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What's the name of your handmade business and how did you come up with the name?
My business is called ‘Sew Much Sense Designs’ – In truth I spent a long time trying to think of a name! Lots of lists and variations - I’d considered trying to incorporate my children’s names but felt like it didn’t really represent what my products were. I knew that I wanted to make soft sensory toys so that’s what the ‘Sense’ represents and then the ‘Sew’ – just a crafty play on words! It just made sense to me.
How did you get into crafting and how long have you been crafting?
I’ve always loved making things, but I think I owe a lot of my interests to my Mum. She’s also very crafty and helped me learn to sew, knit, and crochet. I’ve since expanded my knowledge through YouTube tutorials and have even taught her some new skills! I also have a degree in Fashion Design so designing/making is my happy place! Although I’ve been crafting for many years, my business is still very new. My Etsy shop has only been open for a few weeks so I’m still finding my feet.
What kinds of things do you like to make?
I love making baby blankets, they’re so soft and cuddly that I just want to snuggle up in them! I love making my Sensory Toys as well. Basically, anything I can make for my daughter that I think other babies would love too!
What kinds of materials do you use?
100% Cotton (Usually from Craft Cotton Co. as I love their prints!), ribbons, terry towelling, dimple or smooth plush and fleece.
What new crafts do you want to try?
Expanding my sensory toys and perhaps make a comforter as I’ve already got ideas floating around in my head for designs to try. I’m also going to try and make some Christmassy bits like stockings which will be a new challenge!
What is your favourite craft tool?
I can 100% tell you my least favourite craft tool is my seam ripper! Every time I need that tool, this is my face:
What is your favourite Tactile Treasure supply?
I love your chime columns; I use these for my sensory balls, but I also love your fabric selection as well. I want to try your cuddle Velboa next for my blankets & comforters (when I’ve finished designing them).
What’s one of your favourite things you’ve made?
My Sensory Square, this was the first style of toy that I made for my daughter, so it was my inspiration to make to sell.
What are some of your favourite things to do in your spare time?
I’m currently on Maternity Leave so love spending so much time with my two children and seeing my family. I do love to get out and about though, especially with Autumn coming – long walks with beautiful, seasonal colours is just the best.
What advice would you give to people just starting out on the CE marking journey?
It can honestly seem so daunting when we first start and realise there’s so much paperwork and testing but if you purchase a guide to help you then it’s much easier. There are also good community support groups on Facebook, I’m part of the UKCA CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective and there are some fantastic people on there who will answer your questions and provide guidance to help you through the process. I know so many people will say this, but I do believe that if I can do it then anyone can.
What's the hardest thing about running a handmade business?
Getting seen, there’s so much competition and variety out there that getting yourself noticed is probably the tricky part. I’m pushing my social media accounts to the max and one thing I would say is look for other small businesses/people who make similar things and follow/like their pages as it will help other people find you. Also being realistic about your turnaround times, I have a baby and toddler to run around after. So, I know that I’m unlikely to be able to make something to the best quality if I’ve given myself a timeframe of 3-5 days to complete and dispatch, it’s not worth the stress!
Share a success story with us..
Getting my first sale outside of family and friends was a real success for me. I was so excited, nervous, and happy at the same time! They left me some lovely feedback though which was great and almost a relief – it’s definitely made me feel more confident about selling my makes!
What inspires your designs?
I have an 8-month-old baby, but she LOVED those foil, crinkly blankets when she was younger which was the inspiration behind my sensory square. Then the Sensory Ball was to help encourage her crawling, fine motor skills and a fab sensory experience.
Can you tell us about your design process?
Usually I think of an idea, draw it/write it down, then I’ll change this about 10 times before actually making
What's ahead in 2022?
I’ll return to my usual job in January but I’m hoping to continue working and building my business up alongside this. I’m sure there will be new designs, products, and other ventures to keep me busy. Maybe this time next year I can re-do these questions as a then/now to see how the year has gone!
Lastly tell us something fun/interesting/unusual or just a great story about yourself.
When I was child, Hide and Seek was my favourite game – however I used to be sneaky and move hiding places, so it’d take ages to find me. On one occasion – I tried to peek through the banister on the stairs to check where my sister was, however, I ended up getting my head stuck in the banister! I’ve never lived it down and it still comes up every now and again!
Where can we find out more? (Website link, social media links)