"Everyone is in such a hurry these days, they have forgotten how to think. If everyone slowed down to thread a needle, they would be able to listen to the wind, listen to the birds, and listen to their heart. They would be able to answer all their own questions" - Jennifer Pudney
I've known I was going to be a textile designer since I was 13 years old. After finishing my diploma in textile design, I became a bag lady! Designing that is, for a luggage company. And it was in the plane on a business trip to Asia that I really got hooked on needlepoint. The designs were awful but the activity itself was relaxing and made those long flights pass so quickly.
Dancing to a Different Rhythm
Over the next few years I worked for a range of companies but always felt something was missing. It was as if I was dancing to a different rhythm. So I went back to the Wellington Polytechnic to do an Advanced Diploma in Textile Design.
Being a Student and Unemployed
This is where I developed my first product - the Needlepoint Postcard Kits. I felt there was a gap in the market for something that appealed to ME!
At the time, I was exhibiting my needlepoint designs and enjoying some success selling the finished product. But I could only do one at a time - and there was more demand for my work than I could keep up with. So why not get people to do the stitching to create their own art pieces? But money stopped the idea from going much further.
After winning an Agfa Scholarship I then studied photography and eventually wound up unemployed - AGAIN!
A Mothers Help Is Never Far
My Mother suggested I should start producing the kits I had developed back at Polytechnic.
So with a 'parental loan', I bought cottons, printed cards and packets. While it was slow hard going, I had enormous support from friends, family and some great retailers - who are still with me today!
Jennifer Pudney Meets Her Man!
While learning the trials and tribulations of business, I met my future husband - on a boat of all places. About ten weeks later we were married. And in a fit of sane madness, he resigned his position as a policy analyst and joined me in my very small, part-time struggling business. But what dreams!
Sharing the Dream
From a small factory we have grown to supply stores and customers all around the world. Our product range has expanded - and seems to keep on expanding. We loved what we did and the fabulous people working with us! But it was time for us to move on and now the Jennifer Pudney factory had moved into Nancy's Embroidery with Mary keeping the dream alive. I am still going to be designing inspired by what is happening around me as I make my way as a mother and as an artist.