Agmy by Mary

As a first collection, I think Mary has hit the ball out of the park! With a strong ethos and back-bone, as well as strong AF, bold and original products, Agmy is a really exciting small business to watch.

Satisfying colour combinations alongside graphic shapes makes these oversized simple handwoven sun hats a summer staple that are intended to last year in and year out. I love that Mary, owner and mind behind Agmy, envisions these hats to one day be sitting in a curated and well loved vintage collection. Imagining a future vintage collector finding one of these hat gems whilst rummaging and being so overjoyed is such a nice vision to have about your designs. These really are a timeless piece for your wardrobe.

As well as being a well designed product, Agmy is a considerate brand. Based on community, small runs, recycled/repurposed textile and longevity. This isn’t about creating trend driven throw away items, but about nurturing relationships, celebrating craft and creating an item to be loved and cherished.

Mary has answered the usual 5 questions so well, please read on to find out about her awesome brand-

1.Tell us about yourself and your brand.

So, I’m Mary and I live in Manchester with my husband, toddler and newborn. Not forgetting my bouncy cocker spaniel, life is quite busy right now!
I’ve been a lover of all things fashion & craft for as long as I can remember. I’ve been in the fashion industry for around 15 years (god, where does the time go?!) working within design, buying and trend forecasting, in both the UK and in Hong Kong.
After years of seeing how fast fashion brands were adding to the destruction of the planet I felt really strongly about wanting to be part of the positive change needed. In recent years I started to focus on working with smaller, slower and more sustainably driven brands. 
During this time I was lucky enough to take trips to South America to work with artisan knitters. It was a much happier way of working, more collaborative and playful. I felt really passionate about wanting to pursue my own ideas in this way and not just as a freelance designer for other brands. This is when agmy was born.
So, Agmy makes colourful artisanal accessories for creative souls who get pure joy from finding something special. I want to create accessories that are made for life. Focusing on less waste and more love!
I want to nurture relationships with makers. Those who are passionate to keep their craft and cultural heritage alive through textile art. Everything is made by hand and we only use deadstock yarns, so as to minimise environmental impact. This also helps to keep everything limited. I like to think that one day they will be part of a beautifully curated vintage collection.
I believe in investing in what you love and when you’re finished passing it on to be loved again. My1st collections of hats really are designed to last a lifetime!

I of course want to diversify our accessories collection. Hopefully this is just the start!

2.What are your Inspirations?

On my mood board right now I’ve been inspired by textile & fibre artists, such as Rachel Hayes and Sheila Hicks. Along with fine artist & photographer Thomas Jackson.
I have a huge love and inspiration that comes from the Gee’s Bend Quilt group. All links below…

https://www.jacksonfineart.com/artists/thomas-jackson/

http://www.rachelbhayes.com

https://www.sheilahicks.com

https://www.soulsgrowndeep.org/gees-bend-quiltmakers


I also love spotting colour palettes in nature. Finding beauty in the everyday.

3.Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help?

It depends what day you ask me! As it’s just me in the UK with a young family and freelance commitments I can often find it hard to make the time. I sometimes feel I’m strongly pushed by expectations to show up and not my natural creative process.
I know it’s important to grow brand awareness and think it’s a great tool to  make new connections.
I feel I need to embrace sharing more of my story within the brand. 
I never wanted the brand to be about me, but I think I might have to start showing up a little more. Even if the reality isn’t very glossy! I know that’s what I like, more of a real connection.
When I do take time to talk to small brand owners, creatives it’s the transparency and the real everyday updates that I enjoy. So that’s my next challenge. I think if I give more I may find it more fulfilling.

I do find the thought of video a bit stressful though, the planning etc, but I guess you have to evolve to provide what people want, whilst finding the balance for yourself. I think it’s always going to be a bit of a rollercoaster of a relationship! 

 4.Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice?

To continue to expand the collection. Support the artisans with more work. (like everyone this year has been tough).
Also, to collaborate more with other smaller businesses or creatives. For me relationships are what it’s all about. I’m a sociable person so having more connections / collaborations would be a ace. I’d love the brand to be recognisable, for someone to see one of the products and know it’s agmy…. not too much to ask i hope!
As for advice.. just do it! There is never the perfect time. Also invest in yourself. Do the courses, join the communities, because confidence and support is everything.

  5.Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?

