Meet the Liverpool mum of three who turned her passion project into a quirky business

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“It’s got to be something you love because it’s not easy.”

Independent Retailer Month runs annually throughout July. It highlights the positive social and economic impact of independent businesses and provides inspiration for those who want to make the leap into doing something different.

Liverpool mum-of-three Rachel Smith-Evans did just that in July 2020, when she left her full-time job and transformed her passion project into a business. Based in the heart of the North docks, Quirky Design Co upcycles furniture, paints murals and runs creative sustainability workshops.

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Rachel says it’s the best thing she’s ever done. "I always painted furniture at home and then I lost my mum in 2018, and I felt like I needed to just have something to distract myself from work and the kids,” she told LiverpoolWorld.

“I needed a little project, so I bought four chairs on eBay. I just started painting them in bright colours and started an Instagram page, not for any other reason than just to sort of log the pictures for myself, like a photo album. Then people found me and started asking me to paint furniture for them, so it was really organic."

Rachel Smith-Evans, owner of Quirky Design Co. Image: LTVRachel Smith-Evans, owner of Quirky Design Co. Image: LTV
Rachel Smith-Evans, owner of Quirky Design Co. Image: LTV

Being a small business owner can be fulfilling but has challenges. We asked Rachel if she had any advice for anyone considering taking the plunge. She told us: “I think it’s got to be something you’re passionate about. It’s got to be something you love because it’s not easy. It’s really, really hard work most weeks, I’m in seven days a week.”

As well as breathing new life into tired furniture, Rachel has pieces she hires out for events and photo shoots. Some of Britain’s biggest fashion brands have hired her original Rainbow Throne.

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Quirky Design Co. runs workshops suitable for adults as well as working with education facilities. In the sessions, recycled materials are used to teach many different creative techniques.

  • Watch the video above to see our full feature with Rachel and learn more about Quirky Design Co.
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