Makers Month: By Hand London

Today we want to talk about an independent, British company that we adore! Why do we love this company? Well, it is run by three super stylish ladies with tonnes of talent and vision. Two years ago they started a company and launched a kick-ass dress pattern range and with the help of a Kickstarter campaign are now embarking on bringing 'print your own designs' digital fabric printing right here in Great Britain. What is not to love!?

This photo from 'By Hand London' taken by Richard Round Turner.
By Hand London was created and is run by the gorgeous Charlotte, Elisalex and Victoria. The trio based in London create patterns based on classic silhouettes, uniquely named after the stylish ladies they know and admire. 

 ''We celebrate making, individual style and creative women, designing for those who love to dress up, stand out and customise their own wardrobe''

We took some time earlier in the week to have a chat with them about their experience with crowd funding program Kickstarter and how it has helped them achieve the dream of producing their fabric line and letting their customers create their own designs too. 

When did the idea for a fabric line become the next step for By Hand London, or was it always part of the plan?
It definitely was not on the agenda when we first launched, but was quickly established as Phase 2 just over a year ago when we had started to get into the swing of producing patterns. It seemed like a logical, and very exciting step - and we became all the more eager to get it off the ground as we saw companies like Spoonflower in the US doing so well.

What made you choose Kickstarter/crowd-funding rather than searching out private investors?
The wonderful thing about crowd funding is that it allows small companies to test the waters with a new (and very expensive) master plan. Just the fact that we made our target, shows us that there’s a big market for a print-on-demand fabric service and this will hopefully build our company to a point where we might be more attractive to investors. Needless to say, as a small company the last thing we want to do now is sign away all the equity! Crowd funding also serves as an indispensable PR tool and reaches out to a huge amount of people in anticipation of the Big Master-plan.

What are the main things you have learnt from the experience of using crowd funding?
Ummm…. Mainly that a good supply of Valium is definitely in order to keep the mini heart attacks at bay! Just joking - no Valium for us, but not joking about the mini heart attacks! The 30 day period that our campaign was live was possibly the most tense month of our lives - and this “Will we get it? Won’t we get it??” anxiety is completely unavoidable with an all-or-nothing crowd funding platform like Kickstarter. The only way we got through it was by keeping busy - hustle, hustle, hustle! Stay positive, stay proactive and if it all gets too much - take a well deserved break. Do everything in your power not to let the stress taint your working environment. It’s all about morale!

Is there anything you would have done differently?
Loads! We got so caught up in the fun of making the video and planning the launch that we may have run out of time to do some the more obvious things, like prepare press releases! Once it all kicked-off (‘scuse the pun) we were kind of left scrambling to actually let people know what we were up to! All’s well that ends well, though - despite our lack of forward planning we still made our goal and more! Phew!

What exciting things should we be looking out for from you girls in the future? 
Ooooh where do I begin?! The fabric printing will be very exciting and we’ve got loads of amazing artists and designers creating bespoke designs for us, as well as some fun fabric-related projects lined up too. We’ve also got five killer new patterns in the works, a DIY Weddings series for the blog, among other things. One thing’s for sure, life certainly won’t be boring here at BHL HQ over the coming months!

Both H and I really admire these girls passion and drive. They are super role-models for our industry and a great example of what can be achieved with a little style and a lot of determination. I contributed to their Kickstarter campaign and literally can't wait to see what these girls do next.

Want to find out even more about By Hand London head to their website, where you can also buy their stunning range of dress patterns. We also stock the full range at Sew Crafty, and they will be available on our online store when it opens soon.

Have you made any of the girls gorgeous patterns up? Do add a link in the comments below to pictures or blog posts so we can see how you got on.

Are you off to the Handmade Fair this weekend?? Let us know how you got on over on Twitter or Facebook.

Sammy xxx

Watch out for the last Who's Who of Makers Month next week if you like a bit of fabric printing.

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