Thursday, 21 June 2018

A little business update

It will surprise none of you to find that my well intentioned promise of writing more frequently didn't happen. I thought quitting my job would free up a lot of my time. Oh how wrong I was!

In the 3 months since my last post I am happy to announce that I haven't given up on start up life- although I've definitely considered it more than once! I'm still here plugging away in my colourful little shop(I painted it bright yellow!)

Me outside my shop

I now have a bunch of followers who seem to really like the brand I'm creating and I have to keep reminding myself that quality outweighs quantity, both in products and in social media following. I am a little impatient for the future when I have a larger audience which, hopefully, brings in more sales, but until then I'm enjoying getting to know my customers and being able to reply to all of the comments and feedback I get.

I'm slowly learning which products people like the most and am starting to experiment with a few new design ideas, including some more delicate pieces. I've been trying to gauge what my target audience likes the most and having some more simple/minimal pieces is a popular request. So here is a little snapshot of some of the pieces in the new collection!

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 The minimalist, contemporary recycled glass earrings.

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The minimalist, contemporary recycled glass necklaces.

All of these, and many more, can be bought on my brand new website!!! You might have seen it to get to this page- if not you should definitely check it out: www.textilecandy.com . I've done it with shopify so that people can buy online, as much as I've tried to be a web designing genius(and i really have) my brain is just not wired that way.  One of the great things about shopify is that it automatically optimises your website for mobile viewing which, lets be honest, nowadays is how the majority of people view a website.  It makes my life a lot easier too as my website connects to my facebook shop and automatically updates itself instead of me having to list items on multiple platforms, if only Etsy were as simple. I've also listed a few items on ebay to see how that compares, but I'm not too convinced that ebay is the right platform for handmade mid-price products. It would be great if all you blog readers/followers could let me know which they use the most? Etsy, Ebay, Amazon or others?

Alongside the recycled glass jewellery I've also been working with some local seamstresses to start a collection of soft accessories; cushions, hairbands and fabric storage baskets, hopefully this will expand as time goes on.

African print cushions, wax print cushions, fabric planters, fabric storage baskets, fabric storage bins, stacking baskets, stacking bins, decorative throw pillow, african cushion, Vlisco cushion, Ankara cushion
Locally handmade African wax print cushions and handmade fabric stacking storage baskets.


Festival hair accessories, Summer hairstyles, Turban headband, headwrap
Bohemian style locally made fabric turban headbands.

When I first opened the shop I only had a really small collection of jewellery that I'd made while living in Switzerland and just a few artworks to sell. I had to find some stock pretty quickly and, to avoid burning myself out by trying to make everything, I decided to start selling the work of other local makers. I now stock local photography, driftwood houses, chemical free soaps, hand knitted stuffed animals, handpainted cards, printed scarves, ceramic ornaments, glass stud earrings and fused glass coasters. Here are a few of the locally made things I have in the shop at the moment- you can also buy all of these online through my website/facebook/etsy/instagram!

Driftwood houses, Knitted toys, Vegan soap, gift shop, lifestyle brand
Local makers currently in stock.

Oh and I have a new stockist!!!!!You can now pick up your own Textile Candy jewellery at Arteria in Lancaster and KittyBrown boutique in Carnforth.

So that is a concise version of the last 3 months :) I think doing smaller blog posts might be the way forward for me!

Thanks for reading! x



Wednesday, 14 March 2018

5 months later...

So what have I been doing in the 5 months of no posting?

I moved all my worldy belongings back to the UK, I celebrated Christmas, I started renovating the shop, I travelled to Ghana, I came back and then I OPENED THE SHOP :) So its been quite a busy few months....and what am I doing now?I'm processing all of that information while having sporadic mental breakdowns!

Seriously though I should probably introduce you to my shop and show you some photos of how I got there.....

