Connecticut native Amanda Cusick has lived in Edinburgh for 18 years and is the owner of Kitschy Coo, a specialist fabric supplier based online and from her shop based in my ‘hood’ in Edinburgh . Amanda was the first supplier in the UK to specialise in selling quirky (mostly organic) jersey fabric sourced from Scandinavia, and has the biggest range in the country. She designs and sells digital sewing patterns which are available for download from her online shop and also makes a range of fabulously colourful children’s clothing. Her shop is a riot of colour, both inside and out.
I dropped by to see her recently to find out more about her business;
Amanda, how did Kitschy Coo begin?
“I originally worked in the finance sector. After the birth of my children and back-to- back maternity leave I suffered with post-natal depression. Sewing became an outlet, I found that being able to create something was very therapeutic. I began by making clothes for my own children and then started to get orders from other mums, and so it just took off from there. The fabric side of the business has ‘exploded’, 3 years ago I outgrew the space I had at home and moved into the shop”
How did you learn to sew?
“I am entirely self-taught. I began on a pretty awful sewing machine with nasty cheap fabric. Most beginners start with something a little easier than jersey! I must have been pretty determined to give it a go faced with those obstacles!”
Why do you source your fabrics from Scandinavia?
“First of all the Scandinavians have a great range of fantastic jersey fabrics, I deal with around 20-30 suppliers based in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria, and Finland . Secondly I much prefer to use and sell fabric which is ethically produced in the EU, I try to be as eco-friendly as possible, I don’t like the concept of ‘cheap’ fashion sourced from far-flung countries”
What’s next for Kitschy Coo?
“I’ve been based in my shop in for 3 years, I’ve now decided to look for a place in a ‘collaborative space’ with other makers. I am very keen to get involved in some form of social enterprise work, I know how much learning to sewing helped me get through post-natal depression. Art therapy is a very helpful and valuable activity and I’d like to pass on skills to other women in the area”
You can find Kitschy Coo at 10 South Trinity Road, Edinburgh and online at www.kitschy-coo.co.uk