How did you end up starting STORY mfg.?
Katy has been working in the industry as a denim designer and trend forecaster for eight years. Bobbin is formerly a journalist and writer before also becoming a trend forecaster specialising in material futures and consumer insight. Basically we wanted things that didn’t exist. No one was doing what we wanted – so we made it happen ourselves.
Where does your name come from?
STORY mfg. literally means ‘Story Manufacturing’ and it does exactly what it says on the tin – we create unique stories through documenting every step of our sourcing, design and manufacturing processes. We share the visual, technical and often idiosyncratic tales from the makers that we collaborate with, which allows our customers to gain real insight into our products and lifestyle. We have a blog on the site titled ‘Stories’ for in depth product details. We are totally transparent in where and who we create our products with. We’ve found that this is a something that our customers appreciate and connect with. They all geek out on the minutiae as much as we do.
Which entrepreneur or business has given you inspiration?
I’m not sure we’ve ever really thought that way. We are inspired by all the industrious people we meet – like natural dyers practicing their craft in remote places where it would be much easier to give in and use pollutants.
There’s just two of you running the business – how do you manage the work/life balance?
We really don’t have much of a balance – but that’s okay with us because it’s like our hobbies are our work.
How do you see STORY mfg. growing in the future?
We’re growing slowly – you can expect more unique textures, processes and stories. Now that we have a good footing in the craft we are looking to the future to really make a difference.
Did you have any big plans that haven’t worked out due to commercial pressures?
Not that I can think of – it’s more like things we want to do that we haven’t discovered a way to achieve yet. Because our stuff is so slow-made we often have to put ideas into motion months before we can glimpse how they will ultimately be realised.
What’s been your most successful form of marketing and promotion for your business?
We are both big fans of Instagram, posting on the STORY mfg. page and also ‘behind the scenes’ shots on our personal accounts bobbin_story and @katykatazome. We’re a visual business so using visuals makes the most sense for us. Other than that we really don’t do any marketing – we’ve spread via good, old fashioned (digital) word-of-mouth.
What’s been your favourite project so far?
We can’t think of just one but STORY as a project itself has been amazing – idea to reality its been the best thing we’ve ever done.
What’s the best thing about running STORY mfg.?
We get to produce items that we want but can’t get anywhere else, and we get to see other people wearing them too. We also can make a positive difference by creating things in a kind way for both our suppliers and consumers.
What’s on your work playlist?
If we ever have time to sit and listen to music we’re probably duelling between The Grateful Dead and Drake.
What advice would you give to any budding entrepreneurs?
Go for it!
- STORY mfg. is one of the eight emerging designers that UKTI and Spindle are proudly bringing to New York for the Liberty Trade Show. Find out more here.