Kelly Mallinson, Founder of Sew Unique Artwork
Specialising in converting children’s artwork into embroidered gifts and keepsakes
Before my husband and I started our family – having our first daughter in 2012 – I worked as an architect. Designing children’s wards and cancer centres for hospitals, it was an extremely rewarding career.
I had this theory that when I became a mum, I’d work three-and-a-half days a week and spend the rest of the time with my baby; it’d be the perfect work-life balance. In reality however I wanted to have more time with my daughter, and so – with the support of my family and friends, as it wasn’t an easy decision to leave a career I loved – I set about following a new path in 2014.
Passionate about arts and crafts since I was little, it’d been a lifelong dream to run my own creative design business. After visiting a sewing shop in Manchester and meeting a very inspiring lady who taught me lots about embroidery machines and the design software needed, I made some investments and then embarked upon my first project: creating hankies, aprons and bags with my then-four-year-old niece’s drawings on them. My family were really impressed but also shared constructive feedback, which I genuinely appreciated because I’m a self-confessed perfectionist!
My sister-in-law shared my early work on Facebook and things have grown from there – not just all aspects of the business but also my family, as we had our second daughter in 2015. Today, both girls are my in-house artists, with my eldest’s work having been displayed in an art café in Sale, so she brags that she’s famous! I think it’s important for them to see what I do, which is making gifts for people who wish to capture life’s most memorable moments, and I come up with enjoyable little tasks to engage them.
Based at home in Stockport, Sew Unique Artwork’s reputation has continued to grow and I’m proud of the fact that everything has evolved at a pace which has suited me and my young family.
We celebrated the business’ fifth birthday this month, which was a special occasion because it allowed me to really reflect upon the journey I chose to take. Now I’ve fulfilled my dream, I feel happier than ever and truly blessed.