Work a joy for woman aiming to fuel Beckenham craft revolution

14:42 10 September 2012

Craft Bees
Karen Murphy

Craft Bees Karen Murphy

Archant

Behind an anonymous black Beckenham door, hidden from the rest of High Street lies a room packed with unique jewellery, one-off handbags and hand-stitched clothing.

Craft Bees
l to r Tracey Martin and Mariaa AbrahamCraft Bees l to r Tracey Martin and Mariaa Abraham

Those inside the treasure trove peer out over shoppers burdened with bags searching for a bargain as they learn new skills that mean they can steer clear of chain stores.

The idea for a crafts workshop that allows learners to create anything from necklaces to curtains came to owner Karen Murphy, 46, after she sold her previous business.

She embraced her creative streak and began studying courses in stained glass and jewellery.

“I needed something else in my life and everyone was having a great time, so I thought what a brilliant idea to have a place where we can make and do everything.

Craft Bees
l to r Mariaa Abraham ,Tracey Martin ,Karen Murphy and Karen LewisCraft Bees l to r Mariaa Abraham ,Tracey Martin ,Karen Murphy and Karen Lewis

“I thought about it for a while and found this place which I love. We had our first class recently and it went really well, everyone made a tote bag and seemed pretty happy with it.”

The half-day and full-day courses are proving popular with women, claims Karen, who has seen a variety of ages come through the door.

A growing internet market for home-made goods means a lot of people are attending courses to kick start careers from their living rooms.

Craft BeesCraft Bees

“You get mothers wanting to do something during the day or someone looking to make something no-one else has got,” said Karen.

“There is a great revolution of making things to sell and a lot of these women can go home and carry on with the skills they learn here. It’s great for presents.”

Previously a chartered accountant and energy consultant, the business is a move in a new direction for Karen who now looks forward to getting to work.

Her past careers, though less fulfilling, have given her key skills that meant starting on her own was relatively easy.

She said: “Running the business side of it doesn’t daunt me at all.

“Something that attracted me to this is that my previous jobs haven’t been things I have particularly rushed out of bed to get to. This is much more relaxed and hardly a chore, I really enjoy it.

“We want everyone to try this even if they think they are no good at it. People have a lot of creativity in them and we want to give them the confidence to try something.”

A relative novice in a majority of the courses she offers, Karen has recruited a wealth of experienced teachers that she hopes will teach her a thing or two.

She added: “I haven’t used a sewing machine much and don’t really know how to use it but from doing courses I now have a few tips.”

The workshop will be open six days a week and Karen is keen for people to see it as a chance to meet new people as well as pick up a useful skill.

Tea and cakes flow freely around the classes where everyone is encouraged to help each other.

Karen added: “It’s a very social skill to learn and people teach each other as they go. Everyone picks it up at a different speed.”

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 12:50
The man fell from the top floor penthouse above Barclays Bank in West Hampstead (Picture via Google StreetView)

A man who reportedly fell to his death from a penthouse in Hampstead while naked has been indentified as a Harley Street doctor who ran a Botox clinic.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:10
Police are advising members of the public not to approach John McClintock and contact officers immediately if they see him (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

Police are appealing for the public’s help in tracing a 26-year-old man who absconded from a bail hostel in Richmond yesterday.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:17
The Isufi family, from left back, mum Meri, daughter Ramela, dad Erion, son Richard and youngest son Clive (front)

A vast gathering of friends and neighbours stood outside the Barking home of a family torn apart by a car crash to pay their tributes to them today.

Read more

TOP Stories

Yesterday, 12:50
The man fell from the top floor penthouse above Barclays Bank in West Hampstead (Picture via Google StreetView)

A man who reportedly fell to his death from a penthouse in Hampstead while naked has been indentified as a Harley Street doctor who ran a Botox clinic.

Yesterday, 18:10
Police are advising members of the public not to approach John McClintock and contact officers immediately if they see him (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

Police are appealing for the public’s help in tracing a 26-year-old man who absconded from a bail hostel in Richmond yesterday.

Yesterday, 17:17
The Isufi family, from left back, mum Meri, daughter Ramela, dad Erion, son Richard and youngest son Clive (front)

A vast gathering of friends and neighbours stood outside the Barking home of a family torn apart by a car crash to pay their tributes to them today.

Promotions

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the Zoe was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

London Bloggers

Thursday, July 24, 2014
London comedians are preparing for Edinburgh (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

During these sultry July afternoons and endless balmy evenings the nervous musings of young comedians in London drift to dreams of triumph on the Edinburgh stage.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man poduction came to an end on Sunday, July 6

If you’ve been wandering around bereft of purpose, a wet-eyed stare fixed on your blank face, then no doubt you too are as gutted as I am that The Drowned Man has finally come to an end.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
(Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

We’ve been called P.I.G.S.

Quizzes

But which London?! [Photo courtesy of Basher Eyre]

You might know London like the back of your hand, but how well do you know the other Londons - and London landmarks - across the world?

Read more
The prize is glory (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It used to be Manhattan that was famous for its majestic skyline, but now our fair city is catching up. Do you know your Shard from your Heron Tower?

Read more
Test your London musical knowledge with our album quiz (Images via Getty)

Does your music knowledge stretch from The Rolling Stones to Rudimental, Spandau Ballet to Siouxsie and the Banshees? If so then test it out with our London bands quiz:

Read more