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.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Friday, July 31, 2015
A 20-year-old has died after falling down a chimney at Great Cumberland Place, W1 (Picture: Street View)

A 20-year-old man died last night after falling backwards down the chimney of a seven-storey building metres from Marble Arch, police said.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Antisemitic crimes have more than doubled in London over the past year (Picture: Getty)

The number of antisemitic hate crimes - including assault, harassment and arson - has more than doubled in London in the space of a year.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Sebastian Szerer, a senior employee at a hotel, raped a man who came for a job interview (Picture: Met Police)

The former head housekeeper has been jailed for ‘luring’ a man, 25, to a fake interview before raping him in the locked suite of a luxury Westminster hotel.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Police want to speak this woman after a child was kicked repeatedly (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

Police are hunting for a woman who was seen hurting a young boy in a shop in Wood Green on Saturday February 28.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Police and rescue crews try to find the male in the water (Picture: B.W)

A body was hauled from a Hackney canal yesterday afernoon and is believed to be that of a 17-year-old who was being chased by police.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more
Terrific tea, creamy cakes and splendid sandwiches at Mews of Mayfair.

Celebrate a truly quintessentially British tradition with the chance of winning a luxurious Afternoon Tea for two people at Mews of Mayfair, complete with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Read more