Hi, I'm Saundra
I’m a mum, designer and life-long Londoner. What is SoS15? Well, it’s me; my initials and where I was raised in SE15 (Peckham).
I design and make a range of glittery bags and personalised gifts in my south London studio. I am utterly in love with the making process - the ability to have an idea which I can transform into a product totally inspires me!
My raison d’être is to design without rules and make with exceptional attention to detail. This is my ‘why’. It’s what is at the forefront of every new idea and it’s what’s behind every product.
This is planet Earth
I am working hard to ensure my business takes responsibility for it’s impact on our planet. This year I am launching my new t-shirt range which is made using earth-positive cotton and I have always used mint-condition vintage fabric to line my hand-made bags.
My new customised denim jacket collection is a hand-picked selection of salvaged jackets, re-purposed with unique designs to elevate and extend their lifespan. As a small business, SoS15 has always been opposed to waste! We generate very little and our fabric off-cuts are transformed into hair scrunchies and doggy accessories (new for 2020). Our packaging became plastic free over a year ago and we are striving to do better every day.
Cancer and me
I have been lucky enough to have always worked in a creative role thus fulfilling my burning need to create. I was employed as a graphic designer for several years before starting my own graphic design business in 2000. Working for myself allowed me to spend more time with my son and gave us a comfortable life.
But in 2009 at 40 years old I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was a solo mum of a teenage boy and it was a scary time for both of us.
I found the treatment brutal and was unable to continue working. Being self employed and without any other support it wasn’t long before my world started to implode.
To make matters worse I encountered treatment complications which in turn led to more than 20 surgical procedures. I spent weeks in hospital and even more time recovering at home. It became impossible for me to return to work and with no savings or other means of support I spent several years living on benefits. I cannot tell you how hard things were for me and my son.
Money was in short supply and our housing choices were poor. My entrepreneurial spirit was suppressed under the weight of illness and depression. I had always been fiercely independent so my inability to change my circumstances was totally debilitating. Facing major life change when I had imagined I would be settled was scary.
I was pretty unhappy when a friend suggested we attend a local 2 hour cushion making workshop as a creative pick-me-up.
The workshop sparked a chain of events which led me to fall in love with the magical process of creating a tangible product from the seed of an idea. Sewing became a mindful therapy for me and helped me regain confidence in my creative abilities.
Fast forward to today and designer-making makes me happier than graphic design ever did. The creative freedom is liberating.
That other people love what I do too is genuinely awe-inspiring. I like to think that my story might encourage others who are facing hardship and life change.
I am happier now than ever before and if it wasn’t for cancer I wouldn’t be where I am now: running a business that makes me happy and thriving within a supportive and loving relationship. Goals that I thought would always elude me.
Helping women with breast cancer
I think many of us whom have overcome cancer want to do something to help others in the same situation. It has taken me many years but I have finally fulfilled the promise I made to myself to create a simple product that I believe will help women who have undergone surgery following breast cancer diagnosis. This product is due to be trialled on a post-surgical ward and once the results from that trial are available the product will be available.