“I’m a curtain coward, a blinds bitch, in short a pain in the sash”
Measurements have never been my forte; my attention to detail wanes as soon as the word ‘dimensions’ appear on an eBay ad, usually because I can never find my tape measures (I actually own three; somewhere, in a cupboard, drawer, the universe…) and so I figure most things can be estimated with a hand span, a squinty eye and a hunch; mostly wrongly. This goes a long way to explaining the array of over and under-sized items I’ve misguidedly bought over the years.
So, the one thing I have always veered away from in a high-speed swerve of panic, is the responsibility of ‘made to measure’ window treatments, where I have to actually do the measuring. I’ve always preferred the ethically dubious option of roping in an unsuspecting male accomplice to do that for me, whilst I quibble from the doorway and reserve the right to ungratefully berate him after the fact should he balls it up… I’m a curtain coward, a blinds bitch, in short a pain in the sash.
Then I discovered Stitched on Instagram @madebystitched. Straight up, this isn’t a #ad; I bought from these guys (albeit with a kind discount) because I was bowled over by their bold, brave colourways in the first place. Also because they are overwhelmingly reassuring for those reluctant with a ruler in the second place with online chat and practical tools for building confidence in knowing what to measure where, when and how. Even annotating all the measurements you need to make for you and providing helpful webchat tips.
Technophobes listen up! Even I can use their website, with easy to pick samples, virtual room graphics and clear fields for typing in your order. My challenge was narrowing down the range of samples for my study to one ‘oh so perfect pink’ after a love tussle with mustard.
Made from 100% natural, recycled and sustainable fabric largely milled in the UK, Stitched focus on fabrics and a supply chain that generate a low carbon footprint; so they aren’t just easy on the eyes, but easy on the environment too. I went for a bonded lining, wool blind, and as with all things ordered on line, I awaited delivery day anxiously – would I like it? Would the quality match my hopes? Yes and YES! What arrived was an exceptionally high quality product, vibrant in colour, attention to detail and, well yes, real love of the design. The team at Stitched are committed to making “buying curtains & blinds easy, one stitch at a time, by focusing on beautiful design, materials that are good for the environment and forward-thinking technology” – now I just need to get better at full-window photos to really show the end result off to you!
Like to learn more? Well, obviously I’d love you to take a look at their website www.stitched.co.uk, but right here, right now I asked the lovelies at Stitched to tell me what really draws them together (curtain pun warning necessary):
Curtain Up; what inspired you to launch the company?
Elinor (Co-Founder of Stitched) says
“My inspiration to start the company started after I left the world of interior design to take the plunge and do something that combined all my love for design and beautiful things and my tech background mixed in with a desire for it to be sustainable. At first I wasn’t entirely sure what the company would look like, but I knew two things…mass production is challenging the environment, and secondly, that technology can be used to change this.
Historically people bought once and bought well, however this attitude has shifted and we are now primed to update our homes far more regularly, like we do with our wardrobes. Much like fashion, interior design is an extension of your personality, but people’s homes are more permanent and is less a reflection of your mood, and more a reflection of your soul and your life’s direction.
Home décor products are typically designed, mass produced and then stored in warehouses, until they are sold. I thought it would be possible to use 3D and augmented reality technology to help people design their perfect products and have them made exactly according to their design, meaning no more warehouses full of unsold goods, made on the presumption that someone, somewhere, will buy them. All whilst using sustainable, natural fabrics that are not just beautiful, but are eco-friendly.
For months I explored what was possible on the tech side, meeting some very clever techies and building some prototypes of what the business would look like. Then in December , I met Will (my co-founder) on a train. His interest and energy came at a great time, and a few months later, after lots of strategy meetings Stitched was born, with both Will and I as co-founders.
Team Talk; who’s who and what do you all do?
