'Competitions gave me the confidence to start my business'
CAREFULLY hand-dyeing each piece of wool to crochet shapes together and create vibrant, colourful covers for furniture, one entrepreneur is on the road to success with her business.
Samantha Wilson is a University Of Hull graduate who has launched her own textiles business – Samantha Claire Textiles.
The 21-year-old, of east Hull, graduated from her Applied Creative Design: Textiles course this year before deciding to set up the business, which specialises in upcycling old and worn-out furniture and soft furnishings by covering them in hand-knitted and crocheted pieces.
Inspired by the English countryside, Samantha's works of art attracted the eyes of many at the New Designers competition, an annual exhibition, held in London, which is an opportunity for young designers who are just graduating from university to show their work in a professional setting.
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Here, Samantha generated interest in her work and the positive news helped the entrepreneur gain the courage to set up her new business, for which she said the main aim is to be as sustainable as possible.
To assure this sustainability, the designer only uses British wool and dyes all of her own yarns in order to keep the dyeing process to a minimum, while achieving the exact colours she desires. And, because she is hand-knitting and hand-crocheting, there is no need to use electricity.
Samantha said she advises other budding entrepreneurs to gain the same experience to their work on show and catch attention.
She said: "People should take the time to get involved in exhibitions and competitions and really get their work out there.
"You don't have to win first, second or third place but competitions give you the confidence to start a business.
"Without entering, I don't think I would have gone down the route to start my own business."
Samantha said some competitions will also supply wool for anyone who may be a student, or just short of cash.
Despite the business already being up and running, Samantha is still taking part in exhibitions and competitions and is working towards her next venture in Craftspace's In:Site, A Graduate Festival of Creativity in Birmingham next week.
Samantha's business is online but she is hoping to take part in markets in the future.
Find out more about Samantha Claire Textiles on Facebook or by visiting Sam's blog at samwilsontextiledesign.blogspot.co.uk