My Country Business: Sarah Hardaker

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  • My Country Business is a series of evocative films that tells the stories of a new and savvy generation of country business men and women – who do what they love and love what they do!

    In this episode, we meet Sarah Hardaker. She tells us in her own words, about her country business…

    My name is Sarah Haraker and I’m a fabric designer. I love drawing big floral designs. Very early on in New Designers, in 1994 I met a really interesting man and we talked lots. At the end of the conversation he asked me to come and see him on Monday as he’d like to offer me a job. I replied by asking him who he was and he said: “I’m Antony Little, I own Osborne & Little”. “Oh”, I said “I don’t think I could do that job because I’m embroiderer and not a print designer, but he said “Come and see me on Monday and we’ll make you a print designer”. And I did. I stayed there for 8 years. He taught me a lot and could see that I had something even though it didn’t necessarily fit with the Osborne & Little brand. I carved a niche for myself where I did lots of the colouring. I’d often go colouring with Nina Campbell – I learned a lot from Nina. I left Osborne & Little to move to the Cotswolds. My husband is a teacher and he applied for various jobs – in Kent and in Gloucester. He was offered the job in Gloucester so without knowing the area we upped sticks and left. When you live in the countryside everyday is a joy and if you have to commute to work there doesn’t seem much point in having that lovely country life, so I made the decision to start on my own. There are women who live in my village that have had spectacular careers in London and they’re a mum and we talk about things, such as baking and the children, they are interesting women and I find living in a community quite inspiring. I always think in product. I don’t think in terms of a flat drawing. If a design flows out really quickly I know it’s going to be a winner. If I am labouring over something, I’ll ditch it. You can’t do everything, you think you can when you start a business, but do the things you are really good and pass the other stuff on. That will free you up to enjoy the things you do.

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