We chat to Caroline about her business, Retropoodle. Caroline is one of the talented designers featured in We Make London's new book, Inspired:London.
What is name and background behind your company?
My company, retropoodle comes from a desire to bring a new lease of life to beautiful forgotten vintage materials. I'm from generations of recyclers who always found a second use for most things and hate throwing things away if still useful. I also didn't want to contribute to endless waste and mass production. The name is light hearted, vintage inspired and I just like poodles!
Where are you based?
I am based in New Cross, South London.
How long have you been in business for?
I have been trading for over a year. Sewing and making for over 15 years.
What do you love most about living in London?
I love London because I feel you can never be bored living here. There is always something happening, places to go to and not everything costs either! I love art and culture and it is so easy to find something here on your own doorstep to feed your mind than anywhere else in the country.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by each textile I source, it kind of suggests what I turn it into and my designs reflect my own personal style of the quirky. I love the sense of history behind a piece of embroidery or crochet I find, the skill involved that needs to be appreciated rather than thrown away. The thought of that fabric never being found again really inspires me to make it into a product that can be loved and purposeful again.
What advice would you give designers starting out?
My main advice is to take it one step at a time. It is easy to get carried away and spend lots of money in the beginning. It is best to try and do as much by yourself as possible in the early stages such as a website and photography, and develop as you become more successful and knowledgeable You can't be perfect at the start so don't stress or bankrupt yourself!
What is new for your company?
I have been trading at Greenwich Market for the past few months and hope to continue regularly there. I love the vibe of being in a market and it is really important to meet your customers and get feedback and it gives you a real touch of the reality of selling! I am going to be selling my products on more websites and developing my range further.