Meet: Corvette Silo, the Deaf woman who runs a craft shop in Bakewell, Derbyshire

Posted on July 15, 2014



By Asher Woodman-Worrell.

Last summer, I paid a visit to a small idyllic village named Bakewell in Derbyshire just less than forty miles to Nottingham.

I was in pursuit of something.

Was it the fresh air and a chance to stretch my legs under the brilliant sun? No. Was it the world famous Bakewell tart which made the village famous? Nope.

I was actually seeking out a vintage shop and it was not an ordinary shop, it was owned by a deaf woman.

The visit surpassed all of my expectations – from the stunning pink cottage that houses the shop, to the friendly ambiance welcome offered by the owner.

The visit was so memorable that I requested an interview – and here it is!

Hi Corvette! Please fill us in your background?

Hi! My name is Corvette Silo, I grew up in Derby but now I live in Matlock, Derbyshire.

I was educated at Royal School for the Deaf Derby all of my life. When I left school, I studied Art and Design at Mackworth College but I switched my course to Fashion Design after a year.

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I then went to Preston University to do a foundation degree in Fashion Design which I then topped up to BA Fashion Design.

However, I became rather disillusioned with the course and I was advised by a lecturer to switch to BA Textiles Design instead. I decided to study this course in Nottingham Trent which I graduated from in 2009.

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Why did you start your own business?

During my time at the university, I did a work placement which I did not really enjoy due to the usual deaf barriers. I decided that I would prefer to work on my terms, so I started a business.

It was really slow at the start; I made some items, mostly ribbons and sold them at craft fairs.

Eventually, the business grew to the point where now I have a shop and an online website.

I actually struggled to pick the name of the business until I realised both of my forename and surname are unique so I attached my own name to the business.

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Was setting up the business easy or hard?

It was a massive learning curve. I had to research the market to see what items are in demand and what consumers like and dislike.

I also researched the prices as now in the struggling economy people are more reluctant to spend so I have to set my prices wisely.

It was very hard at the start, I had problems with Access the Work as I have to ensure I met their requirements such as registering the business to gain support.

I relied heavily on the support of my family and friends at the start as well word of the mouth to promote the business at the start.

What are your products?

I sell various items such as homemade fabrics, smellies, home accessories and gifts.

It is really a wide variety of items. I sell most of them online so please do have a look at my website at the end of the article!

I also set up stalls at Birmingham NEC or London Expo craft exhibitions whenever they are on.

I also cater for bespoke orders. I will discuss the specifics with the client such as the design of the product, fabrics and the budget.

How do you gain inspiration for your products?

I gain inspiration from practically everything! Magazines, online, other shops, current trends-everything!

I am a strong advocate of ensuring that my products are up to the date with current trends.

This is important in vintage trade as all retro items and trends are constantly brought back into the fashion all time and I need to keep up.

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One of the most amazing aspects about your business is your shop. How did you find it?

I knew from the start that I did not want to set up the shop in Matlock as there are already similar shops to mine and the rent there is really high.

I scouted for alternative locations until I found the ideal shop in Bakewell.

I really liked the shop as it had an excellent space upstairs for storage which is excellent for my online website and there is enough space for me to create more products. So I just went for it!

What are your future plans?

I would love to concentrate on designing products as I would like to use the skills that I learned from university.

Designing is my ultimate passion and I have occasionally been commissioned to design bespoke items, but these have been few and far between due to the shop taking up so much of my time.

I would like to become a wholesaler using my own brand of Corvette Silo.

What advice would you give to deaf people wishing to start their own business?

Be patient and above all never give up the dream. Yes it is heart wrenching, hard work and sometimes frustrating as well as nerve wracking at times, but just keep on track and never steer away.

Communication is a massive barrier for people who are Deaf but you do manage to find a way round these issues, do not allow deafness to be a problem when chasing your dream.

Footnote: Since the completion of this article, Corvette has recently started another business which is Kingswell Support Service which is an outreach support service for deaf people based in Derby and Derbyshire that needs further assistance in their independence life skills.

For more information-please email contact@corvettesilo.co.uk. If you wish to contact Corvette about her shop- please email her at contact@corvettesilo.co.uk or visit www.corvettesilo.co.uk

By Asher Woodman-Worrell. Asher is now a university graduate, yet he is strangely going back to university to do another degree. He volunteers for BDA’s Youth board and run Deaf Runners- a facebook group for deaf runners in his spare time – however, sadly, he hasn’t got over his obsession with Leicester City and PlayStation 3 – to his girlfriend’s everlasting suffering. Follow him on Twitter: @Asher_The_Blur

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