Make it WORK - Creating meaningful employment

by Leigh-Anne Treadwell in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 29th June 2017 we successfully raised £8,474 with 70 supporters in 28 days

Bristol Upholstery Collective is raising funds to enable the Make it Work training program start-up at their new workshop space.

by Leigh-Anne Treadwell in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Make it WORK starts at Bristol Upholstery Collective where the team are ready.

Our stretch target funding will be used to create a Package and training to enable this Craft & Well being program to be set up alongside other local industry makers. Connecting them within their local community and sustaining skills.

We'll be able to ensure successful training program startups, in workshops producing high end products, to pass on skills and enable people to be happier, grow in confidence and self-worth.

We have a network of industry makers with whom we often collaborate, waiting in the wings for us to help them help others, by opening their workshops to the Make It WORK program.

Bristol Upholstery Collective is raising funds to enable the Make it Work training program start-up sustainably at their new classroom venue in Barton Hill.

What is Make It WORK?

Make it WORK is a craft and well-being training program, an idea that Leigh-Anne developed and piloted whilst studying at the School for Social Entrepreneurs in 2014.
 The program aims to rebuild self-esteem, self worth and confidence, in those who are long term unemployed, through 'making'. 

The social enterprise program shares practical well-being skills, taught between the layers of the traditional upholstery processes. 

The products produced during training are sold on, to enable a sustainable business and achieve social impact, sustainably without any need for government funding.

Once established, there’s no reason this training program can’t be applied to all traditional crafts in workshops across Bristol and beyond.

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Who are the cogs behind Make It WORK?

Bristol Upholstery Collective, highly commended in New business category at the Bristol Life Awards 2017, and artisan makers on popular BBC show ‘Money for Nothing'.

Leigh-Anne founded Bristol Upholstery Collective in September 2015 when she finally got her hands on a little shop space in Old Market. A successful workspace to 5 talented upholsterers, it shares resources, knowledge, support and a passion for creative upholstery, enabling affordable space for independent upholsterers to 'play' with their skills.

"we love what we do, and share not only our space but our knowledge and excitement too!"

Bristol Upholstery Collective was formed after realising Make it WORK would need affordable space and an enthusiastic team.

We are surrounded by talented people, passionate about Make It WORK... well-being facilitator, Ava Maginnis, volunteer and workshop leader at the Lightbox Happiness Project....We have a few eager volunteers waiting in the wings, offering their own expertise and life experiences from all paths in skilled craft, art industry, independent retail, graphic design, social enterprise and business.

The new training space has been set up in 'Joseph studios', amongst other skilled crafts people, in an inspiring industrial space.

Soon we'll be connecting with UWE Bristol's graduates in design & textiles, to keep things creative and give them a leg up into the homewares & interiors industry.

Is 'Making' the secret to Happiness ?

Whilst teaching students for many years, Leigh-Anne realised just how important the process of making is, in achieving happiness. Students would be eternally grateful for time spent in class. They felt escapism, fully immerced in the present moment. 

Have you ever been long term unemployed? It’s really difficult to remain positive in times of constant rejection. Self esteem and confidence drops. Your stability becomes worryingly out of control, whilst visits to the job centre make you feel incredibly worthless and criminal for being in the position you find yourself. It can happen to anyone, at any time, for a number of reasons.

We believe that there is another way to get people back into
meaningful employment, and feel better about themselves. I’m not saying we’ll make upholsterers of everybody, but the process can provide enhanced sense of purpose. There’s nothing more rewarding than making. Being challenged to something achievable, overcoming the difficulties and seeing the results before your very eyes.

Previous upholstery students compare courses to Spa Weekends, as they get a sense of relaxation and time to focus on something for themselves, without the distraction of children or  'busy-ness'.

It’s called ‘Flow’, a highly focused mental state, recognised and named by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi … ever experienced it? Time flies. Completely immersed in what you are doing. If you've ever experienced a craft course, you'll know what we're talking about. Often creatives enter into this state - Musicians, dancers, artists and scientists...

Watch 'Flow', The Secret To Happiness by Mihaly Cskszentmihalyi on TED

Make It WORK members will experience having control of tools and materials, learning new skills, expressing ideas, having clear goals, regular feedback and sharing conversation with fellow makers.

In turn we create an engage and empower eachother. It gives motivation to get out of bed in the morning and look forward to a positive day. Offering escapism. A social and supportive community. Where ideas can flow and confidence gets rebuilt.

It sounds simple, and we know it's not just unemployed people who have these basic needs in life!

