Presenting the goodmakes ‘Aylmer’ playpant

Presenting the goodmakes ‘Aylmer’ playpant

Named after the Aylmer Pantry where I ran the first goodmakes design workshop, I am excited to present the very first goodmakes playpant – the “Aylmer”!

Made from a whimsical fabric designed by mothers, inspired by their shared stories of motherhood, the “Aylmer” was printed in Manchester on organic cotton and sewn by mothers in London.

Buying these trousers supports not only mothers and their children but the British manufacturing industry… so take a stroll over to our online shop for sizes and prices.

And… the biggest, huggiest thank you to everyone who has supported me through the start-up process, your friendship, time and advice are invaluable and you have all my love and gratitude!

Sewing on a 1950’s Singer sewing machine!

Sewing on a 1950’s Singer sewing machine!

Who would have thought that the ole’ 1950s Singer sewing machine I picked up 10 years ago in a car-boot sale for 50p and had refurbished would be so sturdy and reliable to sew with after all this time! This Singer was seriously built to last and is so easy to work with!

I have spent the past week sewing dozens of trousers in preparation for the first goodmakes sale at the Highgate Fair. After figuring out how to assemble the pattern and the process of cloth cutting, pinning and hemming, I managed to get a snappy production going producing about one pair of trousers in 20 mins!

So.. some mamas asked whether I could run a sewing workshop so they could learn how to sew the trousers themselves and my answer is YES! The pattern is easy to sew and would be a good one for beginners to learn with – so sewing could be an optional follow up workshop to the narrative fabric design one. Watch this space!

goodmakes-production-scissors-20x20cm-72-dpi

Workshop Planning to include Arts Therapy with Lina B

Workshop Planning to include Arts Therapy with Lina B

I’m so lucky to be surrounded by inspiring mamas like Arts & Drama Therapist Lina, who sweetly invited me over to talk about how I could include Arts Therapy techniques into the Goodmakes textile design workshop as a way to facilitate the sharing of stories of motherhood by the participants.

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy involving the encouragement of free self-expression through painting, drawing, or modelling, used as a remedial or diagnostic activity.

Mothers experience many challenges during childbirth and raising children which they are encouraged to share in the goodmakes workshop. Applying Art Therapy techniques to structure the  workshop helps to create a safe and nurturing environment for those narratives to be shared and translated into visual symbols and motifs that can be used in the fabric design.

Many thanks to Lina for her input; I’m excited to see how the first workshop goes!

 

mother’s day textile design workshop

hello mamas!

I am so happy and excited to announce the first goodmakes textile design workshop will take place on Sunday 26th March – Mother’s Day here in the UK.

Come along for some cake and bubbly whilst sharing stories of motherhood (good, bad and funny!) to inspire a design that will be printed onto fabric and sewn into super cute kids trousers…

goodmakes-mothers-day-workshop-poster

Digital mama-power: social media strategy with Madelaine Healey

Digital mama-power: social media strategy with Madelaine Healey


The takeout from the best meetings always seem to wind up scrawled on the back of a napkin or in this case, the (very patient) waiter’s notepad.

goodmakes was lucky enough to meet up with fab Digital Mum Madelaine Healey (twitter @madzhealey) to have an inspiring and super informative conversation about the process of including social media strategy as an integral part of the social enterprise start-up business plan in order to connect with people and grow the business. 

So now you can follow goodmakes on twitter @good__makes and on instagram at good.makes 🙂

 

goodmakes-socialmedia-madeleine-healyHere are a few tips I took from the meeting and from some research I did online, for anyone who wants to include a social media strategy in their startup process:

1. Define social media goals for your business.

The following goals can be achieved through social media on little or no budget:

 

Brand awareness

Using social media as a channel for driving brand awareness happens organically as you post content, engage with target users and so promote your brand.

Content distribution / dissemination 

Sharing engaging and original content is a great way to get the word out about the brand as others share your posts and advertise your brand for you.

Lead generation 

Ideally, you would like your social media profiles to be lead generators that drive traffic to your website or blog. This requires a long-term investment and results usually aren’t seen for many months.

New Customers Finally, the best case scenario is that your social media profiles raise brand awareness, your content generates leads, and leads turn into customers. If you can use social media as a customer acquisition tool, you’ve officially maximized its value.

2. Choose appropriate social media platforms

Depending on your strategy and goals, you should be able to choose which social media platforms are right for your startup.

Here is a brief overview of six major social media platforms that are potentially of value to startups:

Facebook As the largest social media platform on the internet, Facebook is the best way to reach the masses. It’s the most far reaching platform with 700 million users and most established business have a Facebook page, lending credibility to the business.

Twitter  Twitter users are more likely to interact with or purchase from the brands they follow. If content distribution and one-on-one customer engagement is important to you, Twitter should be a key part of your social media strategy. Identify at least 12 companies that are inspiring and follow them.

LinkedIn Startups and companies on the look out for business partners can use LinkedIn in to engage other professionals as it facilitates global networking.

Instagram A powerful way to visually engage your target audience, Instagram is  an easy  tool to create a visual identity for your brand – indeed “A picture speaks more than a 1000 words”. 

YouTube An incredibly influential Brand Awareness tool, You Tube allows you to share engaging videos with millions of eager users. By easily creating high quality videos you can personalise your approach to facilitate conversation and cross-market your brand by sharing content on other platforms.

Pinterest. Is the fastest growing social media platform and is particularly conducive to startups with physical products if they are well photographed and so regularly added to Pinterest boards.

Some helpful tips…

Update social streams frequently! Creating lists, guest blogging and photos are good ways to engage people and grow your audience.

More listening, less talking. Focusing on listening to your followers to gather valuable feedback to learn from is a determining factor in the success of the brand / business. If social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are used properly they can essentially serve as ongoing free focus groups for your startup.

Build a community. For the long-term, building a community of “brand ambassadors” who share your content and support your  business activity is crucial to a successful social media strategy. 

Don’t be afraid to try new things! So long as you preserve the integrity of your brand, experimentation is a valuable way to gather information and reach new followers. 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to goodmakes – follow our story!

Welcome to goodmakes – follow our story!

Welcome to goodmakes! 🙂

I’m glad you’ve found us. If you’ve arrived here you have probably been looking for one of these things – children’s clothing, textile design, topics relating to motherhood, mothers returning to work or social enterprises.

My name is Stephanie and I am setting up a new social enterprise called goodmakes which aims to help mothers gain the skills and confidence to find a job and start work after having a baby. This will be achieved through a business structure based on creative textile design workshops where children’s trousers are produced leading to month-long internship opportunities with goodmakes in a child-friendly, safe and nurturing work environment that helps build skills and confidence.

Mothers come along to a free goodmakes textile design workshop where they share stories of motherhood and use those narratives as inspiration to design the textiles which will be used to make children’s trousers.

As a first step, the workshops encourage mothers to socialise and meet other mothers whilst learning about textile design, which may be enough of an out-take for some mothers.

During the workshops mothers will be offered the opportunity to intern with goodmakes for a month to gain skills to add to their CV in a variety of roles including Sales, Marketing, Updating the Website, Sewing and Textile Design. They will also be offered help with their CV content and layout and interview skills.

goodmakes-what-we-do

If you are interested in our story or you are thinking about setting up a social enterprise yourself, follow me as I set up goodmakes and I will keep you posted on our progress!