Saturday, April 14, 2012

Charlotte Macey Textiles

I first came across Charlotte via Facebook. I find a really good way of finding new and inspiring pages is to go to a FB page I love and see who they are following. Anyway, this was how I found Charlotte, and so glad I did too. 




What I love most about Charlotte, her work and her business is her branding. Everything just works. From her beautifully handmade products, website, photography....even down to the gorgeous photo's she puts up on her blog of her studio and countryside surrounding it. It all just sings out "Charlotte Macey Textiles"!


If you don't yet know of Charlotte's work, then you are missing out. Charlotte designs and produces the most exquisite handmade homewares products. From T towels, egg and tea cosies, fabric stitched pictures, napkins, gift tags and so much more. Each piece is just beautiful and so, so well made.


Over to Charlotte....


I began CMT back in May 2010, I’d been working in a chocolate shop, and after a break from my sewing machine, had spontaneously picked it up again and had begun stitching and sampling - basically a continuation of the work I had been doing during my Textile Design degree, except that I was now a couple of years older and a little bit wiser! I began with a tea towel and an egg cosy, using scraps of fabric from my cupboard.



I have now expanded my range and make textile homewares, from tea towels and aprons to cushions and cosies; each is embroidered (by me!) with my quirky designs, including chubby chickens, tea cups, spotty eggs and beach huts.

When did you start to take your business seriously?

I started to take my business seriously in early 2010, when I decided that my job at the time wasn’t fulfilling me, and I decided I needed to make a change. So I handed in my notice (fortunately I was in a position where I was able to – I wouldn’t recommend jumping in and doing this if it isn’t feasible!) and started to focus on the range of designs I was gradually beginning to build up.

Having been in business for nearly 2 years now, I’m gradually (and it’s still a big learning curve) working out which fairs work for me, and which don’t. I think this is different for everyone, and I have a few more trade fairs booked for this year, so will see how they go! I am working on going to a blend of trade and retail fairs, as I very much enjoy the balance of selling to shops and also directly to customers.



A few questions.....

1. What made you decide to do your first trade fair?

The decision to do my first trade fair was based on the fact I have family based near Harrogate, so in the interest of saving money I booked my first stand at Home & Gift two summers ago. I had no idea what to expect order-wise from my first fair, but it surpassed what I expected, so when I returned I had help from family and friends, as and when I needed. When things get particularly busy I still rely on their help.



2. You have lots of products. How do you choose the products that you are going to eventually produce and how do you make sure that your customer doesn’t have too much choice?

I find a lot of the time I design things I like and hope that other people will like them too, I’ve never paid a lot of attention to ‘commercial’ or popular items and have always had my own ideas and gone along with them!
In terms of number of items, I split them up on my website into sections such as ‘kitchen’ and ‘home decorations’, so people aren’t put off by too many options when they find my website.
I prioritise by making lists, lots and lots of them! I scribble things out when I’ve done them (which gives me a good sense of progress) and write a list in the evening for the next day’s work, which seems to keep me pretty well organised.



3.What are the five pieces of advice that you could give to creative’s out there who feel are ready to jump onto the next step of the business ladder? Also, what do you think are the most important things to consider?

(Five pieces of advice – not exactly 5 – but here are a few pointers…)

I think a good website is key, as it is the ‘face’ of your brand. When people google your name and find your website, it is the first impression they get of your work. My own site isn’t exactly all singing, all dancing, but it reflects the style of the things that I make and so for the moment, I am happy with it.
I have found both twitter and having a company facebook page to be really helpful in terms of people finding out about ‘Charlotte Macey Textiles’, they are both great for spreading the word and being able to tell more and more people about the things that you make and what you do.


4.Have you got 3 key tips to staying organised and on top of everything when all of a sudden you feel overloaded with work? Time management tips. Prioritising tips....

  • Write lists – although not too many, this will just make things more confusing!
  • Keep a diary – to plan appointments, specific things to do each day, schedule in fairs, etc
  • Have a cup of tea and a biscuit – this always helps to keep me calm when I’m getting a bit flustered, and the sugar gives you a good boost too!
5. I see you have been published in numerous magazines. Were you approached or did you write press releases?


Featured in

I have actually been really lucky in that magazines so far have approached me for images or for articles. I had to write my first press release before Christmas and it totally panicked me because I’d never written one. Fortunately the PR company associated with the fair were on hand to give me advice.



6. I love the feel and look of your website and brand. Was it all your ideas or did a web designer come up with the ideas for you? Either way, setting up a website is daunting, how did you set about thinking of the lay out and putting it together?

My website was originally made by my brother, as a graphic designer he learnt how to use Dreamweaver at university. We sat down for a few days and put my first web pages together. Since then I’ve learnt how to do it myself and therefore take all the photos and update the site as and when I need to. This was the cheapest option at the time as I didn’t have a lot of money for a snazzy site, but so far it has suited me just fine. One day I may look into getting a bigger and better site, but at the moment I enjoy the freedom and satisfaction of being able to build the website myself.




7. Do you have any business books, links, resources, networking sites that you love and could share with us?

Books:

The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online’ by Kari Chapin
Craft, Inc.’ by Meg Mateo Ilasco
Turn Your Talent into a Business: A Guide to Earning a Living from Your Hobby’ by Emma Jones

Links:

http://www.creative-choices.co.uk/


Thanks so much Charlotte for putting that lovely, inspiring blog together for us. Please leave your comments below for both Charlotte and myself.


That will be the last of the Cheeky Blogs for a while. I am hoping to get get back to blogging about me and my work again soon, so don't forget to subscribe to have the blog delivered straight to your inbox.


I really, really hope that some of you have been inspired by all these amazing ladies who have guest blogged for us. I know that I have been massively inspired. You may have noticed that my work and my brand have changed a great deal over the last three months (well I hope you have!) and I can honestly say that it is because of these truly amazing ladies that I am now positively taking my business forward and upward!!

I also want to thank every one of the guest bloggers for taking time out from their very busy schedules to do this for us. 


thank you!!


PSSSST.........

  • Don't forget the Cheeky Pickle Printed and Stitched Market Wednesday 18th April at 8pm est
  • ALSO don't forget to subscribe to the blog to be in with a chance of winning three Cheeky Pickle Printed and stitched greetings cards. Draw will be next Sunday!! 
Subscribe here

do you have a story to tell?


I would LOVE to hear how you have used the blogs to take your business further. Have they made you question how you now run your business? I would love to hear your story as I am putting a blog together about just that topic. I would love you to feature if you have a story to tell :) Please leave your comments below.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for that interview with Charlotte Macey, I really enjoyed reading it x

    ReplyDelete