Hooked From The Start: How a mother and daughter team set up their own fashion company

Jessica Thompson interviews Sue Richards, mum of two and one of the owners/creators of the festival fashion company, Festigal – asking her about her journey in creating the company, as well her love for crocheting and festivals.

Sue Richards and her two twin daughters set up their fashion company, Festigal to supply crotchet items (made by Sue herself), as well as carefully picked items and accessories, ideal for festivals.












(Photo Credit: Festigal.com)

How did the company start?

Sue: The creation of Festigal has been an organic process. It started out from my love of crochet and developing that crochet into festival-style tops – into starting a purely crochet-based shop on Etsy.

Megan had, at the same time, begun her own website shop online (www.florafawna.com) which was and still is, doing well. Megan had also attended Newcastle College and gained a diploma in Fashion, Business and Retail. Carla has always been a prolific writer and traveller. We combined our “talents”, and I opened up Festigal online, beginning mainly with my handmade fashion items and vintage festival clothing from charity shop finds – adding new fashion items as we developed confidence about particular suppliers.


What was the most difficult thing about starting Festigal?

Sue: We all still view Festigal as a hobby, which we enjoy and contribute to as much as we have the time to do so – which can vary depending on each of our personal circumstances.

This may, therefore, be a surprising (and if somewhat boring response), but the most difficult aspect of setting up Festigal has been understanding and getting our store fully functioning and found on Google! Google is by far the most powerful tool for new websites to become known, but in the beginning, it was indecipherable! Still is!

And please don’t let me get started about Brexit!

Obviously, sourcing Festigal items is very difficult in the current economic climate. We have a number of different strands to our supply which helps mitigate these difficulties a little.

Sequins! (Items from Festigal.com)

Unfortunately, the whole process of sourcing festival style clothing has shown, only too starkly, the loss of textile manufacturing in the UK, and we have very few companies based in the UK. Carla spent two years living abroad and travelling extensively. She was able to visit a number of suppliers and gained an understanding of the processes for shipping etc and the business cultures of different countries, including checking out the suitability of our contacts. We also have had an alliance with a UK-based company that practice ethical business arrangements with overseas communities.

One of my dearest long-term wishes is to evolve into a website that can feature local, and UK-based designers and makers, so that they can use our website as a means to showcase their work and, hopefully, support their sales too.


What was the most amazing/fun aspect of creating your businesses?

Sue: We all agree that being involved in Festigal is like shopping without having to spend a fortune on ourselves. We just love looking at the fashions being designed by our suppliers, though try to remind everyone (especially Megan, renowned for her very quirky fashion sense!) that each item should be linked to our music festival theme!


Were there any fashion trends you tried to participate in when you were a teenager? If so, which ones worked out and which ones didn’t?

Sue: I am delighted to see that baggy jeans are now returning. Not quite the bags we used to in the late 1970s and still seen around Northern Soul venues, but still very pleasing!

I would be even more delighted if cheesecloth shirts returned! You haven’t lived if you haven’t enjoyed the joy of cheesecloth! Does it still exist??


Have you always crocheted? Did somebody teach you?

Sue: I began crocheting at the age of 10 years old, taught by my grandmother- who lived opposite me in the tiny village of Frosterely, in Southeast Durham. Crochet was an unusual hobby to develop in the village, where most crafters were older women who knitted or sewed.

Access to materials was difficult and since we were also poor, wool became a precious commodity. I guarded my one and only size 3.5mm hook (it was obviously a size nine hook in imperial measures back in those days) with my life. I also remember unravelling old jumpers of my dad’s to make endless granny squares!

I consider myself experienced at crochet now, some many decades later! It became invaluable to me as a means of counteracting the stresses I faced working full-time in NHS. It then became the hobby that started me on the first tentative steps towards online selling; making things to sell for a little income, just to buy more wool, to make more things!


Who’s your fashion inspiration?

Sue: An absolute inspiration for me, and it appears for many across a number of generations, has to be Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac. For Carla, it has to be Taylor Swift!


What was the first festival/concert you ever attended? And what was your favourite one?

Sue: I first attended a music festival back in 2010, Leeds and Reading Festival – simply to make sure my twin daughters and their friends were chaperoned! But I became hooked and returned to that festival for another five years, expanding my attendances mainly to Lindisfarne, Mouth of the Tyne, and Hardwick every year. Carla has attended the most festivals of all of us, including, of course, many abroad!


Check out their website and Etsy store!


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