Monday, 30 May 2016


The long awaited BIG REVEAL is finally here!!

Put the kettle on, pull up a chair and enjoy the read... I promise the journey of reading from start to finish (with no sneaky scrolling to the end) will be worth it...

I feel it is important to share the journey that I have been on in the last few years which has led me to where I am now.

In the beginning...

Back in 2011 our second son was born.  I was on maternity leave and once a new routine was found around the singing of nursery rhymes, power walking with the pram and nappy changes, I decided to find myself a new hobby.  There is only so much cleaning you can do when baby is sleeping, so I taught myself how to sew.

My husband bought me a Cath Kidston sewing book, which came with a project to make a purse. Made it, loved it, wanted more!

A week later I found myself in the John Lewis haberdashery department purchasing a metre of pink Clarke and Clarke spotty fabric and my very first sewing machine.

I had never used a sewing machine before.  I had no idea how to use one and really had no clue where to start.  I brought it home and looked at the box for some time.  I took it out of the box and looked at it for a bit longer.

I got started through pure trial and error and after a few too many disasters, designed and made a doorstop.  This dodgy looking one right here...

I spent a few months playing, coming up with new ideas and making things for family and friends.

After much encouragement from those around me, Sweet Williams was born and officially launched in November 2011.  Sweet Williams are my favourite flowers and also my second son, who I was off on maternity leave with, is named William, so it seemed the perfect name to choose.

I returned to the day job after 9 months maternity leave in January 2012 at a local firm of Solicitors as a Legal Assistant.  I loved my job and those I worked with, but welcomed the down time in the evenings and weekends, switching my mind off to focus on our two wonderful children and my new sewing business.  Even though I was all fully registered and above board, looking back it was very much a hobby business, dabbling in local events, craft fairs, learning how to use social media and really just playing with fabrics to learn new skills and seeing what worked.

The Journey...

I spent the next couple of years building my brand, getting myself known and becoming involved in lots of community projects, volunteering my skills and public speaking, which I still find incredibly scary and right out of my comfort zone, despite being no stranger to it now.  I done a lot of thinking and planning on what I wanted for the future.

I started to really build my business after going part time at the day job and concentrate on branding. My new logo was born...

I decided I wanted to share my skills with other people.  Sewing wasn't something that was readily taught anymore, and I wanted to pass on my love for fabric and buttons to others wanting to learn.

I started sewing workshops.  Hand sewing at first to test the water and build my confidence.  They were a great success and they gradually grew and I introduced machine workshops too.

These are something I have been immensely proud of.  I believe myself to be patient, kind and very generous with my time and knowledge and this has helped me greatly in working with a wide range of people, including children, in schools, after school clubs, foreign exchange students and private parties.  I have worked with those who have daily struggles and challenges, including mental health, stress and depression, assisting them in refocusing on something really positive and creative.  I have worked with professional people, who have busy lifestyles and family lives who crave a little bit of well deserved "me time" and have introduced complete beginners to sewing and managed to get them utterly addicted who now blame me for their very own uncontrollable fabric stash!

Here are some of the classes over the years...

The classes have allowed me to make some true friends for life... you know who you are!  I am privileged to know you.

The workshops led to me organising something rather special... luxury 5* weekend cottage retreats, complete with a full itinerary.  For someone who is in love with a needle and thread, can you imagine how fabulous it is to spend a whole weekend sewing with like minded people?!?   I am very much looking forward to the two retreats I have booked in this year at this beautiful cottage... (just 2 spaces left for October)

 My work had developed so much, I was actually becoming very proud of the products I was creating and discovered a wonderful local photographer, who kindly agreed to take plenty of amazing professional photographs of my work.

I found my own unique style and was loving every minute of it.

My work was starting to travel... I began supplying shops all over the UK.  Before long my products were being sent to Australia, Spain, New York and France.

Employee to becoming the boss...

I was desperate to leave my job.  As much as I loved it, fabric was becoming increasingly more enjoyable than paperwork.  In 2013 I received the news that all employees dread... redundancy!  It was a stressful time, full of uncertainty and worry.  As much as I felt it was time to move on to pastures new, after 10 years in law I was comfy, I was used to that paycheck arriving on the first of every month.

After much consideration, sleepless nights and a very understanding and encouraging husband, we agreed that I would give Sweet Williams a six months trial, going full time self employed to see if I could really make something of it.  I turned down a job offered to me by the Local Authority and spent another two weeks feeling sick with worry, in case I had done the wrong thing.

