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10 years - a time to reflect, refocus and refresh

July 12, 2021

Turning 10 later this year is something I feel hugely proud of and grateful for. I couldn't have got here without the support from kind customers, incredible clients, loving friends & family. But if you are one of my much appreciated social media followers you might have seen me mention a few times since the start of this year that I was working away in the background on my business - not much of the fun, design part, but some kind of bigger changes to my business model. 

The Wet Weather Suitcase from our first collection that we launched with in 2011. Modelled here by Kerry Spring & Sprocket, photographed by Caro Weiss.

I haven't put out a full new collection with a launch at a London show or similar since September 2017. Slowly, quietly and just listening to my gut instinct I've been pulling back from that way of working. Instead I've been realising that more focused, project based work and residencies such as the Helsinki Design Residency in 2018 fill me with much more joy than the expectations of the big annual collection based format way of working. I've slowly been realising it's okay to wear multiple hats such as designer, maker, artist, printer, researcher, educator and explorer.

Taking part in a panel discussion during Helsinki Design week 2018 as part of the Helsinki Designer-in-residence programme.

In tandem to this, I've also felt more and more conflicted about putting out new 'stuff' when I see all that I do in the news, online, on podcasts, television etc about what's happening to our planet. It's been almost paralysing as I tied myself up in knots wondering if I was just contributing to the problems. However, I know that creating and making in the way that I do (manufacturing the bulk of my work locally using only natural fabrics) supports my local economy, promotes Scottish design, craft and traditional making, and creates an income for me that like everyone, I need. But at what cost? So I realised I need to make changes across all fronts. I need to enjoy what I do again and challenge myself to do what I do but better. I need to work in a way that makes me happy, not in a way that I feel obligated to, but in a way that feels right for me and my values. 

New pieces for a new collection in 2012, modelled by Cecilia & Greg, photographed by Caro Weiss.

I think businesses both big and small who make things can contribute in a positive way to our local, national and global communities, we just all need to hold ourselves to account regardless of size and not be afraid to ask difficult questions of ourselves. 

I've heard designer Yinka Ilori talk about how he now has a legacy clause in his contracts on all his public art commissions to consider the full life cycle of any piece of work he makes. I've listened to podcasts where raw materials have been discussed as the most important consideration in the making of a product. I finally feel like I've picked my way through many questions, I am making changes and I am feeling excited about making work again.

Our stand at Clerkenwell Design Week in May 2017.

It's going to be a different format from before, a new approach that celebrates curiosity, respects resources and aims to bring joy through pattern, colour and texture. No big seasonal collection drops, instead slower, more intimate limited edition collections combined with project-based work, new collaborations and periods of research. Our collections will address issues such as our waste - an issue that is hugely important to me or celebrating historical craft techniques - something I've always been passionate about, with other projects/commissions that align with my company values peppered in between.

I'm excited that my next project embracing these changes will be shared very soon. This project is a collaboration with a Glasgow based business who I greatly admire and I believe shares similar values to my own. We began working on this project together early this year and I can't wait to share it with you all.

Meanwhile we've still got a sale going on to make way for this new way of working. Please have a look at because once they're gone, they're gone!

I hope you'll come with me on this next chapter and thanks for sticking with me so far.

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