I was thinking yesterday about how Emma Barrett Designs Ltd came about and I realised that I've been making clothing since I was a child and I've been drawing for just about that long too. So today I thought I'd write about how Emma Barrett Designs came about and why I've started up my own business.
I remember as a child being bought a tiny sewing machine, it wasn't a toy, it really did sew, it was pink and about half the size (or smaller) of an adults machine. I think I was about 8 or 9 years old. I made an electric blue dress with netting around the bottom hem for one of my Cindy dolls. Here's me wearing a dress made by a family member. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by creativity from a young age.
By the time I was 16-18 I was making clothes for my Textiles A-Level, learning a tiny bit about photography (old-school pre-digital) and then I went to college and studied Fashion Design. Here's me at 16 in a local paper with my GCSE Textiles work.
Although I did a job for years that doesn't have anything to do with textiles or fashion or making things, I continued to make clothes for friends and myself. In my own time and at my own expense I studied a basic graphic design course for two years. Here's a photo of a taxi I designed for one of my projects. I taught myself to do other creative things in my spare time like make jewellery. When you have a passion for being creative and for making and designing it can't be put on hold or forgotten, it's part of you and it's something that you NEED to do rather than want to do. The problem is that it’s tough to do this while working full-time, I spent many nights staying up all night to get projects finished for deadlines and then going into work to teach a full day.
Which brings me to last year. After years of doing this on the side for friends I began to look about me and I realised that there is absolutely no reason that I can't do this as my full-time job. I mentioned this to a friend who I work in the office with, Inga Deksne and she is a life coach. Before I knew it I had registered my company name with companies house, set up my website and started a Facebook page all about making crafts, handmade clothing, goods and household furnishings. Talking to a life coach is a dangerous activity and I warn you that even when you think you’re just having a cosy, supportive chat with a friend, she’ll be setting you goals and making you accountable!
It’s still hard, I do this at weekends, evenings and holidays, I still need to work full-time in the office to pay the rent, bills and put food on the table. I find myself lying awake at night filled with self-doubt about whether investing all the energy and effort is a good idea. I’m still struggling to find my feet with my google analytics, google adwords, social media and putting together this website and updating it is something I’m still learning, I know it’s not perfect. But, in the end, when I’m not worrying about what I don’t know, I love my own business. I have hopes that it will take off in a big way and that one day I’ll be able to give up the day job and spend my time completely invested in Emma Barrett Designs.