Careers in Sewing: Sewing Ambassador
Have you ever considered a Career in Sewing? Do you dream of ditching the 9-5 and pursuing your creative dreams? This year we will be posting interviews for a range of different sewing jobs to give you a taste of what possibilities are out there. Today we interview Jenniffer Taylor, who since being a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee, has forged her own career in sewing. We have interviewed Jenni to find out how she’s made her mark in the sewing world.
I’ve always been a creative person. I love cooking, painting and photography. I sing in a band called Snooty Bobsand I studied dance and visual arts at Brighton university. But after completing my degree I had to return to the midlands and get a job. And at the time that was as a ‘Debt collection and enforcement officer’. After ten years of working my way up through the company I became a ‘Resource co-ordination manager’. I was very good at my job but it was not quite what I had intended as my career. But I was very lucky to have a partner and now husband who embraced and also encouraged my creative side. Which is why I ended up on the Great British Sewing Bee as he applied on my behalf without telling me.
It’s strange I don’t see this as a Job as such. I gave up full time employment in October. It was a very scary decision at the time but looking back now I just don’t know how I was able to balance the two things. Since becoming self-employed I’m so much happier and I can completely focus on my adventure as a creative. I currently have a little home studio in our Victorian terrace house and I travel across the country doing workshops or events. I also do product demonstrations for Create and Craft TV which is great fun being in the studio again.
My morning always start with an earl grey tea, breakfast and a cuddle with Renton my dog, which is another great perk about being your own boss, what time that is depends completely on you; but I must admit I do like to make the most of the day so I will normally be in my home studio by 9am the latest. Emails on and I review my blackboard and diary to determine the day’s workload. Because I do so many different things for different clients my days are never the same, so planning is a big part of day. Project preparation, filming, traveling, step photography, research, admin and accounts, writing and making, it all needs to go into the diary. I do have one rule though, unless there is particularly tight deadline I always close my sewing room door around 6pm every day when working from home. I don’t get to see my husband very much as ‘weekends’ don’t really exist for me. So I always make sure that I diarise my time in with kirk too, I couldn’t have done this without his love and support and a good partner, business or otherwise is very hard to find so you need to keep them happy too! ☺
The best bits have to be the job satisfaction. I have never felt rewarded, appreciated and needed the way I do now that I work for myself. The freedom to choose what you want to do, for instance right now I’m writing this while outside enjoying the rare English sunshine. Something I would have killed to do when I worked in an office. The worst parts are having to turn down gatherings with family or friends or never seeming to have space in the diary to meet up. My friends joke if our catch up is in pen or pencil I’m my diary. I had let them into a little planning technique of mine that if it’s in pen it can’t be rescheduled so they always insist on it now. It’s very hard to do something spontaneous with other people. Meals round friends, popping down the pub or birthday parties need to be planned in and then sometimes negotiated with as you might have a fantastic business opportunity or well-paid job just come in that you just cannot turn down. Getting that balance of work and life can be very hard for everyone but I’m feeling it a lot more now that I’m working for myself.
I always wanted to do something creative, at first I wanted to be dancer/performer then I thought being a teacher would be a more stable move. But to be honest, after leaving university and having to move back to the midlands because of student loan debts and no money, my dream of a creative career just didn’t seem possible. Which is why I think I looked to get my creative kicks in other ways like singing in a band or painting artwork for our new home.
I’ve always been very determined even as a child. I would always but 110% into everything I do so I’ve always been very good at self-management. Through my employment as a resource co-ordinator I’ve gain planning and computer skills which are coming in very useful now that I’m doing all my own accounts at the moment. But as far as qualifications I don’t have anything specific. I’m currently studying a diploma in Creative Industries and I’ll also be writing a book this year but I’m completely self-taught and I’m learning more and more each day. Pure passion and a lot of very hard work has gone into making this transition from creative dreamer to creative facilitator and director. But luck has also played a huge part too. You could say the universe had a plan for me and now I’m doing it!
You cannot do this without passion first and foremost.
Take time to consider your business aim and personal statements. This will help you keep focused while you are starting your business adventure.
I would highly recommend Fiona Pullen’s ‘Craft a creative business’ book to anyone thinking of making the jump as I did.
It covers everything from legal matters to social media and selling on and off line.
Honestly and this will be clichéd so apologises in advance. This is it! I cannot image doing anything else. Sure I have plans on how to take the #sewingrevolutionfurther but teaching people how to sew is what I want to do.