Looking for a bow tie for her son Karla Morton-Holmes was at a loss to find something that was 100 per cent cotton.
“My son has a lot of allergies so can only wear 100 per cent cotton,” the Hastings mum says.
“I contacted loads of people on Etsy but many of them had items made of poly cotton, which he couldn’t wear.
“So I decided to make it myself.”
After finding a pattern online she created her first bow tie not thinking much else of it.
Soon after orders started coming in from friends and family keen for Karla to not just create bow ties for their children but matching tie sets for their husbands as well.
“Most men don’t like wearing bow ties so I started to make ties, and then people requested the waistcoats,” she explains.
“It isn’t something I initially set out to do but once I found the pattern it all came together quite nicely.”
Starting the business in 2016 it was Karla’s husband who gave her the push to go online.
“He kept telling me that I should start a business properly as what I was doing was really good, but I didn’t believe him. I didn’t think anyone would buy them and because I didn’t have a sewing background I didn’t know if they would be good enough,” she reveals.
“I set up my Etsy shop really to prove him wrong...but I started to get loads of orders.”
Karla mainly uses Liberty of London fabric but if someone has a particular request for something different she will source it.
One previous order included a Hawaiian fabric set.
“It isn’t something I would usually have, not many people call for Hawaiian pieces,” she laughs.
Having never sewn or made anything before Karla uses patterns she has found to work well for the fabric and look she wants.
Karla adds: “I had always been creative and liked arts and crafts but never really did anything like that for a job, it just happened really.”
“I always think there must be other people out there who need something that is 100 per cent cotton so that is why I use that fabric and create the items I do.”
Everything is handmade and Emma prefers a three week lead time to give her the opportunity to get the fabric in, make the product and then send it out with enough time before the big day.
“I don’t want to ruin anyone’s wedding because the ties haven’t arrived on time,” she says.
So far Karla has create pieces for 11 weddings and has even made a matching dress to the tie sets.
“Most of my orders are for page boys, groomsmen and some guests want something special,” she says.
“I have even had an order from Barcelona, a shop wanted 30 sets, I couldn’t believe it but I couldn’t say no.”
As a small business Karla is keen to support other independent traders.
“I like supporting local businesses so I got my machine from Emporia Fabric and Craft in Ashford, Kent and I use Thimble-inas in Bexhill.
“And I get my fabric in Eastbourne.”
For any good business to thrive, it needs to fulfil a need and bridge a gap in the market, something Karla’s Beautiful Bows for Boys seems to do.