Charlotte Macey Textiles is a small handmade textiles and homewares company based in the heart of the Cotswolds.
Charlotte lovingly makes everything by hand using her signature hand-drawn and machine embroidered illustrations, inspired by the many charms of her rural surroundings .
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start the business…
A. I began Charlotte Macey Textiles after working for a textiles magazine, and realising that there were a lot of designers running their own textiles-related businesses, working for themselves and creating products that they had so much passion for. In the back of my mind my creativity kicked into gear, and before long I’d sampled my first tea towel and egg cosy, I still have them lurking in a drawer!
Q. Where is your business located?
A. My studio is based in the Cotswolds, in the heart of the British countryside, and having lived here for most of my life a lot of my inspiration comes from the natural colours that I’ve grown up with. I source as many of my materials as I can locally from small independent shops, and I also use some lovely British fabric suppliers, so I make sure that I everything I use is home grown in the UK.
Q. Do you use any specialist techniques or equipment to produce your goods?
A. I create my designs using free machine stitch on my sewing machine. Each product is an individually handmade item so no two pieces are the same and they will have quirky differences between them. The stitch style I use is like a unique handwriting, and it features strongly as part of my range of homeware items.
Q. What are the most popular products in your range?
A. Since introducing my ‘wine glasses’ range a couple of months ago, they have gone down an absolute storm! And beach huts have always been popular; in fact, tea cups and cupcakes also do well, and have a very British feel to them. I think the unique quality and style of each item I make, and the pretty scraps of fabric I appliqué into my designs make them all quite special and great as presents. I’ve spent a lot of time this summer customising items for wedding gifts, which has been great! And I’m thoroughly excited to launch my ‘puddings’ range for Christmas.
Q. What’s the best thing about what you do?
A. I wake up each day excited to start working, it’s wonderful. I’m so grateful that I am able to do what I love, and every day is so varied. I take on a lot of roles during my day, ranging from admin to designing and making, and everything in between! Every day in the studio is different, and I can’t beat the satisfaction when I complete a product and it heads off to its new home.
Q. Why do you choose to make your products in Britain?
A. I like to know that I am supporting local shops and suppliers, and am lucky that my local fabric shops stock some really lovely materials! Knowing at the end of the day that the whole product is British ‘born and bred’ is a good feeling.
Q. What’s been your proudest moment?
A. Seeing my egg cosies in the August issue of Country Living magazine in a feature about FromBritainWithLove.com. It was amazing and so exciting – I felt so proud and still do! I also get lovely feedback from my customers on a daily basis, which makes it all so worthwhile.
Q. Where do you sell your products?
A. I sell primarily through my own website www.charlottemacey.co.uk, as well as a couple of other lovely online shops. Craft fairs are another place I sell, and have just come back from my first trade fair in Harrogate, which was nerve-wracking and exciting all at once! I have about 24 stockists now around the UK, which is fantastic considering I only started Charlotte Macey Textiles last November, and I still get excited seeing my products in the flesh in a shop.
Q. Which other British producers inspire you and why?
A. I’m constantly inspired by the talent and determination of British designers, and some of my favourites are also lovely people to boot. I love the textile designer Sarah Hardaker and the beautiful linens she produces. I met Sally from Big Tree Little Tree at my most recent trade fair – she makes environmentally friendly ‘seeded’ cards, which are great to encourage growing your own produce, and especially fun for children. And last but not least Becky from Dots and Spots who makes fun and stylish greetings cards and prints.
Q. Do you make an effort to buy British when food shopping?
A. I love Bottle Green drinks who are based in my local area – I recently saw one of their products on an Australian soap! The Wotton Farm shop just outside Wotton-under-Edge sells wonderful fresh fruit, vegetables, and all things tasty – I’m a big fan of the Pick-Your-Own strawberry fields! The Stroud Farmers Market which is held weekly in the town centre is great for picking up delicious local produce, and Jesse Smiths in Tetbury is good for local meats and cheeses. Quite a selection!
Q. Where is your favourite place to holiday in Britain?
A. My all time favourite place to go on holiday is the south coast of Devon. I have visited most years with my family since I was little, and it’s another part of my upbringing that has inspired my designs and the items that I make. Salcombe is particularly good to visit – it’s vibrant, has lots of good areas for crabbing, and Salcombe Dairy make the best ice cream… you can’t go wrong!
Q. And finally, what do you do to relax and unwind when you’re not busy working?
A. At the moment I am working non-stop, so to relax and unwind properly is fairly rare! But on the odd occasion that this does happen, I like to read or do some kind of exercise – great for clearing your head! – and I do love a good shopping trip now and again!