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At first I was really excited about getting my very own shop, the kind of excitement you get when you rent a new apartment. Then I moved home and started working on it and I LOVED that. I fancy myself as a bit of a DIY queen and, after watching far too many episodes of 'Grand Designs' and 'the Restoration man', special thanks to ma boyssssss George Clarke and Kevin McCloud, I was pretty convinced that 'doing up' an old shop space would be really fun and easy. I had ambitions of  moving all my stock(which I had not yet made) into the shop ready for a grand opening at Christmas where local newspaper journalists would come and marvel at my beautiful bohemian showroom leading to me being inundated with customers....*breathe*....needless to say it didn't happen quite like that... but I did have a lovely shop opening with lots of people attending and I have had some customers since so still pretty good!

Here are a few of the before photos...

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As you can see the shop is cute, small and very basic. In its original state it was exactly what you would expect to get for just £35/week. Cheap laminated fake wood floor in quite a cold wood colour, dusty looking duck egg blue walls, damp EVERYWHERE! A basement so cold that you could literally see your own breath in front of you. It was pretty dingy to be honest.....but I had decided the basement would become my studio space... much to the amusement of my family.


This is the before shot, all I'd done in these photos was sweep the floor and clean away a few cobwebs. As you can see it doesn't even slightly resemble a studio space!
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Post damp paint....this was my favourite bit as it actually starting looking like a potential workspace.

Getting the basement that white was no small feat. I had to cover up some holes, with the help of Daddy Burns, and coat EVERYTHING-floor, walls and stairs- with thick layers of damp paint.

I will share some photos of the current studio space in my next post as it's a little bit on the 'creative' side at the moment!

 Then I started on the upstairs.... painting the walls white only to come back the next day to find that the paint hadn't dried at all because the shop was so damp and cold. The windows were always so full of condensation that the paint around them constantly dripped and slid around instead of drying. Then I discovered an absolute miracle worker- damp bags. I attached one on each side of my shop door and within a few days all the condensation had gone and the bags had soaked up enough moisture for me to be able to coat the walls with damp paint. If you want to buy some here's a link: 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/171271771237?chn=ps&adgroupid=47842945425&rlsatarget=pla-380312377891&abcId=1129946&adtype=pla&merchantid=115019311&poi=&googleloc=9046578&device=c&campaignid=974959912&crdt=0

They really are amazing!

The shop floor before, during fitting and after OSB board. A definite improvement in my opinion!


Next on my shop list was the floor. I pretty much had my heart set on an OSB/chipboard floor. I love the rough, creative look and think it creates a really welcoming atmosphere in the shop so I purchased a few sections and asked my dad to help me lay them. Then came the exciting bit of the renovation(ish) project....making the furniture and fixtures!I had a very clear idea of what I wanted the interiors of the shop to be like, I've had a 'business:interiors' pinterest board for goodness knows how long. I wanted unfinished rough wood, rope, industrial piping and most importantly NO PLASTIC. I wanted everything to look quite rugged and natural, because that's reflected in the products I sell- handpainted wood and recycled glass.


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You can see how happy I was doing my driftwood scavenger hunt!The bottom photo is a close up of the driftwood texture- isn't it beautiful!Then there's the ladder and scaffolding boards before and after sanding.

I made:

- a counter from two old palette boxes and some scaffolding board,
-  a shelving display from scaffolding board and old found rope,
- a hanging display from some patterned driftwood and old rope
- a necklace display from an old wooden scaffolding ladder
- earring displays using leftover OSB board from the floor
- another earring display using garden fence
- earring wall displays using frames bought in charity shops
- and a window display using repurposed apple crates.


None of the fixtures in my shop are new. Everything is either salvaged, repurposed or bought from a charity shop. It just goes to show that you don't need money for everything, you just need a bit of creativity and an electric sander ;) I'm not gonna pretend it was super easy and I don't think my hands will ever recover but it was so worth it to be able to sit in my shop with pride and say that I created everything inside.


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My completed shop, inside and out!Quite a difference from the original photos dontcha think!?

