Becky Queen of Frocks
Back in the early days of Etsy, when the Brighton Etsy team was small and new, a bright young lady stood out from the creative crowd.
It was at the first ever Etsy craft party where I first met Becky. Held in the packed out creative workspace that was SuperSuperHQ the young lady produced her Ukulele and gave us her rendition of a song about Etsy – a stunned silence of admiration filled the room for this super cute talent.
I went on to learn that this young lady is our female answer to Brian Cox, brainy, musical, creative and obsessed with the stars.
It’s not often that you meet a person like Becky, with a PhD in Astrophysics, a dab hand at sewing, the designer of fun, original and precise jewellery and musical too.
Becky has long since left the shores of England and now resides in Paris where she lives with her husband and runs her “BeckyQueenOfFrocks” business.
I asked her a few questions to see how she’s getting on…..
You’re clearly very clever, with a PhD in Astrophysics and a creative business what did the five year old Becky dream to become?
I remember vividly dreaming of becoming hundreds of different things, so I’d worked out which ones I would do on which days, to make the most of my time. Back then, Blue Peter was shown three times a week so I’d be a Blue Peter presenter on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. That would leave Tuesdays to join the circus (yep, the circus), Thursdays to be an artist, and I’d be an Olympic ice skater at the weekend (although of course I’d need to train, but I could do that on some of the other days because Blue Peter didn’t start till 5pm). I also remember wanting to run a hotel (no idea where that one came from), but that could double as a house so I didn’t need to dedicate a specific day to it. So my love of efficiency and organisation has never wavered, but thankfully I picked a more sensible number of jobs to pursue!
Do you find that your PhD influences your creative work?
Absolutely, both in the literal sense, and in my attitude to working creatively. A lot of my creative work is directly influenced by my PhD; I use real astronomical data in my collection of scientifically accurate jewellery, and working out how to encapsulate the beauty of science in a decorative object is fascinating for me. I also think I work in a very methodical way, when coming up with product ideas or trying out new designs, and that definitely stems from my predisposition for logical, scientific thinking.
What is it that compels you to craft and make things?
I genuinely have no idea. When I was little, we were given an exercise at school to write down our favourite colour (mine is green), and explain why we like it. It felt like such an impossible question; I say that my favourite colour is green because I feel an irrational affinity to it. As it happened, I didn’t know the words ‘irrational’ or ‘affinity’ at the age of six or seven, so I took the pragmatic approach to avoid getting into trouble for leaving the question blank. I wrote that I green was my favourite colour because grass and trees are green, and I might have to do the same here. I make things because grass and trees are green.
Did you always want your own business?
In a way, yes. It was something I day-dreamed about from time to time, but I never thought about it as a realistic career path until I was in my 20s. After university everyone around me was moving to London and joining grad schemes at auditing firms, but that never really seemed like the right fit for me. I’m still not entirely sure what auditing firms do, so for many, many reasons I’m glad I never took that path. Owning my own business means that I can shape my work life around my life life, and that’s mindblowingly awesome!
With the Internet forever making the world a smaller place moving to another country may well be easier now than ever, what has been your biggest positive surprise in relocating to Paris?
Without a doubt, the biggest positive surprise has been how friendly everyone is here! Parisians have a terrible reputation for being rude to everyone, but in my experience that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I think it helps that I only speak French when I’m out and about, even though my French is far from perfect. I’ve been amazed by how patient people are, and how much they try to understand what I’m trying to say even if I don’t get it right on my first try.
And the biggest challenge?
The paperwork. And it *is* PAPERwork, because even paperless banking seems requires you to receive 2-3 letters in the post each month. I could talk for hours about the impossible logistics of moving to France (and I have done on many occasions), but it gets me riled up so I might have to refer you to some of my blog posts on the subject instead…!
Have you had to make any sacrifices for your creative business?
Nope, sorry, this is a bit of a boring answer so you might want to leave it out…because my business was a side-hustle for so long I never had to make tough decisions.
What are you most grateful for within your creative work?
Waking up in the morning and knowing that I’m going to spend the day doing something I love.
Tell us one astrophysics fact that will blow our tiny minds.
Did you know that only about 5% of the universe is made from the same stuff as us, like protons and neutrons? We have a bit of an idea about what the other 95% might be made up of, but to be quite honest it’s still pretty much a mystery!
Share one future aspiration…
Having my astronomically accurate jewellery stocked by the Science Museum in London….can you imagine?!
Felt tips or paint brushes? Felt tips
Laser cutting or pattern cutting? Both!
Audio or Video? Audio
Pinterest or Print? Pinterest
80’s or 90’s? 90s
Full English or Jam and croissants? Jam and croissants – I have to stay true to my adopted country!
London Underground or Paris Metro? London Underground – a lot of the Paris Métro stations are in a permanent state of abandoned refurbishment, so look like they’re about to fall down at any moment. I walk really fast just in case.
You can get the world to listen to one tune – what would it be…?
Ohmygoodness how can I choose?! Oh Yoko by John Lennon. No, Meet Me on the Corner by Lindisfarne. No! ’39 by Queen. Argh!
Visit Becky’s website here:
And follow her on Instagram here:
Next up will be the awesome I am Acrylic with their super duper handmade jewellery…
Posted in: Maker interviews