Wow what a year it has been for Sew Me Sunshine. I thought it would be good to summarise what has happened this last year and what you can expect from us in 2020.
The first big event of 2019 was the arrival of the smallest team member Arthur, also known as baby sunshine. He arrived two weeks early, which was a bit of a surprise. I was still working during early labour to try and tie up all the loose ends! Mr Sunshine had 2 months paternity leave which meant that between the pair of us we could keep the business ticking over. Thank you for all of your messages and cards over this period, it meant a lot, and thank you your patience during this time.
Once I got back to working full time at Sew Me Sunshine it was time to look at how to grow Sew Me Sunshine. I was currently working from my garden studio that I built in 2018 but the business had quickly grown out of this space and I realised that I needed a bigger space away from home in order to host regular open studio days. We found out about Workspace which provides office spaces in a variety of locations across London, and there was one only a 10 minute drive away from my home. I booked in a couple of viewings to look at what they had to offer, and fell in love with the space. It has everything I was looking for - a management office and post room so that I would never miss a delivery again, a cafe space and co-working space, a lift so that it was accessible for anyone who wished to visit me, a mail company in house that I could use to send my parcels through AND the space I chose had plenty of natural light.
The move to the new space in July 2019 was rather stressful, but thanks to Mr Sunshine, my brother and my father-in-law everything was moved in one day!
It has taken me a while to feel happy with the new space, and there are still things I want to do to improve it, but I do love coming into work everyday.
The next big move was to find some amazing people to help out at Sew Me Sunshine on a regular basis. A huge thank you to Rachel & Kate from The Fold Line for all of your help with this. Quite a few people had signposted me to Lisa (aka @tinieststitcher), so we met for a cup of tea and I knew there and then that I wanted to work with Lisa. Lisa started working at Sew Me Sunshine in August and it has been fantastic to have another pair of hands helping out. Next, Barbara (aka @rockingstitch) started helping me with the weekly newsletter which meant that I was able to bring you weekly updates from Sew Me Sunshine again!
2019 was also the year that I said goodbye to my iconic purple floral plastic packaging for a more eco-friendly option. Your parcels will now arrive in kraft mail bags, these bags can be recycled with your home recycling, or you can shred, soak and mix with soil and they biodegrade in 3 months. These bags are made from sustainably sourced paper, and they use vegetable and water based inks. If your parcel is very large then your order might arrive in one of our larger mail bags, these bags are produced from a bi-product of sugar cane, and grown on reclaimed waste land and therefore have no impact on the rainforest, they are also recyclable.
I am always on the look out for new fabric suppliers, and in 2019 I found some great new suppliers. I started stocking the incredible viscose fabrics from mind the MAKER and fun cotton prints from Ruby Star Society. I also sourced deadstock (ex designer) fabrics from a UK supplier who mainly sources their fabric from France and Germany, and I managed to source some high end ex-designer fabrics from Italy. I also found some amazing printed linen from a supplier in the Netherlands which you all loved.
I have reduced the amount of polyester fabrics I stock, and have made an active effort to stock fabrics that are more environmentally friendly, such as tencel. I have also tried to stock fabrics that are oeko-tex 100 certified, and I have made it easier for you to find these fabrics by adding a specific section on the website.
Now that I had extra help with the business it gave me time to do tasks that I have been planning to do for some time. One of the things I have always wanted to stock is thread so that you can buy thread at the same time as your fabric. When I saw that Gutermann was now producing recycled polyester threads I knew this was the thread I wanted to stock at Sew Me Sunshine. It took a LONG time to arrive, and I had to carry the palate up to my unit by myself but it was worth it! You can buy all the colours from the recycled thread range, and there is an option on the website for us to choose thread for you that will best match your fabric you are buying.
My main goal for 2019 was to host regular open studio days. I ended up hosting 2 this year, and I loved both of them. It was so great to meet so many different seamstresses at them. I know that a lot of you prefer seeing fabrics in real life before purchasing them so I will definitely be hosting more open days in 2020.
So what can you expect to see from Sew Me Sunshine in 2020? Well, I will continue to bring you what you love which is high quality dressmaking fabric. I will strive to provide more environmentally friendly, and I will continue to source lots of beautiful ex-designer (deadstock) fabrics. I will also be finding new suppliers in order to keep my stock fresh and up to date, and I hope to work with more small businesses.
I know you have all found the Sew Me Sunshine blog a useful source for inspiration so I will keep that running, and I am hoping to be able to provide you with more regular content. I will also have more guest blog posts and I will strive to ensure that the blog features seamstresses from all different ages, sizes and backgrounds.
More open days will be announced shortly so keep your eyes peeled. Also, Sew Me Sunshine will be going on the road, the first stop is the new Stitch Festival (Knitting & Stitching Show), I can't wait to see lots of you there!
I will be looking to grow Sew Me Sunshine further, and in the future I would love to have a bigger unit on the ground floor so I have direct access to outside. In order to do this I will need to take on extra staff to help with the business, so I will be keeping a lookout for anyone who is keen to work at Sew Me Sunshine.
In 2020 I am keen to provide you with more video content so that you can see the fabrics move. I really enjoy producing video content, so this is something I want to do more of in 2020.
In 2019 I had no time to sew, so one of my personal goals for 2020 is to schedule time to sew for myself. This will help me to relax, and in turn it will mean that I am more productive when I am working on Sew Me Sunshine.
I am really excited to see what will happen in 2020, and I can't wait to share my journey with you all.