During this uneasy economic climate and politically turbulent time, with government making cuts, in all manor of creative ventures, initiatives, mental health services, re-skilling and education, it becomes increasingly obvious that social enterprise is a secure way forward to ensure resilience and social impact in our community.

Financially sustaining itself, there will be no need to fight for funding, ensuring a consistent, happy and healthy environment for people to find their way.

It's a race to Crowdfund £4,000! ... 

Bristol green capital Partnership are offering to match fund once we hit 50% of our target as part of the ‘better bristol’ campaign. The thing is, once their £45,000 funding runs out - it's gone. That'll put pressure on to raise the full £8,000 or leave with nothing... a bit like a game show.

There has been a lot of hard work already put in by family, friends and local supporters to get to this stage, and the opportunity of #betterbristol #matchfunding is one that will ensure a stable lift off and longevity!

Now, we’ve opened a new classroom training space in ‘Joseph Studios’, a contemporary furniture design & production Social Enterprise, we almost have all we need to get going. The proceeds of upholstery courses for general public taught in the new space ensure our Make It WORK overheads are low... theres no pressure to raise the rent, so we can invest in a healthy, start-up with the aid of our experts... phew!

Of course it's not just about the money - we'd like to draw our 'Crowd' and raise awareness of the project supporting bristols community. Now you know it finally exists! (3 years later) Let others know too :)

£8,000 sounds like mega bucks! Where's it going to go?

The proceeds from Upholstery Courses South West have  been continuously investesting in developing Bristol UPholstery Collective and the new classroom space. We've recieved kind donations from old time upholsterers wishing their cherished tools to continue their good work!  We're forever enchanted by them, and grateful... but there are a couple of 'big ticket' professional Workshop equipment peices we'll need to  get, to REALLY get the space kitted out to produce quality products and ease the making process – we're not mucking about here! Some key items include, an industrial over-locker, a silent compressor, 4 x compressor staple guns and installation costs.

Ok, so we're good, but it's all about team work... it makes the dream work, see? No more 'winging it'. 'Trying to be EVERYTHING... We're getting the experts in so everyone can do what they do best! 

We'll need expert help to get us set up and off to a healthy start, in areas such as, marketing and retail, product branding, web design and creation of the product shop to ensure a pre-sale basis income, packaging, logistics, administration... there are SO many roles in a great start-up... and we want this to be a super start-up that will last and continue to grow.

Then there's the materials... they cost, usually a lot more than our time! Especially the good quality, desirable, durable, fabrics that meet fire regulations. To make high-end products, and feel fantastic, we have to stand out above the crowd! Our initial stock and print run of custom designs will ensure a premium financial return , making sure we deliver products  and our customers gain a worthwhile investment.

Thank-you for taking the time to read about Make It WORK... we hope you recognise it's importance and impact in the Bristol community.

It would be awesome if you could help us achieve the vision and get involved.

Please back us by sharing our page, donating or pledging to gain a reward - you too can benefit from the experiences available.

Be happier.

Bristol Upholstery Collective x


£10 - V.I.P (Pledger) Launch Party Invitation

Bristol Upholstery Collecitve will be celebrating opening our new classroom space... and of course, your generosity and support in starting up Make It WORK.

Join us for a special Pledgers 'Thank-you' Party and pre-view evening at an exhibition of Art, Upholstery, Furniture Design, Textiles & Print.

You will be welcomed by Joseph Studios with Bubbles and Nibbles, to enjoy the works of local makers and guest exhibitors from London & California.

Thursday 27th July 2017

6pm - 10pm

@Joseph Studios BS5 9TQ

£17 - Non-Spill 'Make It WORK' Mug

 White earthenware Take Away styled mug
Silicon drinking lid
Capacity 270ml
Dimensions: 140mm tall x 93mm

+ V.I.P Party Ticket. 

£35 - Name a Tool!

Ha! Go on!

This can be your own name, the name of your pet or favourite person, the name of your organisation... or you can just make one up.

Tools are trusty friends - so perhaps we can avoid naming any political leaders who we wouldn't hang out with ;)

 + V.I.P Party Ticket. 

£50 - 'Lovetub' cushion

You can own your very own 'lovetub' cushion as seen on BBC show 'Money For Nothing' Series 3 Episode 18

Designed and hand printed by Harriet from Bristol Upholstery Collective, so soft in turquoise 100% wool by Moon, these popular cushions are a cheeky snippet of our first appearence on TV.

The well loved 'lovetub' was a huge hit with viewers of the 'Tip to tip top' TV series hosted by interior designer and  upcycling business woman, Sarah Moore and Jay Blades of Jay & Co and Social Enterprise, Out Of The Dark.

Limited edition range - grab'em while you can!

