Can you introduce yourself and what is it you do?
I’m a Senior Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, so I spend much of my day teaching kids to climb, canoe, mountain bike, anything outdoorsy really!
In my spare time I like to create bespoke gifts.
I started off with horseshoes – my mum is a dressmaker and had a series of brides and bridesmaids having dresses made.
Mum wanted to give them something to say ‘thank you’.
I was given a handful of off-cuts and a rusty horseshoe.
Now I decorate horseshoes for any occasion you can think of (wedding, anniversary, new home, new baby, graduation, or just a unique design).
I’ve also been making the most of the abundance of fabric in our house and started creating more everyday gifts like memo boards.
They’re a perfect gift for someone who is a bit tricky to buy for.
Fabric comes in so many designs, its possible to create a board that is perfect for anyone, no matter how unusual you think the request is!
Have you always been creative?
I wasn’t very good at art at school – my teacher always told me I had to do things in a certain way.
I think this put me off the creative side of myself for quite some time.
I’m quite resourceful – you can give me a fairly random challenge and I’ll find a way to solve it!
I think that’s why I enjoy designing the horseshoes so much – the only rule is, there are no rules.
What is it working with the materials that you particularly enjoy?
I like being able to take something rusty and every day and being able to turn it into something beautiful and truly special.
Can you tell us what inspires your items?
The person I am making the gift for – it has to be unique to them.
How do you make your items?
A lot of scrubbing with a wire brush to get a rusty shoe looking shiny!
Applying a coat of lacquer to keep it looking bright, only then is it ready to be transformed.
I hand sew (or occasionally I use wire) everything – I never use glue.
Glue loses its stick over time…a horseshoe is supposed to be lucky; it wouldn’t be very lucky if it fell apart!
Tell us a bit about your studio or where it is you work from?
I work from home in any space I can steal!
Is there anything within your studio or workspace you could not live without?
My bias-binding gadget.
It allows me to create perfectly neat strips of fabric to wrap around the horseshoes. Without it, I couldn’t create such an immaculate wrap.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
To be truly creative and make each item as unique as possible, that’s what makes my horseshoes so special.
Who inspires you as a creative entrepreneur?
It’s a bit cheesy, but my mum is really creative.
I think the most amazing example of this was a wedding dress which she designed from photos of about 10 different gowns and it had to include tartan (marrying a Scotsman)!
I watched mum sketch out the designs, figuring out how it would all work and then make the most incredibly beautiful and personal dress.
No-one else has ever had or will ever have a dress like it!
Do you have any advice for someone starting out selling their items for the first time?
Make it well; don’t cut corners.
If you make a great product and you provide great service, word will spread.
That’s a priceless advert.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
Going on a 5-day ski tour off-piste with 3 friends, and skiing perfect power on the last day.
It was a euphoric trip!
In terms of my horseshoe projects!
Making someone cry (tears of joy!)– because I made her a memento for the most important day of her life and it captured all the parts of the day that she had spent so long meticulously planning.
The horseshoe was made entirely from fabrics from her wedding party: the groom’s waistcoat made the handle, the brides dress wrapped the horseshoe and decorated the central section (white buttons and lace motifs), there were two small scraps of fabric left from the bridesmaid dresses which I covered two buttons with (there were two bridesmaids).
And the orange ribbon bows: everyone had a personalised coat hanger for the Big Day, which had an orange bow on – I thought it was a hidden touch, which only the Groom, Bride and Bridesmaids would know about!
What do you love about nuMONDAY?
It’s really easy to upload items to my shop.
I can link my most related products to one another, it’s not just a random generation like on other sites.
There aren’t additional charges for each item or variation; it’s a simple monthly fee and I get to choose how much!