How I Sewed Myself Happy! The True Story Behind My Small Business.
Hi, I'm Debbie! Mummy to 3 girls; Lola, Poppy and Grace, an ex teacher and a business owner. I'm an expert seamstress who creates absolutely gorgeous, limited edition handmade baby and children's clothing. I truly believe that behind every small business there is a story to share!
So, here's my story.....
As I sit here writing my first ever blog post it's given me the perfect opportunity to scroll through old pictures, reminisce and really reflect on how far I've come since the day I first sat down at my sewing machine back in 2015. Believe it or not I used to be a Secondary PE teacher! I taught at a High School in Wigan for 12 years. I absolutely loved it... and then I became a mummy.
Here's me with my first born Lola (2012)
If you're a mummy, I know you will be able to resonate with me, but once you have a baby, the life you knew before totally changes. My priorities completely changed and the thought of going back to work leaving my baby was awful, and actually doing it was so hard, but it was what everyone did so I just followed suit and got on with things.
It wasn't long until another new addition was added to the family. Poppy, my second daughter was born in July 2014 and now we had 2 little ones under the age of 2. The rising cost of child care meant I made the decision to go part time. I had the best of both worlds, and I was really happy. Here's some pics of Lola and Poppy when they were babies.
In June 2015 I had returned to teaching part time and was just getting used to life as a part time working mummy of 2 and I discovered I was pregnant again. It was a real shock but one that I was really excited about. There was going to be another addition to the family. But very sadly, it wasn't meant to be.
The pregnancy was ectopic. I was rushed to hospital and had to have emergency surgery. I lost my left fallopian tube and I was told that the chances of having any more children was very unlikely. It took a few days for what had happened to me to actually sink in, it all happened so fast. It only truly hit me when I walked out of the hospital a few days later.
Nothing prepares you for baby loss, it's one of the worst things to deal with ever and the grief is devastating. I think after experiencing 2 normal healthy pregnancies with Lola and Poppy I was even more naive and unprepared that things like this can happen.
I can only describe the next 6 months of my life as walking around with a cloud of doom above my head. I was so emotional, found it so difficult to cope on a day to day basis and having 2 little ones under the age of 2 to look after and parent was so tough. Looking back I know my mental health was suffering and I was so foolish in the fact I didn't seek any help or advice, I just plodded on. So silly I know now, but at the time that was just my coping mechanism.
In August 2015 I was sat randomly watching "The Great British Sewing Bee" and I suddenly got this overwhelming urge to buy a sewing machine. I did GCSE Textiles at school and hadn't touched a machine since I was 15, but I knew I would be able to remember the basics. So off I went to Ebay and I bought a second hand sewing machine for £40. All I can say is it's the best £40 I have ever spent as that moment has changed my life.
This is the only picture I have of that machine, I made a pin cushion with Lola, I think she was almost 3 in these pics. I still use this pin cushion today too.
I watched loads of YouTube videos and searched Pinterest for tutorials and I taught myself to sew. I made Lola and Poppy some outfits from some of my mums old dresses she was getting rid of and I can't tell you how happy and proud sewing for my girls made me. Seeing them in items that I had made filled me with so much joy and gradually I started to feel like myself again. The grey clouds lifted. I sewed myself happy!
Here's some of the first ever items I made from my mums old dresses.
It wasn't long before people started asking where I got my girls dresses from and I was able to utter those magic words... 'oh I made it!' It was the best feeling ever, addictive almost, and it spurred me on to get better and better.
I became obsessed with sewing, obsessed with buying fabric (I still am actually!!) and the rest, as they say, is history. I decided to set up a facebook page just to show people what I'd made, never once thinking I could make a business from doing this. I just wanted people to see what I could do.
My mum came up with the name 'Lola-Pops' after my two beautiful girls... it sounded great and it was perfect. And then, a few months later, THE BEST and MOST EXCITING THING HAPPENED.... I found out I was pregnant again!
Here's me, Lola and Poppy on holiday in Santorini for my sister's wedding. I'm 36 weeks pregnant here. The girls are wearing dresses I made from old fabric someone gave to me and I even made my own dress too (the pink one). This is my original logo which I know looks like a 5 year old has drawn it 😅, but back in the day I had no idea how to use a computer to design stuff, PowerPoint and Word was about my limit. So I did what every good Teacher did and I got the girls colouring pens out and got creative. Ha ha!
A little miracle! I've never been so happy, but so scared in all my life, all at the same time. They say things happen when you least expect it and it really is true. I didn't know what a Rainbow Baby was at the time but when you suffer a loss, the baby that comes next is the most precious gift ever.
I was that excited I made a super special outfit just perfect for my special rainbow! 🌈 I didn't find out the gender of my baby, I wanted a surprise, so this gorgeous little romper was reversible; pink on one side and blue on the other, with a little splash of rainbow. This was the first ever item I made for Grace, and it's the first outfit I ever made from jersey fabric too (little sneak peak of Grace modelling it to perfection!🤩).
Finding out I was pregnant again, knowing it was a true blessing, was another turning point in my life. I just knew I didn't want to be a teacher anymore. I wanted to be at home with my babies and I just had this overwhelming feeling that I could set up my own small business making gorgeous clothing for babies. Don't ask me how, or why, or what, but I just knew deep down inside that I could do it and nothing was going to stop me. So with the full support of my husband and at 20weeks pregnant with my 3rd baby, I walked away from the teaching profession forever and I have never looked back since.
Can you relate to any parts of my story?
Baby loss is such a taboo subject and it's still not openly talked about enough. I think had I have spoken to more people about how I was truly feeling I would have been able to cope better in those early days. Grief is a personal thing and if I can offer any advice, it's finding someone that you can talk to and share your thoughts and feelings with. Talking about things definitely helps, and I'm always here to help anyone going through tough times in their life.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my first blog, my story will continue on the next one so please keep an eye out if you want to hear more!