Halloween 2013, I started my new journey from employee to being my own boss.  I was sad to leave my old life, but excited to start a new one.  The next 6 months wasn't a life line.  It wasn't easy, it was bloody hard work.  It was stressful and many sleepless nights were had.  When you do not have that guaranteed paycheck on the first of every month and its up to you to bridge that gap, you work the hardest you have ever worked in your life.  When you get up in the mornings, bundle the children off to school, you can quickly sink into a nasty routine of tea, toast and daytime telly and by the time you realise, you have wasted a day and its time to do the school run again!  I quickly learnt that I needed to be dedicated, focused, organised, motivated and willing to learn.  It was a really hard concept to grasp.

The last year...

This past year has seen the biggest growth in my business and a bit of a game changer.

With both children in full time school, I could really concentrate on getting myself into a proper routine and trying not to sew all unsocial hours.  There have been so many occasions in the past where I have worked 20 hour days and I found out the hard way that this was just not sustainable.

I found myself with a wonderful opportunity on my hands.  An opportunity which would see me vacate the dining table situated in my living room into my very own sewing studio.

A beautiful vintage style tea room and cake shop opened up in Pontardawe called Blissful Bakes.  The owner, Mandy has become a really good friend and sounding board to my random ideas!  A room was offered to me to sub let and I jumped at the chance.  I found myself working here...



It was my special little haven.  I adored it.  However, my business was growing at such a rate that I was desperate for more space.  I really didn't want to leave the tea room as I had become so fond of the atmosphere and the people there, as well as an addict to their coffee and the best cake I have ever tasted, so I was overwhelmed and grateful of the generosity shown to me when I was offered this amazing space to move into...

Rather quickly I made it my own and transformed it to this... isn't it wonderful?

My studio is based on the second floor, tucked away inside the tea room, but my ultimate goal has been at the forefront of my mind for a very long time, ever since I started taking Sweet Williams seriously.

The BIG announcement...

I am really sad to announce that I shall be shortly leaving this beautiful place behind.  I have had the most amazing time here.  The laughter which often fills this building between the tea room staff, customers and connecting beautiful clothes shop (think vintage style dresses and petticoats)  is infectious and I have again made some life long friends here.

I am feeling so emotional writing this because it is the combination of having some amazing people around me, who have had faith in me from the start, who have been with me every step of the way, never doubting me for a second, all of my wonderful customers who have made this next big step possible...

As sad as I am to leave... and there will be tears...


Its actually the start of a new exciting journey because Sweet Williams is coming to the high street!!!!!!!!!

Side note... It was rush hour, in May and I had Michael Buble's White Christmas blaring out of the car speakers when I randomly stopped the car to take this photo!!  I think running your own business makes you a little crazy!!  I am truly sorry to the people who witness my daily drama!!

I am so excited and nervous.  These days I range from squealing with excitement, dancing on the spot, to wanting to breathe deeply for 10 minutes into a paper bag to stop myself from passing out!!

It feels like the next natural step.  I feel I have grown my business in the proper channel, slowly, taking those gentle stepping stones to reach my ultimate goal.

The goal of my very own shop, with a proper shop front adorned in my branding with my name above the door.

It has been the hardest but most rewarding journey of all.  I have worked the hardest I have ever worked in my life and am not ashamed to admit that I am bloody well damn proud of what I have created.

So... let me give you a little snippet of information about the biggest news I've shared to date...

The Sweet Williams Boutique will be based on Herbert Street, Pontardawe and will be opening its doors in July.  The store will be divided into two parts.  The back of the shop will be a creative hub, home to my workspace, where the magic happens and where a wealth of fantastic workshops will run.  Not just my own sewing workshops, but I'll be bringing talented, expert tutors in to share their skills with you in the form of furniture upcycling, jewellery making, screen printing, creative writing and much much more.

The front of the shop will be a gorgeous treasure trove of Sweet Williams handmade products, where you are guaranteed to find the perfect unique and individual gift or treat for yourself.

I am stupidly excited to bring to Herbert Street the gorgeous range of Frenchic Furniture Paint.  It is an amazing healthier option chalk paint, which contains zero toxins, voc, solvents, pva and odour.  All of their paint including the waxes and sealent are EN:71-3 certified, meaning it is even safe for mums to be and children.  Oh and it just so happens to paint like a dream!

I have been working tirelessly to build up some gorgeous stock.  My home and my studio have become a bit of a warehouse!  Its amazing how much stock you need to fill a shop!!

I am operating a "rent a shelf" opportunity, for a handful of other small business owners to rent a little bit of precious space within the Sweet Williams Boutique to display their gorgeous stock for sale.  I already have some amazing unique businesses lined up already and am looking forward to sharing everything about them over the next few weeks.  If you are reading this an are interested in getting involved yourself, you can find out more information on how to apply by sending an email to

I am sure you will agree that this is such a wonderful opportunity and can see why I have been super excited in the build up of sharing the news with you all.

I want to thank everyone so much for their support, my family, friends, customers, followers on my social media pages, students at my classes, my amazing stockists, suppliers and anyone else I have missed... its because of you that this is possible.

