So no wittering from me here's Helen....
"After a period of living alongside the Bishop of Lewes in my late teens as part of a “Give a year to God” scheme for young people and wanting to be a nun, I went on to study Business Studies and Personnel at Sunderland Polytechnic in the North East of England where I got married to a fellow student in the summer before my final year (so much for wanting to be a nun!). I moved to London, where I worked for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra followed by Farrer & Co who are solicitors to the Queen (inadvertently continuing with the Royal theme). Divorced then remarried I left work and moved to Kent to become a full-time mother and enjoyed a fairly home-spun frugal life, growing as much of our own food as possible, recycling at every opportunity and home educating our four children."
"I have always been fervent about all things Green and abhor waste, so when it came to Easter egg hunts and birthday parties I avoided plastic bags and made fabric party bags instead; little did I realise that these bags would be the prototype of the “Doodlebag”, one of the first items in our range."
"I recall learning to sew at junior school............. I have always sewn for fun, making gifts for family and friends and toys for my children, but though people had suggested it before, I didn’t begin selling my wok until the beginning of 2011. A change in personal circumstances and an ensuing divorce meant I finally had the confidence to believe that people might buy what I made and, with my children having to return to school, I had time on my hands and a need to make some money. 12 years after making that first little fabric bag, I started a small business selling handmade bags and accessories, called Doodlebags, the inspiration for which comes from my youngest son’s nickname of Doodlebug."
"All our branding is done in-house: stationery and packaging is recycled or upcycled and our business cards and swing tags are handmade using upcycled materials, even down to the fabric labels sewn into every Doodlebags’ product. To illustrate the full extent of recycling that goes on at Doodlebags: once the sample books are disassembled, the staples and nails are removed for reuse, cord handles are kept for use on the Doodlebags’ carrier bags (which are made from wallpaper samples), any wooden components are taken to the tip for recycling, the backing boards and plastic front sheets are given to schools for use in craft projects, paper and other card is put in our Green recycling box and, of course, the fabrics are used either by ourselves or one of the many schools or charities on our list. We also use upcycled sheets, duvet covers, woollen blankets, clothing, curtains, shower curtains and even tents."
"As the designer at Doodlebags, I find it virtually impossible to work with fabrics I don’t like and so my personal taste is evident in everything. However, I am influenced by my daughters, now 10 and 12 years old, and was in fact instructed by my youngest daughter at the very outset that my shoulder bags needed to be “way cooler” than they were at the time, which proved to be excellent advice; I also take account of customer’s ideas and suggestions."
"My method of working is very haphazard and whilst I like to think of myself as being organised, I am proved wrong on a regular basis............ Unless working to commission, I sort through my fabrics and select some that I want to work with; I then look on my To Do list to see what items we’re running out of, or simply start with something we have plenty of but that I feel like making regardless."
"We are particularly keen to emphasise the eco-friendly approach that Doodlebags adopts and are on the lookout for more “Green” events where we can showcase what we do."
"This year we are looking at our product range and hope to develop some new ideas and continue to release new designs........I never imagined Doodlebags would be doing so well in just two years....Plans for a website should get under way this year with a view to expanding on-line sales and we’re always looking for more shops to add to our list of stockists.......let’s see what the future holds."
The best of luck to you Helen you certainly have the drive, skill and passion to grow your business. I look forward to seeing more from you and 'Doodlebags'.