For the first of a number of Q&A’s with our thread 2017 exhibitors we were fortunate to speak to Karen Greenfield who runs The Drapers Daughter.
We are really excited about seeing you at thread this year. How did you get into working with fabrics and sewing accessories?
Before setting up The Draper’s Daughter I’d worked for a number of years as a fashion buyer for lifestyle brand Fat Face. However, I knew that ultimately I wanted to have my own business, and it just felt right to combine my business skills with my love of sewing, fashion, and fabrics.
Have particular experiences inspired you during your journey?
My Mum taught me to sew as a child and whilst at university I made a lot of my own clothes, I loved that I was able to make something that was unique to me. I inherited Mum’s sewing machine when she passed away a few years ago, just as I was setting up my business, which was a poignant moment. I know she would love what I’m doing now.
Your business, The Drapers Daughter, has been a huge success. What has been your most enjoyable and proudest moment?
Thank you, it really has to be that our (now) teenage daughter has been very much a part of this journey with me. In fact she really came in to her own at this event last year, while I was away from our stand cutting fabric for people, she stepped in and helped other customers who were waiting. She had great product knowledge, and was really polite and engaging, I don’t think there are that many teenagers that you can say that about, I really was very proud of her that day.
What tips do you have for anyone thinking of starting their own business?
I’d say one of the most important things is to really research the area that you’re looking to go into. My experience as a buyer has been really helpful, I was used to identifying key competitors, doing competitive analysis, researching the trends, what was out there etc, when you start to drill down there are so many aspects that you need to consider.
Who do you follow on social media?
There are a few sewing bloggers who’s style I really admire such as @trine.schroeder, @threadbeargarments, @charliewensley, @adaspragg to name a few; and @thefoldline are fantastic for keeping up to date will all that’s current in the sewing world.
Please tell us about your stand at thread?
Last year was the first time that I had a selection of my fabrics with me, it was a last minute decision so this time round I’ve planned the fabrics well in advance, and am really excited to be bringing hand-woven and hand-printed fabrics along with a select range from the Nani Iro 2017 Collection.
What are you most looking forward to at thread?
I love the scale of this event, the fact that it’s smaller than some of the other shows gives it a unique feel. All the exhibitors are really friendly, and most important for me is that it gives me the opportunity to meet visitors and customers in person, which is especially enjoyable in such a nice town as Farnham, which seems to have quite a creative vibe.
How can a thread visitor get the most out of their day?
I’d definitely recommend that you do make a day of it, There will be lots of small independent businesses and makers selling items that you simply won’t find on the high street; plus they’ll be lots of great workshops taking place, so I’d take a look at those well in advance as they tend to get booked up pretty quickly.
thread…festival of textiles takes place on Saturday 30 September 2017 from 9am – 6pm. For £5 advance tickets click here. A day ticket includes access to the marketplace, talk programme and exhibitions. A full schedule of bookable workshops will be available shortly via craft.farnhammaltings.com. A workshop ticket includes day entry to the festival.
About thread: Spend the day celebrating textiles at thread! Browse the curated marketplace for artisan fabrics and haberdashery to purchase for your own textile projects or buy from artists and makers showcasing their own unique handcrafted work. Join in with the programme of talks, exhibitions and demonstrations from professionals or sign up to one of the bookable workshops. Following it’s success in 2016, thread will once again be exploring the social and ethical aspects of textiles through activities. Join our community of textile enthusiasts for a sociable and inspiring day out. A full listing of marketplace exhibitors, the talk programme and additional information will be available shortly at craft.farnhammaltings.com and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news and programme updates.