I really did love turning the shop into my own- it felt a little bit like a fun DIY project that I was doing for someone else. I basically separated the reality of what I was doing from the actual doing of it- does that make sense? I tend to process information quite slowly, especially when its something I will no doubt have an emotional reaction to. I chose, instead, to completely ignore the fact that I had quit my job to become a shop owner despite having no knowledge/experience in setting up a business and with only 30 necklaces and 20 keyrings to sell. In fact, I ignored this until 2 hrs before the shop opening where my poor dad found me crying in a corner of the basement... because I couldn't get the windows clean.....I kid you not!The simple frustration of not being able to clean my windows properly overwhelmed me so much that it led to a downward spiral of doubt and panic. This culminated in me sobbing "I can't do this, this was a mistake, this is impossible, I can't run a business, what if it fails"(with intermingled sobs and sniffles).... it sounds ridiculous I know. Obviously it wasn't really the windows I was crying about ...more an overwhelming awareness of my incapability.

.....I told you this blog would be an honest one.....

Anyway I pulled myself together and the launch actually went well. There was prosecco, people bought my products and I felt, for the first time, like I had made the right decision.

Since the launch 3 weeks ago I have had a few customers and been to a stall in Manchester's Northern Quarter. I have a few more things in the pipeline as I want to start doing some workshops in April but need to make myself a flat pack trestle table first- obviously this will be made from scaffolding boards and old ladders once again ;)

So there's a little update of what's actually been going on with my shop. ALSO I promised myself I would keep providing tips on here so my tip of the day is:


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Starting up a start up!

Today I realised how much I miss blogging. It's my only outlet that doesn't require me to make any money from it, which means I can fully enjoy it. Starting up my own business and spending so much time on my own is causing me to spend far too much time inside my own head.....so instead I'm going to get it out of my head and into virtual space for you lovely people to read instead.

 I actually considered starting a new blog to document my start up journey, I thought about calling it 'start up diary' or something painfully cliche but then I remembered this old thing. It seems fitting that I blog about my start up on the blog that started my start up!

Going forward my posts are going to be a bit more honest, personal, start up/business oriented and have very little to do with fashion and textiles so if you follow me for that reason you might wanna hit the unsubscribe button now haha- there's my disclaimer done!

If you are landing on my blog as a total newcomer then welcome :)


I've noticed that startup life, like anything, has its peaks and troughs.... unfortunately I'm finding that my peaks are Mt. Everest and the troughs are comparable to the Mariana trench. I'm constantly giving myself pep talks and advice and thought it could be useful to make a note of them...for other people in a similar situation and also for myself- as a much needed reminder.

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The peaks and troughs of Startup life

I've always said to myself that 'if I had my own business I'd...' my life would be better/I would be happier/ I would spend all my time drawing in creative bliss...' and blah blah blah.

I don't know if that was naive, hopeful or just plain delusional. Quite honestly I have no idea what I'm doing half of the time and there are moments....oh so many moments.....that I think I've made a colossal mistake. 

This is not my illustration but depicts perfectly how I feel a lot of the time!I thought about doing all of my own illustrations for this post but simply typing in 'start up illustrations' on google images provided me with exactly the illustrations I was looking for- kinda reassuring to know I'm not the only one feeling like this

Until December last year I was earning a substantial amount of money as a Senior print designer, moving around Europe working for various companies. I had my own beautiful rented apartments full of my own things, my own fridge full of my own food,my own bathroom with my own candles and plants in and a lovely double bed. I also had enough money to go on weekend city breaks around Europe and permanently have nice new clothes in my wardrobe. Great life huh!?I would be a complete liar if I said I didn't miss all of these things. 

Now I'm living back at my parents house in a small overcrowded/messy space(that's what happens when you move an apartments worth of stuff back into your childhood room) with a single bed, relying on my parents for food and earning very little. My clothes are completely worn out, I have no financial independance and have yet to develop anything resembling a routine. 

