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Meet the Maker; AdaBrown Designs & Squidge & Smudge Handmade

Meet the Maker

Meet two of this week’s featured traders, AdaBrown Designs and
Squidge & Smudge Handmade, and get to know their small businesses!

AdaBrown Designs Linen Pin Cushions

These two colourful businesses, AdaBrown Design and Squidge & Smudge Handmade, are among this week’s featured stallholders and Pedddle simply had to know more about them!

Read our Q&A below to find out about their plans for the rest of 2021, why they love markets and why shopping small is so important to them…

Pedddle: Tell us a bit about your business and how it started!

AdaBrown Designs: Hi! My business is AdaBrown Designs and I design and create modern hand embroidery designs for embroidery kits, soft furnishing, and wall art. I love to design using natural images and reproducing them in a modern simplistic style. 

A number of years ago, a friend taught me crochet and I developed a considerable stash of 4ply yarn in a multitude of colours. I started using my crochet yarn ‘left overs’ to create tactile, huggable cushions.  Which is when the idea of AdaBrown Designs really came into being. The yarns and fabrics I use in my designs create beautiful embroidery pieces that are strong enough and robust enough to be thrown on your sofa and used for a relaxing comforting hug! In my thirties, and as a busy mum of three children, I didn’t have a lot of time for anything creative other than sticking and gluing tissue paper and glitter! But in recent years, I have picked up my own creative projects again.

Squidge & Smudge: We’re a team of two, who started our business together as friends of over 25 years. We took some sewing classes together to channel our creativity in our stressful corporate lives. We both had small children at that time. We both used cloth nappies and slings for our little ones and we noticed the lack of cloth bum and baby wearing friendly, yet fun and bold children’s clothing. The name Squidge & Smudge came from the nicknames of my little ones while they were in my belly, given to them after the first ultrasounds. The logo was designed by my friend and represents her two “not-so-little-anymore” ones!

Pedddle: We’d love to know more about the materials you use and what you’re inspired by.

Squidge & Smudge: We use mainly organic cotton jersey and french terry (summer sweat) which are sustainably sourced and kind to the skin. We have been introducing exclusive designs in the past year to provide more unique clothing. We love patterns which are nature inspired and a bit quirky. The fabrics are cut to pattern by us, as well as sewn, packed and posted. We’ve also been introducing ready made items both for kids and adults, with our designs. The base items (t-shirts and sweatshirts) are carefully selected and organic and the slogans are designed, cut and pressed on them by hand.

AdaBrown Designs: I have always loved vintage embroidery. I have many tablecloths and napkins produced by my grandma and great grandma (who’s name was actually Ada Brown!) in the 1930’s and 1940’s. These were all practical items, tablecloths, headrests, napkins etc. I love that so much love and attention was given to producing an item that would be used on a daily basis.

My Embroidery Kits are designed to be straight forward using a few basic stitches. I want everyone to enjoy and get the benefits of some time out, creating some stress free embroidery. My kits are usually completed before the desire to start another work in progress kicks in!  My style is embroidery on a larger scale than traditional embroidery, and the instructions easy to follow. 

Pedddle: What do you love about markets? Have you sold at or been out to any since they’ve opened up again

AdaBrown Design: I have taken part in a number of online events, the latest being the Love Leaving Lockdown Market over on Tresstle. I love the collaboration and networking that come from these events! It’s so amazing to develop contacts with other small business owners. My business is very new – I pretty much started at the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020, so for me I am adapting to actually attending markets rather than them all being online. I think it so easy to feel isolated when you are developing and running your business alone, so building connections through both online and actual markets is, for me, an amazing benefit.

Squidge & Smudge: Since lockdown, we haven’t done any markets, but we love them as we can connect with our customers in person!  

Pedddle: In your opinion, why is shopping from independent businesses the way forward?

Squidge & Smudge: The benefit of shopping small is the personal touch. Buying from small business ensures that you receive top notch service and the heart of soul of the maker is poured into the item you receive. 

AdaBrown Design: Since starting my own business I have become really aware of the variety and quality of the small businesses that we have in the UK. I love to shop small because I know all the love that will have been put into producing the item I am buying, also because whilst perhaps not always completely unique I know that my purchase hasn’t been mass produced. I like the idea that everyone of us, if we choose too, can now have a creative idea, design it, produce it and build a business from it.  

Pedddle: Anything exciting you’re planning for your business next?

Squidge & Smudge: We have lots of plans, however, like most small business owners, we are juggling full time jobs and families besides our business. Sometimes new things come slow, but they’re totally worth it!

AdaBrown Design: I am bursting with ideas to bring to my shop, moving forward I plan to create cushion kits and further soft furnishing ideas as well as bringing further wall art designs!