Handmade by Higgi – A Shopping in Barnsley Interview

Shopping in Barnsley talks to Janet Higgins the founder and designer of Handmade by Higgi.

Briefly describe Handmade by Higgi…

Handmade products created from new materials including fabrics. The range includes Pet Bandanas, Peg Bags, Lavender bags, ‘cutie chick’ paperweights and cushion covers and much more, handmade right here in Barnsley in my sewing room.

Tell us a little about yourself…

My name is Janet Higgins and since my kids grew up I had a number of part time work both with Barnsley Council working as study Support worker in libraries and then doing Library assistant jobs until the unfortunate time of council cut-backs when I left and went into retail clothing working for both Marks and Spencer and Tesco.

Dog bandanas, Sparkly Skulls 'easy on stay on' Bandanas Handmade by Higgi

How did your business start?

It began when my husband retired and I couldn’t bear the thought of continuing the drudgery of going out to work day after day so I decided that I was finishing too. Then of course I needed to keep myself occupied so out came the sewing machine and overlocker in an attempt to keep myself busy. Since I was young I’d always been interested in sewing so it seemed fitting that I expanded my hobby.

Describe your average day…

An average day usually starts with taking stock of what items I have cut out ready for sewing and gauging what work this will give me for the day, this will involve either completing the work in hand or deciding what items I will be making next in which case my husband will have the task of cutting more material.

I manufacture various items from fabrics i.e. Aprons, Wheat bags, Pet Bandanas, Tots Dribble bibs, Adult Clothes Protectors, Microwave Bowl Cosies (Hand protectors), Lavender bags, Cushion Covers, Kids Backpacks, this list is not exhaustive as I’m always looking for new ideas. With all the different products I obviously need different designs so to give people a range of choice and it is this which also offers a challenge as to what I believe I may need next and in what material so often involves a day or two shopping and reaching for different design materials.

Handmade by Higgi Business Cards

What research do you do?

I am a member of various groups both social networking sites on the internet and attending meetings in person, from these groups in chatting to other people it highlights possibilities of items which may interesting to the public. Visiting craft fayres is also a way of researching goods as well as ‘trawling’ through the internet.

Handmade by Higgi Craftfair

Do you use social media to promote yourself?

Media I use are the social networking sites of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Ebay, Etsy as well as the more traditional way of distributing Business Cards

What links do you have to the local community?

I am a member of ‘Etsy Local’, member of ‘Crafty Biz Barnsley and support the local community by attending craft fayres around the Barnsley Area. Wherever possible I purchase my raw materials from local suppliers.

What kind of reactions do you get from your work?

I have never had a negative reaction to my products with positive feedback on Facebook, Ebay and Etsy for both quality and speed of delivery.

Handmade by Higgi Cushion

Where is your artwork display or for sale?

My work can be found for sale through my Facebook site: ‘Handmade by Higgi’ also on Etsy and Ebay as well as local Craft Fayres

Do you feel positive about the future of Barnsley?
(i.e. the Better Barnsley campaign)

Yes I have to be as anything which helps get the local community’s name across can never be a negative thing and deserves to be supported.

Online Store: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HandmadebyHiggi
Facebook: ‘Handmade by Higgi’ 

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