Wow, so many! I’m a real fan of content creator Pernille Rosenkilde. Everything she shares makes me smile. She has fun, and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She basically radiates joy with how she dresses, always with the best vintage finds, along with supporting craft and independent businesses. Also she makes her own rules when it comes to styling. I’ve seen she has just launched a small brand called Per so i’m excited to see how that evolves.

A few that I enjoy on insta right now…
@Frigg – She shares vintage, upcycled and handmade. Really like how much she loves all her finds and makes. She also has fun with reels.

@amorastitch – She makes the most intricate charms with glass beads. Again, she adds happiness to my feed.

@lydiabolton – Reuses unwanted textiles. Just launched a collection of summer shirts, perfect summer picnic vibe. Think she has the balance right on sharing her brand and behind the scenes. 

Clay Kitchen by Lyndsay Sawyer

As we’ve discussed previously, this strange time has enabled people to crack out the crafts and explore creative outlets they might not have had time to focus on before the pandemic. Clay Kitchen by the lovely Lyndsay is the result of this extra time and love for tiny smiley faces on everyday food (& earbuds!).

Any mixture of tiny models, food and smiley faces is always going to result in something I’ll enjoy… and I hope you all do as well! A perfect gift that will look qt as fuq on any kitchen shelf alongside your favourite cook books, an essential for any home tbh.

Read on to find out more about Lyndsay and Clay Kitchen…

1.Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

I’m Lyndsay and I live in Bristol, I started playing round with air dry clay in the first lockdown last year, because I needed to occupy my brain/time. I’ve always been obsessed with eggs (I even have an egg tattoo) So what started out as making smiley fried eggs turned into all different kinds of food sculptures and  My friends and partner encouraged me to start an Instagram account, commissions (some non-food related!) followed and I very recently launched a shop!

Clay Kitchen is all about fun and silliness with a nostalgic nod to the contents of my school lunchbox. I just want to make things that make people smile.

  1. What are your Inspirations? 

The city of Bristol, it’s a very inspiring and creative place. I feel like there is a community that always champions the independent. It also has a great food and craft beer scene which is a constant source of inspiration. I’ve always been a creative person and I studied Art & Design at university. I regularly visit galleries and sculpture parks (when not in a pandemic!)

  1. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

I don’t think I would of had the courage to launch a shop without the response I was getting on social media. I’ve met so many great makers and small businesses since launching Clay Kitchen but also it’s so hard not to get consumed with worry about posting the right or enough content. With social media you are constantly comparing yourself to other people and I have been reminding myself that I need to go at my own pace and to enjoy what I’m doing.

  1.  Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice?  

I’m very much at the beginning right now and I’m just so happy when people say they love my work. Getting enough work to go part time in my not very exciting day job would be the absolute dream! As for advice..I’m just muddling along trying to figure everything out but I would say there are so many lovely creative people out there. I’ve had some amazing conversations with people whose work I really admire, so don’t be afraid to send someone a message!

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things? 

Ahhhhh there are so many many talented people out there! Catalina Cheng (@catalina_cheng) is an amazing artist. Hiller Goodspeed’s (@hillergoodspeed) work is just a constant joy and inspiration. Bernie Kaminski (@berniekaminski) and Madison Rudin (@madisonrudin_art) make wonderful things! There are so many great independent Bristol based businesses but some of my favourites are The DIY Supermarket (@theDIYsupermarket) Pirrip Press (@pirrip_press) & Good Store Studio (@goodstorestudio)

Rosie Anwara

There is talent…and then there is talent…ya’know? Well Rosie has THAT kind of talent. Whether it’s sewing or painting, this lady transforms simple felt or a pair of Vans into pop culture/brightly coloured/textured/cute as fuck handmade and decorated goods!

Painstaking in her detailed depictions and subtle nods to cult movies, Drag Race or even RHOBH, Rosies choice of themes is 100% up my street and It should be up yours. Hey!? even if you don’t get the obscure references and quotes you can absolutely appreciate the amazing work that goes into each decoration or painted leather jacket. With collaborations between big businesses such as Vans and Size?, it’s refreshing to see such a detail orientated one woman show being recognised and appreciated.

I for one can’t wait to see what she has up her reference sleeve next. So, please read on to find out about Rosie and her process…

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

Hi, I’m Rosie! I’m from Newcastle but have been living in London for the last 8 years. I studied Fashion at uni and put a lot of my focus into embroidery and illustration. When I left and started working full time, I missed having that creative outlet so I was always giving myself projects to work on. 

