I am ex Yorkshire Briton, now living in France, who wanted to continue sewing when l began my new life in the French countryside. In 2015 started my journey and in 2017 l designed and created my classic neckerchief scarf which is now a best seller.
Constantly looking to incorporate accessories, l have now added home décor as a collection, including quirky applique cushions with free hand embroidery which can all be personalised... bright, beautiful and eye catching. These have so far found new homes in Norway, United Arab Emirates, France UK and USA. This classic neckerchief design and my quirky cushions are quickly becoming what l am now known for
And the name? Dizzy the dog, my faithful friend and constant companion, and her friends, Lulu the Scottie, Happs the mini pony and the late great mighty Thor, now galloping in the hay clouds.
Where are you from originally, and what did you used to do?
I was originally born in Leeds but grew up in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, a county known for its rich history of fine weaving and textiles. My background for nearly 20 years was Corporate Account Management in the Hotel Industry.
Where do you live and why did you choose that area?
I now live in the lovely Charente, the 2nd sunniest place in France and love it here. But what got me here? Pure chance after spending a fantastic hot summers weekend enjoying a music night at one of the very many open mic nights and being seduced by its natural charm and countryside.
What inspired you to start your business?
My first sewing machine was given to me as an 11 year old and that was nearly 40 years ago! I’ve always loved crafts and being creative although crochet, painting and drawing were never my forte. I do wood work and enjoy wood crafts. In the UK l did attend small markets and did a monthly Farmers market for a number of years but always worked full time in my “day job” When l moved to France in 2015, l was lucky enough to be able to concentrate on sewing full time and l started my business. In 2017, l began to change direction a little, focusing on scarves, then adding my quirky cushions and home décor.
What particularly challenges have there been?
Understanding that France is not the UK in terms of buying patterns, customers and spending power. Adapting to this and finding my niche.
Did you get much help from local commerce offices/Mairie etc?
No help from the Mairie although he does lives 3 doors down from me and is very forward thinking and proactive in the very tiny community of just over 130 people.
Top 3 tips for setting up a business in France
Top tip 1) Do your research, research and then research some more 2) Get to understand your customers and the geographic area you sell in 3) Network and support each other as business owners.