Made By Mrs M

March Meet the Maker - Part 1

BusinessKate Marsden

Those of you who are on Instagram/follow me there can't fail to have spotted the posts for #MarchMeettheMaker - it's a month of prompts set up by Joanne Hawker to get us all sharing more about ourselves and our businesses.

In case you're not on Instagram, or don't have the time/inclination to scroll through everything on there (already thousands of images on the hashtag as I type this!), I thought I'd share my posts with you here too - the text below is taken straight from them. Here we have days 1-10 (so as not to bombard you with 31 in one go!). 11-20 to follow (some time after the 20th!).

Day 1 of #marchmeetthemaker and there are nearly 600 posts to the tag - I feel like I'm falling behind! Today it's Brand Image. So of course a brand isn't just a logo - it's the whole look and feel and everything right down to how a customer feels when they interact with you/open their parcel. My brand is basically me (which makes things a little easier - although I did start Sundays in Suburbia for my off brand stuff). Bright, colourful, quirky, unique and a desire yo make people happy!

Today's #marchmeetthemaker prompt is 'You' - so here I am in one my my recent favourite photos taken by Terri Leahy at Renegade last year. Not a big fan of selfies but at least I'm looking cheerful here!

Day 3 of #marchmeetthemaker is Workspace. I actually have 2! Before you get too excited about this, they're both tiny. My studio is on our spare room as working from home is best when you have to fit everything around the school run - my studio is painted white with lots of inspiring stuff stuck on the walls - dedicated space for drawing and sewing, my packing station (shown top left), shelves of books and stock and more - I really have no idea how I cram it all in!

The computer is in a separate (even smaller) box room which I share with Mr M (so if he's working from home I have no computer access). Both rooms are on the same floor though and I spend most of my days flitting between the two.

Here's day 4 of #marchmeetthemaker and tools - I use quite a lot of stuff but these things tend to come out pretty much every day. Left to right - V Point Pilot pen in black for drawing and writing, ProArte paint brush, first two pairs of scissors from Ernest Wright & Son and third pair (for paper) from Staples many years ago. Above them, glass headed pins (the best) and then one of my numerous tape measures - despite having several I never seem to be able to find them!

It's day 5 of #marchmeetthemaker and can't live without... so I'm going to be soppy. I can't live without this little man (who likes to help with my work but in all honesty is a hindrance most of the time!). Lack of childcare and the inability to be flexible as a result, is probably the biggest challenge I face with my business, oh and he's a proper handful of a tantrum filled 5 year old (who's nearly 6 - apparently that's very important) but he's basically my whole world and why I have to make this work. Big kisses for the little man xxx

It's day 6 of #marchmeetthemaker - Raw Materials. Well, my fabrics are digitally printed onto plain cotton so this isn't technically raw but they're as raw as they come to me! Ready for me to make into products and for my customers to make things from too - I love seeing what other people make from them!

Day 7 of #marchmeetthemaker and it's another little montage for How and Why... As a child I loved fashion - making clothes (or at least the idea of it - I wasn't very good!), making stuff generally and I wanted to be a fashion designer. I didn't particularly excel in art at school although I did improve through secondary school partly thanks to encouragement from one teacher.

So I got into art college and studied Fashion and Textiles which was amazing (see top 2 photos). After college I worked in a series of retail jobs before ending up as an office junior at a law firm in the City of London (as you do). I quite liked it there, so studied law and worked my way up as a secretary, until I was promoted to fee earner with my own files and associated stress (I did commercial real estate). Needless to say I hated it and after a year I moved to the marketing department of the same firm. For the most part this job was great - lots of UK and International travel and a great team, but everything changed after my son was born in 2010 and I realised I needed to go back to my original love. So in January 2014 after 15 years at the law firm I set up on my own.

Now less fashion and more textiles, and pattern design. I'm self taught when it comes to pretty much everything computer related (we only had 1 computer in the department when I was at college!) and I'm now just working really really hard every day to make this dream finally work.

Day 8 of #marchmeetthemaker and where... here in the very furthest reaches of South London - this is one of the 5 parks we can walk to from our house (2 with lovely lakes like this one). We can also walk to lavender fields and the Surrey border. We moved here when the little man was a baby as we couldn't afford a house in Tooting where we lived before. It's good here though (even if I do miss Tooting!) - lovely houses, schools and now (but not when we moved here) cafes, pubs and even live music. We're on the seafront in Brighton in an hour or on the banks of the Thames in Central London. OK, I'm still selling it to myself after well over 5 years (did I mention that I miss Tooting?!).

Day 9 of #marchmeetthemaker and it's Goals. Well, I'm not looking for world domination - at least not at the moment! I still have to pinch myself as I can't believe after 2 years that I'm actually doing this. My main goal is to be able to continue to. So to make enough money that I don't have to stop. There will be a time where, if my business doesn't grow enough, I'll have to call it a day, so this is central to my thoughts all of the time. Once I'm happy that I've reached this point I'll set a new goal - maybe that will involve the world domination!

On a smaller level, my goals for 2016 are to increase revenue and introduce more new designs (probably in the autumn now). Head over to my first post of this year where I listed the things I'm aiming to achieve (some of which I've already completed!).

Day 10 is favourite small business and this one is so hard!!! I know so many amazing people who run their own businesses, whether other designer/makers or shop owners and folks who make the place I live in better. Arrgh. Anyway I've settled on Viktorija of And Smile - I first met her at one of those tumbleweed style craft fairs in Tooting - I think about 3 years ago - I'm a huge fan of her work (yep she is the one responsible for my portrait), have a small collection of her brooches, and I continue to be inspired by the success she has seen with her business in the last couple of years.

Pop back later in the month for the next 10 days of #marchmeetthemaker - or follow along on Instagram!