I am thrilled to launch my new 'Meet the Maker' interview series with a right cracker. I have been on this roller coaster of a small business journey with Phoebe from MadeWeaveLove and I can genuinely, hand on heart say I adore her. Seriously. I am her biggest fan. She is unbelievably talented and always finds new ways to make me fall in love with her work and struggle to find a favourite. Even though she is currently working on growing a tiny human inside her she has kindly agreed to kick off my first interview, if that isn't the definition of girl power then I don't know what is!
1. Tell us a little about you and your business.
My name is Phoebe, I’m 26 and I’m from Dorset. I run my little weaving business around my daughter, Betsy Lee, who is 2 and I’m expecting my second baby any day now! I make woven wall hanging that vary in designs and colours and I pride myself on being affordable without lacking in quality.
2. What inspired your business name?
So, lets not beat around the bush... it’s a bit punny ain’t it? Made-Weave-Love... Weave as in WEAVE not “with” - I can assure you not only do I create magical business names, I am also quite the life and soul at a party! When I started MadeWeaveLove (bet you’re really emphasising the weave now aren’t you?) I wasn’t intending it to be my full time job, so I didn’t put an awful lot of thought into it. I hate to think what it would have been should I have actually planned it out. Probably something like Iamweavingaweaveitisreallyfun hahahaha! Honestly, not my strongest point!
3. How did you first discover your passion for your craft?
When I was little my brothers and I used to go and stay with my Grandparents in Scarborough for the school holidays. It’s here my nan, Kate, would plan out craft days for us which ranged from tapestry & Pom Pom making, to painting & drawing to gluing string to hard boiled eggs and drawing big googly eyes on them. I’ve always been a hands on kinda gal, I’m very impatient and I like to jump in with both feet... I’d rather make mistakes and learn from them, than be afraid to challenge myself and hold back.
4. How long has your business been running?
So I started weaving 2 years ago. But I didn’t start selling my weaves properly until last year. I did a lot of craft exchanges and made weaves for family and friends to start off with, I’d charge next to nothing so I could buy new kit and try out different styles of weaving.
5. What inspires your creations?
Everything around me. Literally everything and anything. I’ve made weaves that are inspired by customers photos - People will send in images of holidays, flowers, rooms in their house etc. But when I get the chance to make my own creations I go and bury my head in my weaving room and play around with different colours and textures... I lay them all out like a game of tetris and squint from a distance until something catches my eye! (If you’re trying to picture this then I suggest adding my tongue out the side of my mouth, wiggly eyebrows that would give Jonny Bravo a run for his money and the occasional “hmm” or mutter to myself)
6. What is your proudest achievement to date?
Starting my business from a home made loom photo frame and some packaging string. I will forever be proud of the fact I did it all on my own. No lessons, no courses, no nothing! Just a passion and a drive to make it happen!
7. What is the biggest lesson you have learned?
Biggest lesson is; When you are having a creative block, or feeling underwhelmed with your makes, do not look at other artists work for inspiration. Always take yourself back to the drawing board and allow yourself to make something awful that you wouldn’t dare sell - so you can find exactly what it is that is blocking you. It’s usually the thought of making a bad design that stops me, so sometimes I make a weave with no planning and let it flow into a terrible pile of awful colours with no direction or sense of belonging. That way I know what I don’t want to include in my up and coming weaves.
8. What is your favourite make?
This big giant forest of a weave! It’s going up on Etsy at the end of the month and I just LOVE everything about it! The colours, the design and the size are all spot on. Makes me smile every morning when I potter off into my magical cave of all things yarn and Pom Poms (Aka the spare room with everything from a pair of crutches to a medicine ball in).
9. What is the best feedback you have received?
Every single message, comment or review is the best feedback. I couldn’t pick one out for you because, hand on heart, my soul does a little shimmy every time someone complements my work. Because it’s like “I made that with my bare hands, whilst raising my daughter and keeping our house a home” So that’s pretty special to me, that someone likes what I do enough to A) Not only buy but B) Take the time to tell me.
10. Is there anything you regret?
Buying a twin pack of jaffa cakes with the intention to share them with Finn and Betsy - instead eating them ALL in one afternoon and then laying on the sofa feeling sorry for my big’ol preggo self withering away from heartburn.
My only regret is that I don’t have the time to answer everyone’s weaving questions in my inbox. I would love to host a weaving class one day, but for now the volume of messages outweighs the time I have to sit and give carefully planned out advise. But hey! Now there’s this article, every cloud and all that!
11. What are your goals for the future?
To survive! Literally! There’s big businesses knocking out Factory made weaves at prices I couldn’t ever compete with. I just hope that people still have the heart to shop small in the future. I shopped small for all our families Christmas gifts this year and it was one of the most enjoyable processes I’ve ever experienced. I met loads of wonderful creators and I put so much more time and effort into finding the right gifts.
12. What is the best part of being a maker?
Being part of a totally lush community of incredibly talented artists! It’s amazing! The support, feedback and little pick me ups just make my day. We all have each other’s back and that’s fab when it’s such a dog eat dog industry
13. What is your least favourite job to do?
Hmm, either sawing the dowels down to size, because it’s gets dust everywhere and just adds to my list of household chores. Or tying in the weave, all the ends of yarn and warp... loooooooooong.
14. What advice would you give your old self?
“Always set out a weekly agenda Phoebe!” - Having worked for a big business as a manager for almost 10 years you’d think I would have done this from day dot! But truth is, when you work from home you feel this sense of calm and “I got this!” On Monday and Tuesday... then Wednesday hits and it’s flipped on it’s head and you’re suddenly panicking about deadlines and so on. Just set it out on paper and you will always be on top.
15. What advice would you give other makers?
- Have patience learning your craft.
- Do not expect to have the level of success of more experienced makers in a matter of months.
- Hard work pays off, don’t be tempted to look for shortcuts because shortcuts more often than not lead to disaster.
- And be kind! To everyone, not just your customers.
To find out more about Phoebe and to see more of her incredible weaves, follow her here: