Celebrating the people behind British small businesses

Who needs a studio when you’ve got a storage unit? Saturday Sewing Sessions

From its early beginnings above a pub in Chelsea, to the beautifully decorated studio space you see today, ‘Saturday Sewing Sessions’ teaches more than the art of sewing.

Business owner Arianna Cadwallader is passionate about millinery and dressmaking and has inspired students to enjoy the creative process. Students can look forward to making almost anything from cushions to summer maxi dresses and even baby shower quilts. With classes running at both beginner and intermediate levels, Arianna’s company has grown into a much loved activity for those wanting to learn the sewing basics as well as a popular event for hen-dos and baby showers.

Arianna’s been running her business from Access Self Storage Chelsea. Here, she talks about the inspiring story behind her company!

Tell us about your business…

I am a clothes and accessories designer as well as a milliner by profession. I have been sewing since I was little and after years of being asked how to use a sewing machine, I decided to start a little sewing group on a Saturday above my local pub.

Every Saturday I would carry all my machines over to the pub and up the stairs to teach a group of beginners how to sew bags and cushions.  My personal studio was a tiny space in my flat. Eventually, I looked for a joint studio space where I could set up my business, create my hats and wedding dresses and expand my sewing sessions to week days as well as the weekends.

Both businesses work well together, they are a great combination! Now we are a team of three full-time teachers and a studio assistant.

How long have you stored with Access Self Storage?

Almost 3 years. I use a gorgeous studio unit on the first floor.  The unit has a high ceiling, which is lovely! My studio is very secure and the people are a wonderful mix. Having a reception is really handy because I no longer have to worry about parcels and post, plus the staff at Access are lovely.

Has this helped your business?

Absolutely: I have one place to store all of my sewing and millinery wears. I am able to use the studio anytime I need it and the location is brilliant.  Also, I’ve been able to make it my own space to reflect my business style.  It has great transport links and the language on football days is a far cry away from when I was right above the Chelsea footy fans!

How did you manage previously?

All my equipment was stored in my flat and I had to carry it all to the sessions every Saturday.  My situation was not sustainable because my sewing equipment was increasing as my classes became more popular.  Thread, needles and fabric were everywhere and I needed to find somewhere for client fittings. So getting somewhere where I could combine the two was ideal.

What is the future plan for your company?

To carry on with the teaching sessions and to keep people stitching! I have a few exciting things in the pipeline with my hats, dresses and vintage creations, so it’s looking great. I might even have to get a bigger studio space soon!

Do you have a piece of business advice for any budding small business heroes?

You don’t need to have a massive amount of money to start a business. I started with a £100 win from a PayPal and Enterprise nation competition and with the help of a wonderful lady called Emma Jones.

If you have an idea, my advice is to use the resources available to you and ‘just go for it’!