It’s been such a long time since I introduced myself and talked about the background of Shirley Rainbow, I seem to do it regularly on other social media, but for some reason not here on my my blog!
So here goes…
I’m Teresa, and I run an online shop called Shirley Rainbow. It’s mostly filled with embroidered products, but there’s a bit of crochet in there too. I set up my shop with Folksy in 2014 and I have enjoyed selling on there ever since.
I have always been interested in drawing, painting and sewing. I wrote and illustrated a series of books when I was 7 or 8 (I still have them somewhere!) and I still cherish vague ambitions to write a real book, but maybe not illustrate it myself! I was taught to sew and knit by my mother and grandmas, and I still have the first pincushion and needle case that I made from felt.
Fast forward a few years and I went to Nottingham Trent University and studied Textile Design, and specialised in embroidery. I really enjoyed learning so much more about embroidery and how to design a collection of work. Our tutors placed a large emphasis on haute couture embroidery, and we certainly worked with some sumptuous materials; my final collection was made from silk, vintage sequins and real gold thread!
After I finished university I ran a small business with a friend, selling fabric and haberdashery to university students, driving about in a blue van and sometimes singing, because we couldn’t get the radio to work. Unfortunately it wasn’t a sustainable business for both of us and we had to get other jobs to pay the bills. I did a dressmaking course in the evening which was great and boosted my machine sewing skills no end. I also made some curtains and cushions for my new house. Gradually, being creative became less and less a part of my life, until I was pregnant with my first baby and I knitted a pair of very wonky mittens for him! I also made the curtains for his room and a matching cushion. After my daughter was born two year later I was really craving something creative to do. (You know, when I had probably the least free time I’ve ever had, with two small children to look after!) I bought some felt and started doing some small embroidered hearts for Christmas decorations. I also used some of these for greetings cards, and hand printed little messages. With a bit of encouragement from my husband, family and friends I opened my online shop and tentatively listed a few items. It took a couple of months to make my first sale, it really was a very exciting moment!
I now have a proper workspace in my attic, and have gradually spent more and more time working on Shirley Rainbow. Having both of my children at school gave me 5 hours 4 days a week which felt fantastic to have so much time (the other day is spent with my husband, or doing housework!) The last few months have seen me working evenings and occasional hours here and there as I can. My children are amazingly supportive, which I really appreciate!
So if you are wondering why I’m called Teresa, and my online shop is called Shirley Rainbow I’ll try and explain. Shirley Rainbow is a name I heard years ago and loved. When I worked as part of an duty admin team for a busy Child Protection Social Care team we gave ourselves fun name to make the worst days feel a bit better, and I was Shirley Rainbow. I thought at the time that it would be great for my proper job to actually be Shirley Rainbow, she sounded like she had lots more fun than me! So when I came to set up my online shop I decided to call it Shirley Rainbow!
I have experimented with lots of different styles of products that I make, however I finally feel like I’m on a good path with my products. I love to work with bright colours, especially in felt, and use brightly coloured embroidery to embellish purses or wall decorations. I particularly enjoy making my lavender bags, and have many more little characters I’d like to make.
Thank you so much for reading this far, and I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out a bit more about me and Shirley Rainbow.