Despite these complaints, most of which are materialistic and only temporary(fingers crossed),I am so SO grateful for having such amazing parents that have welcomed me home like the prodigal daughter. They're letting me live rent free and providing me with meals while wholeheartedly believing that I can make this business work and offering me endless necessary encouragement. Massive shout out to Mama and Papa Burns(if you're reading this) without you guys I wouldn't have the confidence to do any of this/I would be homeless haha! Also thank you so much to my Nan ho I know will definitely be reading this- providing me with endless takeaway coffee and advertising ideas!


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One of the other things I'm finding SO VERY HARD is not comparing myself to other small businesses/instagram profiles that started around the same time as me.  I am not the most confident at social media. I find it difficult to post things that happened in a staged photoshoot I did weeks before while pretending they're from today(it feels like lying), I don't know what to say in captions and I'm not particularly engaging a lot of the time. I seriously don't understand how to get people to follow a business page or how people find the time to take and edit all of these perfectly lit photos. I am currently stuck at 350 followers and a little bit stumped about how to do the whole business instagram thing....but I'm working on a plan....again...haha!

I'm going to start using my blog to document how I'm finding starting up a start up. I'm going to let you know when good things happen and when things go wrong. Whoever reads this can be my accountability buddy, which I've heard is an essential thing for freelancers and start ups.  I'll be sharing tips I've found useful, podcasts I find inspirational and everything from my favourite background movies to my music playlists.

SO lets get started with 3 useful tips I have discovered for when you are feeling like you're never gonna get there:

No.1
Comparison is the thief of joy!

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No.2
Look how far you've already come!

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To quote the infinite wisdom of Drake:


Image result for started from the bottom now we here



No.3
Make a to do list every day!

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Quite honestly one of the main things that keeps me going a lot is a bible verse.... for those of you who aren't familiar with the bible its just a really good piece of advice:


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P.s This is not my artwork- I found it on pinterest.

It's so easy when near the beginning of a small business/start up journey to focus on how small the business is; how small an instagram following you have, how small an impact you're having on the people around you, how small your sales count is on Etsy  BUT, no matter how small your beginning is, at least you've begun!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Trading fast fashion for a slow future

Anyone who has read the post preceding this will be aware that I have officially quit my job. I've shared my reasons for making this decision and have drawn a line underneath it ready to start a new and exciting chapter of my life. So what am I going to do next? 

A while ago I posted about my trip to Ghana and the 100%recycled glass beads I bought while I was there(http://textilecandy.blogspot.ch/2017/02/krobo-odumase-market-traditional-bead.html) I shared a few photos of the jewellery I had created from the beads and then nothing more(http://textilecandy.blogspot.ch/2017/06/my-reasons-for-blogging-abandonment.html). Since then I have delved a little deeper into jewellery making and designed my first Textile Candy jewellery collection. Half of the collection will be made from handpainted wooden beads and the remaining half(which I am so very excited about) will be made from the handcrafted Ghanaian beads. 

I have decided to really fully commit to trying to start a business and believe that making and selling jewellery is a good launch point. One day I would love to branch out into home accessories and clothing, but that's a little further down the line.

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Above are some of the products that I have been working on: statement necklaces, simple necklaces, earrings and keyrings. They won't be available to purchase until I launch the Etsy store on 1st November but if you do see anything you love I can stick a reserve note on it so just send me an email at textilecandy@gmail.com or a facebook/instagram message!I am also doing some custom orders for people so if you see something you like but would prefer in a different colour combination just let me know.

Now is as good a time as any to provide you with some more information about the products and the process.


The wooden items all start out as unfinished, unpainted and unvarnished wooden beads made from a Samak/China berry tree from a Chinese supplier I have found on Etsy. He delivers really promptly, gives me a great deal on pricing and always throws in a few new samples for me to check out. 

After receiving the beads I play around with structure and figure out what new pieces I can make and then the painting begins. I use acrylic paint for the wooden beads, I tried experimenting with some inks, oil and water based paints but the wood is quite porous and soaks up a lot of the colour, this doesn't allow any margin for error as once a bead is painted in ink it is very difficult to repaint- I have learnt this the hard way. 

