We at AGT think that creating is all about testing boundaries, exploring the new and constantly developing, so what better way than to do so with a community of other creative? We talked to Emma Jayne Hague- the founder of Bristol Textiles Quarter.
Tell us about your business?
BTQ was born from a dream to see a more local textile economy in Bristol. After becoming totally overwhelmed by all the things that I realised would need to be done to make this happen, it seemed like the best place to start might be to create a shared studio – a place for likeminded people to meet, connect, collaborate and provide each other with peer-to-peer support. BTQ offers memberships to the studio on a flexible basis, giving members access to workspace as well as industrial textile machinery, without tying them into long-term contracts. Its about economy of scale, and affording our members access to shared resources they might not have the space/money to accommodate if they were setting up by themselves.
What’s been the best part of starting up your own business so far?
Seeing the community grow. And the maker community around us too. The studio is in Old Market, which seems to be turning itself into a real epicentre of creative maker businesses (and micro breweries!)
What has been the biggest hurdle with your SME?
Cold winters! The downside to having this much industrial space this close to the centre of town is that it has no heating. But spring to summer makes it worth it.
What’s a standard day like for you?
It doesn’t exist! I’m studying for a Masters and working with a sustainability consultancy. BTQ is lucky to have long-term resident upholsterer Mel taking care of everyone day to day, which is giving me time to think about where BTQ goes next…. I am juggling many things and beyond the morning tea and yoga routine no two days are the same. One of the great things about the studio is that it feels different every day depending who is there, what they are working on…there’s always something or someone new. We’re lucky!
What do you typically wear to work?
Boots and wool (!) We have a concrete floor and no heating or insulation so good sweaters are standard for about 8 months of the year. My jacket from Tamay and Me ( one of our studio members) has also become an indispensable key item of the work wardrobe. Can’t seem to take it off.
In 5 years time where would you like to see yourself and the business?
We are starting to think forward a few years and explore what a scale up plan might look like, which would give members more space for when their businesses grow, plus extra facilities that we’re not able to offer here. ON the other hand i’m also a firm believe in “small is beautiful” so maybe we’ll stay just the way we are.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone starting up their own company, what would it be?
Be prepared to change your original idea. Multiple times. Be willing to go back to the drawing board…there are always multiple ways of getting to where you want to go.