Today I’m featuring lovely Zoe from Beautiful Bunting, who is here on Make, Do and Push! to tell you about her fabulous business, and how she manages everything she does as a busy Mama!
Back when we were planning the wedding, I was convinced that I’d be able to make the 80m+ of bunting we required for the main hall. I swiftly realised that a) I do not have hours of time at my disposal and b) I am not superwoman, so I decided we would hire the bunting. Cutting a long story short, I was introduced to Zoe from Beautiful Bunting and fell in love with her many designs.
As you can see from the photos – the bunting looked stunning, and Zoe has so many different designs on her website; there’s something for every theme!
Hi Zoe, please can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a mum of two living in Lewes with my husband. I used to be a stage manager in theatre before children, and now divide my time between the business, book keeping, the family and getting very involved in lots of community events and committees including the school, church, street party, sailing and bonfire which is a bit big here in Lewes!
Gosh! You’re super busy! When did you set up Beautiful Bunting?
I launched Beautiful Bunting in 2008 when my eldest was four and my youngest was one – which was completely insane at the time, but something I needed to do. Of course leading up to that it was a time of intense sewing, and I worked late nights until both kids started school.
It’s definitely paid off! What inspired you to set up Beautiful Bunting?
Since having children I have had to find ways of earning that enable me to be a constant in the kids lives, as my husband’s work is different every week and takes him away a lot. I made a load of bunting for our street party, and a few people borrowed it for their kids parties and other events – one said I should rent it out and I thought “I wonder if there is a market in this?” After tons of research, costing and marketing consultations with contacts I have, it began to take shape.
Have you always been creative?
My Mum was a costume supervisor in theatre and film, and made lots of costumes over the years for theatre and us kids, so she taught me how to sew quite young. My Gran was an amazing sewer too, making us smocked fronted dresses and a nurses outfit that was so professional I felt like the real deal! My Dad is a lighting cameraman, and also a rather good amateur potter, his parents did pottery and silverwork on the side and my sister is a successful artist based in Edinburgh, so I guess you can say it’s in the genes!
I’ve done various art related activities and projects over the years, from large paintings to wooden butler stands, and dress screens, and a toddler art group – I’ve always sewed though and learnt through doing rather than having any professional training. With parents who install confidence, encouragement and self belief you feel anything is possible, and I am always trying to push myself a bit more and see what happens – at the moment – in Corsetry!
How wonderful! It certainly sounds like it’s in the genes! Corsetry sounds very exciting too!
How did you come up with the Beautiful Bunting name?
I had a whole list of names and asked lots of friends and family what they thought – in the end it came down to a bit of marketing – summing up your product with the title of the company ‘Beautiful Bunting’ which it is, and the byline ‘Handmade cotton bunting to hire’, just says everything about the company and what we do.
Can you tell us about the ranges you rent and sell?
We have a current range of 30 different designs to hire, which go across lots of colour ranges and are suitable for every occasion though life, including christenings and funerals – though our main hires are for weddings. We specialise in appliqué on a lot of our designs such as hearts, shells, cup cakes, cherubs, tea cups, and mini bunting, which makes it quite unique, and when you know everything has been traced and cut, you can see the love that goes into making it.
All our bunting is a large size 12.5” x 9.5” to maximise the impact in a room. It is also all bias edged which gives it definition and strength; this way you can mix and match all our designs.
We have an online shop too, where we sell one off designs and Mr & Mrs bunting, as well as made to order lengths… and we’ve also just added some handmade corsets to our website!
What’s your favourite item in the Beautiful Bunting range?
I have a real soft spot for our Pirates design, as it’s one of the first ones I made.
I also love Vintage Country, which is made from antique and vintage lace.
English Garden is beautiful too; made from original 1950’s fabrics.
Oh, and Flower Power! Although I did nearly go blind making that one! I love them all though – I couldn’t design something I didn’t like.
They are gorgeous! What do you enjoy most about running Beautiful Bunting?
I love the people I deal with – this is mostly brides (and some grooms!) who are planning their special day; it’s such a privilege to be a small part of that. The best is when you get a local hire – because I’m national, quite often I don’t meet my clients, but with a local client they come in to look at the designs, and choose them in person, which means I get to meet them too, which is always nice. I love seeing the photos afterwards too, which my clients send me.
Do you have a particular ethos for running Beautiful Bunting?
Predominantly providing the best possible service. Anything you are hiring bunting for is likely to be a big, important, special occasion; the last thing you need is extra stress. By taking the time to talk through the exact needs of the client, and be flexible, everyone is happy.
Another thing is keeping the sewing local and part of a cottage industry. Everything is hand cut and sewn on a normal sewing machines, and all here in Lewes. The majority of sewing has been done by myself, but I do have some fantastic local sewers here who produce the quality we are all about. This care in design and making is what sets us apart – we are producing a unique and quality product that looks beautiful.
I completely agree! Where can we find Beautiful Bunting?
You can find everything on our website www.beautifulbunting.co.uk. We are on Twitter: @beautifulbuntin, Facebook: Beautiful Bunting Ltd and Pinterest: beautbunting.
Thank you so much Zoe! I can’t recommend Beautiful Bunting enough – the bunting is indeed beautiful, Zoe’s customer service skills are fantastic and if you want to support a business that produces stunning, handmade items then I certainly suggest you visit the Beautiful Bunting website and chat to Zoe!