Episode 85: The Little Grey Girl – An Interview with Gemma Dudley

gemma dudley

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Just a short intro this week, I’m saving myself for an epic catch up and lots of shout outs next week after EYF. Which will come up lots this week as it’s very nearly here. In that vein I am rekindling my love affair with Periscope so if you cant be at EYF add me on there – Shinybees – and I will take you along with me! I will be hosting a free session at Edinburgh Yarn Festival on creating a content calendar for your blog or podcast in the Podcast Lounge on Friday 18th March at 2pm. Come and see me to get sweeties there, as it’s my birthday. If you’re not going, but would like to attend the free replay of this session, along with the Q&A I am running on Saturday at 2pm, they will be taking place the week after Edinburgh Yarn Festival. To receive your invite to these free online webinars, join this mailing list.

We had a reasonably calm but satisfyingly enabling Patreon Virtual Knit night on Monday. Becoming a patron allows you to support the production of the podcast (and associated costs) as well as have some fun hanging out with all the other patrons (and me!). The #Rewind KAL is in full flow as am I, by which I mean I have wound my lovely new Shinybees yarn but not actually cast on yet…


The lovely 30-something Gemma got into knitting thanks to John Lewis…sort of. Her Dad’s wife bought a dodgy hairy scarf knitting kit from the haberdashery but never finished it (can’t think why) but did enough to provide inspiration to Gemma and off she went. And still she goes. Metaphorically, not to actual John Lewis.

The Little Grey Girl predominantly sells lovely project bags and stitch markers. The inspiration for this came from her dislike of anything overly floral (Cath K – she’s looking right at you) and her thought that carrying a bag such as this may bring shame, but more importantly, may put men off on public transport. Clearly a solution was needed. Any other options seemed to be abroad and were not cost effective by the time they were imported.

Yellow Trees Small Project Bag. Image Copyright Little Grey Girl

Yellow Trees Small Project Bag. Image Copyright Little Grey Girl

A typical day for Gemma will include an overly early rise to get to the office on time and then staying there until 5-6pm. Then it’s home and down to the real business. She researches fabrics a LOT, plans and writes lots of lists, makes the bags and stitch markers as well as doing some blogging and all the normal chores of domestic bliss. She’s clearly superwoman.

Gemma’s favourite part of her business is simply looking for new fabrics, she loses hours of her life to fabric websites to find the perfect one…and then one to match it. What really goes with a bright pink Zebra? This is just the beginning of the creative process. The perfect fabric is the catalyst and will normally be found on one of her top ‘go-to’ websites. She then spreads out a bit from there and will try new avenues to find others that are perhaps bright, modern and out of the ordinary.

Given that Gemma is such a big planner, and Asana lover, she hasn’t encountered many difficulties since the business launched in October last year. She does confess to it being lots more work than she first imagined and way more time consuming. Running the business has somewhat taken over her life but it feels like it is worth it. It has taught her to be more focused and use her time wisely, but without beating herself up as there are only so many hours in a day.

The high points for Gemma so far are appearing in Knitter magazine within 2 months of setting up the business and being accepted to be a stallholder at EYF this year. There is also still excitement every time she receives an order, it is the banishing of fear and the validation of her vision when people actually purchase her goods.

Cocktail Charm Stitch Markers, Image Copyright Thelittlegreygirl

Cocktail Charm Stitch Markers, Image Copyright Thelittlegreygirl

The knitting community is Gemma’s favourite resource. They never let her down at any point and sometimes it is people more than tools that you need. It is perhaps this support that leads Gemma to advise anyone considering opening a business to go ahead and do it. It is scary but it is worth it. Be ready to be caught out by things you never considered though.

There are a few things in the pipeline but Gema is playing her cards close to her chest as to who her collaborations are with. I love the suspense. We will, however, see her at EYF where she will have some new fabric project bags and also her new notion kits, which are small bags with all the essentials you’ll need in your project bag e.g. tiny scissors and highlighters etc. Gemma has kindly agreed to let us have one of these for a prize in our #RewindKAL too. If you go to Gemma’s stall at EYF and tell her you heard the interview, you thought she was fabulous, give her your name you will be entered into a prize draw to win an exclusive Shinybees project bag.

She can also be found at the following places:

www.thelittlegreygirl.com, where you can also sign up to the mailing list

Her Etsy store

little_greygirl on Instagram and Twitter

Wrap Up

That’s all from me this week. As always, thank you for listening. Feedback is always appreciated, and you can email me or message me via Ravelry or social media. If you enjoyed listening today, please consider leaving an iTunes review, to help others find the podcast too. Happy crafting!

2 comments on “Episode 85: The Little Grey Girl – An Interview with Gemma Dudley

  1. Jennifer O'Brien says:

    Great episode … As always. I especially enjoy your interviews and the insights they give into people’s decisions to become independent business people and their approach to their craft! Jennifer

    1. Shinybees says:

      Thanks, Jennifer! I love how everyone has a different story and so many different model can work 🙂

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