This month's creative interview was held with handmade business owner Suki Sabur, a truly inspirational read!
Hi, I’m Suki and I run my handmade business where I make sparkly bags, accessories and lots of gift items from a messy studio/workspace at home in Leicester.
I started my business in 2016 shortly after graduating and not being able to find a suitable design job. I always knew I’d like to work for myself some day but I honestly had no idea what that would be, so instead of carrying on applying for design jobs that I knew deep down I couldn’t see myself doing, I started using that time to plan and start my business.
How has your business evolved/ developed over the years? When I initially started I launched a collection of silk scarves along with other products with my hand-drawn prints on. I thought I would carry on with that, however it led me to make other accessories to match these prints and over time I just decided that they were a better fit. Over the past few years I’ve been able to experiment with a variety of products that I feel compliment each other and represent my style, whilst allowing me to be creative in different ways and not just limited to one area of creativity.
Describe your style in 3 words. Even though I make so many different products, I would say my style is colourful, sparkly and sophisticated.
What element of your business do you enjoy working on most? In all honesty there are so many aspects that I highly enjoy and I think that’s why I find it difficult to refine down my product range. Some days I’ll be in the mood to stitch a whole pile of bags, other days I’ll want to get a bit messy and make some of the resin products such as the geode coasters (above) or car cup holders. One task that I’ve grown to love over time is budgeting and accounting which I do a couple of times a month to keep on top of everything. For me, the more results that I see over time and the more I see my business growing, along with personal growth, the more I enjoy doing all of these tasks as I know that they’re all important and vital to the growth of my business.
Name a person or business that you admire or inspires you? There are so many small business owners that continue to inspire me. It makes me so happy seeing others grow and be happy doing something that they also love. But over the past year I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on my mindset and training myself to just be more positive, trust myself and my instincts and just trust the process and journey that all of us are on. I’ve read a lot of books that have helped me develop, see my own power and believe in manifestation. Idil Ahmed, the author of two wonderful books inspires me on a daily basis and both of her books are ones that I go back to most days. They are full of positivity, hard truths and so many affirmations that just bring me peace, gratitude and remind me of the infinite love and daily miracles that we’re all surrounded by.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
"You have nothing to fear but life itself."
Because in the course of your life what else do you have to do apart from just live? Whilst at university, a tutor said this and it’s stayed with me since. This really just made everything seem so simple and made me realise that all the little things we stress about or overthink are just minor things in our life and that sometimes we just need to focus on the bigger picture and just let go.
How do you seek out new opportunities? Personally, I think social media has played a big part in finding opportunities. I mean, if I hadn’t got to know Sarah over Instagram then I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to feature in her blog. I guess we just need to be open to new opportunities but also know when to say no if it doesn’t feel right for you.
What has been the biggest challenge running your own business and how have you overcome it? When I first started, I pretty much had zero experience and I expected everything to be much easier than it is. There have been many challenges such as expecting a certain product to sell and figuring out that every platform is different, learning how to do my accounts and teaching myself about SEO, building a website etc. If there’s anything the past year has taught us is that there will always be unforeseen circumstances. Like many others I had to adapt and create new products when all social gatherings were cancelled which meant all the clutch bags I’d stocked up on stopped selling. At the start of lockdown last year I decided to use all that extra time to develop new products and expand my business, so it’s honestly been a blessing in disguise for me.
What is your biggest success story or proudest moment in your career so far? When I first started in 2016 I applied for a stall at Clothes Show Live. Four weeks before the event was starting I discovered that I’d been accepted. Not expecting to get a place I wasn’t at all prepared and barely had any stock. So I spent four weeks working endless hours and prepping for it whilst still having a full time job. During the five day event I sold out of all my stock and it was the moment I realised that I was capable of doing anything. It was this experience that allowed me invest back into the business and expand my stock so I could continue building the business. Looking back at that is honestly such a proud moment for me as it was when I was first starting and a lot of people close to me had told me to give up and to find a job that was secure. So despite what people told me I continued to chase this dream of mine and realised that I could actually achieve something and be happy doing it.
What would be your dream commission/ project? I’d love to have my products selling in a major store one day or design something exclusive for a store like Liberty, but we can all dream!
What would you like to achieve in the next few years? My goal is to grow the business whist continuing to make products that I can be proud of. My style has developed over time meaning my products have also changed. Over the next few years I just want to continue doing something that truly makes me happy and allows me to live a life that I’m proud of.
Find Suki on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SukiSaburDesigns
On her website: https://sukisabur.co.uk/
Or follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sukisabur_designs/?hl=en