We are a rapidly growing team! There are 8 of us on a full time basis, but we have people dipping in and out of the office all the time! We have a Design team that ensure that everything is beautiful; they create all the content that you see on our social media. We now have an IT team who are constantly striving to make our site as good as it can be. They are also working on making the 3D look more realistic. We now have some in house Marketing gurus as well, Customer Service and Retail Operations! But even though we have our roles we share a lot of responsibilities. In a small business it’s really important that people roll up their sleeves and muck in. One day you might be talking to investors, the other, you might be ‘Office Manager’ – meaning you are in charge of ordering more teabags!
Behind The Curtain – a typical day in the office behind the scenes?
No day is the same – which sounds like a terrible cliche, but it’s true. It’s one of the reasons why working at Stitched is so fun! Some days we will all diligently tapping away at our computers, the next day we will be sat on picnic blankets in the park, brainstorming our next video concept (thank you O2 Wifi!). There are always cups of tea going round, and the occasional doughnut run to the shops that keeps us going (there is a constant debate about jam vs. custard filled doughnuts).
Sourced by Stitched; why/how do you source suppliers? Ethics and values behind fabric choices and makers voices.
It’s really important to us that we have a transparent supply chain, whilst remaining sustainable and affordable. This is often quite difficult to achieve. Although sustainable materials are on the rise, finding truly sustainable materials at an affordable price point is hard. There are lots of suppliers jumping on the bandwagon claiming to have eco credentials, however when you dig into the detail, it often turns out to be good marketing rather than good for the environment.
All of our fabrics are made from 100% natural and recycled, 70% of our them are milled in the UK, use locally sourced raw materials (#lowcarbonfootprint) and have zero production waste. We believe in leaving the world in a better place, that means no synthetics, no harmful milling or dying processes, only good fabrics.
It’s quite a noble mission, but we’re very fortunate to be supported by B-Corporation a not for profit organisation that promotes more positive business that’s good for environment and society as well as a company’s shareholders.
Fabric Fantastic; your range? The ‘Bare to Bold’ ethos.
We are excited by colour. We want to see bold and bright colours on people’s windows (ideally with products that we have made, haha) but we also know that not everyone wants bright green curtains in their sitting room. That’s why we’ve chosen a real range of plain fabrics. We have deliberately chosen plain fabrics, as they are style agnostic and timeless. A block colour also means that you can be inventive throughout the rest of your room – you can add a geometric cushion to a sofa one year, and the next you can swap it for the leopard print one therefore changing the room, but without a full overhaul. I don’t think that plain means boring, our fabrics have rich and intriguing texture which add subtle character to any room.
Better Buying; why it’s fine online?
People are getting more used to buying online – and although we’re in the early days of 3D and augmented reality, it is becoming more and more natural. We’ve even had a customer who ordered a curtain without ordering any samples going only off his 3D design. Which makes us confident that we are heading in the right direction. Like we said before, 3D customisation is the future of shopping. Customers are bored of looking at flat shot images of pencil drawn curtain headings, they are ready to get involved, and we want to be involved with them. Being able to design and buy your curtain online means that you no longer need to battle the crowds at a certain department store on a Saturday morning – you can do it in your pyjamas drinking a coffee in bed. And what’s not to love about that.
Window treatment; customer care at Stitched? What can we expect?
We are aiming to provide a customer experience that is second to none, from start to finish. We encourage our customers to share photographs of their window with us, so that we can advise on style or colour, but we also do this so that we can annotate the pictures of their window, to show where to measure. Measuring is the real bug bear of ordering made to measure curtains/blinds, so we want to make it easy for our customers. We use Web Chat, we have a phone line, we really encourage our customers to chat to us!
A Stitch in time; what’s next for the brand?
There is SO much in the pipeline – it’s all very exciting! We are developing an AR app, so that you can design your curtains online, and see them in your room (through your phone camera). Our team is growing. We are always on the hunt for interesting and innovative fabrics that we can use in the future, whilst carefully curating our current colour offering. It sounds a little cheesy, but we really want everyone to have beautiful curtains/blinds in their home that have been sustainably made, so we are introducing 0% Finance payment schemes… there is so much to be done.