Hi! I’m Nicky from Little Light Stitchery and I’ll be honest, I’ve never written a blog before so this could be interesting… (or really dull?!)
I started my business back in 2018 and straight away I started to use Instagram, and having never had a personal account it was a steep learning curve, and one of the very first things that struck me was what a supportive online community was in my phone! That, and just how many people were trying to make a business work in the creative, hand-made industry. But it all felt very much like collaboration over competition and I really enjoyed finding my feet as an indie business in the online retail world. I was also very aware that it wasn’t all about online shopping. All of our villages, towns and cities have high-streets, be it a local parade of shops or a city centre shopping complex, and I wanted to see my hoops in those shops! I wanted to support our local economy, to encourage people to shop local, to keep these rows of shops and high streets alive.
I think I discovered Megan and Curated Makers when I saw on Instagram that there was a pop-up shop happening in Paperchase in Manchester, and I won’t lie, I wanted in!! What an incredible opportunity for small businesses to get that kind of city centre high-street exposure. Being a one-woman business, with a then 4 year old in nursery part-time, things moved slowly, or I guess more accurately, at my own pace! Finding your ‘thing’, your USP, figuring out the way to wear all of the hats, it all takes time. It wasn’t until Christmas 2019 that was starting to find my stride and then Covid-19 and lockdown started and I had no idea what was going to happen. All I knew was that I wanted my business to survive, and I wanted to support as many other small and local businesses as I could. I’ll be honest, I kept our postie pretty busy during those first weeks of lockdown, but then I started getting much busier too, I was hitting Instagram hard and my engagement was starting to pay off. And then came along online markets! Real life markets hadn’t been a big part of my business, mainly because I’d done a few really terrible ones and been massively put off, but the idea of setting up a stall in my own home seemed brilliant!
Megan established the Postable Pop-Up and I got as involved as I could! I really enjoyed creating my images using the templates she provided, they felt really professional and consistent and running my ‘stall’ on the day was great fun. I think I did one of my first ever ‘Insta lives’ and I spent most of the day engaging with people online, I really felt connected to other creatives and my customers in a way that I had definitely been missing.
It was after the second Postable Pop-Up that Megan contacted me to ask if I wanted be involved in a top secret pop-up that she was setting up in Liverpool. Lockdown restrictions were easing, shops were opening up and she was on it! If I’m being completely honest, I think I did a happy dance and cried all at the same time! Of course then came some frantic weeks of stitching and I actually made the decision to close my Esty shop and to commissions so that I could concentrate on building up my stock. I’d also agreed to work some shifts in the popup which kind of blew my mind! If you’d have told me two years ago that my hoops would be stocked in a popup shop in one of the most established high street businesses, in my own city, I’d have laughed in your face!
I’ll say it again, what an amazing opportunity for small, local businesses this is. I feel really proud of myself seeing my hoops on sale here (I’m standing behind the counter right now writing this). I feel massive joy for all of the creatives represented here and I genuinely feel as though we have a place on the high street. That John Lewis & Partners, among others, are also supporting Megan in championing small businesses, demonstrates the real shift that the consumers are going through in wanting to shop small and shop local.
I feel as though I learn something new almost every day that I’m on my small business journey and I really feel part of a creative community, which, if i’m being honest, I really wasn’t expecting when I set up Little Light Stitchery. I have colleagues, friends and workmates, most of whom I’ve never actually met, but some I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside here in Liverpool, and being part of the Curated Makers experience has definitely been an unforgettable one!
To register your interest in taking part in a Made Local Pop-Up with Curated Makers, you can do so here