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Article: Maker Spotlight: Meg & YuHao from Pigeon Wishes

Maker Spotlight: Meg & YuHao from Pigeon Wishes

Maker Spotlight: Meg & YuHao from Pigeon Wishes

        Here at Blackbird, we love sourcing cool and unique sewing notions for our shop, and colourful buttons are no exception! We are ecstatic to be carrying buttons from Pigeon Wishes, a family run business based in Liverpool, UK. Megan Valero and Duan YuHao are the founders and dynamic duo behind the Pigeon Wishes brand. Megan is a self-proclaimed ‘avid-stitcher’ and loves all things related to sewing. Her creativity paired with YuHao’s expertise in web design and organizational skills have made Pigeon Wishes a true success! 

        Available in a wide range of colours and shapes, Pigeon Wishes buttons are made from a durable acetate resin that is hand poured, making each button a true one-of-a-kind. With the colours embedded into the buttons rather than painted on, they are sure to stay vibrant and never fade! After they have hardened, the buttons are then handpicked by Megan and YuHao for quality control, making sure each set matches in shade and tone. 

We asked Megan a couple of questions to learn more about her experience running a family business and what exciting button projects she’s working on next!

We love Pigeon Wishes buttons! Can you tell us how you decided to start a button business?

M: We started our button business a bit by accident. We primarily run a fabric wholesale business and while we were sourcing fabric I decided to take the opportunity to look for some buttons, purely for myself and a project I had in my mind, the Maple dress by Cocowawa Patterns. The pattern required large buttons and I couldn’t find the perfect buttons anywhere. In my search we came across a button manufacturer who could help us create buttons which were absolutely beautiful and which I’ve never seen available to home dressmakers before. 

When I started sewing in 2014, I felt frustrated that our choices as dressmakers were sometimes limited because it is a niche sector. This has obviously changed massively but small items like buttons deserve the same variety of choice and it’s wonderful to be able to provide buttons that are unique, beautiful and hardwearing. We want more people to sew, create, upcycle and think about and love their clothes and the process that goes into making them. Down to the last detail! 

Running a small business has its own perks and surprises. What have you loved so far about working for yourselves? Have there been any challenges?

M: Being able to run our business gives us so much to be grateful for. We’re both immensely happy with the flexibility working for ourselves gives us. We have control of our own time and I’m forever grateful for the time I spent with my son for the first three years of this life.

We love the happiness we see in our customers when they receive our products and acknowledge our brand as part of their making process. Nothing can beat how amazing that feels! It’s such a privilege to have such wonderful customers.

We’ve definitely had challenges! We started the business when our toddler (Olimi) was born so it’s been a juggle! YuHao was working a full time day job, I was looking after Olimi full time, then finding the time to build our business. It was a lot all at once!

Coronavirus and Brexit have obviously impacted our business. There’s been delays, shipping has been a nightmare and it’s been hard to plan ahead with so much uncertainty. We’re still a new business trying to find our groove so it’s been a lot of additional worry to think about. 

We love the different shapes and colours of your buttons. Can you tell us about your creative process in designing new buttons? 
M: We release our buttons in collections and we very much follow the seasons, special holidays and think about the feelings we want the collection to represent. With that we create a moodboard and draw inspiration from trends, popular sewing patterns, colours that inspire us and our own personal tastes.

We always try to make our buttons personal to us and our experiences. Invoking places we’ve visited, films, songs, tv shows we like and people we love. 

Hocus PocusButtercup, and Savanna are just some of our favourite colour names for your buttons! What inspires you to come up with such creative and fun names?

M: We name the buttons after what inspired them! For example our Golders Hill button was inspired and named after my favourite park in London. Hocus Pocus was after my favourite Halloween film and I can go on about each one! I started sewing in 2014 and learnt with By Hand London patterns.

I loved how fun and full of personality each pattern was and them being named after and inspired by a person made them feel intimate and more special. Massively inspired by that, I wanted our buttons to have that same feeling. We spent so much time creating and thinking about each button, it felt right giving them proper names!

We love your colourful wardrobe and memade outfits! What are some of your favourite go-to patterns to show off Pigeon Wishes buttons?

M: Thank you! Honestly one of the biggest pleasures of owning a button shop is having an excuse to sew more…...all for the sake of the business of course! I love the Marlo Sweater by True Bias. It’s perfect to show off our bigger 25mm buttons. It’s such a staple item to have in the wardrobe I’ve already sewn up three, each with plain fabric so the buttons really make a statement. 

Also I’ve just finished the ZW gathered dress by Birgitta Helmersson, it’s the most comfortable dress I’ve ever worn. I chose gingham fabric and our Painterly buttons which go beautifully with gingham. With it being such a simple design fabric and button choices really bring the pattern to life.

A pattern I’ve not tried, but was recommended when we asked our customers how many buttons they prefer in the 15mm button set, was the Kew Dress pattern by Nina Lee. That pattern is the reason the buttons come in a set of 15.  The pattern is on my sewing list but I’ve not yet gotten around to sewing it up yet.

Pigeon Wishes is always dropping new and exciting button designs! Are there any upcoming projects that you would like to share with us?

M: We have a few collections coming up. One for Halloween, which is an annual release and one of our favourites to plan, this will be its second year. I can also confirm our next collaboration which is with the lovely duo Cut One Pair, run by Jenny and Louise.

They are two sewing friends who launched a blog, instagram and pinterest to share their joint love of sewing……...and lilac, you can find them separately at @louise_carmichael and @knittedyogurt. Originators of the #LilacLoversClub hashtag, they are wonderfully inspiring, have the best style and are just the loveliest.

In the collection you can expect lilac (obviously) and 70’s glam! We have something extra which we’ve never produced before, sorry I have to be mysterious about it! And that’s all I’m giving you!

Find our range of Pigeon Wishes buttons here.
You can follow Meg’s sewing adventures and discover her love of fabrics on Instagram

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