Learn from the experiences of our Yodomo makers
We asked some of our independent makers at Yodomo for their advice to aspiring and start-up makers. Here’s what they had to say:
Hayley McDonald - Floral Merchant
Hayley McDonald is the founder of Floral Merchant London, which specialises in Online Botanical Workshops, DIY Kits and virtual team building activities. They provide a fun and creative way to gather your friends, family or colleagues together and escape into the wonderful world of creating with nature.
It sounds obvious but let the process of actually “making” guide your design. Often students in my workshops try to plan everything out completely, but they discover that it is through just simply beginning the task and actually “doing it with your hands” that the ideas will start to come and the design can develop. Making is a tactile process and once you begin, I believe it is the time to stop looking left or right at what others are doing and really tap into your own instincts of what you like and what looks aesthetically pleasing for you. I believe that is how you create a design that is really to your own taste and unique to you, even if you are a complete beginner. Trust your gut on what looks good and commit, you will surprise yourself!
EMMA MATTHEWS - SOCKO
Based on the art of darning, Emma Matthews founded Socko, a British sock brand which holds strong values in sustainability. Socko’s mission is to extend the active life of clothing by re-teaching the lost art of darning.
'Just give it a go! What I particularly love about textiles is that nothing is permanent. You can always undo and redo something until you reach an outcome that you are happy with. That’s why when I teach, I like to teach the principles of a sturdy mend because once you understand the rules it’s easier to break them with confidence. This is where your creativity can really shine through and I’m always thrilled to see the ways in which students apply their new-found craft knowledge.'
SIAN MCLACHLAN - SHOORAH SHOORAH
Sian McLachlan is a jewellery designer and founder of Shoorah Shoorah, who creates bright and bold designs from rope and cord inspired by the techniques from chandlery and macrame, she uses functional knots in bold colours and repetitive forms to create vibrant pieces.
'Don’t spend so much time trying to make something perfect - just get stuck in. Before I launched Shoorah Shoorah, I spent far too long trying to get the designs / materials / packaging just right. And I learnt that you don’t know what just right is until you start sharing and doing and discovering. And you’ll change your mind and taste all the time, so just get going before you get stuck.'
RACHEL FOLAN - printINKit
printINKit was founded by Rachel Folan to encourage artists and amateurs to have a go at turning their thoughts and feelings into prints and for this once lost craft to be revived and revered and earn its place alongside other forms of printmaking. Drypoint printmaking is a simple technique that is fun and effective for anyone, from the creative geniuses to the curious crafter.
‘Don’t let fear or self-doubt, or whatever hold you back. If you believe in it, and work hard, you really can do anything.
I've spent ages debating with myself whether I should start printINKit; I had never done anything like it before and was terrified. I knew nothing about setting up a business but I learned, I put in a lot of hard work and I believed in what I was doing.
Most importantly though, I asked other people for help. I reached out to people on social media doing similar things and asked questions and I was really surprised with how lovely people were and how willing they were to help. I’d love it if I could inspire others to have a go too, to not worry about making mistakes.
The pressure I put on myself to only create art if it was perfect, stopped me from creating altogether for a very long time and I’ve learned now to just enjoy the process.
I found a wealth of information online. There are so many brilliant resources to learn from and it's been a real eye opener to me. I hope that now, I can pass on some of that knowledge and help other people to discover their inner printmaker!’
TRACEY AYRE - BLUEBIRD DESIGNS NI
Tracey, the founder of Bluebird Designs NI, is a polymer clay artist based in County Down, Northern Ireland. She has been designing and making jewellery for over eight years, creating unique pieces using different clay techniques.
'Don’t compare yourself to what someone else is doing or apparently achieving. We’re all at different stages and that’s okay. Do what makes you happy, not what you think will make others happy.'
ALEX CASTAÑEDA - MESHIKO
Alex Castañeda is the founder of Meshiko - a small business focused on the creation of joyful handmade products based in Cambridge. Meshiko have two lines of work Meshiko have two lines of work, one being the products we make with indigenous communities in Mexico and the other is Meshiko’s creation box, which is a beginner embroidery kit where you can take a moment for yourself creating beautiful embroidery.
'Think like a child/ They do not feel limited by not knowing something, they have a beginner's mind, open to new experiences. Forget about your environment and think about your inner being, take some time for yourself, and create something with your own hands. You will see that giving yourself this opportunity will make you very happy.'
ADAKU PARKER - DOVETAILED
Adaku Parker is the founder of Dovetailed, an online African wax print fabric shop, and the author of Sewing with African Wax Print Fabric. We caught up with her to learn about her unconventional journey into textiles and sewing, the exciting projects she's worked on and her advice for aspiring makers.
'If you dream of leaving your day job and starting a business doing what you love, my top tip is to start by testing the waters. Doing something as a hobby is very different to turning that hobby into a business. The hobby is just fun but the business, whilst it will still be fun in parts, requires a lot of work and forces you to use your ‘business brain’ alongside your ‘creative brain’. The simple truth is that running a business is not for everyone. By dipping a few toes into the water and starting small, you will find out sooner rather than later whether it is or isn't for you.'
BARLEY MASSEY - FABRICATIONS
Barley set up Fabrications in 2000 on Broadway Market in Hackney, East London. Her focus has been on reviving traditional textile techniques, eco-design and upcycling. Fabrications is a mini department store of creativity and design, selling Barley's own creations, homewares, fashion and accessories.
1) ‘When your practice becomes a business, learning commences in understanding how business works and the different roles required in running a business, which in my experience does not always come naturally to creatives. It has taken me a long time to realise that I need to put on different hats and embody each role for the task and separate my creativity from my business side.’
2) ‘It is challenging to do everything ourselves, and not necessarily the best use of our time and resources. I would encourage the power of skill swapping and collaboration. This could be with tasks needed for your business (such as building a website or help with accounting) or in generating opportunities (such as sharing a stall to be able to participate in a craft fair or a joint marketing campaign). It is surprising what can spin off from joining forces with others!’
3) ‘As the business grows, keep aside time for your own creative play and personal development - look after your roots!’
JULIA CLARKE - ARTIST
Julia Clarke is an artist who creates abstract sculptures from traditional somerset willow. Her pieces are handmade using a random weave technique. In addition to mixed media sculptures, Julia combines willow, cane and thread to create wall pieces, vessels and baskets.
‘Follow your heart, experiment, keep at it even when it seems hopeless. Just keep making. It can be lonely and I often feel like I never meet other people exactly like me, so determination is key.’
BROOKE DENNIS - MAKE TOWN
Brooke Dennis is the founder of Make Town, a maker space and a "slice of textile heaven" in Hackney, London.
‘I think the best thing you can do is find a craft guru. Someone that is patient and generous to share their time with you. Who is patient, and encouraging with sound advice. Everything you do in life is either a solo mission or in a team, and I firmly believe the latter is a hell of a lot more fun. Also, you gotta get it wrong more times than you think you do. Go at your own speed and perseverance is key. Pop in some time and say Kia Ora (hello!) and I'll put the kettle on for ya!’
EMMA MAPP - MAPP OF LONDON
Emma Mapp is an independent designer who creates cyanotype prints and craft kits, using the oldest form of photography printing. Over the past few years, she's become increasingly interested in sustainability, with an emphasis on using eco-dyes, natural resources and recycled material.
- ‘Keep an accurate record of your finances from day one.’
- ‘Know when to walk away from an idea if it’s not working, you can always return to it later.’
- ‘Enjoy yourself!’