Ruth Oliver from The Make Arcade

Say hello to Ruth from The Make Arcade. I first started speaking to Ruth when I did some photography for her way back in my early days and have since done multiple jobs for her. She is honestly a ray of sunshine, and a joy to work with. A true inspiration in my eyes!

How did you get started?

I have always wanted to have a creative job. I studied fashion and design and worked in office based design and product development but craved a more creative job. After having my second child I knew that I needed to find something to substitute my part time position and offer the flexibility so I could look after my two children. Back in 2013 the Sewing Bee had come on to the TV and the emerging popularity of craft and sewing was becoming apparent. So I took the plunge
and started teaching sewing workshops under the name The Make Arcade. The kits came alongside the workshops and the brand has grown from there!


What is your favourite thing about running a business?
The flexibility and not having to work 9-5 hours is so brilliant. Everyday is different and although sometimes scary, it’s great to be in creative control of what you are working on.


Who is your inspiration?
This is a hard one! I have so many people that I admire! I love reading so at the moment I just adore the ravings of Caitlin Moran and just started the Michelle Obama book, there will be some gems in there.

What is, in your opinion, the most important thing to remember when running a business?
Don’t run before you can walk and good things take time. Keep your head down, don’t compare yourself to people on the internet and work hard. But take a break too to avoid burnout!

What do you consider your biggest business achievement?
I think it would be when I got my first really big wholesale order. It was for 700 kits (cactus ones!) for a charity subscription box. Up to that point I was only making a few kits at a time and it helped me streamline my production process and realise that I could actually do this!

Tell us a fact about your business: (this can be how much sellotape you go through, or a funny fact people wouldn’t know - anything!)
On a quiet day I take the post to the post office balanced on my bike handlebars. She is my pride and joy and called Barbara!

What is your favourite product / service you offer?
I love our embroidery kits. The artwork is drawn from original ideas and printed onto a cotton fabric. You put it in the hoop and use simple embroidery stitches over the printed designs. It’s simple but effective – I’ve got lots of new ideas for these coming up. You can shop these here. 

What is your number 1 advice for someone thinking of starting a business?
Start small, but just go for it. You’ll never be 100% ready to launch a small business, but just get started and learn as you go along! Join a supportive business group too.

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