Our two Featured Traders Teazle Handmade & Needle in the Mill had a chat to us about their journey’s into launching their own business; from the products they’ve created to their first selling experiences and the challenges they have faced, now what they look forward to next.
Pedddle: Tell us a bit about your business and how it started- e.g. where did you first become interested in producing your products/learn the skills it takes to produce them?
Teazle Handmade: I started Teazle Handmade in 2011 making accessories from leather and Liberty fabrics. I’ve always made things for as long as I can remember, and have been sewing since I was about 9 years old. I studied textiles at school, but choose a different path with a Law degree and a career in Marketing. When my children were small working for myself offered flexibility and that was when I decided to launch Teazle.
Needle in the Mill: My name is Ida Agnusdei and I am behind Needle in the mill. I have always been a maker. Lockdown 2020 made me to re evaluate how I make a living and live. I opened an online shop on folksy, and thought, what to put in? Lockdown also allowed more time to visit my to do list. I created the Macrame Candle holders as a result of sitting out in the evening with some nice lighting and a glass of something good. The lantern can survive a night or two outside, and you dont have to worry too much if it rains. They are great when camping, and are also good as night lights around the house. Another is hand dyeing. This is an ongoing development with some successes. These are illustrated in the photos.
Pedddle: Following on from the first question, we’d love to know more about your process, the materials you use and what you’re inspired by.
Teazle Handmade: I’m inspired by the materials I work with, the colours and prints of Liberty fabrics, the tactile nature and the gorgeous colours of leather available.. The heart of what I do is making accessories to make you smile. I want them to be practical but by using high quality tactile materials I hope they bring a touch of luxury to everyday living. Simple pleasures are important.
Needle in the Mill: I have a vast store of materials, cotton, linen, wool and synthetics. Accessories also, zips, buttons, elastic and thread. All collected or donated over the last many years. These are the materials I use at the moment. Deciding what is made and how, is determined by the fabric and its properties. Except the Bucket Totes, this is the only fabric I buy in at the moment. I am inspired by practical, functional things. I like colour. I like products that can be reused and look good. I like to take something that is no longer viable and use part or all of it for a new product.
This is what inspires me at present.
Pedddle: Do you remember your first selling experience
Teazle Handmade: I think my very first selling experience was making dolls clothes when I was about 11! My mum put up a notice in the village post office and I made dolls clothes to order as Christmas presents – that was a long time ago – but obviously planted a seed.
Needle in the Mill: The Oilskin bucket Tote is ideal as a day bag. It has been described as a tardis. I have already had a bit of success with the bucket totes, at face to face markets, but I wanted something more functional. My Oilskin Bucket tote was born. It is still my best seller.
Pedddle: What challenges did you face when you first launched your business?
Teazle Handmade: I think when I first started out it, the biggest challenge was doing everything myself – there are so many skills, not just making, but marketing, setting up a website, designing packaging, booking events, thinking about pricing, and then wholesale pricing, designing a stand for events – there is lots to start with and it seems daunting. Now 10 years on, I’m still learning all the time, but I have learnt that not everything has to be done at once and to pace myself.
Needle in the Mill: As with all businesses, the challenge is to get people to notice you, like what you are producing and buy. This is my goal, to get noticed and for people to like what I make.
Pedddle: What’s next for your business this year – anything you’re planning, looking forward to, are there any new products/ranges etc.
Teazle Handmade: The next challenge for my business is to improve my online marketing, I’ve just finished a new website www.teazle.co.uk, I’m really pleased with how it presents my products. In the past, like many makers I concentrated on selling in person, at events and through shops and galleries. It’s time now to improve my online skills. My website is no good if no one knows it’s there!
Needle in the Mill: My aim for the future is to take part in online markets and challenges, and face to face markets.