Meet the Maker: An Interview with Bertie and the Boys

For me there is nothing better than discovering a new small business and watching them grow from strength to strength. It is one of the many pleasures of being a small business owner and sharing social media platforms with so many other talented artists. Jackie from Bertie and the Boys is a prime example of one of these new up and coming businesses that I have seen and love. Her work is flawless, of an incredibly high standard and fantastic value for money. To say I have an eye on a piece or two of her work would be a huge understatement! I see big things happening for this business...

1. Tell us a little about you and your business.

Hello! My name is Jackie Andrew, I am 44 and live in South Manchester with my two teenage sons Charlie and Tommy. I created Bertie and the Boys as a way of enjoying a hobby as well as a side business other than my day job.

2. What inspired your business name?

The name Bertie and the Boys was inspired by my partner and my children. Bertie is my partner and my biggest cheerleader. He encourages me with my little venture and keeps me positive when I have those moments when I doubt myself. The boys are my children and the main reason I run this as a small business. The name keeps me focused and determined.

3. How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

Ever since I was small I have always been creative. My earliest memory of crafting was at preschool where I would spend forever making baskets of fruit out of play dough. For my 12th Birthday I asked for bunches of dried flowers and I would make floral arrangements to sell to the school teachers. I have dabbled in many different crafts over the years. For a large part of my working life I worked for a company who designed and manufactured a variety of Disney crafting products. We mainly specialised in cross stitch kits and I became a dab hand at cross stitch and loved how relaxing it was. One day I found a YouTube tutorial by The Crafty Ginger on macramé and I was smitten. I couldn’t wait to get hold of some cord and give it a go. I knew it was the craft for me! I loved it from the start and found incredibly therapeutic.

4. How long has your business been running?

I started selling my makes in October 2018. It was kind of a happy accident really. I had posted a large wall hanging that I had made on Instagram and it was the first one that I was really proud of. I was following other macramé and weaving accounts but Made Weave Love stood out to me. I would pop on Phoebe’s account to see what she had posted and felt so inspired by her work, running her business as well as bringing up her family. I was a little bit in awe to be honest and found this hardworking mum to be a really genuine and positive person. One day I commented on one of her posts and I was thrilled when she messaged me to thank me for my comment and asked about my wall hanging. Before I knew it she had asked if she could buy it! Once she had received it she posted about it on her stories and I had so many enquires, orders and followers because of it! I can hand on heart say that without Phoebe’s kindness I would still only have that one picture on my Instagram feed. She still supports me behind the scenes and helps with business advice for absolutely no personal gain. I even received a beautiful order book to congratulate me on sales. I owe her so much! A beautiful and true lady.

5. What inspires your creations?

I tend to get most ideas and inspiration first thing in the morning when I am fresh and the ideas flow easily. In order to feel inspired, I have to feel positivity with time on my hands to explore and feel the good energy. I like a calm atmosphere and I work 100% better in peaceful conditions than I do if I feel negativity or stress. It's hard to tell where inspiration comes from. For me its much more about how I feel. Being creative has always been good for my own well being and I don’t ever want to lose that.

6. What is your proudest achievement to date?

Hands down that has to be a recent commission to make a wall hanging for a back drop for a wedding! This is so thrilling for me to know that I can make something that is special enough for such an important occasion in someone’s life.

7. What is the biggest lesson you have learned?

I spent a day with This Is Naomi on her Instagram course. It was such a good move for me. I learnt so much from her. She spoke about many different topics to do with running a small business but the one she spoke about that has been the biggest lesson was to remember why you are doing it. If it gets too much, to take care of yourself, take the time to listen to your needs. The world will still turn if you’re not on Instagram for a few days.

8. What is your favourite make?

My favourite is and probably always will be the Phoebe wall hanging.

9. What is the best feedback you have received?

I would say I am a bit of a perfectionist as a maker. I am highly critical of the work I put out there and I know I could never say to myself “oh, that will do". I know it can hold me back sometimes and making takes me longer than it should. The feedback I have got from customers makes me feel most proud. Comments about attention to detail, and how well made they think an item is really does make me feel like I have achieved something. The best comment was “so much better in real life".

10. Is there anything you regret?

I try not regret anything and turn every negative into a positive lesson. If I could change one thing it would be that I would have liked to have done this years ago. But I am doing it now and that’s the main thing.

11. What are your goals for the future?

I have so many goals for the future. I would love to teach and supply my own materials to makers. I have a few potential collaborations in the pipeline that I am really excited about. I definitely want to make more time for making and I am hoping to eventually be in a position to make on more of a full time basis. The main goal is to keep enjoying it as much as I do right now.

12. What is the best part of being a maker?

The best part is that I get to do something that I love for someone who loves what I have created. The possibilities are endless with creative work and I love that feeling of becoming more skilled as I go along. It's definitely a journey and it keeps me stimulated and my mind is always ticking over with ideas.

13. What is your least favourite job to do?

My least favourite job is probably the tidying up and the post office trip. Because of my other full time work I tend to arrive at the post office with too many parcels for my local post office to cope with. I am looking at using a alternative service to allow me more flexibility and enable parcels to get out quicker.

14. What advice would you give your old self?

I would advise my old self to have a stronger belief in own abilities.

15. What advice would you give other makers?

I would say simply to keep going. Buy cheaper supplies to practise with and practise as much as possible. Watch as many tutorials as you can and learn from mistakes you make and think of them as positives rather than negatives. Don’t give up!

To find out more about Jackie and to see more of her stunning work follow her here:

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