 2013 was an exciting time as I hosted my first solo art exhibition, it was a massive struggle preparing the work and space for the exhibition as I was juggling uni, work, sewing Christmas gifts, as well as feeling very unwell.
I would often keep busy to try and distract from the way I was feeling however it wasn’t long before the breaks needed to go on. The surgery I had previously had to try and fix the burst aneurysm that caused the bleed unfortunately didn’t work. I had invasive brain surgery early March 2014. I was extremely lucky that I appeared to come out damage free (except for the numbness/nerve damage in my head and loss of eyebrow movement that eventually returned). Yet it wasn’t long before I realised the after effects of both surgeries and haemorrhage. The constant headaches would never go and I still suffer from tinnitus, brain fog, depression and chronic fatigue. Every day is a battle against myself and it is very difficult getting to know the new me, finding out my limitations (the hard way).
On graduating University in 2015 I had hopes to pursue the career of my dreams, but an accident leading to further surgery (this time a new ankle) and with bills to catch up on, a job at Aldi seemed the only realistic thing to do. (I still did sewing and illustrating alongside for fun providing I could find the energy.) The time mending my ankle was put to good use, I managed to write, illustrate and publish my very own childrens book. It has so far been a huge success and has enabled me to go in to local schools and read it to the children.
Aldi didn’t work out as planned it lead to a lot of health issues that I couldn’t face on a daily basis. I decided to undertake a nail course (a steady job where I could use my creative skills). In November 2016 I made the best decision of my life to go self employed! I now have a Nail treatment room at home as well as running my illustrative giftware studio.
My client base for both businesses are building especially my giftware. I now regularly stock a local boutique department store and several business waiting rooms.
Throughout this whole horrific journey I have tried to stay positive and have had one thing I have never lost and that is my passion for illustration. It is the one thing that keeps me driven and gets me through each day.
Since contacting the Prince’s Trust (2016) things have really got exciting, I gained funding to push my business and get my designs printed in bulk rather than having to hand make every item. The printing option came just in time, ready for the arrival of my little one. Having items in stock enabled me keep my business going and growing whilst I spend some quality time getting to know my little bundle.
A recent achievement (December 2017) has been providing printed menus, place cards and thank you cards for the Prince’s Trust ‘One Million Young Lives Dinner’ held at Buckingham Palace. It has been extremely hard and stressful working to such a tight brief (especially when juggling a not so little 5month old) but I am so privileged to have been involved in such a special event.
I owe so much to the Prince’s Trust… these people do amazing things, open doors, build dreams and give endless support.
Currently, I am enjoying my little family as well as self-employed life and look forward to the next business challenge.
The Next Chapter 2018
2018 was tremendously difficult, and quite a blur, I became a single parent to my one year old daughter. I still had to uphold normality, maintain the house, care for the pets and Wrenn and keep up with the running of my two home businesses. Although all was not doom and gloom the year still had lots of positives; I managed to secure another royal order with the Prince's Trust, lots of orders including wedding invitation orders, I entered a competition, I had a very successful Christmas sewing workshop and have had loads of free publicity in various business magazines, newspapers and online write ups.
My 2019 goals include:
I have plans to contact more businesses regarding stationary with different levels of personalisation. I would start with the basic package that would be generic cards related to their business eg. Pilates related, the next package up would be personalised to their business eg. Could include the practice, logo and owner. The top package would be each card individual, this option could be used for staff or longterm customers.
I also hope to run some more sewing workshops at the community centre that I volunteer at. Over Christmas 2018 I held a workshop that was very successful and very profitable I hope to do a couple at Easter and possibly some in Autumn.
I am also aiming to set up one to one sewing tuition at home. I have a family friend who wants to volunteer so I can test it out before offering it to the whole world.
I know to make regular income through stationary it is more worth while selling in bulk, I hope to push this more by contacting wedding venues and possibly going to wedding fairs to show case my designs.
I have overcome so many hurdles in life but I still have this unshakeable determination to keep on building my businesses and growing as a person.