Welcome to Aimee from Aimee Hocking London who creates wonderful products such as cushions, purses and pouches, she uses a selection of fabrics including some of her own custom prints. Today she shares the story behind her business in my latest #incredibleindependents interview.
1) Why did you start your business?
This question has many answers! The main reason I started my business was to fulfil my own need for creativity. After graduating with a Photography degree some years ago I found myself in a sales job in the Westfield White City shopping centre. I worked here for nearly 3 years and during that time my Photography was well and truly put on the back burner. After some experimentation with printing my photographs onto textiles in my spare time, I ended up with several metres of custom designed fabrics and decided it would be a good idea to learn to sew! Soon after this I quit my sales job to focus on my business full time.
Another reason why I do what I do is because it gives me flexibility. During my previous job I often missed family birthdays and events due to unsociable shifts! I have family in Norfolk and the New Forest, so having the flexibility to visit them means a lot to me.
A third ‘why’ is down to a passion for origin. Widely available high street products are often made elsewhere in the world so I wanted to create a brand where everything is made right here in the U.K. I wanted to combat the ‘stack them high, sell them cheap’ format with well made, quality products manufactured in England (currently by myself in my home in West London!). As consumers I believe we are detached from how and where the items we buy are manufactured – there’s a lot of work involved in making even the most basic textile item that a lot of us don’t realise.
2) What do you love about running your own independent business?
The fact that I can do it in my PJ’s!! No, I’m kidding. I love that my role consists of everything, there’s no one title I can give to what I do. I go from being the designer and maker, to buyer, and even accountant! I love how much I’m learning too. Since starting my business I’ve learnt so many new skills that are way beyond anything I could have learnt if I hadn’t started it. I also love that I’m in control of what I do each day, it’s really great being your own boss!
3) What is your favourite product or service and why?
That would have to be my new free motion embroidered cat face cosmetic cases! The free motion technique of embroidery is still quite new to me, but I really enjoy practising it. It’s great to sew something so individual, each one is stitched to order and due to the nature of the sewing style it’s akin to producing an original drawing each time, just with thread instead of a pencil! Plus it’s a cat based product, so naturally as the self professed cat lady that I am, I love it! I own one myself.
4) Let’s spread the indie love, name some other independent businesses you support.
The first person that comes to mind is Lorna Kyle. She is maker of the true handmade card – once you buy a Lorna Kyle card you’ll find it difficult to buy any other kind of greeting card!
All Original is another must. It’s an independent shop based in Ealing Broadway. They have a unique retail structure in that half of the shop is rented out to about 30+ independent makers and the rest is carefully selected wholesale bought in by the owner, Jane. I do happen to be one of the 30+ designers too! Many a gift has been purchased here.
A Bag Less Ordinary is a small business I really admire. Run by Naadu, a hard working lady who hand crafts gorgeous bags in London. She has a beautiful Instagram feed too!
Spiral Soaps also deserves a mention – Emma’s handmade shampoo bars have rescued my overly sensitive scalp!
5) Which is your favourite social media platform and why?
Oh there’s no question here, Instagram hands down! Perhaps that’s not surprising considering I studied photography and love imagery, but I find I can be the most personal on this platform and I love that. I’ve also connected with so many fellow small business owners through Instagram too, so many I otherwise would never have found.
A big thank you to Aimee for taking the time to share more about her business and spread the small indie love. Do check out her lovely items and continue to support all those #incredibleindependents out there!