One of the things I love about the wooden collection is that it has enabled me to be really experimental with colour. I've tried to paint all of the necklaces and earrings in quite an abstract way as I think these make them easier to wear. There are also a few different necklace styles in the mix as I want to use my first collection to test out which designs people find the most appealing. Some are on chain, some suede chord and the larger pieces are on satin ribbon.

Statement earrings are a huge trend at the moment, filling out retail stores and taking over the runway shows so I have added some tassel earrings to the collection. I also have some more simple handpainted studs and drop earrings.

drop errings, wooden earrings, tassel earrings

The Ghana bead half of the collection is still in its development stage but I can share a few of the pieces I have been working on! It will be made from the 100% recycled glass beads I have sourced while on my trips to Ghana combined with some metal fixtures I have bought from a Turkish supplier(also sourced on Etsy). 

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One of the reasons I am so excited about the Ghana collection is because I finally feel like I am able to do something good and have a positive impact on the world. The items in this collection promote recycled goods and raise awareness about the Ghanaian beadmaking artisans and traditional craft. Also I have decided that, for every item from the 'made in Ghana' collection, I will donate 10% of the profits to the Baobab children's' foundation (http://www.baobab-children-foundation.de/)

From the offset I knew I wanted to make sure this business was socially conscious with a completely transparent production line. After working in fast fashion for most of my career I now want to do some good in some way, however small that may be. My first visit to Ghana introduced me to the beadmaking process and I realised how painstaking it is to create something so beautifully handmade. It is my firm opinion that we need to start celebrating traditional crafts like this and support the artisans involved in making them. So I decided I wanted to use some of the profits to give back to the communities that create the products I will be using. As can be imagined there are a lot of charitable organisations based in Ghana and, as much as I think what they're doing is great, I am only a baby business/small start up at the moment and so I want to build a relationship with a small foundation. I want to know who the money is going to, I want to know what it is being used for and I want it to go to a cause I feel really passionate about. This is why I chose Baobab School of Trades and Traditional Arts.



They are a small NGO registered in Freiburg, Germany(which is actually conveniently close to Basel), it was founded in 2001 and now has around 100 pupils at the school it supports. I first became aware of the Baobab school and childrens foundation on my first trip to Ghana in February. I was volunteering and living in Cape Coast at the time where they have a guest house and restaurant which helps support the school. They also sell all the products created at the school in their Cape Coast store including, batik fabric and garments, jewellery and paintings created by the students.  
The Baobab school is an extremely special place as it focuses on a creative education and teaching the children vocational courses that they will be able to use to provide for themselves in the future. The thing that makes it even more fantastic is that it is a school for disadvantaged children from lower economic backgrounds, orphans and children with learning/physical disabilities. Outside of this school these children would struggle to stay in education and learn to be self sufficient.

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The children are still provided with an academic education and have morning lessons in English, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Entrepreneurship but in the afternoon they focus on 2 vocational courses that combine well to ensure they can earn money post education. Vocational courses include: 
carpentry, bicycle repair, sewing, batik, cane and bamboo furniture making, kente weaving, beadmaking, painting, basket weaving, organic farming, oyster mushroom cultivation, production of medicine from medicinal plants and catering. 

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I am currently in conversation with the founder, Edith de Vos, and am hoping to find out more information regarding the prices of equipment for the students at the school, the cost of each child's education and how much it would cost to sponsor a child's education. Should any of you lovely readers want to get involved- I will keep you all updated with the information I receive.

This half of the collection will also be packaged with a FREE wax print cotton gift bag. The fabric was hand printed in Ghana using the traditional batik process, half of the fabric used in the gift bags was created at the Baobab school and the other half has been created by the independent batik mamas employed by Global Mamas. While in Ghana last week I contracted Debora, a local seamstress in the Cape Coast area, to sew the gift bags using the fabric I had selected. This was important for me as part of creating a transparent production line.

