The Cozy Club
An interview with Chris Myers
The Cozy Club ‘where you are a stranger only once’ brings together ladies who share a common desire to make and create. They sit comfortably together in my home where all materials are provided and refreshments are always on hand. The project is often based on the season and a delicious homemade lunch is provided and the table is set to inspire. A small surprise awaits them at their place setting to compliment the project. The General Store, attached to my house, provides a selection of old quilts, antiques, candles and homespun decorative items. This business model was unique when it all began in 2008. It has grown exponentially thanks to Instagram and Facebook. My mission statement rings true each time at every gathering. Strangers become friends and plans to meet again are made.
How did it all start?
It all began after several years of hosting a charity Christmas fair in my home to raise money for childhood cancer. Many people enjoyed seeing the homespun items that took pride of place in my house. A number of people asked how they could achieve this same look. Having grown up in rural Canada and being a primary school teacher by profession,it occurred to me that there was an opportunity to teach these skills to others. Coupled with my old-fashioned make do and mend ways it soon became apparent that the participants wanted to experience a day free of every day stresses. The Cozy Club was born.
Where are you based
The Cozy Club takes place in my Edwardian home in Buckinghamshire. The house, along with my garden, invites all who come to put their everyday worries aside and get cozy and create. In the spring and summer flowers tumble over the garden gate and the lavender path invites visitors to wander down to my front door. In the autumn and winter, lanterns are hung with candles glowing that says all are welcome here.
What inspires you?
Inspiration can be found anywhere, you just need to keep your eyes open. The beginning of each season stimulates my imagination and I am always eager to embrace it. Things that happened in the past also inspire me and often a club will be based on these thoughts. Patched fabrics, old quilts and timeworn items all have their own stories to tell and it is wonderful to use these relics from the past rejuvenated and give them a new purpose.
What is your creation process?
I always try to be as original as I can be with all my makes. Usually, I take the season and then decide what I would like to make to decorate my own home. I discuss my ideas with the Man( my husband) and then we tweak it again and again until we have the end idea… then the prototype is made.
What makes you, your brand or products unique?
I feel that I am unique in that everything that is prepared for The Cozy Club is 100% homemade. I prepare each club as if a wonderful group of friends were coming to visit. Everything I do is what I do for myself on a daily basis. The project , lunch,tea and cakes are all made from scratch and from the heart. I do believe that the personal touch is so important. Getting each detail just right so that the experience that is had by all is as magical and special as can be. Nothing fills me with more joy than seeing the gasps of delight shine upon everyone’s face when they arrive to join in on a Cozy Club day.
What is your next project?
It is a long story, however, let me just say that mice are often mentioned on my social media. So much so, that a few of the clubs feature them. The next project being developed is a one room schoolhouse for these creatures. You need to use your imagination I think. This September an old Canadian quilt will be used in making a decorative cushion that will be embroidered and mended and given an autumnal feel.
What are your plans for nest twelve months?
Having written two books on Scandinavian seasonal crafting, I am hoping to write a new book featuring the tried and trusted Cozy Club recipes together with home and garden styling to feature makes, ideas and thoughts for each month of the year. I see it as a lifestyle reference book and I am very excited about it.
What is your biggest achievement?
Looking back I must say that the first time that Country Living came to photograph my home was a highlight. I could never have imagined this happening. Over the next twelve years, more magazines featured my home and garden and then I had the great experience of being asked to write a book on Christmas crafts. This book proved to be so popular, that I was asked to write another on seasonal crafting. However, in all honesty, my greatest achievement occurs after each and every Cozy Club. After all have left I gaze upon my workroom and see the scraps of material and pieces of thread dangling here and there, the memories of the day pass through my mind and I am thrilled by having seen the sense of achievement and delight on all.
What is your best-selling product /line?
Scandi Christmas, my first book. Within 4 months Amazon had sold out and a new edition was printed with a different cover. To say that I was delighted is an understatement.
What do you love about Country Living Fairs?
I started coming to CL fairs since inception. I remember buying my ticket weeks in advance and still having to queue. The atmosphere was amazing and I could not wait to walk through the doors. This same excitement happens at each fair. The ‘not knowing what you will find’ factor adds to this feeling. The beautifully decorated booths, the decorative arrangements by Country Living ,the friendliness from all and the delicious and tempting food provides a very unique and special day out.
Your three top tips for crafters and makers.
- Plan and have all materials and tools to hand.
- Reuse and recycle when possible and enjoy foraging.
- Keep it simple and unique to you.
Any advice for fledgling businesses
- Start small
- Do something you love and are passionate about
- Do it to the best of your ability
- Do not try to grow too quickly and remember it is all in the details. Embrace the powers of social media and never fear asking for help and advice.