Meet the Maker: Charlotte from Cloth and Clay
From backstage theatre seamstress to serendipitous Etsy hit, this month we meet Charlotte, the Maker behind Cloth and Clay, a gorgeous new treasure trove of handcrafted textile and ceramic pieces set to delight mindful shoppers.
Hi Charlotte, can you tell us more about yourself and your craft?
I am a London based maker selling handcrafted textiles and ceramics for the home. I run my business Cloth and Clay from my studio space in my flat, and I make everything from natural fabrics and stoneware clays. I try to make products that will be both functional in the home, as well as being lovely to look at!
How did you get started?
I’m usually a costume maker for theatre, so when lockdown hit last March, I was out of work and had lots of time on my hands. As I sew for a living, I had lots of fabric lying around and wanted to keep making things, so I started making cushions and items that I could use in my home. After 6 months of lockdown, I had made too many things to fill my own home, so I braved it and set up an Etsy shop!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Usually I think of things to make based on what I might like to have in my own home. I’m a new homeowner myself so I’m always on the lookout for things to add to the flat, and this often inspires ideas for new products. Inspiration also comes from my customers, as I often get requests for custom products and bespoke pieces, which then spark ideas for new product ranges.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a maker and business owner?
I’ve found it quite challenging to take on all of the different roles in the business, there’s just so much more to it than I realised! Naively I didn’t consider that I’d have to be the photographer, marketer, accountant and so much more when I started the business! As the business grows I hope to get a bit more help in some areas, but I’m also loving learning new skills as I go, and it’s definitely helping me to grow my resilience and confidence.
What is your favourite thing about being a creative business owner?
Being in total control of what I make and what I do every day is really lovely. It’s given me a lot of freedom and helped me to learn about myself and what I like doing and making most! I’ve also been able to get to know so many other creatives (virtually), and becoming a part of the online creative community on instagram has been so motivational.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I always start the day with a cup of tea and some list making! I like to list all of the things that I need to do, both for the business and personally, so that I can make a rough plan for the day. Depending on the amount of orders I’m working on, I then start a little production line of all the makes I’ll be working on that day, starting off with cutting everything out, then constructing the products by colour (I can be a little over the top on organisation but find it helps stop me from getting overwhelmed!) I always make sure to have a short break in the middle of the day, and like to end the day with some fresh air if I can (usually I’ll make this a walk to the post office to post some orders).
Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to your craft?
I love nature and the outdoors, and spend lots of my spare time going walking and cycling through the green spaces of London. I also have lots of houseplants, and tending to all of those keeps me busy! Pottery was my hobby while I was making costumes, but I’m slowly integrating this craft into my business too, hence the business name!
How do you stay motivated? Any advice for your fellow makers?
By making lots of lists, and scheduling in a day off with something nice planned, like a long walk or cycle, as I find having something to look forward to keeps me focused on getting through my lists! I also follow lots of other amazing small business owners on Instagram, and this really motivates me to work hard at my own biz.
What are your goals for 2021?
I’d like to grow the business enough for it to be a stable source of income, and I’d really like to be able to take some time off and see family and friends when we are allowed to!
How can we find you and your products online?
You can shop my products on Etsy at www.clothandclayltd.etsy.com
My Instagram account is @_clothandclay - this is where I share my business journey!
11. How are you finding being part of Makers United? How is it helping your business?
It’s been lovely being a part of Makers United so far - I’ve found the consultations super useful! It’s just so great to chat to really experienced and helpful professionals, and I was also able to meet Marie, who designed my gorgeous new logo and branding for me last month!