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Left to right: Baobab batik fabric, Debora sewing the gift bags, one of the gift bags in the fabric purchased from Global Mamas.

Hopefully this has been a useful update for you all to see what I'm working on and what I have quit my job to do. I'm really excited about this and am praying extremely hard that it goes well. Please check out the Etsy store when it launches on 1st November, until then I am posting product updates and inspiration images on my business instagram: @textilecandy 

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It would be really great to drum up as much support as possible for this baby business of mine, especially while it is in it's initial growth stage so please feel free(No pressure at all) to share this post/share images on pinterest/facebook/instagram I would love to be able to sell most of the 'Made in Ghana' collection and raise some money for the Baobab Childrens foundation!

Gone is the van plan of last November, this time it's for real.

Farewell fast fashion


It will come as no surprise to many of you that I have, once again, made the decision to quit my job. As Facebook and LinkedIn have both kindly reminded me my career seems to be cyclical. I sub consciously work on a 6 month tolerance cycle between March and August- I start new jobs in march and quit them in August. Maybe 6 months is my standard length of time to figure out whether I enjoy a position and the company and, if not, whether I can tolerate them regardless. This was the case with my most recent company. I worked the probation period(3 months), hated it, decided I could tolerate it, lasted 3 more months and then decided I couldn't...Once again I will be leaving my job at the end of November, exactly the same as last year.

2017 World Happiness chart.

So why? Why am I quitting my position as Senior Graphic designer for a 'trend led fast fashion brand' in Switzerland "the 4th happiest country in the world" (according to the World Happiness report of 2017: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Happiness_Report#2017_report) As I am spending 5 out of 7 days of the week at work I don't want my job to cause any unhappiness...no job, no matter how well paid, is worth sacrificing your happiness and health for. So when I start feeling miserable 2 out of the 5 working days a red flag goes up in my mind...when I get to 3 out of 5 days a week then I start working on my exit plan. Once I have affixed my mind on something I am quite fast at actioning it, this is exactly how I approach job happiness. To me there is no sense in staying in the same position if you know it is making you unhappy, if you don't like something in your life- change it. So thats what I've decided to do....again. 

When drafting this post it was getting a little lengthy so I've split it into two parts:the rant and the plan! This post is the rant.

As with all fast fashion jobs a certain amount of stress is to be expected- we are working with fast productions speeds and short lead times, but when that stress is exasperated by a disorganised system and egotistical, indecisive colleagues the design process becomes extremely difficult and unenjoyable. Being creative on demand in an environment like this becomes borderline impossible. Once a company causes me to loath the thing I love the most(the thing that enables me to express myself properly) I know thats another indication for me to leave.


In order to achieve the fast production speeds we are encouraged to opt for quantity over quality, this goes against everything I believe and everything I have ever been taught. I produce designs architected by someone else, I am only required to carry out someone else vision, therefore I can take no pride in my work and have no accountability for it. After months of doing this I begin to become creatively brain dead, incapable of coming up with my own ideas as I'm so accustomed to not having to. A further reason to leave. 

One of the biggest problems I have concerning my current(soon to be recent) position is the ethical side of fast fashion, not just in this company but in the industry as a whole. There are printed tops on the website for 6.99 euros, I can't see how it is ethically possible to produce a garment like this without someone somewhere being drastically screwed over to achieve the necessary profit margins. The manufacturing line isn't very transparent and I have no knowledge of who the suppliers are, which factories they are working with, whether they are subcontracting work to get the lowest price or what the health and safety regulations are in each factory. 


 I also have a huge issue with the copyright infringements I am expected to make on a daily basis. People higher up in the company go on shopping 'research' trips to Seoul and Tokyo, visit suppliers and factories, take photos of garments and come back requesting that we copy the graphics or the slogans "exactly as it is". With all fast fashion competitors doing this exact same thing the retail industry becomes saturated with imitations of the same thing in every store. Not only is copying designs illegal, it also makes the high street dull with no new innovative, creative ideas....how long can we sustain this for!?

