13 September 2013

A Day in the Life of By Hand London

By Hand London have taken the sewing world by storm with their range of super trendy sewing patterns. It's been so inspiring to watch how the budding business, founded by friends Charlotte Hintzen and Elisalex De Castro Peake and later joined by Victoria, has set down its roots and blossomed in the past year. If, like me, you're curious what it's like to start a company with friends, you'll love reading their Day in the Life. Plus, as always, we find out what they eat for lunch. What's not to like? Over to the BHL ladies...


Victoria, Charlotte and Rachael (shiny new intern helping us out! Read all about her sewing adventures). Grabbing a second in between filming a tutorial video (hence the juicy cerise backdrop)
to go over a pattern in the works
"So, this has actually been a little more difficult than we imagined and caused quite a lot of discussion! Basically, in the last nine odd months since our first patterns, there has been nothing resembling a 'normal' day - and we're pretty sure all of the other ladies featured here would agree! Anyway, we'll do our best and try to tell the story of what kinds of things keep us running around and over excited on a daily basis.

Our early mornings are all pretty different. Elisalex is getting her young son ready for school, Charlotte is clutching coffee and scheming and Victoria is making her odyssey to the studio from where she lives far far away (due to move in with Elisalex soon though! By Hand boarding house...). Depending on what we're doing, the studio is either Elisalex's sewing room (for sampling and general sweat shopping or designing) or Charlotte's studio apartment (photo shoots, video shoots and master plan constructing).

Time to pack some orders! (yesyesyes, we will get that label maker working one day)
When we're all together, cue the first hour disappearing in a flurry of coffee, high speed chatter and some cackling laughter as we catch up and talk about what we wanna get done that day. One of our favourite things to catch up on is any new examples of our patterns that we've spotted online. All the creative women out there supporting us, making each garment look so completely individual continues to quite simply blow our minds. The rest of the morning is then typically spent planning DIY tutorials and blog posts, press hustling, going through progress reports on sewing patterns in production and posting out orders. If we're lucky though, we'll get to spend the morning blowing some of the budget fabric shopping...!

Lunch is something we really stop for and value. There is something wonderfully peaceful about all just sitting down over a meal and taking some time out together. Particular favourites at By Hand HQ is a scrummy charcuterie board selection of hams, cheeses and hunks of fresh bread or overdosing on Jamaican takeaway. Truth be told though, this is definitely a beginning of the month scenario - towards the end of the month fish fingers is more likely!

Elisalex working on some sketches for a new dress design
In the afternoon, to a soundtrack of Choice FM (Victoria), Destiny's Child (Charlotte) or old-time country music (Elisalex) we set about actually getting things did. This may involve sewing up samples of a pattern, preparing DIY or sewalong tutorials for the blog or checking over pattern packaging and instructions for the gazillionth time. We could also be in the super exciting early stages of making the first toiles and blocks for a new pattern! One thing's for sure though, somehow, at around 2pm, between trying on all the samples and checking fit, we all end up a little naked - and we've come to call this tradition 'Naked Hour'!

Over the last few months, one thing that has been taking up a significant chunk of our scheme time is 'Our Next Move'. It's still in the early stages, but well underway and we cannot WAIT 'til we're able to share our new product with the world! For now though, we shall say no more...

Gone our separate ways for the day and post dinner, we shouldn't, but totally do, get straight back to work and finish off admin-y things or some sewing, passing out around midnight. If we've got something to celebrate though, it's all about donning our finest handmade garms and our highest heels for a night of dancing all together!

If anyone is reading this and thinking about starting their own business, ummmm, DO IT! And, we also absolutely cannot recommend enough setting something up with pals. The whole own business shenanigan is tough and it's totally been a bit of a baptism of fire at times, but to all of us this is by miles and miles the best thing we have ever done.

Elisalex, Victoria and Charlotte in a still from a video tutorial.
Yup, this really is one of the better photos we have of the three of us...

Thanks for reading our story!"


Thanks for sharing your day with us! Can I come round to play, please?

Want more where this came from? Catch up on TWO YEARS' worth of A Day in the Life!