Business management

The Pigeon’s Nest

We speak to Rebecca Lismer, owner of The Pigeon’s Nest, about what it’s like to build a brand as a one-woman band.

Tell us a bit about your business.

“I’m a crochet designer and fibre artist – I make a whole heap of different handmade products for big and little people, which I currently sell via my ‘The Pigeon’s Nest’ Etsy shop and via my social channels

“One of my biggest sellers is my high-chair cushion covers, which I make to order in fun fabrics. They actually started by accident: I was running a made-to-order crochet business at first, but as a one-off I made a cushion cover for my son’s high chair, and I thought I might as well put it out there to see if other people would be interested in something similar. Demand was so high, the cushion covers fed our family that first year!

“A lot of my work is made bespoke, so people can make requests. As a one-woman band, I get to ask ‘What do you want? What matches your kitchen? What matches your home decor?’ I get to entirely tailor my products to my customers, which I love doing.”

What made you want to start The Pigeon’s Nest?

“The business was my side hustle for a long time before my first son was born. When I looked at going back to work after maternity leave, the cost of childcare meant it didn’t make financial sense. I wanted to find a way to make my work fit around my family, so I took the plunge and went full-time with my craft business.

“Fundamentally, what drives me on is that I love creating. I never want to be a manager, I never want to just package stuff and send it out; I want to create. I share a lot of my process on my social media and customers love to see when I’m working on their order. I’ve got a lovely community who really know me; they know about my family, they know I’m proud to be a mother juggler!

The business was my side hustle for a long time before my first son was born. I wanted to find a way to make my work fit around my family, so I took the plunge and went full-time with my craft business

“I also love the fact that this business allows me to connect directly with my customers. My crochet rainbow blankets, for example, are very popular with IVF parents, and I get messages saying, ‘This is the blanket we took our baby home in; we’ve been waiting for this baby for 10 years,’ which is just so special.”

What is your unique selling point for your customers?

“Being a one-woman band; my customers know I’m personally there for them. I get so many DMs asking for help with crochet and because it’s just me, I can be agile – I can jump on to Instagram and create a quick video tutorial to help a lot of people at once. I’ve built up a great level of trust with my customers, which means they don’t just want to watch any old free video on how to crochet; they want to learn from me personally.”

Has the coronavirus crisis had an impact on your business?

“Lockdown has been hard work because both of my kids are home, but it has been great for my business. I’d had an idea for crochet kits on the back burner for so long – I was planning on bringing one out at Christmas alongside juggling everything else – but in the first two weeks of lockdown, I got it done. My husband was home with the kids so I had that brain space to go for it, and they’ve done really well.

“A lot of people are getting back to doing craft for the pleasure of it, so providing kits is an easy way to reach out and say, ‘If you get five minutes for yourself, here’s something that you can do for you.’ 

“I’ve also got a really loyal community who have been super supportive: even if they aren’t in a position to buy, they always share. Building that kind of community is invaluable.”

What are your plans for the future of The Pigeon’s Nest?

“I’m hoping to set up my own website and build my e-newsletter. I want my own space on the internet, so I can have the control.

“I also want to develop the creative side of the business. At the moment I do a portrait project every month where I use yarn to dress up as characters or famous people – I’ve done Wilma Flintstone, Iris Apfel, you name it – it’s a really fun way to engage with my audience, and I’d like to build on it. I’d also love to be sponsored by a yarn brand. 

“And in the next few months I’ll also be launching my part kit, part digital course for teaching people how to crochet. I’m really excited about that.”

The Pigeon’s Nest is a winner of the NatWest SME: SOS independent ad break.

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

scroll to top