Twisted Loom is Driving Thoughtful Furniture Forwards
“My mission was to essentially create something really beautiful that customers could cherish for years to come and reconnect the values of both the buyer and the craftsperson.”
Our interview with Charlotte
If there was one positive that came out of the Covid 19 pandemic, it was environmental awareness. Significant reduction in pollution, habitats being restored and ecosystems flourishing made us aware of the impact we have on the environment by the sudden change in our behaviour. Reducing our carbon footprint by making sustainable choices also became a big focus for preserving our planet.
Twisted Loom aims to achieve this by sourcing their products from local manufacturers and using specific freight shipments. Charlotte Cochrane founded the limited-edition furniture company to create quality products and make a stand against ‘fast furniture’. She talks to us about her drive and shares advice on how we can turn an inspired idea into a business.
Twill: How did you become an entrepreneur?
Charlotte: I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak but there’s a difference between thinking it and doing it, which is what I did for a long time. Amelia Earhart once said: “The most effective way to do it, is to do it”.
So after having my children and finding myself at a natural crossroad, I did it. I started as an upholsterer working on other people’s furniture and through this moved onto creating my own brand of limited-edition furniture.
Taking the first steps in doing something is often the hardest part, but the most important one. It’s one thing to think about what you do, but taking action is what will get you there.
Twill: What was the initial idea behind creating a new brand of furniture?
Charlotte: I’m fighting a one-woman battle against ‘fast-furniture’! Over recent years I’ve had lots of enquiries about re-upholstering modern furniture that is prematurely falling apart. It’s depressing to see big retailers producing what has almost become throw-away furniture.
So in response to that I created my own brand of ‘thoughtful furniture’ which is unique and made to last. I launched the business in 2020, which seemed like a crazy idea. However, I feel that on reflection my timing was surprisingly good.
Amongst other things, the pandemic made people reflect on their homes and interiors. Within this trend people have started to consider the quality of products they buy and where they come from, which has driven more ethically conscious spending and people buying for longevity rather than the short term.
Taking something that you’re passionate about and deciding whether it could be a potential business idea is a good place to start. In this case, sustainable and unique furniture was Charlotte’s idea to cut down on mass-produced and poor-quality furniture.
Twill: What does the day-to-day running of your business involve?
Charlotte: A little bit of everything. I sometimes wear too many hats in this business and find myself having to juggle the roles of upholsterer, photographer, marketer, bookkeeper and sweeper-upper, to name but a few. So recently I’ve forced myself on to Airplane mode and it’s been like a breath of fresh air. The best thing I can do to focus and get the creative flows going is to ditch the phone!
Twill: What is your key selling point?
Charlotte: It’s very important to me that everything I make is thoughtfully crafted with materials and skills of exceptional quality. The outcome is a unique and thoughtfully made product that is made to last.
Have a mantra and stick to it. It is the foundation and raison d'être for your business.
Twill: How do you source the materials you use?
Charlotte: I try to always keep one eye on my environmental footprint and source materials and suppliers with a 'hyper-local' approach. Being a British brand based in Manchester, I source materials from within a 50-mile radius of the studio. We use beautiful wool from one of England’s oldest mills nestled in Yorkshire, wood from local FSC suppliers, and our oak and beech legs are hand-turned in Manchester from sustainable wood.
Twill: What have you learnt going solo and how capital intensive is it?
Charlotte: Going solo has given me a lot of creative and personal pleasure as well as a sense of achievement. It also suits my personality to work (largely) alone.
My time is incredibly valuable and there are many aspects of going solo that aren’t paid. I mostly started this business on a shoestring (and credit cards!) and it takes a lot of hard work to claw that back and feel like you’re winning.
Entrepreneurship involves a lot of thought and consideration. Starting a company from the ground up means being independent and taking on numerous responsibilities. But of course, the risk can be worth the reward.
Twill: Where do you export to?
Twill: What advice do you have for other budding entrepreneurs?
Charlotte: We often assume that a career is for life or that going to university is the answer to a successful career. Nowadays, it feels like you can carve a career out of niches that people didn’t even know existed. It just takes determination and hustle!