Sandra Hardy designs and makes a range of ladies jackets, coats, hats &scarves in 100% quality boiled wool including unique ‘’one-off specials” featuring many decorative details such as colour piecing, pin tucking and surface stitching. To find out more about how the company started, their unique products and what’s in stall for the future, read our interview with Sandra Hardy, founder of Sandra Hardy below…
How did it all start?
This business started when we moved to a new house 10 years ago. Before that I taught textiles for many years as well as writing about them and exhibiting.
What is the story behind the name?
It’s my name! My first memory of ‘Textiles” is sewing a hexagonal patchwork with my grandmother using cereal packet cardboard as templates! I grew up making a lot of my own clothes which then progressed to making them for my daughters when they were small. After that I became qualified in several city & Guilds courses which I then taught. I also designed and stitched many needlepoint projects for craft magazines as well as writing several craft books.
I taught machine embroidery for many years to City & Guilds diploma level as well as studying for a distance learning degree in Textile Art.
Where are you based?
In St.Ives in Cornwall.
What inspires you?
Garden, landscape and coastal colours, historical /vintage fashion and styles, patchwork and quilting designs as well as current fashion.
What is your creation process?
It usually starts with an idea for a new style, decorative detail or colour combination, which is sketched out or noted down, then tried out as a sample. Some are discarded, others changed and improved until I am satisfied with them. If it is a new style I will make a ‘mock up’ which is then tweaked and evaluated, before making the first one in the wool fabric.
What makes you, your brand or products unique?
All designs are my own and because I make all the items they can be changed according to the clients wishes. The ‘one of specials’ can be made to order with the client choosing they own colour palette.
What is your next project?
To extend my ‘one off specials’ range of styles and to keep adding different colour combinations as well new & exciting decorative details.
What is your biggest achievement?
To have successfully developed my love of textiles and ‘creating’ into a profitable business, making quality items which I am proud of.
What is your best-selling product/line?
Currently it is my ‘boxy’style short jacket in a silver grey colour.
What do you love about Country Living Fairs?
There is always a vibrancy and air of excitement about the fair, with huge numbers of visitors who are genuinely interested in talking to you and purchasing!
Your three top tips for crafters and makers…
- Always do your research to see if there is a market for your products.
- Listen to feedback from customers and make any changes to your products as necessary.
- Make sure some of the passion and love that goes into your products is conveyed to the customers.
Any advice for fledgling businesses…
Start small and build from there and enjoy it.