Hello, I’m Poppy and I started my business in a tiny net loft in Newlyn, Cornwall 19 years ago almost to the day. With support from the Prince’s Trust, my future partner, Justin, my ancient Singer sewing machine and a stash of fabric from charity shops and car boot sales, I set about putting together my first collection.
I launched my fledgling business at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate, and I remember it was incredibly nerve wracking to present my creations in front of real people, from real galleries! My textile art pots, cushions framed pieces and tea cosies were all one offs, made from vintage fabrics and taken direct from my drawings. In theory I could take orders and repeat them, but I wasn’t entirely sure.
In truth, I didn’t take many orders, but there was a buzz and excitement around the work, and I returned the following year (they say you always give a new show at least three chances) and had a much healthier order book. I then did my first show in London, and this time the orderbook was so full I had no idea how I was going to make everything.
It was time to give up my part time job and jump with two feet into a new workspace, taking on staff and stepping up to meet the demand.
Through the years there have been some true highs (and some dastardly lows) our tea cosies have been stocked in Liberty and Fortnum’s and even graced the tables of Claridge’s hotel. We’ve created bespoke ranges for The Eden Project and St. Michael’s Mount as well as working with customers in the Falkland Islands and Barbados and opening our own shop on Fore Street in St. Ives.
But perhaps it’s the lows that have always pushed us forward, forcing us to improve and innovate. And of course, like everyone else 2020 was the lowest of the lows. With all my staff furloughed, our shop forced to close and a studio full of stock made to fulfil all the now cancelled spring orders, I invented the idea of Embroidery Club. I thought; people are at home; they finally have time to sew. I’m here terrified my business is not going to make it through this. And the idea of the club became the perfect solution.
Two years later and we’re onto our 6th embroidery club and It’s been so much more than I imagined. Yes, the club is an important part of the business’s income now, but it’s also a true source of inspiration, a wonderful sounding board for ideas and brings us in daily contact with our customers. The embroidery club members are undoubtedly part of the team.
With no small amount of uncertainty in the world, I’m really just carrying on the same way I always have. Finding inspiration, striving to be original, working with local supplies and stitchers to create beautifully sewn products that you can recognise anywhere. I still work on my old Singer sewing machine and we can still tell you who’s made every single thing (and how they like their tea!)