Jane Charles from Small Stitches 6

Midday Makers

I did a degree in Fashion, but before the internet I think we did degrees that were suggested by teachers – there were less opportunities, there are certainly more choice now which is great.

My work now is generally flat, so it doesn’t have to fit anyone! I still draw on my degree experience though with knowledge of fabrics, colour theory and an love of creating things out of fabric.

There was a time when I didn’t make much at all, focussing on paying the bills for 10 years living in London. I think it was moving to Milton Keynes with 2 young children in 2002 that made me think again about crafting.

I started making small things made from felt, mobiles and angels made from the poppy heads that grew in our newly acquired garden. As the (now 3) children got bigger I started working on different textile things, but it always fitted around childcare, when the youngest started school full time, I had whole days to play around and make things.

I then got involved in Adult Education and teaching Family Learning courses which led to teaching creative textiles around 12 years ago. Getting a studio 6 years ago, then meant I could take on larger commissions and experiment with different techniques, there is so much to play around with and learn in textiles….it just grows and grows!

It’s the teaching and large community commissions that pay me money, but I have to carry on making smaller things, it’s in my blood so to sell directly to the public at fairs is really important and this lockdown has focussed my attention to selling on line and it’s really paid off.

I loved taking part in the MMFH in May, setting up my stall and directing my Insta posts on promotion and telling my story.

Watch Jane’s chat with us on our Midday Makers IGTV series here.

Jane’s Folksy shop: Smallbeans

Instagram @smallstitches6

Lani Scholtz from Sincerely Africa

Midday Makers

My name is Lani, I’m a wife, mom and dog mom. My family and I live on the border between Cheshire and Staffordshire in a beautiful little town called Congleton so we get the best of both worlds! I grew up in South Africa, studied animal science, became an animal nutritionist, and moved to the UK in 2015. When I moved, I was in the midst of completing an MBA degree which had a big influence on me in the sense that I knew I wanted a career change.

I came up with the idea of Sincerely Africa while on maternity leave, sitting in a freezing cold kitchen in the middle of summer with the rain pouring down outside, I missed sunshine and a warm breeze. I wanted something to cheer me up and my first thought was to get some flowers in my kitchen.

My sister, a photographer and I collaborated to create and photograph my designs every time I went to South Africa and then last year, I had enough savings to start my business. I started slow by printing only one or two tablecloths at a time but soon realised that bulk printing saves a lot of money.

I use a local printing company in Staffordshire to print my designs on 100% cotton, half panama weave fabric. They send me the huge roll of fabric which I then make into various kitchen textiles but mainly tablecloths.

I got furloughed at the start of April and decided to really hunker down and see how much I can achieve while I am at home. Not just to grow my business as much as possible but also to use the time to get to know my community and learn how to use social media efficiently and effectively.

Watch Lani’s interview with MMFH Ambassador Alice O’Connell on our Midday Makers IGTV.

Visit Lani’s website at www.sincerelyafrica.com

Instagram @sincerely_africa_products