Spotlight Series - Dappled Shade
This week, we spoke to Gemma Harrison -- creator of 'Dappled Shade'. She creates a variety of completely custom-made accessories and products. You can reach out to Gemma to choose your fabric, embroidery and applique for an array of her beautiful and sustainable designs. Check out the interview below to find out more:
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Gemma Harrison, I’m 21 and I am very proud to be the creator of Dappled Shade. I am in my second year at the University of Leeds studying textile design and I love anything and everything to do with creativity and design.
How/Why did you come up with this endeavour, was there a particular ‘light bulb’ moment?
For my friends and family’s birthdays, I have always got super creative and spent hours making personalised presents. When I came to uni everyone said I should start selling the amazing things I made, so I started off selling makeup bags, and it evolved from there...
Was there one particular thing you did that you feel enabled the business to take off/gain traction?
The main reason Dappled Shade took off was that each product was made to order. People like knowing that their item is completely unique and custom made for them with all the elements that they have chosen such as fabric, embroidery and applique. The other main attraction of Dappled Shade is that each product is made of only up-cycled materials meaning it is a zero-waste brand.
What has been the most challenging/rewarding part of running your business?
The most challenging part is keeping up with custom orders which I have to make from scratch. This is very time consuming especially when lots of orders come at once!
Where do you see your business going in the future?
Whilst at university I plan to make steady progress with Dappled Shade but afterwards I hope to expand it into something bigger and better, all the while keeping the sustainability values a priority. One day I hope to have my own shop!
Is there a positive aspect that has come out of this pandemic for you/your business?
I think as for a lot of small businesses, the pandemic has strangely had a positive impact on Dappled Shade. Lockdown gave me the chance to focus and work out what my brand really was. It also gave people the chance to explore and find small, sustainable businesses that they might not have otherwise found.
How do you ensure you run your business with sustainable practice in mind?
All my materials are recycled. Whether it’s a pair of corduroy trousers that a friend has donated, a leather off-cut from a scrap shop or an embroidered blouse from a charity shop, my materials are always sustainably sourced. Sustainability is very important to me and I would want nothing less than for my customers to know they are shopping responsibly.
Interview conducted by: Samara Fruitman