Hi, I'm Saundra, 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 bags, personalised gifts, denim jackets and more 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.
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 many 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 single 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 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 I spent several years living on benefits. Our circumstances were impossibly difficult.
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.
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. That other people love what I do too is genuinely awe inspiring.