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07 March 2018

International Women's Day Profile: Kate Davies, Kate Davies Designs

Name: Kate Davies#100FSBWOMEN 90 - Kate Davies

Business: Kate Davies Designs

Location: Blanefield 

Tell us a bit about your business

I founded Kate Davies Designs in 2010, and, from its origins creating hand-knitting patterns as digital downloads, the business has grown to encompass many different aspects of manufacturing, publishing and design. I have written eight books about hand-knitting, developed my own brand of Scottish wool, and now design and manufacture my own ready-made knitwear line. With a well-established customer base in over 60 countries worldwide, I won the FSB microbusiness of the year award in 2016. 

What barriers have you faced to get where you are today and how did you overcome them?

I faced my biggest barrier right at the moment my business began:  I had a stroke, aged 36 and had to abandon my career as an academic lecturer. My business started from a hobby, then supported me (in ways that went beyond simple economics). My business grew slowly with me, as I recovered. Coping with sudden disability and managing my health while developing work in a completely new field was difficult, but in the end, incredibly rewarding. Having faced such a serious personal challenge, many day-to-day business hurdles can seem pretty insignificant.

What do you still hope to achieve?

I’ve been enjoying taking my writing in new directions over the past year, and would like to develop the publishing side of the business further, producing books that complement our existing offerings in design, photography and textiles.

What advice would you give to other women starting out in business? 

  1. Don’t be afraid of starting small. I built my business completely from scratch, with few resources, very little capital and no external investment.  I developed projects very slowly and, when they proved profitable, reinvested in new ventures. Starting small meant that my business was responsive and flexible from the very beginning, and that it was able to grow organically.
  2. Stay informed and face external challenges head-on: don’t be afraid of things like customs or VAT. Speak to the FSB and other professional bodies in your field, take the regulatory frameworks of doing business seriously—and then just get on and deal with these things.
  3. Be nice. Why not?



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