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 www.sweet-williams.biz) 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

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Back into the swing of things!!!


Today was my first sewing class since before Christmas and it felt so good to be back in the swing of things!!

Today saw lots of regulars and a few newbies too which was lovely.

Some snaps from the class.

We played with lots of fabric, lots of felt and lots of yummy buttons!!

And from all of that we made some gorgeous flower brooches.

Here are some of the ones we made...

We all had a lovely morning, chatted away and drank lots of tea.

Following the class I usually dash off but today I took the opportunity to cut out a batch of 7 cushions ready for orders which will be this afternoons task... sewing all the lettering onto the fronts.

Next class is Saturday 24th January 2015 at 11am at Port Talbot Library.  The class will last approx 2 hours and the theme is Afternoon Tea!!  Stay tuned for pics.

Emma xxx

Sunday, 4 January 2015

New Year = New Sewing Classes!!

A very Happy New Year to you all.  Hope you all had an amazing Christmas!

Its been a funny year has 2014 business wise.  That's funny odd, not funny ha ha by the way...

I took a very long break from the sewing.  You know sometimes you do something so much that it gets you down and you end up feeling unsure whether you want to do it anymore... well that was how I was feeling.  I became stuck and I didn't know how to become unstuck, I don't know what happened to my passion for fabric,someone must have stolen it, so the easiest thing for me to do was to pack most of my stuff up, hide it and kind of forget about it for a little while.  I tend to deal with lots of things like this!

I still kept some workshops going, but that was about it.  Months passed, I had started another business, which was fabulous, but in the summer I picked up a craft kit whilst on holiday for something to do late evening in the cottage and I felt that spark again.  That spark I felt way back in 2011 when I used a sewing machine for the first time.  For the first time in months I went to bed with my brain whirring of other things I could make and couldn't wait to finish off that project I had bought.

Then came the mixed emotions.  The feeling of guilt for packing everything away.  For neglecting blogs, social media sites, websites, not staying in touch as regularly as usual with my loyal customers.  For letting things slide so much I was on the verge of wondering if all was lost and that would be that.

We came home from holiday and in September I got to work planning out winter classes and new products.

And you know what, October, November and December are the best months I have had since I started Sweet Williams.  I am amazed at what could been achieved in such a short space of time when you put your mind to it and when you find that passion for something you love again.  I actually forgot what it felt like to sew!!  How bizarre is that!?!?!

So, I started supplying to shops again, customers came queueing up to purchase Christmas gifts.  I sold just short of 200 cushions, around 30 stockings, approx 350 Christmas decorations along with a whole host of other bits and bobs at the many craft fairs I managed to book in.

I ran lots of lovely workshops and was approached by our Town Council who asked if I would run some classes for them.  They were fantastic and I am sure that everyone who came had a lovely time and were proud of what they made.

And so, here we are.  It's January 2015 and my mind is racing.  I am completely fired up and am looking to take Sweet Williams to another level this year.  Whilst having a long break, including over Christmas I have thought long and hard about what I want to do with Sweet Williams.  I do have an ultimate goal in mind which is rather big (for me) but not impossible, and so this year is going to be about ticking off lots of smaller goals to get closer to what I ultimately want.

This year will see LOTS of fabulous sewing workshops, where there will be much more machine classes.  A range of gorgeous sewing kits in equally gorgeous new packaging.  The return of popular products, brand new products, the website will be back up and running and will be looking to work with more retailers this year.

I am organised (well, getting there)!  My diary is already filling up, I have a wall planner, a life and business organiser, a whiteboard and I am determined to keep on top of my admin (bleurgh)!

I am also VERY excited to be involved in a new local project called Swing into Spring which involves LOTS of fun and LOTS of bunting.  I will tell you all about that soon.

So... the long awaited sewing dates so far!!

These are the current dates I have booked in between now and the end of April.  There will be more to be added, I am just awaiting confirmation on a few more things first.

10th - Flower Brooch using felt and fabric. 11am - 1pm. £5 per person.
24th - Felt Magnets - afternoon tea theme! 11am - 1pm. £5 per person.
24th - How to make a simple Patchwork Cushion. 1.30pm - 4pm. £25 per person and limited to 5 people. This class must be paid for in advance. ONE SPACE REMAINING

7th - Heart Decoration. 11am - 1pm. £5 per person.
21st - Felt Sheep. 11am - 1pm. £5 per person.
21st - How to make a peg bag. 2pm - 4pm. £15 per person and limited to 8 people. This class must be paid for in advance. 5 SPACES REMAINING

7th - Easter Bunnies. 11am - 1pm. £5 per person.
21st - Easter Chicks. 11am - 1pm. £5 per person.
21st - Spring Bunting. 1.30pm - 4pm. £20 per person and limited to 5 people. This class must be paid for in advance. 2 SPACES REMAINING

11th - Star Keyring. 11am - 1pm. £5 per person.

25th - Felt Squirrel. 11am - 1pm. £5 per person.
25th - How to make a door stop. £15 per person and limited to 8 people. This class must be paid for in advance. 2 SPACES REMAINING

These workshops are all to be held at Port Talbot Library which is situated on the first floor of the Aberafan Shopping Centre. Refreshments are provided. Each person who attends gets issued with a loyalty card. The more you take part in, the more stamps you collect. Fill a card and you will receive a fabulous inspiration pack. Beginners are more than welcome. To book, send me an email (sweet.williams@live.co.uk), or visit my Facebook page and send me a message (www.facebook.com/sweetwilliamshandmade)

Oh, and did I mention that by the first machine class at the end of the month I should have lots of brand new shiny sewing machines for you to use too, since I seem to find myself with a temperamental set at the moment that I am fed up of shouting at!!

Soooooo, lots planned and so much to look forward to. Its safe to say I am very excited and can't wait to get 2015 properly underway.

Shall be back with lots of lovely updates soon.

Emma xxx