This week I’m chatting to designer Sophie Wordsworth founder of @swagandtassel. She was one of the first people I interviewed for my fashion blog and is one of my biggest girl boss inspirations. She handcrafts leather goods from her studio in Pembrokeshire creating one of a kind pieces for Not On The Highstreet.
RS: Tell us about yourself and your business?⠀
SW: Hello! I am Sophie and my business is Swag and Tassel. I design and handcraft luxury leather accessories. From personalised bookmarks to one of a kind handbags – everything is made by me. I am very lucky to work from my little studio by the sea in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. I started the business almost 10 years ago (!) and feel very lucky to do what I love every day. Nothing is outsourced or made in a hurry, I am inspired by the calm quiet nature of my surroundings and adore the old techniques of leathercraft. I use vegetable tanned leather, this means it is tanned using natural vegetable extracts like wood, bark, fruit, roots and leaves. It is environmentally friendly and is a slow process taking up to six months. The result is a beautiful leather made to last. I’m quite obsessed with leather, I just had a delivery of some new hides and I am so excited by it!
RS: How has social media helped your business to grow?
SW: I have always found social media to be a tricky thing to navigate! When I started to receive support from Not On The High Street and Etsy UK I realised how amazing social media could be! l have a lot to learn about it though… I still find it amazing that I can reach new people from all over the world and turn Instagram posts into sales.
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RS: Does interacting with your followers help to give you new product ideas?
SW: Interacting with my followers always helps me to make difficult decisions, for instance, choosing new colours of leather! I can be quite indecisive so having a diverse customer group on tap to ask is an incredibly handy resource. Although I don’t do collections following the normal fashion timetable it is important to keep an eye on trends, which Instagram is great for!
RS: Is there anything you’ve learnt about social media that you wish you knew when you started your business account?
SW: I used to keep my private life very separate from my business on social media. Looking at others that I followed and was inspired by I realised they were coming across as people, with a face and a life, and that insight was what hooked me. So I have learnt, in my own way, not to be so precious with sharing little details about my life (for example, my new puppy…)
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RS: Do you have a strategy that you use and do you follow a theme?
SW: I don’t really have a strategy… but I really ought to get one, it’s on my to-do list! I’m quite strict with the photos that I put up, I try and take good clean, interesting photos and then use stories to be a bit more free. This isn’t always the best idea though as I can go for a while not sharing much, which is not great for staying relevant!
RS: What are your favourite Instagram accounts to follow for inspiration?
SW: I love all things fashion, textiles, craft, beauty and art. Just a few I find inspiring… @rugsnotdrugs @newdesigners Of course along with @EtsyUK @notonthehighstreet, they are a rich source of interesting designers and makers.