In 2016 I got my first proper Christmas tree and spent weeks collecting decorations and I was super proud of it, but in February 2017, I had a huge fire in my flat and lost all of them. The following Christmas I was pretty skint from trying to rebuild my life after the fire and had some leftover felt from a work project…so I decided to make myself some decorations! After two years of doing my thing and posting on Instagram, people started asking me if they could buy them and saying they looked forward to seeing them every Christmas and so, Rosie Anwara was born! 

Rosie Anwara is essentially an explosion of the creative side of my brain. I’m not sure how to condense what I do into one zippy sentence, but my main goal is to make beautiful, silly stuff that brings people happiness!

2. What are your Inspirations?

Cliché but I really do get my inspiration from everywhere and everything. Pop culture, travel, food, T.V. and film, cultural moments, friends, celebrities, politics… you name it and I could probably come up with a decoration based on it. Sometimes it could even be that I have fabric or beads I really want to use, so I work backwards and use those as the inspiration.

My paintings are typically commissions, I try to make them as thoughtful and personal as possible. I always want to find a connection between what I’m painting and the person who will wear/own it so that it’s extra special. 

3. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

It’s completely invaluable for me! I’m still just starting out but without Instagram, I wouldn’t have even made a sale as I don’t sell on any other platform. I also wouldn’t have had any of the opportunities I’ve had to work with brands like Vans and Size? and I wouldn’t have met so many amazing people who inspire, support and encourage me to keep doing my thang!

Aside from making sales, Instagram is also vital in helping me build my brand and create something that’s ownable and recognisable. 

4. Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

I used to do a lot of 5 year plans but I realised I was setting myself up for disappointment and anxiety because I never seemed to reach my lofty goals! So I’ve gone back to taking it day to day. I sometimes wish I had an end goal to work towards but life is unpredictable, Not a single set back or opportunity that has come my way was ever in my ‘plan’. I find it less taxing on my mental health to just roll with it. 

And on that note, if I had any advice to give, I’d defer to Little Miss Sunshine…”Do what you love, and fuck the rest”.

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things? 

First and foremost I have to shout out to my boyfriend Ant Gardner, a graphic designer who has launched his own line of art prints that I just love – @wallgarments. He’s a constant source of inspiration and knowledge for me as well as the creator of all my graphics and branding! I’m very lucky to have him. 

@PaolaCiar paints the most incredible, voyeuristic scenes at a teeny, tiny scale. I love her depictions of unapologetically confident women who love their bodies – we can never have enough of that attitude in the world. I admire Paola so much, her sense of humour and imagination is like no other! 

I don’t have bébé’s myself but I’m obsessed with @PetiteGanache and their beautiful, handmade kids trousers. Maybe when I’m a shrunken old lady I could squeeze into a pair. 

I only came across @CraftyGlass over the Christmas period and I absolutely love what she does, it’s such a unique take on a traditional craft and it’s a little bit silly, like me 🙂

@CastroSmith has talent coming out of his ears. I can think of no other way to describe his jewellery than mind-blowing. Every piece is a true work of art and I dream of owning some one day! 

Meeting the Makers: Rachel Louise.

My sister Rachel, the awesomely talented and thoughtful artist that reflects largely on her own most inner fears and feelings. I’m not going to attempt to un-pack her work as this is merely an introduction and would probably be weird…because she’s my sister!? but I did want to confess to being her biggest fan and i’m super proud to have some of her work available over on the shop.

See what she (briefly!) has to say below…

Portrait by Lauren Maccabee (http://laurenmaccabee.com/) for Cargocollective.com

1. Tell us about yourself…
An artist currently living in London

2. When/how did the two chosen drawings come to be?
The one of myself and the baby doll with legs in the air, was made in 2018 and the still life was in 2020, at the start of the UK pandemic lockdown.

3. Do you have any advice to other emerging artists/makers?
Talk with each other, work together, collaborate, take your time, ask questions, share thoughts, support each other. It’s easy to feel alone and silly till you find many people doing and feeling the same. The status quo wants us to compete with each other but the capitalist road is lonely and destructive.



4. What’s your favourite time/place to draw?
Any time, sitting at a table or sitting in bed.

5. Who are your favourite current artists/makers working now?
That is very very hard because there are so many people I admire, I have tried to make artist ‘highlights’ on my instagram but it still can not fit everyone in. For today and always I will say @badsauna @suekreitzman and @prettypillowprincess to begin with.