Becoming Self-employed | My Journey So Far
Becoming self employed wasn't something I had ever thought I could achieve, when I was given the oppertunity I leaped into it. I've always been creative, my mum will tell you of the countless occasions she hoovered glitter and paper cuttings from my bedroom floor as a child. I knew I wanted to work in fashion from a very young age and toyed with the idea of womenswear and interiors as a teenage. At 16 I went to collage to study fashion and textiles and it was during a hand knitted project in textiles that I fell inlove with the craft. My nan had taught me to knit as a child and it all came flooding back... just like riding a bike as the saying goes!
I remember getting the acceptance email to Nottingham Trent University for the Fashion Knitwear and Knitted Textiles course, I couldn't believe it, all that hard work had really paid off- I didn't really know what hard work was until I began my degree, blood, sweat and tears really went into my graduate collection. I still feel emotional and very proud of myself today. Part of my degree required a placement year and after working 6 months for the wonderful Crooked Knitwear I went on to work at Thomas Ramsdens, the classic brands such as Wendy and Robin. I also did a week placement with Louisa at Louisa Harding Yarns and after graduating in 2014 I went back to work with Louisa part time as a design assistant. After a year of working with Louisa it was finally time to go it alone full time. Through university and my placements I had already done freelance work for the magazines and registered as self employed but this was it, the time to stand on my own 2 feet.
The best advice I can give is to network and make connections. I'm quite a shy and quiet person so this doesn't always come naturally to me but I am passionate and confident in my work which is something that I think comes across when I'm presenting to a possible new client. Trade shows or events are a great way of making new connections and don't be afraid to email, if they don't reply the first time, try again- what's the worst that can happen? I would say the biggest thing I've learnt on my journey so far (because it is far from over) is to surround yourself with clients, family and friends that make you feel good and who believe in you and what you do. Being a designer isn't just drawing pretty pictures and knitting lovely swatches (if your in the knit industry), there is a lot goes on behind the scene for a designer that people don't see. Writing about this is something I have always wanted to do. So, I am putting together a series of post to share my journey and helpful advice along the way, I hope you'll be back for the next one...