Interview; Samantha Claridge
Every month I interview the creative person behind the business whose product was featured in the boxes that month. November’s Light Up The Sky box included a “Made of Stardust” magnetic needle minder designed by Sammy of Samantha Claridge Studio
Hi Sam, what’s on the schedule today?
Every day is a little different around here at the moment but this morning I am finalising the packaging for a new Change Maker product with my friend Portia. Then I will be doing some boring but essential admin, bills and invoices for SC Studio. This afternoon I will be working on some last-minute Christmas card designs for my own brand, as I had a fun idea for one last week that I would love to have out for in time for the festive season.
You originally opened your fabric shop with your mum 17 years ago, how has your business evolved since then?
We bought the business from the previous owners as they were retiring and planning on closing. My Mum had been working in what was then our local fabric shop for years and was devastated that it was going to close so she asked if I would move home and run it with her. Obviously, I said yes and that was 17 years ago. Absolutely everything has changed since then, our name, location, and the industry more than anything else.
I am sure that even if we hadn’t bought our local shop, we would still have started a fabric business eventually because we both have such a passion for sewing. My mum made costumes in the West End back in the ’60s and ’70s and has been sewing her own wardrobe since she was a teen. I have been making clothes and crafts since I was a little girl, and I have always loved print, pattern and design.
Where do you find inspiration for the new products that you develop?
Selfishly, I suppose I always design products around my own needs. If there is something that I find is missing in my sewing box or that would help my planning I try my best to make it. The things I love creating the most are products that are useful.
How have you found keeping your business going throughout the pandemic? Have you had to alter the way you work at all?
Like everyone, the beginning of lockdown was a real curveball, but I have managed to lean into our customers’ needs with both my businesses and powered through the best we could. I saw a massive uptake in my embroidery kits over on Esty during the lockdown and was luckily able to keep up with demand, only just though as getting supplies to fulfil orders was really tricky for a while. Luckily Mum and I were able to keep the studio running pretty much business as usual, I missed going into the studio but Mum was able to go in whilst I worked from my office at home. Being an online shop has meant it was easier to navigate through this very odd year.
Finally, have you got anything new coming up that you can let us in on?
In July My friend Portia Lawrie and I launched Change Maker and we have new products launching every other month at the moment, I am really enjoying working on something that is giving back. Lockdown made me put some big plans on hold at the beginning of the year but hopefully next year you will see some new embroidery patterns, sewing and embroidery kits and fingers crossed, a fabric collection.