One of our most loyal ‘cheerleaders’ and supportive influences, ‘It Started with a Stitch’ has been with Ibbleobble since we started our journey and launching our first educational App
I had known Gemma years before when she bought one of my other creations My Hangover Hoody. And in that time we learned we had quite a fair bit in common. Naturally, we are both find our ‘happy place’ being creative. Okay, she is a master when it comes to crochet, embroidery and especially pom poms. She, above all, is an incredibly hard worker.
For anyone lucky to have her in their network, her most undervalued quality is her supportive nature. As a small business, I appreciate how important supporting each other is. And this is why we think we have a common ground as I love supporting people too!
In addition to her tireless work, support and incredible hand made products, she has this ability to be adaptable too… a trait which is hard to find in a lot of people. If she’s not trying one thing, she throws her hat into the ring of another… I weirdly saw a post the other day saying she was on the radio! Oh and to justify my point here:
Over to you, Gem!
I’m Gemma of It Started With a Stitch, I’m a Grimsby girl through and through and now live in Waltham with my boys!
When did you first realise you loved being creative?
I think it’s always been a huge part of who I am, but the first thing that I remember making is a cat hand puppet at primary school, It was made out of brown felt and had huge sequins for eyes – I’ve always been a sucker for a bit of sparkle.
Tell us what your journey was from when you started to where you are now…
I studied Art and Textiles properly from GCSE level through to A-levels and then Art Foundation which lead to me studying for an Embroidery degree at Manchester Met. It was during a project there that I started to handmade sequinned handbags. I sold some at Afflecks Palace in the city and then carried on making handbags when I returned to Grimsby, Thanks to supporting from local business advisors and a grant from the European Union I set up my own business back in 2002 and traded as To Have and To Hold. Real-life eventually got in the way and I spent over 15 years in High Street Retail, eventually working my way up to dual-site store manager for a fashion brand. Unfortunately, the business made all retail staff redundant and I was given a much-needed kick back into the world of me working for myself. I’d set back up as It Started With a Stitch a couple of years prior to this as a bit of a back burner and now I had so much more time to make it a real thing. I now have a beautiful website, a complete brand and a studio all of my own!
Where did the name ‘It Started with a Stitch’ come from?
I can’t take any of the credit for the name of my business, it’s the brainchild of Rach at The Paint Box Studio. We sat down one night, deciding that the time was right for me to rename my business and after loads of suggestions, this one just felt right, It’s quite wordy but people remember it!
Who is your biggest influencer… personally and on the ‘scene’… i.e. celebrity?
My biggest influencers in the crafting world would be Marna Lunt who stitches the most beautiful landscapes and portraits, Lucy of Attic24 who creates the most gorgeous crochet patterns, tutorials and blog and Emma of Audrey & Coco who’s greeting cards and prints I adore – she’s also my Esty guru!
Which is Instagram account to you like the most pics on and why?
Oooh – I’m an Instagram fiend so there’s probably quite a few out there who could be ‘that’ account, I’m going to go with a current top fave @sewing_the_seeds_of_love one of the prettiest Insta accounts I’ve ever laid eyes on!
What’s the most important piece of advice you could give anyone who wants to get into your line of work?
My most important advice would be… remember that people buy from people. You’ll get copied (they call it ‘inspired by’), you’ll get to see the worst of some people who think that they invented the craft field that you work in, you’ll not always be full of mojo. Trust what you do, trust your ability and stay authentic to what you love and can do and it will shine through.
You have a free shoutout to a business of your choice, who is it?
Audrey & Coco! Founded by my crafting partner in crime, Emma who I met whilst we both worked at House of Fraser. The first time she was introduced to me I was carrying a clipboard – she thought I was super organised, I remember that she was wearing a funky dress and a denim jacket and thought she’d be far too cool to be mates with me. Turns out that we’re the perfect combo so we sell in unison at events now. She designs and makes the best cards and prints for literally any occasion and I wouldn’t get my cards from anywhere else! I’ve even ordered one from her for her before!
What’s your proudest piece of work and why?
There are a few projects that I’ve really loved working on and all for varying reasons but I’ll have to pick the Candy Cane Crochet Wreath that I was asked to design for the HobbyCraft blog. I was so chuffed to be asked and I had to quickly learn how to write a crochet pattern but I did it and it was out there for the world to see and make themselves! Being thrown in at the deep end and having to do something I hadn’t done before really pushed me and ultimately made me realise that I had it in me all along! Paul of Ibbleobble hasn’t just designed my brand and website, he cares about the businesses that he works with. He’s a brilliant sounding board and is a constant support with everything! He really bothers to understand the business and it makes a huge difference to how It Started With a Stitch looks and feels to customers!
Who is your favourite Ibbleobble character and why?
Tom the Frog!! How could it be anyone else? The characters are all super cute and I love that they all have their own strengths, Tom is King of Sports and is faced by my very own real-life son, Robbie so I’m a little bit biased!
Where do u see yourself in a year’s time and what are your dreams?
In a year’s time, I’ll have a range of my own branded kits that you’ll be able to buy to craft at home with! Embroidery is first on the list and hopefully crochet and pompom versions too! My studio will be even more fabulous, my Etsy shop will be rehauled and I’m hoping to get some online options for learning available too. I’m literally living my dream right now, the fact that this kind of stuff is a real job is just the best feeling in the world. So to that person who once said ‘Pompoms aren’t a real job’ here’s the proof that they really can be!
Which word do you rely on autocorrecting when sending a text
My phone feels like a constant extension to my hand when it’s not making pompoms or stitching, I feel like the autocorrect should know me a lot better by now – I tend to put a double kiss at the end of most messages and my phone still loves to type it as zz – I look like I’m bored of the chat!
Who is your biggest cheerleader
Rachel at The Paint Box has been a constant cheerleader, both personally and professionally. Whenever I finally get my head around a new idea you can guarantee that it’s something that she’s been telling me to do for ages – she’s got much more belief in me that I have in myself. The Paint Box has played such an important part in both of our lives and she’s given me so much support to actually get out there and do what I love to do and I wouldn’t be where I am without her.
Finish this sentence… “I am at my happiest when…
I am at my happiest when I’m in my PJs…
Haha, who isn’t the happiest when they are in their PJs? Thank you, Gemma, we loved your feedback! <3
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When there’s clouds, look for rainbows right?? I don’t even care if that’s not the saying. Ok, so the elephant in the room that’s stressed me out loads but I’ve not spoken about on ‘here’ yet. It’s going to get worse before it gets better but let’s help each other, don’t scoff at people taking it more seriously than you, don’t stockpile stuff you don’t need, and think about the bigger picture. I feel so much better looking towards a weekend of me deciding where me and mine are. Use social media to be social, not to spread mis information or what you think the facts should be. Play nice, wash your hands ❤️
Categorised in: Ibbleobble
This post was written by ibbleobble_paul