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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

‘Do what you love – don’t think about the money’

KATE Wilson, 24, from Oubas Hill, Ulverston, is in the early stages of establishing knitwear design business, Oubas Knitwear.

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CREATIVE: Former Ulverston Victoria High School pupil Kate Wilson has returned to Ulverston to launch her dream business MILTON HAWORTH REF: 50043178B002

She says the business’ ethos is based around quality craftsmanship and simple, beautiful designs that are easy to wear and last. She has designed a range of bespoke scarves initially and is developing the range and hoping to branch into garments during this year, selling at boutique shops locally and also at fairs and markets. She enjoys getting out walking and camping in the Lakes with friends and her partner, Sam Stalker, who is a ranger for the National Trust in Coniston. She enjoys travelling and seeing new places, and also discovering new ones in the local area.

What school did you go to?

I went to Ulverston Victoria High School for both GCSEs and then A-Levels (before that Sir John Barrow and Church Walk).

What was your favourite subject?

Textiles. UVHS put on an annual fashion show which I loved, so much organising but so worth it.

What qualifications did you leave with?

I left with A-Levels in art, textiles and religious studies.

Did you go onto further/ higher education If so, where and what to study?

Yes, I left UVHS Sixth Form to go on to Lancaster and Morecambe College, where I competed a foundation diploma in art and design for a year, before then going to Winchester School of Art to study fashion design. In my second year I then specialised in knitwear design.

What was the best advice/ learning you got at school or college

Do what you love and don’t think about the money. I wouldn’t say I was given it at school, but it’s definitely good advice. It’s definitely a balance but I believe in it. I also did an enterprise unit as part of my degree, and I know that definitely changed my view of where my income could come from in the future. Creating income from a practical skill and by thinking creatively fascinates me.

What was your ambition before you got your first job?

To travel the world. It’s still my ambition, I’ve just collected a few more now too.

Did you have a role model you looked up to and why?

I guess I looked up to my parents, as they brought my brothers and I up to have fun and enjoy life, while still being practical and grounded.

What jobs had your family done in the past?

My father has always taught design and technology – woodwork/ metal work, and also a little ICT. First down in Cheshire and then he and my mum moved back to Ulverston where he landed a job working at Cartmel teaching design and technology. I definitely got my practical gene from him! He’s been there over 25 years now. My mum has worked in various roles, and now works in UVHS as a teaching assistant. My dad’s father used to have Wilson’s garage in Ulverston, which was based in Oubas Hill and also in Argyll Street. My mum’s father was a chartered surveyor and had his own business in Barrow.

What was your first job?

My first job was working at Heron Glass Café, which was great as it was just around the corner from home.

What has been your career path between your first job and the one you do today?

Through my further education I’ve moved away from home and worked during university, and then moved to South Wales to work for Toast, a design company. I worked within their design team as an assistant and then a junior. I had a steep learning curve there, but it was an amazing experience. I got to travel to Portugal and Istanbul, and worked with suppliers around Europe. It was an amazing time, however it made me realise how much I value the community back here, and also my roots. I also missed being practical and so decided to set up Oubas Knitwear and see where it takes me. I wanted to do it while I was young and had less to put at risk through doing so.

What's the best thing about your job?

Being able to listen to Fleetwood Mac and drink tea while doing something I love.

What one thing would you change about your job if you could?

Nothing at the moment!

What advice would you give someone starting out today?

Be positive, don’t be put off by initial setbacks. See everything as a learning experience which, whether positive or negative, will only help you in the future when you look back.

  • Oubas Knitwear can be seen online at www.oubasknitwear.co.uk. Her first collection can be bought through the site but is also being sold by Two By Two in Ulverston.

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