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April 08, 2021
Hello! I hope you're well?
I've started a blog! Who'd have thought it eh?! My aim is to use this space to give you a little insight into my business, behind the scenes on how I run it all, a little about my life and well...anything really. So if there's something in particular you'd really like to see or know about, do let me know and I will try my best to write about it. I thought perhaps I'd start with my background and how I got to what I'm doing now. So grab a cuppa and I hope you enjoy the read!
I've always been creative, after leaving University with a degree in Textiles in 2009 I couldn't really see myself in a 'normal' job without a creative outlet. So alongside my reliable waged job I set up a business making and selling Textile Gifts and Accessories under the name Nellie & Elsie.
I moved from Milton Keynes to Manchester a year later and continued with Nellie & Elsie alongside working a part time job. I did this for many years and loved it for the most part but after 5 years I began to feel like I'd lost the joy somewhere. Everything was very labour intensive, my shared studio space had become empty and working there became incredibly lonely. My mental health wasn't at it's best and I made the decision that perhaps, this particular journey had come to a natural end.
After winding the business down I settled into a normal full time retail job but unfortunately my mental health took a bit of a dip. I would like to say my place of work was supportive and allowed me the time I needed to get better but unfortunately they weren't. I took sick leave for a good few months and then eventually left as going back seemed like a mountain far too high for me to climb whilst being in the space I was in.
The next few months were just about survival really. I was at my worst mental health-wise and lived from moment to moment as best I could, on my own in a tiny studio flat in South Manchester. During this period I began seeing a therapist, which in all honestly saved me at a time when I thought I would feel sad forever. Regular sessions with my lovely Therapist (hello Sarah!) gave me the strength I needed to try and start again. During this time (and I still believe it was fate) a job at a Gallery in Manchester came up, a gallery that I had always loved. I applied, interviewed and got the job.
I maintain working at the gallery combined with Therapy was the combination I needed to heal and get better. There is so much to be said for being surrounded by like minded people who 'get it'. I never had any problems working there and felt my mental health ups and downs were just not an issue. I felt supported, cared for and felt like I could be me.
It was during this time of re-adjustment that I began feeling creative again, like a spark had been reignited. I found my therapy sessions to be so useful I wanted to remember the helpful words I was hearing and things we were discussing, so they began to creep into my designs. As I started to post them to my Instagram they seemed to resonate with others too and really, that was the beginning of it all. I never set out to start a business doing what I do, but I feel like fate had a way of steering me into it and I'm so pleased it did.
2020 was a game changer for me really. I had met my partner, Pete in 2019 (a Yorkshire lad) and was getting restless in the City so decided to make the move over the hills to West Yorkshire in early 2020. Shortly after moving, however Covid hit and I found myself on Furlough with so much time to work fully on my business. Unfortunately due the contract I was on at the gallery I was let go in the Summer of 2020 and decided, once again that it was fate telling me to pursue the business full time. Which is where I am now.
I've learnt a lot up to this point and it's not all been easy but working fully on a business I love has been a real highlight and I'm so grateful that my customers have allowed me to do that.
The next adventure for 2021 is currently in bump form, but one myself and Pete are very excited about. I'm sure that adventure will feature on the blog soon!
I hope you've enjoyed reading a bit about me and where my work/designs come from. Please feel free to follow me on Instagram @jessrachelsharp and if you have anything you'd like me to write about on here do let me know.
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May 23, 2021
April 23, 2021