This week we are travelling to England, all the way to Warrington, Cheshire where 25 year old Katie Percival runs a bespoke hand embroidered business focusing on gorgeous hoops and cross stitch named Sewing with Love. Along with inside to her crafty life Katie is giving great tips on starting your own business!
When I was little I began cross stitching easy kits and quickly fell in love with embroidery. It was a hobby which took me through my school and college years until 2013 when I decided to fiddle around and make up my own cross stitch designs. I am completely self taught, it’s all done by hand and I have no idea how to use a sewing machine haha. In late 2013, due to an illness I had to leave my job as a receptionist. I spent some time at home and decided to become self employed and started my own business; Sewing with Love. I have the support of my lovely mum who helps me so much and allows me to run my online business from our home. My craft has developed from cross stitching and design into hoop embroidery over the last few years which I love so much.
I don’t need very much to do my job. My essentials are; a needle, scissors, fabric, embroidery hoop and threads.
How often do you craft?
Every single day! I nearly always have orders to complete. I start work as soon as I wake up until I go to bed. If I’m not sewing, I’m either networking, socialising on social networks etc or marketing the business. Also coming up with new ideas, sorting craft supplies and keeping the home looking nice and tidy!
What sorts of things are inspiring you? Where do you look for inspirations?
I suffer from anxiety and depression and I find that embroidery helps me to keep busy, focus on something methodical and it also helps that I love to do it and can earn a living from it. I take inspiration from my own enjoyments in life such a shabby chic, flowers, bright colours, anything and everything is inspiration. I really enjoy gardening so like to incorporate that into some of my designs.
What is your most popular/best selling make?
I have a couple but my favourite which happens to be a best seller is titled ‘Vintage Chic’. It’s a design I created in 2015 for a wedding and since then has been adapted many times for all sorts of occasions. People usually order it in pastel shades and it’s just such a beautiful elegant hoop.
I think embroidery can often be stereotype by people as an ‘old’ craft. But there are tons of modern embroidery artists around who create some wonderful things. I like to think my style is traditional but also modern; especially with the way I market SwL and my target audience is for anyone. I have designs to suit all ages, occasions, you name it. One of my key styles is ‘Vintage’. I love flowers, birds, pretty pastel shades.
If you sew it’s a great idea to buy sectioned boxes to keep your threads on bobbins, labelled and organised into colours. And any self respecting sewer has a sewing box you can carry with your tools in My top tip for cross stitch is when you’ve finished a design make sure you wet and iron it several times to remove creases!
I am an avid book reader, particularly romance and military suspense. I also enjoy gardening and spending time with my mum. I’m a home bird so love to be home and relaxing.
What is your advice for people who want to start crafting or craft and want to start selling?
If you want to start crafting my advice is to buy a few supplies and see what you enjoy. You could also try a course in something in your local area. Before you decide to register and start a business, test the market first and see if there is somewhere you can fit in. So many businesses are doing the same thing but if you want to really be successful you need to stand out and be different. Lots of people just craft as a hobby but my top tip is make sure you register the minute you make a sale, it’s very important.
Do you attend craft markets?
I certainly try to. We have a regular one in Warrington, like an artisan market which is nice. I don’t do craft fairs myself but it’s something I think about doing in the future.
Going into a craft shop and seeing the thread on display. It’s all so new and lush in every colour imaginable. That always makes me smile. And the feeling of new threads before you use them. Oh and chocolate.
Where you can find Sewing with Love:
Facebook Sewing with Love
Last week Crafter Interview featured talented Karyn Jones