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We spent last week re-designing our children's ranges. Introducing new designs and revisiting some old designs and completely re-working them.
When I started Snapdragon I was on my own and all I did was freehand machine embroidery, every piece was embroidered individually, and made up to order.
Gradually that began to frustrate me - I was tied to the workshop, every order depended on me being there and the only way to grow the business was to work longer and longer hours until I became ill.
I also found that it really restricted my creativity - the amount of time I could allow per embroidery was capped by how much people would pay for a notebook or a cushion or a bag. I wasn't able to spend a couple of days embroidering something really intricate as it wouldn't be commercially viable.
Then I switched to printing from my embroideries and it completely changed my life. Every product is still made to order but I now have a team who can make them, I am able to concentrate on designing, writing and embroidering. If I want to spend days embroidering an intricate hen, feather by feather, I can. If I want to use 60 colours in a design or scraps of antique silk or digitally mix watercolour and photographs I can. It was enormously freeing.
Early on I embroidered a range of vehicles - land rovers, camper vans, tractors, police cars, and cars - and we used them combined with watercolour landscapes on mugs.
The vehicles are bright and simple, made from appliqué felts and fabrics and had always called out to be used for children's range. When we decided to expand our children's department they were top of the list.
The vehicles are designed so that photographs of children can be inserted into the cars so that they look as if they are driving. They are such fun products - the little boy who loves police cars can wear a t-shirt with him in the driving seat; the girl who loves camper vans can have a cushion in her room with her and her sister driving along.
From time to time I get emails from people complaining that I no longer sell many embroidered things on the website (Embroidered things are now released in quickly sold out limited editions to Newsletter subscribers twice a year) but I feel that products like these 'Your child in a vehicle" bags, books, mugs, aprons and t-shirts are much more creative, fun and unique than me becoming a human conveyor belt of embroidered notebooks and cushions.
You can see the full range of 'Your child in a vehicle' products HERE.