Today, just about everything one might need can be found on the internet, leaving local businesses in peril. One Cardiff entrepreneur is working to change that for herself and others.
Anywhere she goes, Charlotte Peacock leaves an impression. Between her brightly coloured hair, rainbow jacket and infectious laughter, this self-made entrepreneur brightens any room she walks into.
Peacock owns a creative workshop and store called Twin Made, and is a part of a group of local entrepreneurs who work out of The Bone Yard, a collaborative creative space made up of individual storage containers that house the owners’ businesses.
“Okay, so what we like to do is to run creative workshops with the idea of people coming in for a couple of hours, making something, and taking it home with the skill and confidence to make it themselves at home,” said Peacock, explaining her business model.
In February 2018, Peacock left her full-time job as a secondary school teacher to run Twin Made full-time, and she’s barely looked back.
“I’ve crafted for quite a long time, just painting, knitting, lots of different things,” said Peacock. “It got to the point where friends were asking me to teach them things…but then I was like, why don’t I get paid to do this and teach more than one person at a time?”
So she set off to do just that.
She was already selling some of her crafts on the online craft site Etsy with her twin sister under the moniker Twin Made, and started offering craft workshops in pubs and cafes as Twin Made.
After her husband – a fellow twin – asked to start selling his craft pieces with Peacock and her sister, Peacock felt the name fit, and continued to call her business that after she opened up a physical space in The Bone Yard.
“In one of our first ever classes, there were six of us in the room and four of us were twins,” said Peacock, explaining where the name came from. “Makes for a great story.”
Peacock runs two-hour workshops that take participants from start to finish on a particular craft, noting that many other art courses can require a multi-week commitment, and there are some days where, as Peacock said, “You just want to go home and sit in your pyjamas.”
She has found that the shorter classes work really well for many people, and she really loves seeing people’s growth even in such a short amount of time.
“We had one woman, who, kept making a mistake, and was like ‘Oh I’ll just take it home and finish it,’ and I was like ‘No, you’ve still got another hour, we’re going to get this done,” Peacock said. “And she finished it, and she finished it with five minutes to spare, so [time] wasn’t even an issue, it was just her confidence.
“To her, if she can’t get over that hurdle she just instantly rejects it and has another something to do,” said Peacock, citing a common theme of building confidence through her workshops.
As she approaches her one-year anniversary, Peacock is still looking forward to the next steps.
“I got to the point I wanted, a full-time job. That’s amazing, I didn’t think it was going to happen, and it’s happened, and I’ve nearly done a full year of it, so I think what I would like to do is help other people do the same,” said Peacock.
Right now, working out of a storage container, Peacock is limited in the number of students she can host, but she has her eyes on finding a larger space that would allow her to rent it out to other aspiring entrepreneurs, teaching them the tips and tricks she’s picked up over the last couple years.
“I’m a big believer in community over competition,” said Peacock, “I spend a lot of the year helping and assisting people, other craft people, and collaborating.” She’s hopeful that this next step will create a more reciprocating relationship between her and fellow arts and crafts start-ups.
Since the best part of her job is teaching others, she’s very much looking forward to getting to share her knowledge of how to make dungarees as well as how to navigate potential pitfalls of going for your dream.
In the meantime, Peacock looks forward to continuing her workshops and showing others the joys of crafting. One of the things she wants people to understand are the benefits of crafting, especially for mental health.
“I’m not say its learning to knit is going to cure mental health problems, but it’s definitely going to help it,” she said, explaining that her husband, who has anxiety, uses knitting or embroidery to help him calm down.
“I think it’s a really good way of being able to switch off from that…because when you’re having to count stitches, or design an embroidery pattern, or finish a dress, you’re less likely to be worried about things,” said Peacock.
Between planning for a future expansion and keeping up her current workload, Peacock doesn’t get a lot of time off, but she doesn’t seem to mind much.
“I’d like to have days off, but even when I have days off I’ll sit and embroider, or make pompoms, or go to craft shops,” she said, laughing. If nothing else, her classes offer both her students and Peacock the chance to blow off some steam.
“Just having people coming into my workshops and talking about [their days], it is almost like therapy,” she said, adding that her students will often come together to help a fellow crafter who has had a bad day.
“It could be four people who’ve never met before, and you start righting all the wrongs of the world, and knitting a scarf at the same time!”