Meet Morag from Gerty Brown

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Meet Morag from Gerty Brown

What I love best about Boom is the people I get to work with, and one of the mot delightful is Morag from Gerty Brown. I had a natter with her over email so you can get to meet your maker. 

Morag from Gerty Brown

How did you get started sewing?

My mother always sewed so I grew up with that in my life. I got my own sewing machine in my 20’s. Nothing fancy, just enough to make curtains for my house and mend clothes. I started sewing as an actual job in 2011 after I moved from Wellington to Auckland. I had a desire to create…

What gives you your ideas?

Fabric will often dictate what I will make next. I spy something I like, grab some meterage and then figure out what I’ll use it for... And then I have scraps that need to be used up. Lots of my ideas (cushions, girlbands, scrunchies) have come from the need to use up odds and ends.

Is Gerty your full time job?

Yes I work most days at Gerty Brown Trading and often in the weekends too. I also work for a renovation company 12 hours per week, to supplement my income, plus I like being part of a team. Gerty is a one woman band and staff meetings are basically me just talking to myself.

I know I send you fabric pieces that are too small for Boom clothes but still have plenty of life left in them - tell me more about how you work to produce less waste?

I have Scottish ancestry so consequently I abhor waste. I started my business using recycled fabrics and remnants. Now when I buy new fabric I know exactly how much I’ll need and get it cut accordingly. For example, out of 4 metres of fabric I can get exactly 2 pairs of pillowcases, 6 girlband fronts and 2 scrunchies. When I do have small offcuts they end up in my zero waste purses, which are all totally random - no two are alike.

Exactly how many cushions do you have in your lounge right now?

Me in a gerty band

Only 6. I made them all at various times and they seem to work together in chaotic harmony.

What I love about working with you is your generousity - you said yes straight away to doing custom rainbow gerty bands so we could support InsideOUT and when I've messed up my stock inventories you've been able to send bands directly to customers for me (well okay that happened just once). That's why I love working with other small businesses - the real personal connection. Any tips for someone else trying to set up their own small business & caring for their customers?

The way I run my small business gives me the capability to adapt quickly as I don’t hold lots of stock at any given time. I can easily change what I’m making and slip in bespoke orders too - something that larger businesses can’t do as they're limited by minimum production runs. I guess Gerty Brown is more of an “artisan” business which gives me creative flexibility but not necessarily economies of scale. Personal service and relationship building is what really helps me thrive. And it keeps me connected to my customers. Basically I love helping people and making things for them is my way of doing that. Just do what you love and the rest will follow…