Friday, 29 March 2013

Tea and a Chat with Make and Do Provisions

Today I'm chatting to Sarah Plant and Maeri Howard, who together run  a yummy online fabric shop.  Put the kettle on and join us for tea and a chat to find out more...

Hello!  Good to see you, the kettles just boiled what would you like to drink?
A nice cup of decaf earl grey for me please and a coffee for Maeri.

So, tell us a bit about yourselves and your business...
Make and Do Provisions was set up in November 2012 by myself, Sarah Plant and Maeri Howard. We mainly sell fabric sourced from America in unusual and quirky prints. We also sell bag making supplies and ready to sew kits. We have an online shop but we also sell through the Make and Do studio in Warrington.

What inspired you to start selling fabrics?
We wanted to provide those who visit the workshops at the studio the opportunity to buy fabric and other supplies, which then led us to selling it online. We ultimately wanted to supply hard-to-find fabric from America to customers in the UK.

How is your business developing?
As it's still in it's early stages, we are still tweaking things. We are constantly learning and adapting our site to the needs of our customers.

What are the main ways you promote your business?  
Mainly though social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest seems to be a popular way to promote as well. We do really well by word of mouth; people coming to the workshops are tempted by all the lovely fabric we have on display.

Whats your workspace like?  And do you have any workspace organisation tips for the rest of us?
All of our fabric and supplies are on display in the studio. It's quite a compact space but Maeri has done a great job of using reclaimed furniture to form storage space and shelves.

 What are the best and worst bits of running your business?
It takes a lot of time to keep the online store up to date as we are constantly selling stock from the studio. However it's great to be able to offer products to those who come to the workshops that we use and recommend. It's also quite tricky running the business between the two of us, meaning many meet ups with coffee and cake are needed!

What other creative businesses do you admire? 
Papercut Patterns  are a great independent company that sell clothing patterns. I love how they package the patterns, such an unusual and attractive idea to display the patterns after use.

What tips can you give to others who run (or hope to run) a small creative business?
First of all, go for it! You can start out small and see how things go, gradually building up your business with time. If you know someone with similar ideas, approach them and see if they are interested in becoming partners. It helps to share the load and you can bounce ideas off each other.

What are your hopes, plans or ambitions for the future?
Ultimately it would be great to expand our range, stocking more bag making supplies and yummy fabric. We'd both love to branch out into having an actual store, however that's a few years off yet!

Finally, where are the places we can find you online if we want to partake in a little friendly cyber stalking? 

 Thanks so much for stopping by it was so nice to be able to take the time to chat with you! 

Thanks for having us!

If you enjoyed today's tea and a chat with Sarah and Maeri, and think others might enjoy reading about your own creative venture, please contact me and I'll get the kettle on! 

1 comment:

Handcrafted by Picto said...

It's always nice to see different and unusual fabrics. I love the use of reclaimed boxes for shelves. Right, I'm off to do a bit of cyber stalking :)

Jan x