Growing Business - Selkie Patterns
At a crossroads in their careers, two best friends with a passion for sewing and an eye on sustainability have created a unique female focused business platform.
Founded in 2018 by Caroline Akselson and Alexandra Bruce, Selkie Patterns design women's sewing patterns and fabrics for home sewing. Their fabrics and patterns are sustainably produced and designed in the U.K.
“We teach sewing workshops or give talks about sustainability in sewing. Our sewing patterns come in paper and digital formats (dressmaking patterns and lifestyle patterns) and our fabrics are on pre-order basis. We are proud to be a plastic-free, sustainable startup.” Explains Caroline.
“I (Alexandra) had always wanted to start my own business/ brand. After many years of working in the costume and fashion industry both Caroline and I were at the same place in our lives. We wanted to create something that was our own, a creative business that focuses on our passion and beliefs. So I just asked Caroline in the summer of 2017 if she would like to create a creative business with her best friend and this was when Selkie Patterns was born. We met up as often as we could challenging and evolving our business ideas!”
The Selkie team joined Enterprise Steps in September 2018, working with adviser Neil Leslie during their setting up phase.
“Neil helped us create a month by month plan for how to spread the word about our business, how to create and maintain momentum, what factors we needed to think about after the crowdfunding period finished, how to use cashflow predictions to help us move further and how to make business decisions based on facts and figures rather than feeling.”
The team moved into a studio space in the summer of 2019 and have been developing a subscription service as well as planning other streams of revenue into the business such as teaching. A sewing programme with fashion brands to offer in-house alterations is also in the pipeline together with lucrative talks and the introduction of digital lifestyle patterns.
Selkie Patterns were awarded the prestigious Eco Age Brandmark in the summer of 2019 for their efforts in sustainability and the team were also the authors of the new book to accompany the BBC show ‘The Great British Sewing Bee, Sustainable Style’.
“Working with Enterprise Steps has enabled us to evolve our ideas with someone with real business knowledge. This was so valuable for us as it shone a light on the gaps or areas that could grow more. It made us rethink and develop a lot of ideas in the business. In a nutshell Enterprise Steps has helped us for the long term, not just for the start of our business.” Says Alexandra.
the next steps with your business
Enterprise Steps has developed an innovative programme for London-based pre-start up, start-ups and established businesses to support them in growing to their full potential.
The Enterprise Steps programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).