Name: Sue and Jo Thomas
Business Name: Made by Swimmer
Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
Website: We mostly use our etsy store these days as we find it easier to connect with sellers and buyers www.etsy.com/shop/
Regular Markets: Boscombe Vintage Market – 1st Saturday of every month
Friends of Bruce Castle Park, Tottenham, London - quarterly
// Tell us a little bit about what you do.
We design and make toys, soft furnishings and accessories using recycled fabrics. We aim to make unique, high quality handmade items that will be cherished and loved for a long time. We like to think that our creations make people smile and bring back childhood memories.
// Where does your inspiration come from?
We love trawling flea markets, car boot sales and charity shops to find hidden treasures. We love to give new life back into other people’s discarded fabrics and unwanted items by creating our unique and whimsical designs. We are inspired by our own fond childhood memories and by our passion for recycling.
// When did you start your business?
Our business evolved initially from supporting a community school art project a few years ago. This then gave us the confidence and inspiration to branch out on our own. We are still developing our business but have our own website and etsy shop.
// Where does the name come from?
The name comes from an old printing blog that we found many years ago of a swimming lady. We thought this fitting as our logo as we live by the sea and initially we made beach inspired creations. The name came from this although ironically neither us are very good swimmers!
// Did you undertake any training in your craft or are you self-taught?
We have sewn and made things since our childhood so have years of experience - basically we are self- taught.
// What was the first thing you ever sold and how did it make you feel?
Our first market was as part of a collective. We sold lots of hand knitted wrist bands backed in vintage fabric. We were totally blown away by people actually buying things we had made!
// Do you have any advice for other crafters just starting out?
It can be a slow start but have faith in what you make. It can take time to find the right market place for your work so don’t be put off if you don’t sell much at a particular market.
// What’s your favourite thing about Dorset?
The sea and local beauty spots and there is a great creative community out there.
// What could you not live without?
// If you could eat anything right now what would you eat?
A plate of oysters and freshly caught crab.
// And finally, do you have any exciting plans coming up for your business? Any inside scoops you can share with us?
We can't say too much but we have some exciting collaborations coming up with new businesses – watch this space!
I really hope you enjoyed meeting the makers behind Made by Swimmer. I'd love to get your feedback on the new Handmade in Focus and Meet the Maker features....are you enjoying them? Is it something you'd like to see more of? What sort of frequency would you like to see after Christmas, once a fortnight, once a month? All feedback is good feedback!
Happy Wednesday my lovelies xx