At the interview the job I am currently doing was sold to me as being 'trend led, young, exciting, fast fashion where I could create fun placement prints for a growing brand'...or something along those lines....in reality I spend most of my time stealing photos of tumblr girls from google images/pinterest/tumblr/instagram...mixing their faces together to make a new, unrecognisable girl(for copyright evasion) and then re-touching the photos to make a more 'beautiful' girl for a photoprint t-shirt. These are the images we are selling to young girls, these are the girls we are inadvertently telling them they should look like. We are fabricating faces, slimming thighs, stretching proportions and spoon feeding these images them to impressionable teens. After 6 months of scrolling through images trying to find young girls "attractive enough" to meet the company beauty standards, I was left feeling self conscious and dejected. 


To give you a further understanding of why I can't align myself with the ethos of this company, here are some of the absurd and offensive statements I have over heard:
- Upon suggestion of having a mixed ethnicity model in the branding someone high up in the company claimed she looked "dirty" and couldn't be used. Models used in company branding and on photoprints are all caucasian, I have tried on countless occasions to use a variety of models and all have been rejected.

- When designing a photoprint of a young girl I was told that her hair was "the wrong sort of blonde"

- When designing a photoprint of 2 young girls(around16) I refused to make one thinner...so the image was taken from my file and distorted to change her body proportions.

- When suggesting we use words like "ambition" and "positivity" I was told that this isn't the message we want to give our customers. Instead slogans and words like "cute", "rebel", "sorry if I look interested, I'm not". Aspirational messages and those promoting body positivity are a no go.

Those are just a few snippets from everyday conversations.


Aside from this Switzerland is UBER expensive. I knew this before I moved here but had thought that my salary increase would cover the increase in cost of living...it does not. Basel is so expensive that the majority of citizens travel to Germany to get their groceries...I have to go to a different country to buy food- laughable. Add this to the multitude of fees and fines that the country like to throw at you: for putting paper in your trash, for engineering work being done on a road near your house, for a mandatory metal label for your doorbell, for the release of small items from Swiss customs. I don't mean to put anyone off visiting Switzerland in this post, as a country Switzerland is an amazing and beautiful place to visit. When I went for a weekend in St. Moritz last year I completely loved it...as a holiday...but, as is to be expected, a holiday is not representational of everyday life.
I would definitely visit Switzerland again for a weekend- the alps are astonishing, the architecture is beautiful and quaint and the transport is efficient, but I would not choose to live here. Of the 3 countries I have lived in outside of the UK I have found Switzerland the most difficult and the most isolating. Maybe visiting Ghana before relocating here contributed to my growing dislike for la vie en Suisse, the wealth disparity and the difference in value of money in these two countries is astonishing and something I really struggle to get my head around. 

 
 To be completely truthful I should never have taken this job. I accepted the offer due to a lethal concoction of fear, financial insecurity and future uncertainty. If I could offer any advice to a graphic designer/designer just starting out in the fashion industry it would be to never take a job for these reasons. I had quit my previous position to start up my own business but, after realising I had no idea how to do this, I got scared and fled back to the safety of a full time job with a monthly salary. 

After moving back home to the UK last November I had planned a few freelance projects/illustration commissions and my 2 month volunteer trip to Ghana(the best decision of my life for many reasons) but I had not planned further than that and the uncertainty of having no fixed income, the future being completely unknown and out of my control really scared me. So, just before leaving for Ghana, I decided to accept the job offer because then at least I had a plan. 
I pushed my intuition to one side, and moved to Switzerland anyway because I was scared of starting something on my own. Bad decision Becky- I had never even visited Basel before and now I was moving my entire life there. 1 month into my probation period was enough to know that I did not fit in well within the company. I was in shared accommodation for the first 3 months with people I didn't know- I felt extremely isolated and with slow internet was unable to easily contact my family and friends back home.  However, I decided to stick it out until the end of the probation period hoping that when I moved out of the shared accommodation and had all of my belongings in one place in my own home all would be fine. I gave it 3 more months after moving out and then made the decision that I would hand my 3 months notice into my apartment in August and my 2 months for my job in September. So here I am.....finally listening to what my soul is telling me to do and I am so very happy with the decision.


