Q&A with Gem Azhar from Mombi & Ted

Q&A with Gem Azhar from Mombi & Ted

Whats the name of your handmade business and how did you come up with the name?
My handmade business is called Mombi & Ted, and is named after my two fur babies; Mombi the Chihuahua and Teddy PomPom the Pomeranian.

How did you get into making crafts?
After my wedding in late 2014, I needed to occupy my time with something creative and felt is really versatile! I started with a few cards and hoops, and now I have over 180 listings on Etsy!

How long have you been crafting?
I’ve always loved making things but I started making my felt cards, and selling them on Etsy, in Spring 2015.

What kinds of things do you like to make?
I LOVE commissions! Whether it’s a card, or a hoop or a mini plushie, I love designing something new and making something personal for someone.

What kinds of materials do you use?
Mainly felt! Felt is such a great material to work with and comes in some beautiful colours.

What new crafts do you want to try?
EVERYTHING! I never have any time to try new things but I’d really like to try amigirumi and I would LOVE a laser cutter to make my own acrylic jewellery.

What is your favourite craft tool?
My Fiskars Microtip scissors! They are great for small and delicate work and I couldn’t cut felt without them!!!

What’s one of your favourite things you’ve made?
My logo banner! I made my logo in felt and use it for craft fairs. It always gets LOTS of attention!

What are some of your favourite things to do in your spare time?
I love to cook and bake; I make a mean Belgian chocolate brownie and the most sumptuous lamb curry.

What advice would you give to people just starting out crafting?
Enjoy it! Enjoyment makes the best products! I’ve tried to force things that I don’t really enjoy making, and I was never happy with them.
Also if you’re selling, consider getting testers who buy your products at reduced rates and you get honest feedback in return.

What inspires your designs? 
I love puns and giving faces to inanimate objects, so that’s where a lot of my inspirational comes from. I also love Hello Kitty, Studio Ghibli and Disney for inspirations of cute!

Can you tell us about your design process? 
I always sketch designs first in pencil. I have several notebooks, all over the house that I sketch in and I always use a mechanical pencil for a fine tip. Once I’m happy, I then draw a basic template on thick card and cut it out, ready to use with my felt. Small details are cut without a template, which makes for an individual piece. Everything is cut and sewn by hand, something not many small business do!

Do you have a studio space or work from home?
I have a very large double bedroom which I use as my ‘studio’ at home. I love to spread out when I work, so I have two desks, two chests of drawers and a dedicated photography area.

What’s ahead in the future? 
Banners and flags, which I have dabbled in before but have pushed them a lot more this year. I also bought a badge machine and started making enamel pins!

What’s your top tip for crafting?
Practise! I wasn’t very good at even sewing a button before I started my business. Now my hand sewn products get so much praise for being some of the neatest and tidiest hand sewing people have ever seen!

Where can we find out more? 
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