Pouch (Nicola and Ruth Chappell, mother and daughter team)
Where are you located?
Bristol, United Kingdom
If you have you ever visited North Carolina, what do you remember about your trip?
Have never visited!
What do you create?
Handcrafted vintage and recycled fabric bags, accessories and housewares
What is your favorite place to visit in your hometown?
Clifton in Bristol, UK. Ruth was born in Clifton so she knows the area really well. We both like to visit Clifton, have lunch in a cafe, wander round the thrift stores. Afterwards we take a walk to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which is a stunning piece of engineering, but not a great place to go if you don’t like heights!
At Pouch, our particular focus is on utilising recycled fabric. Consumers purchase 2.15 million tonnes of new clothing and shoes each year in the UK. In order to make room for all the new clothes, they are throwing away the old. Over 900,000 million items of clothing are thrown away each year in this country alone. Discarded clothing and shoes are typically sent to landfill. Textiles present particular problems in landfill. Synthetic (man-made fibres) products do not decompose. Woollen garments do decompose, but in doing so they produce methane, which contributes to global warming and climate change.Therefore, we think it is very important to re-use fabrics to prevent them going to landfill. Plus we both love vintage fabric, the colours and patterns are, in our opinion, better than modern fabrics. Plus by using vintage fabric, our bags are often one-of-a-kind, or limited edition.
What is the most time consuming part of your craft?
Taking and editing photographs and marketing. Taking good photos it is an essential part of running an online business, people cannot touch or pick up your items when browsing online. So you have to take the best photos you can, from lots of angles and in natural light. We have a small budget for marketing and so far, we have never paid for advertising. We utilise social networks such as blogging, Flickr, Etsy and Myspace. Marketing in this way can take up hours of your time, but it can be enjoyable and you often get instant feedback on your products which is nice!
This year the most popular item has been our mini-messenger bag.We believe they are popular as people don’t always want to carry a huge bag around with them, they like to wear bags across their bodies (messenger-style) so they have their hands-free, plus they must like the combination of recycled denim and vintage fabric!
What are your goals?
To hopefully carry on being self-employed and not stuck in some office somewhere working for someone else.To carry on creating items which we love. We aren’t in this for the money, or to churn out 100s of identical bags. We want to create individual items which people will cherish and get years of use from.As long as we are enjoying what we do, we will keep doing it!
--To see more pictures of items created by Nicola and Ruth, check out their Flickr PhotoStream.