My mum likes to remind me that I feel like this at some point in all of my fashion based jobs. In truth, the company and the position make very little difference if there are fundamental problems within the industry and fast fashion is flawed to its core. I have often questioned whether I have chronic job dissatisfaction but have come to the conclusion that until I am working for myself, executing my own dreams instead of helping someone else achieve theirs I will not be happy.


So what will I be doing next? Well one thing is for certain- I will NOT be taking another job in fast fashion, no matter what the financial benefits are and no matter what exciting country an opportunity might be in. When I accepted this job I promised myself that it would be the last job I had before starting up my own business and daring to try my hand at freelancing.... I guess I'm calling my own bluff. I have secured a freelance job that, hopefully, will provide me with enough money to live off and I will be opening an Etsy store in early November as my first step into starting my own business.

You might recall that last time I quit my job I had a very obscure plan of buying an old van and converting it into a mobile boutique(I am still so very keen on this idea)....so what ambitious plan do I have this time? What will I be flogging on my new Etsy store?That will be revealed in the next post :)

NB: The txt based images were all taken from pinterest, if you created them/know the creator please let me know so that I can properly credit them.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Premiere Vision Autumn/Winter 2018-19 trend report


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Some photos from inside the Premiere Vision trade show.

It's that time of year again- the Premiere vision print trend report! As I was in Ghana in February this year I wasn't able to attend the Spring/summer 2018 trade show and had to wait until all of the information and photos were released onto WGSN. Of course I was extremely happy to be in Ghana, but I really missed my seasonal trend update.

After skipping Spring I was extra excited to be going back this week and this time I was able to fill out all the necessary paperwork in order to get a press wristband enabling me to take much better, less blurred and rushed, photos for this blog post. 

As always I thoroughly enjoyed the show this season, but this time was particularly great as I was free to roam and speak to the studio owners and meet some of the people I will be freelancing for. It's so inspirational hearing first hand how people have made the decision to go it alone, as it is something I have always dreamed of doing, hearing how others have taken the plunge fills me with hope and confidence that it is not impossible. Being around so many designers who have grown their own businesses from nothing and truly love what they do creates a really exciting and inspirational atmosphere-its contagious!

I remember last year I was a little disappointed with the forecasted trends for Autumn/Winter 2017-18... this year I had the opposite reaction- I can't wait to get started on some print designs! 

I always try and stick to around 12 print trends in the trend report so this involves condensing some of the PV trends, I still want to provide you all with a list of all of the trends given at the trade show so here are the original 14:

- Brush stroke sketches
- Dandy graphics
- Twirling
- Flower Power
-Cosmic landscapes
- Melancholic
-Nordic animals
-Mini gaudy
-Idealised gardens
-Pixelated vertigo
- Orientalist
- Playful polka dots
-Artsy puzzles

I have combined 'Dandy graphics' with 'Mini gaudy' as they are essentially the same aesthetic- mini geometric shirting style patterns and foulard designs. I have also combined the 'Orientalist' trend with 'Twirling' to make a floral chintz trend.

Some of the images in these trend boards are extremely blurred and for that I can only apologise. I will replace them when the proper photographs are released onto WGSN but I wanted to do the Textile Candy PV trend report post before I leave for Ghana tomorrow. The trend report isn't completely perfect but it gives an essence of what we can all expect for Autumn/Winter 2018-19. I will be making some amendments when I return from Ghana at the beginning of October as I have not yet had enough time to label the images in the trend boards but if you are a studio and see your print on here before I return from my holiday please email me at textilecandy@gmail.com and I will make sure you are properly credited!

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'Nordic Animals' and 'Twirling' will be added when I get back along with all of the correct labels :)