A Closer Look at Made by Mrs M
In our latest ‘Behind the Design’ interview we’re talking to Kate Marsden from Made By Mrs M. Kate shares a closer look at the inspiration behind her brand of mid-century inspired textiles, homewares and gifts. Take an exclusive look behind the scenes to uncover the inspiration behind her unique patterns, the day to day running of the business and Kate’s favourite items in the collection.
Tell us a little about your company, Made by Mrs M.
I design patterns, primarily for fabric, but I also use them to illustrate a range of complementary products. I originally studied Fashion & Textiles many moons ago, and was inspired to return to design when I started blogging and making again about 5 years ago. My business and design style has gradually evolved since then.
What is your role in the business?
My role is everything! I have a little help with my accounts but that’s it. I’m designer, admin, marketing, IT, HR and everything else besides – I do get to use lots of the skills I developed working in the City for years.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing is the flexibility – I work much longer hours than I did before (and most of my friends and family don’t actually consider what I do to be work!) but for the first time I feel in control. It’s also a lot easier to work really hard when you really care about what you do!
Is there anyone else in the Made by Mrs M team?
No – just little old me!
Day to Day at Made by Mrs M
What is a typical day like at your business?
A typical day will involve lots of time at the computer. Sadly most of this time is spent on admin and marketing rather than designing. I usually try to spend some quality time in the studio in the afternoons but I tend to be rushing about after lunch – I work around the morning and afternoon school runs – so I’m planning to shake up my working days a little after the summer holidays, to allow more time for designing and product development.
What makes your workplace special?
My workplace is special as it’s in my home. It enables me to work at all sorts of times of the day and I don’t have to worry as much about running out of time or not having childcare.
What inspires which product lines you create?
I’m inspired by mid-century architecture, textiles, fashion and pretty much everything about the era. I also love buildings which may be a little neglected or unloved (I adore a bit of concrete). One thing I tend not to struggle with is inspiration as I find it in almost everything around me.
Tell us about your design style.
The look of my collections are really more about my personality that anything else – my take on the things which inspire me, with a jolt of colour. I’m a massive fan of yellow and have to reign myself in a bit or everything would be that colour!
Are there any other card or gift designers or brands that you admire?
Made by Mrs M Products
What is your personal favourite product in your collection?
At the moment I think my favourite is my London Town fabric in pink. My preferences often change though and I have a new collection coming out in a few weeks’ time which includes some new favourites.
What are the most popular products in your current range?
My bestsellers are travel card wallets (which sell well online but amazingly at markets and events) and fabric by the fat quarter. I have a number of customers who buy fat quarters of every design I produce and I’ve seen some wonderful quilts and other items made with them.
What new products do you have planned for the future?
I’ve just finalised my new Autumn collection so the next few weeks will be spent making samples and getting ready to launch. I don’t have plans for any different product types at the moment (just designs) but diversifying my range is high on my list for the new year.
What is it like seeing your products in shops?
The first time I saw my work in a shop was at The Royal Academy so that was very exciting! My work was chosen as part of their RAted range and was showcased in their shop for 3 months. It was a great opportunity which has led to others since.
Manufacturing & Production.
What can you tell us about how your products are made.
My fabrics are printed for me by another small, fairly local, business. My notebooks are printed for me in the UK. Apart from that I do make everything else myself. As I hope to expand in the coming months/years I will look to outsource elements, such as sewing. My fabrics are printed locally and I aim for my range to be 100% British made.
Do you use any specialist techniques or equipment?
Only my drawing and pattern design skills, lots of Photoshop and sewing!
The Future of Made by Mrs M
What would you like to do next with Made by Mrs M?
I’m looking to raise the profile of my business and have a huge to do list following a recent business coaching session. In the immediate future I have a very busy September, with a pop-up in store at West Elm on Tottenham Court Road in London which is massively exciting (10/11 September), Crafty Fox Market’s next event in Brixton which forms part of the London Design Festival (17 September) and I’ll be returning to Farnham in Surrey for Thread Festival of Textiles (24 September). It’ll then be time to focus on Christmas.
Where do you dream of seeing your products next?
I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to work with West Elm. I’d like to see my products in more high profile settings, and I’m also keen to develop my fabrics and build up this side of the business. Ultimately I’d like to see them for sale in haberdasheries and fabric stores.
Thank you Kate!
Now you’ve read the interview it’s time to check out the products. Visit the Made by Mrs M website.