They gave us such a great welcome and let us wander around checking out all their different rooms they now have. 'The Snug' and the larger workspace were our favourites.
We also got to have a chat with the lovely owner Kate about everything that has been going on lately...
For everyone who doesn't already know how long has The Makery been a business? and a passion?
As a business - since 2009. We got the keys to our first location just 10 days after we had our first baby! We had been planning for a couple of years at that though.
As a passion - lifelong. It sounds so cliche, but it's really in my blood. My mum, Gran and Grandma were are/were all keen seamstresses.
How has the business changed since you started your journey?
It's changed dramatically - reading our first business plan from 2008 the direction of the company was very different. We were purely workshop-based at the beginning. Our aim was (and still is) to teach as many people the joy of crafting as possible. Over the years, we have just keep finding more and more ways of doing that.
We've just signed a deal with a company which has licensed our brand to release a range of kits and haberdashery in the UK and internationally, which is something we would never have dreamed would happen already. We'd never have thought we'd go on Dragons Den - I mean, seriously! But it turned out to be a great move for our business and a big learning curve for us too. In fact, we'd never have dreamed about the books either really - it's all exceeded our wildest expectations!
The sewing workshops always sell well, and upholstery has always been popular too. I suppose it feels like a really meaty skill where you can have fun revamping furniture. In the shop, we always try and stock a beautiful range of fabrics so they're probably our best seller. And our book sells really well too!
You have just moved premises, what motivated the move?
We hadn't anticipated having 2 premises at the start, but opened the shop just a year after we opened the workshop. It used a lot of energy and resources (financial and human) running the 2 separate premises. And we just felt that it would be beneficial in so many ways to house everything under one roof. It's not been an easy road though - the amount of space we needed in a central location was a big ask! We'd been looking for over a year. It's been incredibly stressful, but our team of staff have been wonderful.
What is your favourite space in your new building?
Ridiculously, I love the stock room! We've never had a proper stock room before! But in terms of the space it has to be our largest workshop room. It's so large, it gives us the opportunity to host all sorts of events that we could never have dreamed of before. Things like our weekly yoga classes that we run for all our staff members too - it's truly multi-purpose!
We salvage and get donated all sorts of things, and a couple of items are favourites in the new place. Firstly, a very old display model singer sewing machine donated by our surveyor's wife. It belonged to her grandma called Maud, who was a demonstrator for Singer. It's beautiful, so has pride of place in our shop. And we've called it Maud too! Then a shop in Bath was refurbishing the other week and were throwing out their old drawers. They're beautiful - perfect for us! They are glass-fronted like old apothecary drawers. We display all our pretty buttons and ribbons in them!
Did you enjoy writing the book? How did you find the publishing process?
I love writing the book! It's like the ultimate school project - a dream come true! Some people come in knowing about the book, others find out about it when they're here. The publishing process was great for me - I have an agent who kept on my back telling me what I needed to do and why by. She was wonderful.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own workshop space now?
Don't underestimate the amount of work involved! You need to REALLY want to do this!
Have a clear vision of where you're going: Plan things, write them down. I modify our business plan frequently to suit our business, but it's always good to have a document that I can refer to whenever I'm having a wobble!
Some very sound advice there from Kate. We really enjoyed our visit, all the staff we met were so very friendly and we got to meet Rufus the dog, how gorgeous is he?! I think that having a pet around always makes a space really homely.
Have you been? Do you have a space like this near you? We always love finding new workshop spaces and so do let us know in the comments.
H & Sammy