Welcome to our Featured Article on Claire Mackaness of, Beautiful Things by Claire Mackaness, who was voted as the winner of our recent St George’s Day mini Challenge, which was on our Facebook Page. Claire makes a wonderful selection of handmade gift and home-wares and I hope you enjoy reading a bit more about the person behind the creations.
Hi, please tell us a bit about your background and your business?
Beautiful Things by Claire Mackaness, Claire Mackaness, Brentwood, Essex. Launched 2 years ago after my Mum bought me a sewing machine and I realised I wasn’t bad at making things!
Tell us about what you make and where you sell/exhibit your work?
I make a range of gifts and home-wares that I sell online via my website (www.clairemackaness.com), Folksy (www.folksy.com/shops/artyfartymack) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/Beautifulthingsbyclairemackaness). I also sell at craft fairs and local events. I work with vintage and vintage inspired materials and like anything kitsch!
Challenges are always having to stay on top of the competition and be one step ahead with your designs and what’s in trend. Easier said than done when I also juggle being a mummy to 2 small children aged 10 months and 4. I would love a shop one day where I could teach crafts and sell my work and people could come and drink tea on old vintage sofas. Until the kids are old enough to fend for themselves though I don’t see this happening any time soon. Having investment is another stumbler. I could do with a cash injection for boring stuff like leaflets and advertising, but at the moment all my available cash goes on materials and I am relying on free media such as Twitter to promote myself. And nice people like yourself of course who want to feature me on their blogs!
Tell us about some of your favourite or most challenging pieces and what inspired you to make them, is there a story behind each piece?
Please click the links to read the stories behind each picture.
Where do you find your creative inspiration?
Mainly other blogs, but I love Cath Kidston and a mooch round the boot sales.
What motivates you?
Keeping a roof over my head and food on my table and not having to work for someone else.
What piece of equipment could you not live without or which is your favourite and why?
It would have to be my sewing machine, I would be nothing without it. My other favourite is the good old Glue gun it has saved me hours of hand sewing since I discovered it. There would certainly never have been a posh poppy without it!
What are your goals/plans for the future?
Continue as I am but bringing in a little bit more money (please). I’d like to build a regular class schedule and stock some more retail outlets with regular orders.
When you first started if you could have been given one piece of advice what would it have been and what advice would you pass on?
Don’t do sale or return. I spent last year making things for shops that didn’t sell and then ended up selling it all off at cost to make my money back.
Where can we find you? (Contact details etc)
Thank you Claire.