Thank you for inviting me here Sai. Today I will introduce myself and my business along with shedding a little more light on Sai’s exciting new concept The Beehive Pop-Up, showcasing the talents and skills of local creators, artists and designers. First up: I am a stay at home mum of two gorgeous imps taking her first steps into the world of a starting her own handmade business.  I like to call my eldest imp a mischief but my youngest is the “Madame” who inspired the name of my company. We call her Madame Shannanigans because of all the mayhem she manages to create the moment we look away. Over the last year or so instead of having another baby, I have decided to let my body recover. I started to sew again and delved deep into the online world of digital patterns and designers, exploring the different styles available, learning new techniques, getting involved with pattern testing in the lead up to a new release and surrounding myself in a nest of beautiful textiles and an international online community of sew enthusiasts. Emerging a year later with the knowledge that I couldn’t just flood my children with my creations, I started to explore the concept of branching out into a business and spreading the joy of handmade items to others.  I have had so much encouragement from everyone; I finally feel I can do this!

Madame Shannanigans is a custom apparel and accessories business which currently runs from a Facebook shop. We make clothes for boys and girls for any occasion as well as rag dolls which you can dress up in coordinating outfits with your children. My main aim is to provide charming handmade products which are available in a range of price ranges so everyone can enjoy a piece no matter their budget, but at the same time I want to show what goes into a piece of clothing or toy. Often I hear the Primark excuse and although I have nothing against them it saddens me to think that we live in a world where we don’t question the origins of our clothes and the conditions they were made in. I am not just talking about the people either. This way of life is not sustainable with the amount of raw materials being wasted and the subsequent pollution caused by mass production and landfill from our throwaway society. I want to rectify this somewhat. I want to bring back slow fashion. I want to spend a little more but reduce waste. The wish I have is to create an item which will be cherished, used frequently then passed on to another to enjoy. Even at the end of its life, I want it to be upcycled into something beautiful or useful. Think reusable kitchen clothes, flannels, a doll or even twisting the scraps to create multi-coloured twine that even Joseph and his Technicolor coat will be proud of.

Instead of demonising any one fibre, the way forward to reduce waste is to upcycle and reuse –Think of that wedding dress you can’t sell becoming a christening gown or party dress instead, that ugly dress you got as a present but the fabric was nice, or a holey well loved jumper rejuvenated into a mini jumper for the little one or a cosy mitten and beanie set for the chilly winter days to come.  Madame Shannanigans is a place where you can send us your old garments to be transformed into something beautiful and loved again – a way to pass down through the generations again. Another perk is the fabric is or is virtually free so you can enjoy a custom made item for less whilst doing your bit for the world.

Now let me introduce the Beehive concept. Mutrend Lab is a community hub where talented and independent designers and innovators are always appreciated. For the purpose of sustainability, it is also an independent store displaying unique items and wares for people who endeavour to find novelty in their daily lives. Sai, who initiated this on-going collaborative project wants to incorporate a space celebrating local talents, helping local businesses to grow through exposure and networking and creating a creative hub.  It’s a brilliant idea and one I would love to support. Basically there is a plywood wall like a gigantic pegboard on which hangs a few hexagonal box shelves of which you can book to display your product. Think of it more as an art installation than a shelf rack. I would like to display my products folded like at home to invite you all to take them off the shelves and open up to reveal what you are holding. It will be a way to appreciate the texture and look of the textiles before being distracted by the garment. Nonchalantly sitting atop will be my rag doll mice inviting you all over to take a browse. This will be the idea behind my installation, inviting you all to have a good nosy through samples of what I have to offer you and a flick through my catalogue look book. For Southampton locals this is an amazing opportunity at only £30 per month plus 10% on all sales to showcase your talents, your passions and your wares. I would love to see the wall filled eclectically with the varied skills of artists around Southampton, proudly showcasing what we have to offer for all to see and appreciate.