"You are just so unapologetically you" I fan girled to Charlotte one morning after spending the night before stalking her facebook page. Charlotte radiates positive energy, which is portrayed through her crazy jewellery and accessories just as much by the warmth and laughter in her voice.
I met Charlotte whilst working on a project together (top secret) a couple of weeks ago and followed her round like a lost puppy for a few days absorbing all of the stories she had to tell. My favourite of these, the love story that is her and her hubby, a story that will give all the hyper romantics like myself out there, hope.
Like many of the other women I have featured on my blog so far, Charlotte is a self made, crafts entrepreneur that relies a lot on her online audience to maintain her business. And, like many other twenty-first-century women - myself included - Charlotte's reliance on a life online led her to the world of online dating: Tinder. Maintaining her forever positive outlook on life, Charlotte explained to me how it seemed like a very plausible solution to the hindrance that is dating "My business is online, my whole life is online, so why not date online as well?"
Charlotte recalls how she joked to her sister about her now current husband being 'the one' as his Tinder bio read 'Cross-stitch and Gin', which leads perfectly onto what this craftsy gal does for a living.
Hidden just off of Llandaff Road, Cardiff, is the cosy little gem 'The Bone Yard', a creative community of shipment containers; nestled amongst the iron clad homes is Charlotte's workshop and shop, 'Twin Made'. Run by Charlotte, Twin Made is a business that runs workshops, teaching people how to sew and create things, from dungarees to macramé plant hangings. An ex Design Technology teacher, Charlotte took the risk and decided to make her hobby into a business, running workshops on a full time basis. Charlotte runs these workshops on the hope that they won't just be a one time thing, but that her customers will leave feeling confident they will be able to recreate their work independently at home. When asked what her favourite workshops to run are, Charlotte said "The dungarees dress and the dungarees making! I run a few of these every month throughout the year. They're only small classes and they always seem to have the most interest."
Twin Made started when Charlotte was at university, in the form of her knitting and selling hats under the guise of 'Boozy Floozy Designs'. A few years later, she and her twin, decided to collaborate and rebrand under 'Twin Made' (interesting fact, Charlotte's husband is also a twin!!). Still living in Cardiff after uni, Charlotte began running workshops in pubs when she heard about the containers through Twitter. Discussing how the space works for her, Charlotte stressed the importance of the community feel it has, giving creatives the ability to quite literally "open up and bounce ideas off each-other".
I visited Charlotte at the Bone Yard last week for a quick catch up, to talk all things craft, business and feminism. Taking one of my old denim jackets, we spent two hours cutting and ironing on glitter fabric whilst getting sidetracked catching up on each-others lives. Charlotte also has an Etsy shop where she sells cross-stitch frames as well as other items, coming up with really fun feminist slogans such as 'They didn't suffragette for this!'
Charlotte's personality and ethics are clearly denoted not only by the decorations of her shop and workshop, but also by the aesthetically pleasing colourfulness that is her Instagram. Following her stories on the social media platform, she's always documenting how she's turned something that was left under "the magic donation tree" that resides outside her house, into something really functional. Charlotte uses a lot of scrap and recyclable materials, believing that everything is salvageable and deserves a second life. (I literally witnessed this girl scramble some tinsel from a party which was then turned into a festival-appropriate summer t-shirt - a creative eye like no other.)
Charlotte says that the branding of her business through instragram is not only important to help her sustain the growth of her business but it also allows her customers to decide whether a workshop with Charlotte is the right thing for them. "There are other people doing similar things such as sewing classes and stuff, but I think when women in their 20s and 30s come along, they hear a really good soundtrack, its chatty, its really casual, its not like an evening class where you go every thursday for four months. I like that a they can come, and do something for 3-4 hours and leave." Charlotte's business rejects the 'twee middle class mum crafty only uses floral fabric' sort of idea, her attitude and approachability makes it accessible and inspiring.
What I love about the nature Charlotte's business is that whilst the act of sewing and making clothes may be so intrinsically tied up with femininity and resonates back to stereotypical roles of what it is to be a woman, its branding and its demand to be seen and heard completely defies any fragility and delicacy that may be attached to the act of sewing. Charlotte is a bad ass babe that hates makeup, asked her husband to marry her, wears pom pom earrings and cross stitches and is one of the most passionate and strident feminists I have ever met.
Keep being 'Unapologetically you' x