Spotlight On:

Muck N Brass

We can’t wait to share our latest Crafter in the Spotlight with you. Our team were lucky enough to interview a crafter that you may have heard of before, we certainly had! Her name is Zoe Pocock and she is the creative mind behind Muck N Brass.

For those who haven’t heard of her or the company before, Muck N Brass is a handmade business which upcycles quirky furniture and homeware.

They sell everything you need for your home, from unique cabinets and drawers to lampshades and festive tree decorations.

But upcycling isn’t all that Zoe is known for. She also presents a kid’s TV show called Junk Rescue on CBeebies. It provides “daily teaching to kids about sustainability and recycling and using their creativity.”

When it comes to upcycling, this is something Zoe has always been interested in. “I’ve always been into interiors and crafting as hobbies. My last job involved design and marketing, so upcycling seemed obvious to combine my skills and hobbies.”

She told us that the idea was “always to sell what she made” from the very beginning of her upcycling adventure.

After being made redundant, she took the opportunity to turn her passion into a career. “This played a big part in me starting something where I could earn money and stay afloat during what was a horrible time.”

If you visit the Muck N Brass website, you can see that all the products are colourful, unique and vibrant, which we absolutely love! We asked where she gained inspiration and Zoe said: “The initial spark of an idea can literally come from anywhere, a random item, image or even just a word.”

“What’s interesting is the process of working up an initial idea into a real-life product which involves all different types of design and problem solving.”

And when it comes to finding furniture to upcycle, Zoe scouts local charity shops, like the British Heart Foundation and Emmaus, and other furniture shops. “These sorts of shops have a steady flow of vintage, well-made pieces. They have a standard they follow when taking in furniture, so you’ll be sure to find a good quality piece.”

As well as using her own ideas, Muck N Brass also offer commissions which are “very popular with customers.”

“These orders account for about half of the sales. Sometimes it will be a piece that they already own or have inherited but mostly it will be a case where they’ve seen something I have for sale but need to tweak the size, utility or colours to suit their home.”

“We work with a lot of interior designers and have been lucky enough to supply all the Nandos restaurants refurbs and Google head offices. I think this shows that a lot of the big companies are re-thinking their purchases and being more sustainable when buying furniture.”

In addition to selling upcycled items, Zoe also leads regular upcycling and upholstery workshops. In these classes, she takes students “through everything they need to design and finish a beautiful piece to take home with them. Everyone leaves with a huge feeling of achievement.”

“I also give lots of other tips from my experience of the business. Some people get inspired to go away and upcycle their own pieces or to start upcycling and selling.  We also offer skill builder classes where they can come back and grow their knowledge and take things further business wise.”

As mentioned earlier, Zoe has made television appearances on CBeebies’ Junk Rescue, as well as BBC 1’s Flipping Profit. She told us that it has been “amazing to have the chance to show the wider public the possibilities of upcycling in a fun way.”

“The CBeebies show is really special. It’s a privilege to be part of children’s growing up and giving them an introduction to environmental issues.  We’ve got some great things happening next year with Junk Rescue and kids’ education which I can’t wait to share with everyone.”

Zoe has a little piece of advice for anyone thinking about setting up their own craft business. “The number one thing is just to have a go. Basically, you can’t go wrong.”

“If you’re not happy with it, you can always change it. I’m always trying something new to see if it works and if either I don’t like it, or it doesn’t sell, I change it.”

We are really excited to see what Muck N Brass has in store for the future, even if there are no set plans just yet! “I never know what I’m doing tomorrow let alone next year but I will be working a lot more with education and TV.  One thing is for sure, I will be making and creating with Muck N Brass.”

As our interview came to a close, we wanted to find out Zoe’s thoughts about the insurance policy that we offer. She told us that “because CraftCover specialise in my type of business they understand my needs and cover every aspect. I know that I can leave it to them with confidence and concentrate on what I do best.”