Meet Carole the founder of Country Crafts UK
I live in Oxfordshire with my husband Jason and we have three children, Matthew, Alice and Sophie.
How it all began
I have always had a talent for sewing which began when I was just five years old with my mother letting me use her old sewing machine. I enjoyed making things from scraps of fabric, mostly little purses, bags or dolls clothes at that time. Whilst my creations were undoubtedly amateur, right from an early age I gained confidence in using a sewing machine, learnt about stitches, feet and tension and grew in proficiency.
I continued to sew through my teens making clothes for myself and friends. I found I had an aptitude for understanding patterns and adapting designs. At that time my friends were getting married and I remember one summer making 21 bridesmaid dresses for seven weddings and 1 wedding dress!
Sewing continued to be my passion over the years, but it wasn't my career. Instead, after my A levels I spent a further 11 years studying and worked in local government and then for the NHS ending up a Board Director with a portfolio of law, compliance and governance. Just a bit different to sewing!
As well as my day job, I first established a sewing business in 2003 focussing on clothing alterations, repairs and soft furnishings for local people. This came about because I had always continued to sew and requests for my sewing services were growing.
Focus on beautiful gifts & bags
In recent years my focus has been on handcrafted original beautiful gifts and bags from British fabrics and textiles.
I have always made gifts for my friends and family and then they started to buy from me to give to their friends. I realised that I wasn't the only person who wanted the originality and quality of handcrafted items instead of mass produced products, many made from poor quality fabrics, with no attention to detail and inadequate finishes.
Quality & Choice
My aim is to provide high quality products, in vibrant exciting fabrics and more importantly something different to anything bought on the high street.
As far as possible I use materials from sustainable sources and I apply traditional sewing methods and styles. I also limit the number of products I make in any one design to retain their originality. Better still I offer the opportunity for my customers to create their designs. I offer choices of fabrics, contrasting fabrics, leathers, cottons and linens, sizes and styles as well as personalisation allowing the customer to put together what they like.
Since 2016 I have been selling my products at local and national craft events, such as Henley Country Living, NEC Hobbycrafts and Windsor Craft Show.