Enterprising former student returns to college to teach and inspire

In the latest in a series of posts about enterprising students, former Soft Furnishings student Linda McKay explains how Ayrshire College inspired her entrepreneurial side and encouraged her to start up her own business doing what she loves.

About to return to the College to embark on a lecturing career, Linda is taking her skills to the next level, sharing her knowledge on the Soft Furnishings course which starts at the end of January. Here’s what Linda said about her creative career, starting up her own business and returning to college as a lecturer.


I was always creative at school and enjoyed art, fashion and fabrics. In Higher Art I submitted a design in Appliqué using fabrics on canvas and that’s where my love of textiles began. I have used these techniques in my designs by knitting fabric and wire and experimenting with texture. Soon after I started making curtains and cushions for myself, family and friends were putting in their orders.

Working for myself I am lucky enough to choose my own hours and work them around my lifestyle and family. My day usually starts by settling down at my sewing machine to work on a client’s project, or to do some sample work or research. It may also include a trip to the fabric shop with a client or visiting clients in their own homes to measure a job and discuss designs or to fit a completed job.

The highlights for me are meeting new and interesting people and turning a piece of fabric into something that transforms a client’s room into a home – whether that be a pair of curtains, roman blind, chair cover, cushions or bedspreads.

My learning experience at Ayrshire College was a positive and exciting one. I was slightly nervous going back into education as a mature student, but I was put at ease from the very first day I started. It was a relaxed atmosphere and the support and enthusiasm, not to mention the knowledge and skills, of the lecturers was inspiring. The support from both lecturers and fellow students was invaluable and it was great to be in an environment where people were interested in the same subject as myself. I also learned life skills such as prioritising jobs and how to meet deadlines.

The biggest challenge was believing in myself and my skills and if I was good enough to compete in the marketplace. That’s why college was so important to me and gave me the confidence and support to take the next big step. It made me realise that there are plenty of people out there offering help in areas like marketing and business set up, and not to be afraid to ask for help.

Be prepared to work hard, sometimes with unsociable hours to suit your customer’s needs. If you are self-motivated, prepared to put the work in and believe in yourself and most of all passionate about what you do then I would absolutely urge you to give it a go.


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