I very much look forward to sharing updates with you, showing you the first peek of the shop and snippets of what is to come and I can't wait to welcome you to the Sweet Williams Boutique, whether it be online or in person and sharing my new journey with you.

Much love xxx

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The New Studio!

Firstly, thank you so much.  I received so many wonderful messages following my last blog post about expanding Sweet Williams, so I wanted to give you a little update on how the new sewing studio is looking.

Here is a before photo of the new studio...

Here are some progress photos...

Starting to take shape...

And this is how it looks now...

Do you like the canvases I made?  I stretched sewing related fabric onto canvas.  Really effective!

The cutting table!

Fabric and button stash!

Love my new sign.  Very true!

Individual sewing stations for workshops.  Another one has been added in since this photo.

You can't beat some fresh flowers!

So, what do you think??  I am so pleased with the space, its a really lovely place to work and I feel very proud of its progress.

This is Lucy,

Lucy is a new addition to the Sweet Williams team.  She has been a real asset this last couple of weeks and I am enjoying her company.  She has been helping me with lots of tasks to fulfil shop orders and today made a start on cutting out some Christmas things ready for festive makes!

I am busy behind the scenes preparing for new workshops, Christmas makes, orders, paperwork... an endless list of tasks really, and if you are a subscriber to my newsletter (link on my website you will be the first to hear all about these new classes very shortly!

Until next time...

Emma xxx

Monday, 29 June 2015

Behind the Scenes Update and News!!!

Honestly, I really don't know where the time goes!  I feel like I've been on that hamster wheel lately... constantly on the go, going round and round and round!  I think I have finally surfaced and order is being restored!

So many things have been going on behind the scenes.  New stockists, new products, events, a ton of sewing workshops, lots of work with local schools, including a big group of Catalonian children today, which was so much fun.  Despite the slight language barrier, I managed to get every child sewing and taking home a project to be proud of.  Can't help feeling a little proud myself!  Thank you Rhigos Primary School for having me and thank you to the Catalans for being fantastic.

There are lots of changes happening as Sweet Williams is finally expanding like I've always dreamt it would.  Surprising how a bit of hard work, a bucket full of patience and complete commitment can shake things up a bit!!

So, what are the big exciting changes???

I have learnt that I am mega pants when it comes to my own accounts and paper work and all paper shuffling related thingymajigs, despite being a uber organised so and so normally... so, from 1st July that is all now being passed over to someone else with far more patience and capabilities than myself who has complicated spreadsheets with fancy formulas all ready to rock and roll to tell me at the end of every day what has been spent and earned where!!!  Things just got serious!!!

Lots of you may know that I have a new sewing studio based in Pontardawe, attached to a gorgeous tea room and cake shop.  Here is my studio, before during and after... although it has undergone a bit more styling since this photo with lots of pretty bunting hung on the walls.





It has become too small.  Orders are coming in thick and fast and I have come to the conclusion that I simply cannot cope on my own in this space any longer.


I have decided to take the leap to employ my first member of staff!!!  Yikes!!

Watch this space over the next few months... Its incredibly exciting, but equally scary at the same time.

Now then.  Two of us cannot possibly work in the current space...



Only down the stairs... same building but a MUCH bigger space.

This is going to be my new studio...

Its an amazing space and a whole lot bigger than it looks here.  I'm going to be able to have a dedicated cutting table, permanent workshop space for sewing machine workshops, a work station for my new fabulous employee when she starts and just a whole lot of space to throw fabric round and have plenty of sewing fun!!

I really am very very excited.

I am hoping to move over the next couple of weeks so will be posting lots of during and after photographs for you to see its transformation!!  I think lots more bunting making needs to happen to make it look very pretty!!

Do pop in to the tea room where I am based if you are heading over to Pontardawe.  Blissful Bakes make freshly baked cupcakes and proper coffee with comfy seating in a beautiful setting.

Well worth a visit and you must pop your head round my door to say hello and gasp over the fabric and button collection!!!

 From September both my children will be in full time school, so I'll be at my studio each day from 10am-2.30pm and everything will be a little more structured, which I am really looking forward to.

So, as you can see, its all go here.  My order book is almost full to bursting and all I can say to that is thank you... thank you for keeping my busy.

My next project in between orders and moving will be to get my website updated... it will soon have lots of new products on there and sewing kits too, plus an updated list of workshops and events.

Its been a busy day, so I'm off to fill the teapot and have a lie down!!

Stay tuned...

Love Emma xxx

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Blog Post #100... 2015 goals... excitement!!

Wow, well would you look at that... I have just logged on to write a well anticipated blog post and what do I see... that this post is the 100th that I have written!!  How fab is that???

I posted a status to my Facebook Page earlier today about goal setting, planning and that I have exciting plans for 2015 and it has sparked lots of curiosity... I've had lots of lovely messages asking for clues... so I want to share what things are currently being set in motion behind the scenes.

