Digibloom Small business spotlight shines on Saffie Pluck of Pluck'd Designs, a contemporary Urban knitwear Brand
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi my name is Saffie Pluck, and I am a product designer based in North London. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2014 and working for various design studios and shops, I decided to start my own reflective urban wear company. I currently do this full time.
Describe your business
My brand is called Pluck'd Designs, after my last name, Pluck. I make reflective knitwear, accessories and clothing for the urban city-goer. My aim is to create items that look normal and stylish during the day, but functional and reflective at night, making the transition from day to night seamless, and allowing the wearer to be seen in their urban jungle. I make all items in North London, and I try where possible to source all materials from the UK.
What inspires you?
After finishing my Product Design degree at Central Saint Martins, I wanted to explore the interest I had in textiles and textures. You would often find me throughout my degree taking pavement rubbings of textures in London, which I loved because of the random lines of texture that appeared on the paper. I was an avid cyclist at the time (and still am!), and wanted to design products that could be used whilst cycling to be highly visible at night, but for them to look normal during the day.
I guess this tactile quality stayed with me, to later develop in my own work, as I began to experiment with reflective tape, using my spinning wheel to ply it with yarn, which created a random, scattered effect when knitted. For me, the beauty was in using a well known process to create a material or yarn that had a random pattern to it, but which also served a functional purpose. Also, I have always be interested in processes, and as a result I am a self-taught knitter, weaver and spinner (making yarn on my spinning wheel). This curiosity in processes also led me to develop my own products, as I had the skills at my disposal.
Why did you decide to start a business?
I am a very design driven person, and find I do my best work when involved with processes that I love. I quickly found that although I put my all into everything that I do, I am most passionate when working for myself or to briefs that I have helped realise. Whilst working in other design teams and for other companies was invaluable and has helped me shape my business, I felt I had an idea and brand that needed to be created, and that I hope people will come to love.
Has the direction of your business changed over time?
I initially started out by making reflective knitwear, which was received well by customers last winter. I now feel ready to embark on the more ambitious task of designing and making reflective clothing and accessories such as backpacks, shirts and coats. This will involve developing reflective materials that will need to be woven rather than knitted. I will be keeping the brand aesthetic in mind, designing everyday pieces that look great, but are also reflective. Therefore the business is evolving, but it is still reflective related.
What challenges have you faced as a small business owner?
Many! How to manage stock was a big challenge, as well as bulk ordering, which is very difficult for small business owners, as you want to save money by ordering in bulk, but you don't want to be stuck will masses of packaging or yarn! Also getting found was a hard one, but I have found that if I am uber active on social media and by selling at markets, I can slowly build a fan base of customers who appreciate my brand and what it stands for.
What’s the most rewarding aspect to running your own business?
Making a product with a particular person in mind. I still do all the processes myself, as I enjoy watching a product form from nothing into a personalised gift. I also love hearing back from customers who have bought one of my products. As I put a lot of thought into the way the product is presented with the swing tags, gift wrapping and packaging, the most rewarding part is always hearing from people who love the finished item!
What advice would you give to new businesses that are just starting out?
Definitely have a look through the HMRC website, to become familiar with terms related to running a business in the UK. It can feel challenging and overwhelming, but if you tackle the business side a bit at a time you will find it quickly becomes manageable! I would also say not the rush the design and branding process, as it may mean you are only re-doing things later! Follow through with any decisions you make and try to find time to relax and enjoy the journey you are on!
Learn more about Pluck'd Designs and connect with Saffie via social media using these links:
- Website: http://www.pluckddesigns.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pluckddesigns/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pluckddesigns
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PluckdDesigns
- Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/pluckddesigns/
- Tumblr: http://pluckddesigns.tumblr.com/
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