Molly Brown

Company overview

Molly Brown’s Emporium focuses mostly on teaching a variety of crafting skills. But Molly also makes a variety kits for sale, as well as some free motion embroidered pictures.

How did it all start?

At the end of 2015 I retired from 33 years in the NHS as an Occupational Therapist (OT). Having been interested in sewing, textiles, knitting and various crafts since childhood, I wanted to set up a business using these skills. When I teach I feel I am using skills from being an OT and sharing the skills I have learnt over the years.

The story behind the name…

I settled on the name ‘Molly Browns Emporium’ because I do so many different things. From machine and hand embroidery, to making garments, using a variety of knitting techniques, to teaching dress making skills and also making my own clothes. Using the word emporium seemed a good umbrella to hold all these different things under. It does, however, sometimes makes people think there is more than just me in my emporium.

MollyB cropped

Where are you based?

Chester is where I am based, delivering workshops and talks in this region.

What inspires you?

Bringing together various skills to make unique garments, is always very pleasing. As well as using natural and fair-trade fabrics in the process.

What is your creation process?

It is tricky to pin down a creation process. I have ideas for things I would like to make, too many ideas usually. Some ideas stick around in my head for longer and I think about how to make them happen as I’m doing other things. Sometimes I need to learn new skills to make them happen, eventually something new gets made.

What makes you, your brand or products unique?

A particular combination of ‘making’; with a filter of environmental impact and sustainability; alongside a very clear understanding of the mental wellbeing to be gained from creativity.

What is your next project?

There is always more than one project ongoing. As the self-appointed Clamshell Queen, I am making a large quilt using clamshells and have several more ideas in my head. And there will also be garments dyed with indigo that will get made.

What are your plans for the next 12 months?

Having been awarded a bursary from the Quilters Guild to research into the use of clamshells in quilting, I will complete this work and present my findings to the guild. But aside from the textile world, to take a couple of months out with my husband and go exploring on our tandem.

What is your biggest achievement?

Pinning down one biggest achievement is tricky; writing my book about the knitting technique ‘Entrelac’ is certainly up there as one of them. Making my daughter’s wedding dress is another. Nothing to do with textiles, but cycling on our tandem from Chester to Istanbul also feels like quite an achievement.

What is your best-selling product/line?

My ‘Sheep in the Hills’ cushion cover kit. It is a lovely project using clamshells, and it’s available on Etsy.

Your experience of your first Knitting & Stitching Show (year, exhibiting or visiting)

An Aladdin’s cave of wonder, it made my imagination go into overdrive. I first visited Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show in 2013. I was blown away with the exhibitions, loved the workshops, and bought wonderful things at the stalls. Knowing I would be retiring in from the NHS in a couple of years, I started wondering if I could become one of the tutors.

What do you love about the Knitting & Stitching Shows?

The variety and quality. The exhibitions showcases amazing work, which inevitably influences my own work. The workshops provide opportunities to try out new skills, which I think is a really important part of the show. And the stalls bring together materials and equipment in a unique way. It’s all just brilliant.

Your three top tips for crafters and makers…

Try not to get distracted down too many different ‘rabbit holes’ of interest.

If you do find yourself with different strands of interest, try and find ways to weave them together.

Don’t let yourself start new projects until the previous is finished.

Any advice for fledgling businesses…

Consider the name carefully. Don’t let the name become something that limits you, if your business goes in an unexpected direction.