Hello, my name is Gemma. It seems like I have been making handmade cards and gifts my entire life! But I have been trading as Beanfrock since January 2012. I studied Illustration and Animation at Kingston University and since moving back to Jersey have worked mainly in Marketing.
I have always enjoyed sewing, and after being given a sewing machine when we bought our first house, I started to follow a few patterns making myself the odd dress, but mainly making gifts for friends and family. I kept finding it difficult to find patterns for the things I wanted to make, so that is when I started to design my own patterns and develop my own ways of working. I realised that my illustrations could be translated into fabric, so I felt more comfortable as I was basically drawing with fabric and thread! After friends of friends started asking if I could make things for their children, I decided to take the plunge and Beanfrock was born!
I take a lot of inspiration from recycled retro fabrics as I really like the idea of 'upcycling' and I also feel it fits in with my style of drawing and sewing. I have found recently most of my products leaning towards children, so I think this is the way that Beanfrock will be going in the future.
Since having our son Jasper (4 1/2 months old) my day has become a bit more dictated by his schedule! I aim to get most of my sewing work done early on in the day whilst Jasper is happy to play or nap. I try to work very systematically and efficiently as time is certainly limited now. I usually try to make one kind of item at a time, as I find that most efficient. Once Jasper is in bed for the evening I try to catch up on my emails and order enquiries from Facebook and the website. As I am still up in the night feeding Jasper at the minute, I use that time to search for materials online and usually design new products in my head and sketch them down when I wake up!
Since I was a child my Dad has run his own successful business and been his own boss. I have seen the amount of work and dedication involved and I always thought I would do something similar. I like the challenge and the sense of pride when I realise I have made it all happen myself!
My most popular products are the memory softies, especially the elephant. This product came about when my friend asked me if I could make a stuffed toy from her son's baby clothes, as she wanted to keep them for the memories, but thought it was pointless just having them in a drawer. She asked if I could make an elephant, so I did her a little sketch and she loved it! I then started to receive requests for other shapes and I am more than happy to design new ones - gives me an excuse to sit down and draw which is one of my favourite things to do!
The majority of Gemma’s products are personalised, so it’s best to contact her via her website: Beanfrock.co.uk or Facebook Page: BeanFrock to view her designs and discuss specific requirements. Gemma finds that lots of her customers “enjoy being a part of the design process and having that personal contact with me to discuss their project.” Gemma will also be showing work at this year’s Spirit of Christmas Market, taking place in early December in Weighbridge Place as part of La Fête dé Noué.