{Five Minutes With} Kate Marsden ~ Made By Mrs M - Albert and Me
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{Five Minutes With} Kate Marsden ~ Made By Mrs M

Made By Mrs M Cushions - Beak Up Crafts

{Five Minutes With} Kate Marsden ~ Made By Mrs M

Made By Mrs M Cushions - Beak Up Crafts

It’s time for the next instalment of this popular series which showcases the talents of designer-makers and their creative businesses while also giving great advice if you’re thinking of going into business yourself.

Today I’m speaking with the lovely Kate Marsden who is a textile designer and fabric artist who runs Made By Mrs M. Kate’s primary focus is her fabric designs but she also works with ceramics, cross stitch and other media, as well as exhibiting her textile art across the UK. I love her striking designs, a lot of which are inspired by architecture, and her use of colour, and I hope you enjoy finding out more about her business.

Kate Marsden - Beak Up Crafts


Hi Kate! Firstly how did you come up with the idea for Made By Mrs M and how long have you been in business?

Hello! Made By Mrs M started as a creative outlet when I was working in the city (I’d originally studied Fashion & Textiles but ended up at a law firm!).

The products and look have changed radically since I began (although my popular Park Hill design has been around since the start). I wrote my first blog post in late 2011, but I only really turned it all from a hobby into a business in January 2014. My blog has helped me to form the direction for my work over the last few years.

The name Made By Mrs M came after about a year (a suggestion came from my best friend, who calls me Mrs M, and I played around with it to come up with Made By…).

Kate Marsden Fabric Exhibition - Beak Up Crafts

Where do you find your inspiration for your fabric designs?

Mostly from mid-century textiles and architecture, although if I’m honest just about anything can cause that spark of inspiration – colours on the street, art, fashion – you name it.

Please could you give us a bit of an insight into your design process and how long does it take to develop a fabric design from start to final product?

For my main designs (Park Hill, South Bank, Bankside) it’s quite a long process. I start by taking a photograph of the building I’m interested in – from a slightly unusual angle if possible – then I return to my studio to paint it (usually in acrylics). The finished painting is then scanned and I manipulate it and turn it into a repeat pattern in Photoshop. The design is then uploaded and digitally printed onto fabric for me.

What does an average day look like for you? Do you do this full-time or if not, how do you fit it around your other responsibilities.

I work part-time, in order to fit around school, although I work longer than full-time hours when you include everything I do in the evenings and at weekends!

Made By Mrs M studio - Beak Up Crafts

My days do vary, but as a rule we’re up pretty early with the small boy (he’s four) – I check my emails etc. while he has his breakfast, then I get us both dressed and ready for school. Post school run I come home and into the study where I write a (or go through my existing) to do list and prioritise my work for the day. Making and doing, packing orders etc. takes place in my studio, and everything involving the computer (most of my work!) takes place in the study, which I share with Mr M.

My day is usually a mix of blogging, online shop keeping, filing and accounts, managing social media for clients (I do most, but by no means all, of mine in the evenings), photography, writing and designing in Photoshop. On my best days I have a good mix of this alongside making and photographing a tutorial, working on new products, painting and listening to the radio!

South Bank Cushion - Made By Mrs M - Beak Up Crafts

I often join in Twitter chats and continue with emails, order packing and any urgent tasks into the evening after he goes to bed. I tend to only do urgent things (plus some social media) at the weekends, unless I have an event to attend.

What has surprised you the most about running your own creative business and is there anything you would do differently if you were to start again? Do you have any tips or advice for people starting out?

Nothing has really surprised me – other than the amount of time I spend in front of a computer – and how slow progress can be when you don’t have lots of money to throw at it. Ideally I would have started with a business plan and research and investment, but that’s not possible for most people. As it started as a hobby I’ve had to fill in the gaps as I go!

Top tips would be – don’t give up the day job unless you have to/can afford not to earn anything for quite a while; don’t expect quick growth (it can happen, but rarely does); don’t compare yourself to others, and develop your own style.

Made By Mrs M - desk - Beak Up Crafts

What has been your proudest moment to date with your business?

I think the approach by the Royal Academy for their RAted range. They approached me last summer and the process took a few months, so the excitement didn’t really kick in until I saw my work on display at their open call at the end of September. It’s great to see my work in their shop.

What’s in the future for Made By Mrs M?

I’m currently doing my annual re-evaluation and planning for 2015, but I have new designs in the pipeline, and I’m looking to improve my PR to help me to get them in front of the right people. I also have plans to improve my blog further  – although it had a great year in 2014, there’s always room for improvement!

I’m keeping my eye out for new opportunities all the time, whether they be events, stockists or potential collaborations – watch this space…

Park Hill Cushion - Made By Mrs M - Beak Up Crafts

Finally, do you have any special offers or discounts you would like to share with Beak Up Crafts readers please?

Yes, there’s 20% off anything in my Etsy shop (including clearance items) with code BEAKUP20 for two weeks!


Quickfire Questions

Spring or Summer – Spring

Hot or Cold – Hot

Wool or Fabric – Fabric

Cats or Dogs – Cats

Seaside or Countryside – Really hard!! Seaside

At home or Abroad – Abroad

Peppermint tea or Coffee – Coffee

Planning or Spur of the moment – Planning

Minimalist or Shabby chic – Shabby chic

Instagram or Facebook – Instagram


How gorgeous are Kate’s fabrics and homewares? I think they are stunning. If you would like to see them for yourself in person then head down to the Designers/Makers Market at Old Spitalfields, London, on March 21 and May 16 as Kate will be there!

I hope you enjoyed this feature. If you would like to be interviewed for my blog about your creative business then please get in touch with me at kate@beakupcrafts.co.uk.

Lots of fabric love,

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3 Comments
  • crawcraftsbeasties

    Feb 02 at 9:31 pm Reply

    Ooooh, what gorgeous fabrics! Lots of good advice in here too, and I always love having a look around other people’s crafting spaces… Thanks for sharing!

  • Jemma

    Feb 03 at 8:42 pm Reply

    This was a fascinating read! Thank you for sharing 😀 !
    Such good advice here too!

    Jemma xx
    http://www.dorkface.co.uk

    • Kate

      Feb 08 at 1:43 pm Reply

      Thank you Jemma so pleased you enjoyed the interview! x

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