Cornish textile accessories designer Poppy Treffry creates charming tea cosies and other embroidered delights.
With their whimsical motifs and words inspired by her coastal surroundings, Poppy’s designs are all lovingly created by hand so each one is truly unique. We caught up with Poppy and her talented team in their harbour-side studio.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start the business…
A. I did a textile design degree at Winchester and then volunteered with a craft co-operative in Guatemala, helping women to develop their business skills and supporting them in setting up a local craft shop. I’d only intended to stay a year but I got so involved in the project that I ended up staying for three.
On my return to Cornwall in 2003 I began making bags for a local shop, having taught myself freehand machine embroidery on an old Singer sewing machine that my granddad found on a dump! A business advisor from Creative Kernow (who are no longer around) saw the bags and helped me to find a workshop and set up my own studio. At first I had a part time job as well, but after 18 months I took the plunge to go full time and we’ve now been trading for about five years.
Q. Where is your business located?
Q. Do you use any specialist techniques or equipment to produce your goods?
A. The best selling products are the tea and coffee cosies and the most popular design is ‘Tea by the Sea’ which is one of our original designs. We’ve also recently launched a range of ceramic mugs and teapots which are made in Stoke-on-Trent and have proved very popular.
Q. What’s the best thing about what you do?
Q. Why do you choose to make your products in Britain?
Q. What’s been your proudest moment?
Q. Where do you sell your products?
Q. Which other British producers inspire you and why?
A. I love The Black Rabbit which is run by my best friend Lindsay Marsden. I also love Teresa Green’s screen-printed linens, Anorak’s outdoor products which are perfect for camping, Hope & Benson for their beautiful handmade handbags, and of course my partner Justin Duance who creates his wonderful handcrafted jewellery in the studio next to ours.
Q. Do you make an effort to buy British when food shopping?
Q. Where is your favourite place to holiday in Britain?
A. For a short break we like to visit Porthcothan in North Cornwall between Padstow and Newquay (below). We stay in a lovely cabin right on the beach called The Red Buoy.
We also love St Agnes in the Isles of Scilly where we camp every year at Troy Town Farm (below) which is the most south-westerly campsite in Britain.
There’s a great place to eat on St Agnes called High Tide (below) which is a beach cafe during the day and a seafood restaurant in the evening, serving local produce such as freshly caught crab.
Q. And finally, what do you do to relax and unwind when you’re not busy working?
Feeling inspired? Why not buy Poppy’s book…. Free and Easy Stitch Style
This treasure trove of projects includes home accents such as cushions and curtains, and accessories such as handbags and purses to show off your sewing in style. Step-by-step instructions, illustrations and photographs combined with a fresh and funky design mean that ‘Free & Easy Stitch Style’ is bursting with needlecrafting personality and creativity!
Photo of Poppy: Mike Thomas