What inspired you to start your business?
I was given a book of different shades of blue suede swatches and, remembering the belt that my next door neighbour - Auntie June - had made me when I was a kid way back in the 70's, I cut out lots of pieces and looped them together and voila I had myself a really cool belt. I wore it to work, people admired it and asked me where I'd bought it - I didn't think they were serious at first, but I went home that day with 3 orders. I bought some leather and just charged the belts at cost - at that point it never occurred to me to make some money out of it. So I carried on making the belts and a few months later decided to try and sell at a great local craft market and to my surprise sold lots of them - at a profit. I then started to make notebooks and manuscript covers and in August 2007 I was very lucky to spend a couple of days with Bill (Satchelman) and he taught me how to make bags - and oh my goodness, I haven't stopped making them since!!
How do you get the word out about your shop?
It's mainly word of mouth - my friends and colleagues are far better at promoting me than I am! I have postcards that I put on the noticeboards at work and have a regular stall at a craft market.
What's unique about your items or what do you want people to know about your work?
All the bags are hand stitched. Every inch! People at the markets usually ask 'do you have an industrial sewing machine to stitch the leather?' and they're always amazed when I tell them it's all done by hand. To be honest I can't work a machine, I bought one a couple of years ago and got so frustrated I nearly threw it into the back yard, so I gave it to my Mum!
What would you like us to know about your business?
That it's really just a hobby that has completely taken over my life! I just wish I could make a living from it and do it full-time.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Spending time with my boy. Sunshine and blue skies. Having no regrets.
What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty, loyalty and integrity. And a wicked sense of humour.
What is your principle defect?
I'm a Virgo, therefore a perfectionist. I pick fault in everything I do.
In what country would you like to live?
Somewhere with long hot summers - Siesta Key, Florida or Sydney, Australia.
What is your present state of mind?
My head is so full of stuff at the moment - it's crazily busy at work, I'm in the process of buying a house, I've got orders to fill - but actually, that's how I like to be. So, yes I'm pretty content.