I first met Sophia from Jessalli Handmade at Kirstie’s handmade fair last year. I was drawn like a magnet to a beautiful appliqued ‘Alice in wonderland’ cushion that was on display. Looking up from examining the cushion I saw a twinkling pair of eyes and a huge smile beaming down at me…
The Story Behind Jessalli Handmade
I now know that the smile belonged to Sophia the owner and talented creative maker behind ‘Jessalli Handmade’ Little did I realise we actually had far more in common than we knew
As well as a love of textiles and sewing, we both live near each other in Dorset and I already knew her lovely Mum Allison!
So without further ado let me introduce you to Sophia and her creative business ‘Jessalli Handmade’ As usual I put five questions to Sophia…
What is the story behind the name Jessalli handmade ?
Jessalli is named after my Mum Allison and her best friend Jess. We’ve been going on family holidays together since we were young and had dreams of a family business making cakes, serving tea and selling handmade wares. When I started my business I used our little dream as inspiration and the name stuck- although people always think my name is Jess!
When did you start creating?
I’ve been sewing since I was tiny, as my mum and Nan taught me. Mum used to make all my fancy dress costumes and ballet outfits and when I got old enough she let me help! Since then I went through love-hate fazes with the craft through my early teens. But managed to make my Art GSCE textile orientated, make all my prom dresses, and slowly love it enough again to do it for my A levels. I then realised this was something I really wanted to do and after cancelling my place at university to study fashion journalism, I went to work in Australia. It was the handmade children’s shop I worked in that inspired me to kick start my dream.
Who or what inspires you?
My surroundings and my upbringing are my biggest inspirations. I’ve lived in the countryside my whole life and design my things whilst looking over rolling green fields with a child like view in mind. I see tractors and farm animals, but I make them bold, bright and spotty! Think ‘country style’ then throw tonnes of colour at it!
People and Surroundings
I’m inspired by loads of different people. I love strong minded business women, friends like Tilly Walnes (Tilly and the Buttons) and Georgie Foster (Beauoxo) keep me going. It’s nice to have friends who you can relate to, yet are becoming successful in their own unique way.
I’m also inspired by loads of artists, illustrators, painters and designers. I’m drawn to colour and images, Pinterest is my way of remembering amazing looking things!
How do you organise your life around creating and running your own business?
Organising my life around my business is a tricky one. I work from home so I have a strict daily schedule. I wake up, have breakfast, check emails and social media. Within this first hour of my working day I also tidy up any loose ends, and tick off a few admin things on my to-do list. Then the making starts.
How I organise my day
I will have a list of orders or stock to make, so everyday is different. I stop for lunch and a tea break. Then work a few hours in the afternoon to finish up and write a to-do list for the following day. I then try and go to the gym or a yoga class to keep me sane. Then I come home and cook dinner. It’s after dinner that I’ll be on my laptop again, or during busy times I’ll carry on stitching until it’s time for bed.
I’m lucky to have friends and family who are very understanding when it comes to seeing me or organising social events. And occasionally they’ll volunteer to help out in the studio too!
Can you tell us about your future plans for ‘Jessalli’ ?
I’ll be at The Handmade Fair in September which I look forward to every year. I’ll be bringing some brand new products and offers exclusively for the show.
Product wise I’m always designing new products, my printed fabrics have been a huge dream come true this year, so I’m enjoying using them and seeing what my customers make too. Hopefully in the future I can carry on expanding my printed fabric designs and using loads of different materials. I’m just grateful for being able to run my own business, I can’t believe I’m in my fifth year! All I hope for the future is that I’m still this happy with what I’m doing.
Huge thanks to Sophia for providing us with some fascinating answers. I am sure you will join with me and wish her luck with her future plans.
Would like to see more of Sophia? Find her here on social media.
Pinterest: Jessalli Handmade Homewares
Read more Back stories just like this one?
Do have a look at my other Sewing Posts, they are all on this page
Check out the LDJ Home Page for all the latest posts.