 ...and look out for us on the next couple of series this summer :)

£52 - 'How to' upholstery videos

1 a week for the whole of 2018

That's just £1 per demo by trained and experiended upholsterers at Bristol Upholstery Collecitve

Perfect if you can't make it to class!

Learn all the tricks.. from stretching webbing to cutting corners.

 + V.I.P Party Ticket. 

 £60 - Communication Course for Maker, Movers and Shakers, with Marina Sala - Date TBC @ Joseph studios

Are you a maker/ Artist/ human?

Do you share a co-working space/ Art studio/ or workshop?

Do you have difficult clients?

Do you underestimate your value or potentially underprice yourself?

This is the BEST day's training you'll ever put through your books! It's simple, but life-changing.

Marina Sala, with a background in Conflict Resolution PhD, researching Palestinian - Israeli Mediation, has now put theory into practice at grass-roots level, working in schools and workplaces, project managing environmental and community ventures. 

"Whether you’re at work, at home, or in social situations, clear and conscious communication can be difficult to sustain at times. When it breaks down it can affect our emotional and physical wellbeing, performance and relations with others.

Yet conflict can also be seen as an opportunity for understanding, growth and change. This is not to say that it’s not going to affect us, quite the opposite, just that it can do so constructively.

Clearer communication helps us to understand each other better and to transform things that don’t work into things that do."

Choice Conflict resolution

+ V.I.P Launch Party ticket

£75 - Yvonne Coomber Art Cushion

 Absolutely stunning artwork printed onto cotton velvet, and made into super soft feather fill 16'' cushions.

Bristol Upholstery Collective produced Yvonne Coomber's previous homeware range of cushions, lampshades and chairs...

her paintings are delightful, bring them into your home comfort.

£145 - 6 week upholstery evening class with Leigh-Anne Treadwell, BUC

Starting Wednesday September 6th 2017 from 6:30pm -9:30pm

Bring along a chair and rebuild it yourself.

Learn new skills and be proud of your fantastic creation.

Leigh-Anne has years of experience and will certainly get you producing quality and having fun!

Limited to 8 students so be quick to pledge for your 5% discounted place...

Download the information pack

£200 -  Upholstery weekend at Bristol Upholstery Collective (5% off)

   5th & 6th August 2017 from 9:30am - 4:30p

   With BUC's Leigh-Anne & Elin

   Includes lunch!

So we've mentioned 'Flow', now this is your chance to get in the zone and get that neglected chair sorted out - quick before you skip it! Whip the throw off the one you've 'been meaning to do something with for ages'

Limited spaces available at this special discounted course - be one of the lucky few to recieve special traditional treatment (you and your chair!)

Download the information pack

£238 - The Deep Buttoned Foot Stool Project

Weekend course - excellent value for money... and now with a 5% discount!

9th & 10th September 2017 from 9:30am - 4:30pm

Just bring 1m of fantastic fabric and construct the DBFS frame & kit in just 2 days... it's action packed, with all the traditional upholstery layers, from stretching webbing, stitching with twine, stuffing with horse hair and corners.

Lunch included! (As well as all the usual tea & biscuits)

Download the information pack here

£350 - Deep buttoned settle

Purchase a bespoke Settle Style Foot Stool made by the first cohort of the Make it WORK training program. Traditionally upholstered in 100% wool (colour of your choice)
Now this will get us going!
Give someone the chance to make something to be proud of - just for you.
Delivered in time for the Christmas holidays... put your feet up in front of the fire.. it's not just your comfort you are investing in!

£450 - Weekend course for two! ...£50 discount

Share time making with a loved one, family member or friend -the perfect chance to catch up and get productive.

This fun weekend provides all the upholstery tricks, treats and industry secrets.

Designed and delivered by Leigh-Anne, for beginners to experience the complete upholstery process, with it's stunning buttoning finish, this project never fails... leave with the confidence to tackle a chair project, and a gorgeous, hand-made, with love, footstool - put your feet up, you deserve it.

Available any DBFS weekend across the South West!!

Check out for venues and course dates.

Download the information pack

All rewards come with an invitation to celebrate the joys of making and generous support, at our Exhibition pre-view for 'Pledgers & Supporters' at Joseph Studios BS59TQ, 27th July 2017 at 6pm

We can't thank you enough, but we'll definetly give it a good go!

Thanks again

Big Love

Bristol Upholstery Collective & Make It WORK! x


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

Big thanks and high five to you too!

