An Interview with Catherine Tough

Welcome to the first part of our interview series!

Today we are interviewing Catherine who owns her own business in Hackney, making and selling hand-made socks, cushions, hats, scarves and much more.

I actually grew up in Hackney and still go back there to visit family.  It is a lovely place to live with good transport links and is fast becoming one of London’s quirkiest boroughs.

Catherine gets some of her inspiration from Hackney’s urban sights and sounds around her and pours this into her designs.

catherinetough website

Hi Catherine, Tell us a bit about yourself:

I have been in business for nearly 15 years now, producing our range of knitted accessories. I love living and working in Hackney.  When I’m not knitting I’ll be enjoying time hanging out with my family and friends.

What motivated you to start up a business?

I started the business straight from the RCA ( Royal College of Arts) , I had a really good response to my final show and thought I should take the chance to start the business from there.

What have you enjoyed the most about starting this venture?

The freedom being self-employed gives you, meeting lots of interesting people who are enthusiastic about what they do and working on new ideas.

What have been your toughest challenges?

Business development, learning about the importance of cash flow etc. to turn good ideas into a business.

What steps are you taking to overcome your challenges?

Have worked with the Crafts Council and East London Small Business Centre on business development and access to funding which has been great.

How do you juggle work and family?

It’s difficult, I try and be work round kid’s, early mornings and late nights

What advice will you give to someone who wants to start their own creative business?

Love what you do, work hard, make sure you are paid fairly and it will work. 

Find out more about Catherine Tough  by visiting her website at:

Do you have your own creative business and want to talk about it.  Take part in our interview series to maximise your exposure. If you are interested,  send us an email and we’ll see what we can do for you.