DESIGNER AND SEAMSTRESS
Address: Suite 1, Level 1, Marketsquare, 113-145 Hunter Street, Newcastle NSW 2300
Hours: By appointment
Property Donor: Iris Capital
Launched: 9 June 2015
Who are you?
I’m Jessica Ledgerwood, a person who loves designing and sewing. I am a self-taught designer/seamstress and started up the label Bippy Jean in 2014 after my ideas for fashion gained acceptance into the NEIS scheme in Newcastle.
What do you do?
I make men’s shirts. I search and buy only good quality, natural and ethical materials such as linen or organic cotton and then I turn them into a unique and funky style shirts, such as my current Western-inspired line. I have a passion for great colours and patterns so my shirts have lots of colours, use of piping, and coloured pearl press studs. I currently sell at Ramjet and the Olive Tree Markets in Civic Park. I’m also able to take custom orders, especially with my new Renew space where you can drop by my studio and we can figure out the right fit and colour scheme for you.
What inspired you to get involved in Renew Newcastle?
I had heard of Renew and had always thought it was a great idea, considering Newcastle seemed to be so full of empty business spaces. When I started up my business in late 2014 I was working from my parents’ home in a backyard workshop, which soon wasn’t an option due to the sale of the property, but renting my own space was also not an option due to how expensive it would be, as my business isn’t booming (YET!). So I applied to Renew and a couple months later have moved into an amazing workspace in the CBD sharing the building with other creative people.
What are you doing in your new space?
I really love my new workshop. It is in a semi-commercial area so customers can come and check out my shirts, but its also quite private and cosy. Its a really large space which I share with another Laura from Pigtails and Pirates and we have called our collaboration “Mr and Mrs Jones”. We have set up the space so that we have a small display of my shirts and Laura’s dresses at the entrance, and then we have a work area with our sewing machines and conference table, then another area called our ‘messy’ room which is where all the fabrics are cut out. I work in there when I have some time off from being a mum and it’s such a great location being able to pop down to the Hunter Street Mall to grab a coffee, or to get people walking in off the street and having a chat about what we do there. We are also surrounded by some other independent start up businesses within the Market Square so that it is quite an interesting little place to visit.
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