Describe your Folksy shop?
WEFT Bespoke Design is a label selling unique and unusual textile products for the home with collections inspired by the environment, both urban and natural. There are currently two printed collections – Northern Soul, showcasing iconic architecture in the North of England and the Countryside Collection of British wildlife.
I capture concepts through photography, pen and ink drawings and linocuts and translate them through screen printing onto natural fabrics such as linen and cotton calico using muted tones from a delicate colour palette. I like to complement the printed collections with a plush and opulent collection of plaid wools which I source locally from one of the few remaining working mills in West Yorkshire.
How do you manage your Folksy shop? Is this a full time job?
I am lucky enough to be able to work part time which enables me to design, print and make in the other days. WEFT is a relatively new venture so at the moment this suits; hopefully in the future when my collections are more developed I might be able to make a living from it full time which I would totally love to do! Working from home does tend to mean that I can pick up projects easily and therefore be inclined to work late and over weekends. I think it’s important to set a balance so that what you enjoy doesn’t become a chore!
How do you price your products?
I price according to two things – firstly I look at the market and compare similar products to mine, and secondly I try and cost accurately. I take into account direct and indirect materials, labour and overheads and then add sufficient mark up to allow profit so that I can invest further in the business. I saved up and bought an overlocker recently which has proved to be an invaluable asset – I don’t know how I managed without one before!
Things get a bit complicated when it comes to trading wholesale as well as retail because in theory the general rule is to double your total costs for wholesale and double again for retail but in practice this doesn’t always work out.
How do you decide what to make for your collection?
I’ve always had an interest in architecture and the built environment and studied it for a short time at University so the architectural collection was a natural choice. I love the North of England, especially Northumberland where there are so many beautiful places that are unspoilt. ‘Northern Soul’ was created to illustrate architecture with soul in the often overlooked North. It’s an ongoing collection that I will be adding to soon.
The Countryside collection is the flip side of the coin and shows the natural rather than manmade side of the environment. I’ve accumulated an array of wildlife images through exploring my local area and further afield which form the collection.
Last summer I was in Vietnam and spent a few days in Hoi An where I experienced the fantastic use of light and magical lanterns. I’d really like to do a collection with patterns inspired by an Asian ambiance. I also have plans to create a collection based upon mathematical geometric patterns found in nature.
Tell me about the WEFT shop branding.
The name WEFT originates from the weft threads of fabric that ‘go against the grain’, something that I aspire for my label to achieve. It also happens to incorporate my initials. The logo is clean in style and hints towards handcrafted products with a needle eye in the ‘W’ and running stitch detail.
Do you have any juicy online selling tips?
I’m pretty new to online selling but what I’ve found so far is that good photographs are essential. It’s amazing how difficult it is to accomplish, especially getting the right lighting and achieving realistic colours which of course is vital to online selling. I like to photograph my products in a home setting to bring them to life and show them to customers in a way that is more inspiring than a plain background.
The use of social media is an excellent way of broadening your network of both contacts and potential customers but something that I am guilty of not utilising fully! I also recently exhibited at a trade fair which in addition to taking orders was a great way to network and gain contacts as well as talk to other exhibitors about their experiences. Perhaps the most useful piece of advice given to me was “don’t give up”. It’s hard to stay motivated if sales aren’t coming in and you start to lose faith in what you are trying to accomplish but it’s imperative to keep exploring different avenues and persevere.
See more of Faye’s rather lovely collection here.