FK chats to Zoe, the creator behind adorable fabric collage label Pouch Handmade!
Tell us a bit about Pouch Handmade and what we can expect to discover?
‘Using up life’s left-over’s’ and the simple but meaningful act of giving a gift intended to be treasured for years to come; that’s what Pouch Handmade is all about. Those two things are what keeps Pouch ticking along and keeps me creating into the wee small hours of the night. Old skirts, shirts and curtains, eternally lost at the back of the wardrobe are given a fresh injection of cuteness and transformed into a unique, handmade artwork by me; Zoe Simpson. Pouch Handmade produces a range of handmade artworks, available framed or unframed, that can be personalised and customised. Bright colours are the norm and cute creatures rule the roost!
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I gained a rather unusual degree called Multimedia Textiles in the UK which was basically a fantastically free course that allowed you to think about textures, surfaces and fabrics. Since then I have always worked in creative industries but never actually been creative in my job. After years of making as my hobby, I decided to jump in and launch Pouch as a business. I managed to get onto a great government scheme called NEIS which supports new businesses and provides some much needed business training – without which I would have been lost. Which leads me to today – a happy content person who cannot believe she is really running a business doing the thing she loves!
What inspires your work? and what keeps you motivated creatively?
I can honestly say I am totally & utterly fascinated by the weird & wonderful creatures all around us. I imagine a little personality for each of them, which makes creating an artwork of them so much fun because I begin to incorporate a cheeky grin or a sly smirk. Gosh that makes me sound like a crazy woman! Motivation, well that really comes from making people smile – that feeling when someone looks at my artworks and a big grin comes over their face – priceless! Also, just getting the chance to be creative everyday keeps me motivated.
What is your workspace like? and what is your creative process?
My workspace is an ever increasing corner of my apartment that has a sense of controlled chaos about it. I can see the sea too, which I find incredibly inspiring. The process of creating really starts from the fabrics & colours I have. I normally base the designs on animals that I have seen on my travels or met at the park which I will sketch until I have a simplified design. The act of collage is so satisfying! Layers and layers of texture and colour – love it!
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
I think I have the same challenges that most small, start up businesses face. Getting my head around the financial aspects of the business was never going to be my strong point but I am proud I have conquered some fears along the way! I have particularly loved meeting so many other creative people and small business owners along the way. Everyone is so keen to help others, give advice, share some insight – it’s like craft-karma too as it comes back around and now I love being asked for advice too!
What new plans do you have for Pouch Handmade this year?
2012 was a crazy year and it was a whirlwind of learning & growing. 2013 I am hoping to settle into getting Pouch running smoothly, gaining more stockists along the way and perhaps introducing a few new faces to the range. I am also continuing to develop a range of prints from my collages that incorporate a bit of texture too – still unique and handmade.