Not a lot seems to happen in January physically.  Its not the right time of year for craft fairs, events, seasonal celebrations etc so I have been using my time to plan the months ahead and I tell you what, I am soooo super excited realising what I will achieve this year, I could wet myself!!!

I started by buying this awesome planner...

I follow Leonie Dawson on Facebook and have been very inspired by her recent posts, so I invested in her planner / organiser.  Its a massive spiral bound book, a place to reflect on 2014 and to map out how you want 2015 to look in your personal life and in business.  I've gotta say, its been fabulous and has sparked lots of excitement which has set the ball rolling.

I want to share with you some of the goals and plans I have popped in this book because you know sometimes, if you share these things you are more likely to follow them through to the end, and also, I simply cam't keep things to myself!!  How selfish would that be?!?!

So, some of you who have followed my blog for a long time will recall some time ago that I was planning some online sewing courses... I had to put it on the back burner for a while but this will be up and running this year!!  YAY!!  So, anyone who cannot come to my current classes will be able to learn new skills from the comfort of their own home by signing up for online tutorials.

You will also be able to sign up to my "how to start your own successful crafty business" course too which is going to be mega exciting... but these things are going to take a LOT of hard work and stress no doubt, so it will be much later on in the year that this will be happening...

So, of course, what other exciting news / plans can I keep you happy with in the meantime???

I will have a monthly newsletter coming out soon which you will be able to subscribe too.  You will get a freebie for signing up, lots of behind the scenes info etc so look out for that.

You see this machine here...

This is a gorgeous computerised sewing machine - a Janome CXL301.

I am waiting patiently (or not patiently as the case may actually be), for not one, not two, not three, but FOUR of these machines.  Woo hoo!!

They are going to make my 2015 machine classes so much more fun and I can't wait to get them and start playing.  I wonder if I can master the art of using them all at the same time?!?!?!?!

I have lots of classes booked in up until April, but more will be put in very soon.

When these new machines arrive I am going to be offering more 121 sessions as I get lots of people asking for that one on one tuition or a couple of friends round the dining table who want to learn.

My trusty old 1920's vintage Singer

The website will be back up and running soon.  It is the temporary but beautiful fully functioning version just until the online sewing classes are up and running, at which point everything will be moved over (I hope) to the new site.  When it is back up and running you will be able to purchase gorgeous monthly inspiration packs.  Each month there will be a different inspiration pack available.  You will be able to simply purchase whichever one takes your fancy as and when they appear, or you will be able to set up a direct debit to receive the packs monthly.  I am super super excited about these.

I am currently working on NEW SEWING KITS

Double YAY!!

They will be in new packaging and will be in lots of lovely new designs which I just know you are going to love.

I have lots of community projects going on this year, lots of work with schools and I am going to love every minute of it.

I currently supply lots of lovely stock to a few wonderful boutique type shops.  That will be continuing and I will be looking for more stockists very soon.

I have started booking in events for this year in a bid to get organised early!!

Beautiful baskets of handmade products will be finding their way across work staff rooms in due course where you will be able to see, feel and really check out the quality of Sweet Williams products before you purchase.  You will also be able to find discount codes, special offers and one off items in these baskets too so stay tuned on how you will be able to book yours in.

I have a business opportunity coming up soon for those who would like to earn a little bit of extra money / treat money by working freelance under the umbrella of Sweet Williams... I cannot give any more than that away yet, you will just have to sit tight and wait but I will be looking for several people across the UK to work with.  You will need to have passion for handmade, have a lot of ambition and be willing to learn something new.

Finally, I am in the process of trying to set up two of THE MOST EXCITING THINGS EVER!!

Again, some time ago I mentioned that I would like to set up some kind of residential sewing courses...

Well, the wheels have been set in motion and this will also be happening this year!!  My goodness, I can't believe it.

I am in the process of trying to rent beautiful rustic premises.  The idea is that you spend 2-3 days on a crafting / sewing holiday with like minded people.  You would get your own room / private space etc and you would spend the daytime learning new skills, hand sewing, machine sewing and enjoying every minute.  I am not giving any more away than this about the residential classes, so you will have to stay tuned for further information soon.

Later this year I am going to be running an intense sewing course, where I will take complete beginners, not having sewn before who want to learn on a 3 day course at a local public venue.  You will go from novice to pro and take home some amazing projects.


I know I am...

I don't know how I'm possibly going to sleep with all this going on!!

It is going to be a super jam packed year, and I still have a few other bits and pieces up my sleeve but these are plenty to be sharing for now.

I think I need a lie down in a dark room after all that!!

Its gonna be a rollercoaster of a year!!

2015 I am ready for you and I'm coming to get you!!

Emma xxx