A Sneak Peek at Sewing Sensation Poppy Treffry
Today’s ‘Behind the Design’ interview is a look at Poppy Treffry. I first featured Poppy Treffry’s greeting cards and amazing accessories on the blog back in 2010. Since then I’ve had little peeks at how the collection has developed with tote bags, home sweet home gifts, make up bags and wash bags, so I’m delighted to finally be taking a closer look at what goes into making these gorgeous greeting cards and gifts.
Today’s behind the scenes look is provided by company founder Poppy Treffry. Poppy shares on the business, inspiration and manufacturing of her lovely products. We also get a look at some of Poppy’s best selling homewares and accessories.
Tell us a little about your company, Poppy Treffry.
We are a small company based in Penzance, Cornwall, which I started in 2004. We hand make a range of gifts and accessories inspired by my illustrations of dogs, cats and everyday life. I sketch pretty much every day.
What is your role in the business?
Technically I am the head of design and direction so I come up with the new products and new designs and makes decisions about the direction the company will go in. But I also do a lot of photography, the book keeping, pay the wages, build trade show stands and make the coffee (sometimes!) I think the variety is the best thing about my job!
Is there anyone else in the team?
I work with a lovely small team. We have Sara who organises everyone, Pixie and Liz who cut, prep and make the more complex products and Tamsin who carefully packs and sends all the orders out. I then have 4 lovely ladies who work form home, making products and my little shop team in St. Ives who keep our shop looking gorgeous and our customers happy.
A Day at Poppy Treffry.
What is a typical day like at your business?
I usually start with getting my emails out the way and then any other computer based chores. Then its onto either product development or working through my embroidery list. We have a range called the Sketchbook range and these are still stitched to order by me so I have a list each week of products to embroider. We always have coffee at 11 and lunch at 1 and if the sun is shining we have nice stomp to look at the sea during lunch break. I always finish the day with getting my to do list in order so I don’t have to worry about it when I get home and it’s there for me the next morning.
What inspires which product lines you create?
I love colour and drawing so my designs are inspired by my sketches of Cornwall and by the colours you see here. The products I design are very much created with the customer in mind. I want them to be useful, high quality, and to make them smile!
Tell us about your design style.
I started our using a technique called freehand embroidery. I used this to turn my drawings into stitched pictures. This gives my designs a naïve quality that I really like, as it’s harder to control a sewing machine than a pencil so the drawings come out quite scribbly. Not all my products are embroidered anymore and I have turned a lot of my stitched designs into prints. This gives them a more colourful blocky feel that I am really enjoying.
Are there any other card or gift designers / brands that you admire?
What is your personal favourite product in your collection?
I love our harbour Sketchbook Tote bag. This one is stitched by me and it comes out differently every time. I love that it is a genuine spices of art made into a wearable, usable product. The bag is cut, prepped and constructed in our workshop and is beautifully put together.
What are the most popular products in your current range?
The products made from our printed fabrics are really popular. Customers love our wash bags because the can stand their shampoo bottles up in them and they look great on a shelf.
Our printed tea towels are probably our best seller. They are a great way to buy some of my illustration at an affordable price and I love designing them. They make great gifts too!
Can you tell us what you are working on?
I am working on a cat fabric that I’m really excited about – cats are my Achilles heel as I find them so difficult to draw but I think this fabric is going to work really well on everything from pencil cases to shoulder bags!
What is it like seeing your products in shops?
It’s always a bit nerve wracking seeing my products in a shop – unless someone is picking it up and taking it to the counter to buy it – that’s always really exciting! I love it when retailers take the time to display my product really nicely, when they have bought a unit especially for them or have dressed the window with them, that’s a real thrill!
Manufacturing & Production.
What can you tell us about the production of your collection?
Almost all our products are hand made in Cornwall and those we don’t make ourselves we source from local Cornish companies who we love working with. We have worked with St. Eval Candle Company to create a range of scented candles and with a local baker to create a range of dog treats illustrated with my drawings!
Do your products feature any special materials?
We are eco because our products have very few air miles. They are produced within a few miles of our workshop in Cornwall and we love providing local employment. We also recycle almost everything. We keep our local scrap store very happy with tubes and cotton reels and local charities are able to sell our scrap fabrics for much needed cash. We are real Wombles and find a use for everything!
Do you use any specialist techniques or equipment?
People don’t always believe me but all our products are made on 1930’s Singer sewing machines. They are such beautiful machines and work so well. We have them in the studio and my outworkers have them too – I dread to think how many machines we have between us!
What would you like to do next with the business?
I would love to open another shop as our St. Ives shop has been really successful and is a great way to have constant contact with our customers and tell the story of our company.
Where do you dream of seeing your products next?
I’ve sold to lots of exciting stores over the 12 years we’ve been going, including Liberty, Fortnum’s and even designing the tea cosies for Claridge’s Hotel! But I love working with beautiful shops on the high streets of towns up and down the country. If we can keep coming up with designs and products that they love and their customers love then hopefully we have a strong future ahead of us!
Thank you Poppy!
Find Out More
Now you’ve read the interview it’s time to check out the collection, visit the Poppy Treffry website to see more.