Patchwork Treasures: How Charlotte Turned a Hobby into a Business

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We’ve all heard the quote – “choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life”. But have you ever thought about turning your hobby into a business?

Charlotte Turner, now the owner of Patchwork Treasures, has done exactly that.

“It started off as a hobby,” Charlotte said. “I’ve been sewing for a long time and then during the Covid pandemic, I got asked to do some paid sewing making face masks for other people. Then I thought if I could do paid sewing for other people, it means I could sew and pay myself to do it!”

From idea to starting the business – Patchwork Treasures

Patchwork Treasures is a small business that specialises in patchwork homewares, quilts and gifts for all occasions. Charlotte says that the idea “started off with needing an outlet for the large collection of things I’d made”.

A notebook, card and oven gloves made by Charlotte for Patchwork Treasures
A notebook, card and oven gloves made by Charlotte

As mentioned earlier, Charlotte realised that she can turn her hobby into a business during the pandemic.

“I’ve been doing it on and off as a trial since last October. Then I went full-time in the middle of July,” she said. “Now I’m at craft fairs across North Yorkshire most weekends.”

However, starting a business isn’t always easy and most first-time business owners can benefit from professional guidance and support. Charlotte wasn’t an exemption.

“I went to the job centre to sign up for Universal Credit as self-employed and was asked if I have got in touch with Enterprise Made Simple as they might be able to get my business going.”

That’s when Charlotte filled in the form on the website and started her business journey with Barbara Pugh, one of the business advisors at EMS.

“I don’t know what I was looking for. I just knew that I had something that was taking over and providing a little bit of money and I needed some help to take it onto the full-time stage and make a living out of it,” she explained.

And Barbara has helped to do exactly that:

“Barbara helped me put a business plan together and formalise everything that I had been doing. She also gave it some structure and explained product pricing to make sure I was getting a fair rate for what I was doing.”

Another thing that really helped Charlotte when setting up a business was the fact that her business advisor believed in her and her business:

“I walked into her office with a basket of products and she just fell in love with them! That gave me confidence that people do actually really like this.”

For others who are taking their first steps or are only thinking of turning their hobby into a business, Charlotte would like to say:

“Try and visit as many different markets and craft fairs as possible. See which ones work for you. Don’t feel like you have to stick with the local ones or the ones you went to last time. Get out there and go exploring!”

Heat proof table centre with a Christmas design
Heat-proof table centre with a Christmas design

Festival of Thrift

This year, Charlotte with her business Patchwork Treasures is taking part in the Festival of Thrift.

Festival of Thrift is an annual event that spreads awareness and celebrates sustainable living. It has been taking place since 2012, which means it’s its special 10-year anniversary this year.

When asked about her participation in the festival, Charlotte didn’t hide the excitement.

“It’s probably the biggest event I’ll have been to. I use recycled fabrics whenever possible for all my products, so I’m hoping it’s going to go really well,” she said. “I’m hoping most people there are going to be quite keen on buying things from recycled material. And there will be lots of good opportunities to promote what we do.”

Apart from running a sustainable business, Charlotte does her bit in her everyday life, too:

“For the first time, this year I now have a house with a garden, so I’ve recently started growing a lot of my own vegetables. I also do a lot of recycling.”

When asked whether she has anything special planned for the festival, Charlotte revealed that people will be able to order her best-selling cuddly toy, a unicorn, with a chosen pattern.

“One of our favourite products is our unicorn which is standardly made out of recycled shirts. I’m hoping to have a selection of brightly coloured shirts with me so that people can choose which ones they want their unicorn to be made of. They can order those at the festival and they’ll be delivered within a couple of weeks.”

one of the best-selling products from Patchwork Treasures - a cuddly toy unicorn which is made out of recycled shirts
One of the best-selling cuddly toys – unicorn

You can find Patchwork Treasures and Charlotte at the Festival of Thrift, Thrive Hive zone.

Thrive Hive zone showcases local independent and early-stage businesses and provides a place for people to come together and participate in entrepreneurial activities promoting self-employment and enterprise skills.

Festival of Thrift is taking place on 24-25th September in Redcar. Find more information about the festival here.

And if you’re interested in starting your own business, we’re always here to help! Visit our stand at the Festival of Thrift or contact us to find out what support is available to you!