When Katie isn’t writing oodles of online content and managing social media for various companies, or teaching children’s cooking classes, she’s running The Sewcial Circle; teaching everything from sewing basics to dressmaking to young and old alike.
I was lucky enough to meet Katie at last Autumn’s Crafty Fox Market, where she was running Sew a Skull Brooch Workshops, and I was keen to find out more about how she got started…
How did you start the Sewcial Circle, and was it hard to get the word out there?
Actually starting a business in the UK is incredibly easy. After doing a one-day Start-Up Saturday course with Enterprise Nation it was only a matter of a bit of paperwork and finally taking the plunge to get a website up and running.
I was already teaching sewing on the side privately so I just used my contacts there to get the word out that I also run kids sewing workshops. It’s only been a year or so that I’ve been actively pushing it and I think I still have a lot more work to do before the Sewcial Circle can overtake my other part-time work completely.
You are queen of part time job juggling! How do you make time for all your creative pursuits?
It’s true. On top of running the Sewcial Circle, I work freelance for three other companies doing everything from social media management and copywriting to teaching.
Luckily these jobs leave most of my weekends and evenings open for running the Sewcial Circle and finding time to learn new crafts and enjoy some sewing time. I should say though, that I have gotten very clever at time management and rarely is time wasted around here.
I am still a bit of an old school girl when it comes to time management. I treat myself to a brand new Moleskin diary every December, the weekly view one, so that I can see which lessons, workshops and appointments I have for the whole week at a glance. Then I use another notebook for more detailed lists of tasks I need to do each day. There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing them off, and I start every Monday morning organising my daily tasks for the week and planning my days.
I also try to group my errands around town to one afternoon a week, so I don’t lose too much time running between the post office, bank, the fabric shop and wherever else I need to go.
How did you get involved in the SouthBank Centre’s Festival of Love last year, and how was the experience?
The Festival of Love in the summertime was an incredible undertaking for the Southbank Centre. Every weekend they provided different free activities for families and it was a treat to be a part of it. As with everything, it’s all about the people you know, and for me it was very lucky that I happened to be chatting with Hannah from Crafternoon Cabaret at one Crafty Fox Talk. She does a lot of work with the Southbank Centre and passed my details along when she caught wind that they were looking for someone to run a sewing activity during one of their weekends.
It’s good experience and exposure to work with such a large organisation. It’s also good to learn how these sorts of organisations run their events; they are on a huge scale and require a ton of volunteers. The Festival was definitely a highlight for the Sewcial Circle for 2014 and I’m excited to see what 2015 will bring!
What’s next in your ventures?
I’ve had a lot of parents asking me when I’m going to start running regular after school sewing classes so I think this year I’ll need to start looking for a studio or venue where I can host some classes and weekend workshops. Our sewing parties are really starting to pick up now and who knows, 2015 might be the year I take on a little bit of help!
What advice would you give someone thinking of changing careers to do something different?
I am usually the first one to jump into something with both feet but when it comes to changing careers to do something different I think it’s much more wise to do it slowly at first. I am lucky in that my “regular” job is internet based and I work from home. This gives me a lot of flexibility to do other things and organise my time the way I like so it was easy to start teaching privately after school and then taking on weekend events as well, from running crafty hen parties, sewing parties for kids to running a workshop for the WI and doing special events like the Festival of Love.
Start with evenings and weekends and if, after a bit of time, you start to go crazy from so much work to do. Then it might just be time to take the plunge! Have some savings is also a good idea, to tie you over if the going gets tough.
For all things finances and numbers (not my thing at all), I have been using the book from Enterprise Nation called Refreshingly Simple Finance for Small Business (£10 in paperback, £2 as a digital download). It is a life-saver, making finances easy to understand for someone who never studied accounting or business.
If you want to know more about The Sewcial Circle, you can nose about in the following places:
Twitter – @sewcial_circle
Instagram – @sewcial_circle
Pinterest – sewcial_circle
Facebook – The Sewcial Circle
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