To celebrate National Embroidery Month I thought I would share with you the inspiration behind my first embroidery collection, The Forget-me-not Collection.
Let's go back to the beginning... For a very long time I've always wanted to run my own business. I enjoyed making and selling my handmade items but knew this was not sustainable long term and I needed to find something that could work as a business idea. After attending a four day enterprise course with the Prince's Trust, I began writing my business plan and this made me think more about what area I really wanted to focus on. I had many ideas but the one that I kept going back to was hand embroidery kits. It really appealed to me as I would be able to combine many of my passions... pattern design, screen printing and hand embroidery. I fell in love with screen printing at Uni and loved combining this with hand embroidery. I also feel it has huge potential to expand into many other areas in the future, such as home decor, stationery etc.
All my designs are inspired by nature and flowers so I was naturally coming up with design ideas in relation to this. I then thought about forget-me-not's as this is a very special flower to me. My Granny sadly passed away from dementia in 2017. For her funeral I crocheted forget-me-not brooches, as not only does the flower link to the Alzheimer's charity but my Granny would often wear blue, so I wanted to make something blue that I could wear in memory of her.
As soon as I thought about forget-me-not's again I knew this had to be my first collection. I soon put together five different designs and named each of them after my Granny - Camille Rosita Mary, my great-granny Beatrice and my great-great-granny Philomena. I wanted to make each design slightly different from each other but also complimentary. Click here to see the designs.
I began putting together my thread colour palette and sourcing the right fabric. After lots of sampling I eventually found what I was looking for. When starting my embroidery kits I knew I wanted to make them different to what was already out there. So everything from the fabric, the needles, ribbon, thread, packaging and even the paper the instructions are printed on was really important to me.
After this I began doing some test screen printing at home. This was something very new to me! Although I had done the process numerous times at Uni, trying to replicate the same process at home was completely different! After a few trials and errors I eventually got my screen ready to use for printing. I was over the moon with my very first print - it was quite an achievement!
I also designed and put together all the packaging stickers, project workbook and took all the product & step by step photos. To compliment the kits and to create a cohesive collection I made some screen printed greeting cards, hand embroidered buttons, forget-me-not brooches and screen printed, hand painted tote bags.
After a very intense few months trying to get all the products together, I was ready to launch them at the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta! This was the very first time anyone other than my family had seen the kits so I was very apprehensive to see what people would think of them. As it turns out I had nothing to worry about! Everyone was so complimentary and the kits were really popular! So much so that the Camille kit sold out on the first day! So when I got back home that night I put together some more kits to take with me on the Sunday and these all sold again! It was simply the best feeling to know that something that was so special and personal to me was loved and appreciated by so many people. It was also really good to talk directly to customers about their sewing interests and to even hear some personal stories about how forget-me-not's were also special to them. It was just so lovely and a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.
This was just the beginning of the journey as I then worked on getting all the products listed on my Etsy shop and launching them on my social media channels.
I hope you enjoyed finding out more about the forget-me-not collection. I'm pleased to say I will be back at the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta this year - 25th & 26th April 2020.
If you're a textiles and needlework lover then this show is a must go to! The show itself has a really friendly atmosphere and there are lots of unique traders that offer something for everyone. The main traders are downstairs and there is an exhibition area upstairs, with some traders as well. There will also be some demonstrations over the weekend in the upstairs area. I will be upstairs so if you're planning on attending then please pop by and say hello, here's the website to find out more... www.brockenhurstfiesta.co.uk