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Interview; The Specky Seamstress

January’s boxes included the most beautiful custom designed bias binding, designed and created by Laura from The Specky Seamstress who started her bias binding business last year. Read on to find out more.

Hi Laura, Happy New Year! What made you decide to start your own bias binding business in 2020?

Happy New Year to you and all your subscribers!

It wasn’t a plan I’d had in the works for a long time. Having been vlogging on Youtube for 18months I’d been wanting to establish The Specky Seamstress as a business but didn’t quite know how. Then, when I started making my own bias binding over the summer – I quickly wanted some specially designed bias – when I realised it wasn’t something you could buy, I designed my own and it all went from there! Setting up a business alongside a day job and in the middle of a pandemic might not have been top of people’s 2020 plans, but I’ve always liked to take opportunities as they come up and ‘go with the flow’ a bit. It felt right, and despite hitting some hurdles along the way, I am so pleased I took the leap of faith!

You launched a Kickstarter campaign to help you get started, tell us a bit about that?

I’d seen some other crowdfunders for small businesses and had a look into the process. It’s a great way to launch a new idea – particularly for a product based business. It works a bit like a preorder – people ‘pledge’ to receive the product once the business is up and running. One of the benefits is being able to work in bulk with suppliers – and for my bias, ordering in bulk allows for me to make the longest sections of uninterrupted bias – which is good for everyone! The crowdfunder was more successful than I could have imagined and I have been so delighted to see everyone’s orders arriving and being used. I launched the online shop in December, 6 weeks after the crowdfunder closed and now its ‘business as usual’.

How have you found sourcing and printing your own fabric for the bias binding?

I do a lot of sourcing manufacturers in my day job so I put those, and my google skills to good use and found a few options for my specially designed fabrics. It was important to me to source locally, in part due to being able to turn around orders quickly and see samples of prints easily. All the fabric I use for this range is 130gsm cotton poplin printed in the UK and it really stood out for quality amongst the samples I ordered. Ordering samples has been a big part of the business launch – and it was fun to receive lots of post throughout the pandemic full of goodies – my postie might be my biggest business fan! For my ‘wonky’ deadstock range, I’ve reached out to suppliers and worked with fabric businesses who I am already part of their blogging team and I am really pleased with the designs and fabrics I have on offer in the shop (and waiting in my sewing room to be cut ready for this year too!)

What has been your favourite part of this process? And the worst?

Drawing up the designs for the bias was such a fun way to start the business idea – but in reality I’ve enjoyed a lot of the process.  I love learning new things and really getting stuck into a project – so it has been great to have lots to learn and do!  The pandemic has made things difficult though – I wasn’t allowed to visit a manufacturer in person and that resulted in some wasted stock and some stress! And it also meant that making all the bias by hand was a very labour intensive process – my packing party friends weren’t allowed to visit, so the husband got roped in more than he would have liked! I know that as the business grows I’ll find it tough to balance my ambitions/desires to launch new designs and products with the time I have. But that’s just the side hustle life!

What is in store for you for 2021?

I’ve got lots of plans for 2021! I have some new designs lined up – as well as some different scales – I’ll be launching 18mm single fold bias tape, and I am busy trying to get the designs right for double fold bias binding – perfect for quilting edges.  I’ve also got two or three new product ranges lines I am in the process of finalising with suppliers, which I am really excited about. Just like the bias binding, they’re all products I’ve wanted to buy while sewing certain projects but been unable to find.