Handmaker's Factory

Meet the Maker : Joanne Bennett from slynk


Slynk

Who is behind slynk?
A 45 year old female surfer living simply by the sea :) 
I design suits, create patterns, cut and glue the neoprene, then they go to the amazing rubber wranglers at SNUGG for sewing and taping... I'm keen to get on the sewing machines!!

Slynk

What inspired you to start slynk?
I guess my love for surfing inspired me?  I wanted to wear something that I couldn't find so I asked a local wetsuit producer to make something for me and I asked if I could watch the process.  Many Saturday mornings, cups of coffee and pieces of cake later... Malcolm (Malcolm Ball at SNUGG wetsuits) said he thought I had something and suggested I start my own company, which blew me away. I do think a lot of companies happen that way though, by creating something you want because you can't find it, there's a likelihood someone else is looking for that very same thing too.

slynk houndstooth

Where do you find your design inspiration?
I've always been curious about what makes a piece more stylish/classic/timeless than anything else, regardless of what it is, furniture, a building, a garment; its difficult to summarise but for me design ideas are to do with silhouettes and lines. I grew up on musicals in my summer holidays from school: 1950-60s stylised sets with icons like Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra, from groovy shoes to outstanding skylines. The decades of celebrating life after the war, what we now associate mostly as being 'vintage' I guess stayed with me as I've mostly bought second hand for the same reasons and that the crafting is so obviously much better than anything mass produced. 

Slynk

What does a regular day in the slynk workshop look like?
Foremost the coffee is on! I try to get admin done first thing, enquiries & social media, which usually turns in to sketching new orders, then I check out whats on the bench and then time to play with ideas.  Fine tuning what I already have is key too... small details and attention to that are the design and what makes it work well.

Slynk

What are your 'must have' tools when making your wetsuits?
Weights to hold patterns in place, sharp chalk and my great new toy, a Japanese cutting wheel - I love using scissors for curves, those lines are like arcs carved in the sea... but the absolutely perfect straight line from the wheel & metal rule is something else.

Slynk

How can we purchase a slynk wetsuit?
The website is under construction and due later this year and until then you can check out the Facebook page and email me at helloATslynkwetsuitsDOTcom
Do you have any advice for readers thinking about starting up their own small business?
I've been thinking about this a lot because there is so much to share about starting up, but in a nutshell here's some advice I was given by people I love and trust:
Keep your smile
!
Remember this is your business. Take the chance and make the most of opportunity.
Don't go 'live' until you are absolutely ready.

And finally, which is your favourite place to surf?
Anywhere where the waves are good, the vibe is peaceful and my good friends are with me! I'm a regular foot but love surfing back hand so a left point break would probably be a winner, warm or cold... its all good.

Slynk

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