£10 or more

£10 Reward

V.I.P Champaign Reception - Join us in celebrating creative making... and your kindness. Bristol Upholstery Collective 'New Classroom' Launch Party and Exhibition @Joseph Studios Thursday 27th July 2017 An evening of Art, Upholstery, Furniture design, Textiles & Print

£17 or more

3 of 50 claimed

£17 Reward

Non - Spill 'Make it WORK' sustainable hot drinks Mug. Never spill your cuppa on your laptop of drawings ever again! ... and V.I.P Ticket - celebrating creative making... and your kindness.

£35 or more

2 of 10 claimed

£35 Reward

'Name a tool'... go on! Tools are friends, and we'd like to add your names to our tools, so you can be working alongside us as supporters - everyday.

£50 or more

6 of 20 claimed

£50 Reward

The 'Lovetub' Cushion! Back by popular demand.. the 'love tub' hand printed on Hessian by Harriet, 100% turquoise wool by Moon 18" feather fill cushion... as seen on BBC show 'Money For Nothing' Series 3 Episode 18

£52 or more

2 of 25 claimed

£52 Reward

Upholstery 'How to' video subscription by members of Bristol Upholstery Collective Not local? can't make it to class? Get emailed a video a week for a year! Starting 2018

£60 or more

0 of 10 claimed

£60 Reward

Conscious communications workshop for Makers, Movers and Shakers... with Marina Sala

£65 or more

0 of 10 claimed

£65 Reward

Charlotte Duffy Illustration & Design printed cushion - coming soon to BBC Money for Nothing show this Summer! 16'' feather fill, wool backed, digital print cushion by incredible Bristol Artist. Stunning! Treat yourself... or someone REALLY special :)

£75 or more

1 of 3 claimed

£75 Reward

Artist 'Yvonne Coomber' Print velvet cushion Stunning 16" feather fill cushion made by Bristol Upholstery Collective for Yvonne Coomber homeware range... soon to be seen on BBC show 'Money For Nothing' this Autumn. Bright & soft, bring colour into your home!

£145 or more

5 of 7 claimed

£145 Reward

6 week upholstery evening classes with BUC Founder, Leigh-Anne. Starting Wednesday 6th September 2017

£200 or more

5 of 10 claimed

£200 Reward

Special Upholstery weekend at Bristol Upholstery Collective (5% off) 5th & 6th August 2017 Whip off the throw and bring along that tired old chair you've 'been meaning to do something with for ages' Experience new skills and the satisfaction of chair completion! Get it done just the way you want it... and enjoy our inspiring new training space.

£224 or more

2 of 5 claimed

£224 Reward

NEW! ALL DAY Upholstery class - 5 week term starting Thursday 7th September 2017 from 10am - 4:30pm Now you can experience 'Flow' - get in the zone, and on a mission - you can achieve so much more in a day! 10% off - usual price £249 - ONLY 5 AVAILABLE!

£225 or more

0 of 10 claimed

£225 Reward

BIRMINGHAM! will be heading your way this Autumn delivering weekend courses.... Leigh-Anne's home town :) Pledge here to pre-book TBC dates (1 year discount Voucher) HERE! You can make a Deep Buttoned Foot Stool in 2 days, learning all the tricks of the traditional upholstery trade, and how they are applied to chairs :) (usual cost - £250)

£238 or more

1 of 10 claimed

£238 Reward

Special 'Deep Buttoned Foot Stool' Project weekend 9th & 10th September 2017 (5% off)

£350 or more

0 of 12 claimed

£350 Reward

Purchase a bespoke Settle Style Foot Stool made by the first cohort of the Make it WORK training program. Traditionally upholstered in 100% wool (colour of your choice) Now this will get us going! Give someone the chance to make something to be proud of - just for you. Delivered in time for the Christmas holidays... put your feet up in front of the fire.. it's not just your comfort you are investing in!

£450 or more

1 of 10 claimed

£450 Reward

Upholstery Weekend for two! Make a 'Deep Buttoned Foot Stool', spend the weekend catching up with someone awesome! Theres nothing like a practical weekend working alongside your pal... catch up and take home your very own hand made with love traditionally upholstered foot stool. Perfect for parents wanting to spend quality time with their grown up kids. Join one of the DBFS project upholstery weekends at Bristol Upholstery Collective

£500 or more

0 of 3 claimed

£500 Reward

Get your Winged Arm Chair Re-upholstered! 20% Off! Please email Leigh-Anne a photo for more info and to pledge for this reward...

£4,000 or more

£4,000 Reward

Have your very own bespoke sofa designed and upholstered for your corporate reception area! Wow your clients and support our project in a huge way! Be part of the story... we'll offer you space for your logo to shine in our workshop and website, making sure you're seen to be a proud supporter of Make It WORK by all who benefit from the space.

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