Its Friday… and that means one more chat coming your way with another super talented maker! We were lucky enough to speak to the fabulous Emma of Stitching Me Softly – creator of crochet accessories and craft kits, and lover of beautiful yarn. If you’re a particular admirer of a strong colour palette, first go and have a browse (and a follow if you’re feeling extra kind!) of her dreamy feed on Instagram, then read on to have a sneaky inside peek of the business! (Or the other way around, we’re not here to tell you how to live your life. You do you, boo.)
JANEY: So Emma let’s get right to it! Have you always been keen on crochet?
EMMA: I have always been creative and love all types of crafting. I taught myself to crochet 10 years ago as I wanted to make some handmade things for my kids and wanted a craft that was easy to do a little bit at a time.
J: And what did you start selling first, accessories or the kits and patterns?
E: When I first started the business, I sold ready made crochet items and accessories. Soon afterwards I started running workshops to teach other people how to make my designs. This led to me developing the craft kits so I could send them out to those people who lived too far to attend the workshops. I found developing the kits was the more rewarding part of my business as I was directly sharing my passion with others, and inspiring their creativity.
J: Yes, workshops are a fabulous and social place to learn new skills, but sometimes nothing beats doing exactly that, but in your own home, in your pjs with your feet up! Especially now more than ever, crafting kits are an important resource – particularly when they are designed by a brilliant maker and come with all of the equipment and some good instructions!
Please can you talk us through your design process?
E: It usually starts out with some sketches of what I want the finished item to look like, then I start making and refining finished samples. After I have a sample I’m happy with I can calculate the cost of the materials and think about what size box it will go in, this all goes towards finalising the RRP. Then I need to take step by step photos of how it’s made and write the instructions to accompany the images, this all gets input into a digital template and professionally printed.
J: Great, so what would you say is your biggest achievement so far?
E: I love seeing my work in print and have been lucky enough to be featured in some lovely magazines. I was also short listed for a Mollie Makes award in 2019 which gave me a massive confidence boost. But I guess my biggest achievement so far is building the business to the point where I could quit my ‘day job’ and turn Stitching Me Softly into my full time career and source of income.
J: Quite an achievement, I would say! So with all of those beautiful shades on your feed and on your website, could you narrow it down to your ultimate favourite colour combination?
E: This has a habit of changing but at the moment, it’s pink, mustard and green.
J: Oh yes, an earthy forest green, with mustard and a dusty pink – a match made in heaven! So aside from new & exciting colour combinations, what’s do you reckon we can expect from Stitching Me Softly in the future?
E: There are a few more winter themed kits in development that will be released Sept/Oct, possibly with the option of buying them as a subscription so that you can have a gorgeous craft surprise arrive at your door once a month.
J: Craft kit subscriptions? What more could we actually want out of life? Although I’m not sure my already bursting boxes of making supplies would agree…
So how did the recent pandemic effect you and the business?
E: I’ve been very lucky during lockdown, that lots of people ordered kits online to entertain themselves. This did leave me trying to pack orders whilst home-schooling 3 kids, but I think I just about managed to juggle it all! I had been booked into 3 big consumer shows this year which have all cancelled or postponed until next year, so that was disappointing, but it has given me more time to design new kits.
J: Although it must have been so disheartening to have events not go ahead, it seems positive to actually have had that time to develop new bits (albeit amongst home schooling and life’s usual tests)!
So, if you’re anything like us, and after that are now totally convinced to learn how to crochet, give lovely Emma a follow on Instagram (@stitching_me_softly) to keep updated, and go and view all of her products on offer either at Etsy or her website, stitchingmesoftly.co.uk. And we’ll see you next week lovelies!