I'd been following Fuz of Cloth & Candy and her gorgeous online fabric shop for a while, and then a few months ago I discovered that she lives just down the road from me! So I dragged her and her son over to my favourite local cafe to chat fabric and business and stuff. Be prepared to coo over fabricy goodness...
Tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to launch Cloth & Candy.
Hi, I’m Fuz. I’m a wife, a mum to a busy toddler and an all round crazy fabric hoarding lady. Being a creative at heart, I’d been longing to set myself free of the 9-5. Having worked in the fashion retail industry for ten years, my work had always allowed me to be surrounded by beautiful textiles and design, so it was just a case of taking the plunge to do it. We were planning to start a family and after some long hard thinking, I decided, what better time to just give it a go. So I did!
When did your love affair with fabric begin?
I am lucky enough to have a mum who loves sewing so she taught me a lot when I was little. I used to enjoy tapestries, cross stitches and little sewing kits. I made a rag doll once, I swear it was the scariest thing ever, but I loved it at the time ha ha! I had some amazing textiles teachers at school too who taught things like appliqué, dyeing and even machine embroidery.
Also, I think a big part of the excitement, has come from my heritage. The vibrant colours, handiwork and general culture of Pakistan and Bangladesh have really helped to create this passion for textiles and design.
How do you spend a typical day at Cloth & Candy HQ?
I am first and foremost, a mother, so my day is a real mix of megablocks, fun fabric stuff, and generally chasing after my toddler all round the house. I tend to prioritise my tasks the night before, just so I can make the most of the day. During his nap time, I could be taking pics of some of the amazing fabrics, catching up on emails, wrapping parcels or planning my next projects. We usually have a trip to the post office in the afternoon which always involves a visit to the duck pond or the playground! I get a lot of my stuff done in the evenings though, I am quite the night owl.
It can be tricky to switch on in the evenings for work after such a tiring day. When you run the show all by yourself, work can creep into spare time too. I’m trying to be better at giving myself time off as it allows me to be more creative and come up with fun, new ideas for the business!
What attracts you to the designs you choose to stock at Cloth & Candy? Everything always seems to work so well together!
This is the part of my job I love the most! I look for great colour combos and striking designs. I love modern prints, with a bit of fun and boldness to them and yes, I generally try to make them sit really well together. The fabrics genuinely excite me and I hope I’m inspiring people to use these fun patterns in their projects. I’ve had a few customers tell me they've started sewing for the first time just because they wanted to own the fabrics in my collection!
Like my motto goes, if I don’t love it, you might not love it, I don’t put it in my shop.
Do you find any time for sewing yourself? What do you like to make?
Since the little one arrived, I’ve been rubbish at giving myself time for this. This year, a big goal of mine is to get back to the sewing machine more. After all, I do have a pretty good stash at my disposal!! I’ve started to get that time in for some simple projects like drawstring bags and pouches. I’d really love to give dressmaking a go this year though. I’ve wanted to make myself a dress for some time now and I just need to get on and do it!
And what do you enjoy doing when not consumed by fabric?!
I like to relax! Curling up with a good book, watching Netflix, chilling out with the hubby. I like to visit markets and art galleries when I can and enjoy the odd craft workshop every so often. We like to travel too. I get so inspired by the places we visit! We recently visited Brussels and absolutely loved it. Next stop, Kuala Lumpur!! Oh the fabrics I will find…
We’re all planning our summer holidays at the moment - which destinations have you enjoyed fabric shopping in?
Ooh, Paris is super fun for fabric shopping. I love trawling Le Puces Flea Market for vintage bits and bobs! But, by far my most favourite place to shop for fabrics has been Japan. That place is full to the brim with creativity, colour and design. I was in heaven and I’m sure the fabric tipped me over the baggage allowance limit!!
Are there any other small businesses closer to home which you’d recommend to us sewing fans?
If you haven't already, you need to head to V V Rouleaux in Marylebone, London. All the trimmings your heart could ever desire! And for some cute, colourful craft kits, check out The Make Arcade. We will be stocking some of their sewing kits soon!! Oh, and there’s this other amazing shop I know… Made by Mrs M??
Can we expect to see you popping up at any events again this year?
For sure!! You will find me at Summer Sewmance in Brighton this June and then I’ll be back at the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court in September. I love being able to share what I do and meet fellow fabric fanatics so do come along if you can!