Today’s Behind the Biz interview is with a fantastic Sheffield based business. I love having the chance to feature local businesses with you so we can encourage each other to shop small and independent. If you’re new around here, Behind The Biz is an interview series where I discover small and growing businesses, the people behind them and their business journey.
Today’s interview is with Aimee Harrison, the founder of Line Cut Supply.
Please tell us about your business.
Line Cut Supply is an independent clothing company producing beautiful, durable and sustainable workwear for modern women. I design, pattern and produce everything myself, by hand, from my studio in Sheffield.
Where did the inspiration for Line Cut Supply come from?
I’ve been disenchanted with fast fashion for a very long time and I believe women are hugely underserved by traditional forms of workwear. Brands don’t seem to acknowledge that women want clothing with proper pockets, which in this day and age I find pretty ridiculous. I wanted to produce something different for busy, modern women that challenges the notion of aesthetic utility wear.
How did you decide upon the name of your brand?
Everything else was taken! Honestly It was so difficult to find a unique name. I landed on Line Cut Supply because it is a reflection of my process- designing, cutting and supplying everything by hand (and the URL/handles were free!).
What did you do before starting Line Cut Supply?
I’ve always been good at planning and organising which led me naturally into a career in project management. Living in London and working crazy hours burnt me out and did some serious damage to my mental health so I went to live in Portland, Oregon for 18 months. Whilst there I had the space and time to explore creative pursuits and really interrogate my passions. I actually did not study fashion or design formally; I am self-taught in sewing and pattern drafting. I bought textbooks, read lots of blogs, and learned what I needed to as I went.
Did you always plan to be self-employed?
I’ve always romanticised being self employed and it’s worth stating that I’m not completely self employed right now. I’m fortunate enough to have a part time job that I love and that allows me the optimum creative freedom with Line Cut Supply. I know myself well enough to know that I do not operate well under financial pressure. When I was completely self employed I found it to be a hard, lonely road. I had no colleagues, no office and no one to bounce ideas off of. I’d love to get to a place with the business that I can employ a team of people, however until then I’m happy to take things slow and just enjoy the journey.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
Me. This has been a huge learning process for me as an individual and I’m only just starting to understand the limits of my capabilities. Knowing what you’re not good at is as important as knowing what you are good at.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
I’m in the middle of a project called Women of Steel, which is a 4 month long residency and pop-up in the city centre for the Sheffield Year of Making. As part of this I’ve been putting on talks and workshops, hosting maker events and running my studio from a beautiful, light-filled gallery. Line Cut Supply has always been about empowering people to look good and feel good while they are at work and so I wanted to provide a comfortable and accessible environment for people to talk about their experiences and make in.
So far I’ve run workshops in woodworking, electronics and 3D printing and the reception has been fantastic. It’s incredible to witness people open up and find the confidence to have a go a something seemingly daunting.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
I use social media personally and find it hugely inspiring however I acknowledge I’m not using it to it’s full potential for the brand. Part of understanding the limits of my capabilities is getting people on board who do know what they are doing, which is in progress right now.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be realistic with your ambitions, understand that growth happens slowly and acknowledge that a huge amount of work and hustle is required to make something successful. I would caution that there are some not-so-glamorous sides to running your own business and so being prepared for the rough times, both financially and mentally, is really key. Despite that, it’s a hugely valuable learning experience and makes you appreciate how much effort goes into running a small business.
Where do you hope to take your business in 2017?
I have so many ideas for new pieces but my time right now is taken up with making orders for my current collection. I’m determined to take things slowly this year and just enjoy the process. Despite that, I do have some exciting things coming up; I’m launching a new piece in a couple of months, looking at a redesign of the website and moving into a new studio.
I want to say a big thank you to Aimee for taking part in my Behind the Biz series. I really enjoyed learning about her business journey and can’t wait to see the new design. I think patience is very important when you’re running your own business and as Aimee says, you must be realistic with your ambitions. I wish Aimee and her business the best of luck throughout 2017.