Back in summer, when I was working on The Edit, one of my final features before returning to University was when looking ahead at November. Editorially speaking, November can be a dull month – not a long going on, dreary weather, the caution of not wanting to begin Christmas focused content straight away…. the list goes on. For this reason, we knew we needed some absolute show stoppers to pull off a notoriously tricky month. The idea for a focus on self – care then came to us and I am simultaneously pleased with the reception we have received for our November features and a little sad to let go of a month which has managed to capture that elusive warmth we have been endlessly chasing so well. I feel confident that we have struck a golden balance when it comes to bleak mid Winter content and that is thanks to the great women and companies who have shed some light and been super generous both with their time and advice.
When coming into contact with Philippa through a small business group, I just knew that Chunky Couture was perfect for The Edit and the nature of the soft, bespoke blankets she makes in North Wales are made for the Autumn / Winter season. I hope you enjoy the interview, find joy and light in her words and experiences and, why not, begin a little Christmas shopping over on her website.
- Tell us a little more about Chunky Couture and how your business began.
Two passions of mine have always been home interiors and making things. I’ve never been the type of person to sit at a desk and have always had busy hands. My mum taught me to knit when I was suffering from post-natal depression 10 years ago and it honestly helped to focus my mind. I then went on to really learn the craft and knitted a lot of things for my children. Move forward to last year and the loss of my mum, I decided to redecorate our home and incorporate her vintage, country style furniture. Once finished I needed a throw for the sofas and decided to try arm knitting, I had an amazing response from friends so decided to build a business from it and put my mum’s teachings to good use and that is how Chunky Couture was created.
- What does an average day in your life look like?
I have 5 children, so my days have to be organised! My mornings are always hectic trying to sort everyone out for school, but I always start my day with a cup of tea! Once they are all at school my first job is to tackle my social media accounts, make sure they are up to date and any messages are answered. Then I spend the rest of the day knitting, I also spend one or two afternoons a week taking pictures of our products in my home. After school up until the evening, it’s my children’s time where I can be a mum. Once they’re in bed, it’s back to it! Again, I spend an hour or so on social media and then the rest of my evening I spend packing our orders and arranging couriers. We also make all our own labels so that is also an evening job.
- Your blankets look like hygge heaven (we especially love the grey, so minimal and chic!). What does your perfect night in involve now the nights are drawing in?
Autumn / Winter is absolutely my favourite time of year, I love nothing more than relaxing on the sofa with my blanket of course, the fire going, a hot cup of tea and biscuits and a good box set on the TV!
- On the subject of interiors inspo, what is your advice for those who want to revamp their house this Autumn without necessarily spending a fortune?
A lot of interior designers will revamp their homes for each season and it can be achieved on a small budget too. You can change the colours of a room by simply changing your cushion covers. Autumn and winter is all about being cosy, so using soft lighting and lots of soft textiles works really well; so investing in a cosy throw like ours, you can use it during the day as a feature for your lounge and a focal point but then of an evening it will keep you cosy when you’re curled up. Also having a good move around of furniture (I’m terrible for doing this!) can make your whole room feel like brand new. If you’re crafty, then you can update chairs by recovering them yourself or giving furniture a lick of paint. I have found many furniture bargains via Facebook which I’ve brought home and repainted to make them look brand new.
- You are based in North Wales. How much does your location influence your work?
For me, I love where I live. We are lucky that although we live in a town we are out of the way with no neighbours, our house is on the riverbank so it’s quiet and very peaceful with lots of wildlife. We have our own woods too which give the most amazing colours throughout the year. The countryside inspires me especially when it comes to interiors, I love using natural products in the home, like wood, driftwood, wool, and natural fabrics like linen.
- And finally, when it all gets too busy (as is often the case for small business owners in the run-up before Christmas!), how do you relax?
For me, my relaxation is genuinely knitting! It calms me and focuses me, and I quite often sit and knit in complete silence and allow my mind to completely switch off. I really do love my job and am very fortunate to be able to do it.
I hope you loved this story – for me, it truly marks the beginning of the festive season. Most importantly perhaps, what Philippa’s story truly gave me was warmth and hope – now that is truly something I hope to find under the tree and hope you do too. Remember to check in next week as we reveal what we have in store for the month of December – it truly is a good one, with a strong theme and features to discover, unravel and enjoy so I can’t wait to share it with our readers!