Hi! I’m Nicky Cash, the designer and upcycler behind Done up North.
My aim is to inspire and support you with stylish ways to salvage, repurpose and upcycle and enjoy the satisfaction of making your home – and life – more filled with creative expression and uniquely yours.
My own story is one of seeking just that and that’s what particularly excites me about the work I get to do now working with you!
Read more about my services and how I can help you here
I was a creative child - bumper packs of Crayola and big packs of felt tip pens, knitting; jewellery making; a pink sewing machine in the early years.
I studied Art and Fashion and Fabrics at A Level with a view to taking a Fashion degree. Later, I studied Interior Design at night school.
But despite all of that, I never really had the gumption or self-belief to make that creative life actually mine until well into my Forties!
I came to the world of upcycling – I don’t think had been named that quite yet – while working in the last ‘normal’ job I enjoyed as an Intranet Manager for not-for-profit company in the sustainability sector.
That really opened up my awareness and understanding of environmental matters and my motivation to do my bit.
I started out with salvaged fabrics and yarns and transformed them into new accessories through sewing and crochet but nothing came of it again.
I eventually ended up moving jobs and finally working in The City and realising just how much of a fish out of water I was. I had no idea about investments and portfolios and nor did I want to!
That realisation prompted me to take the big leap and I started trying to move myself back North to ‘do something more creative’…
Things suddenly click into place after one of my usual charity shop tourswhere I spotted a broken Victorian music stand and rescued it.
I'd always been a big fan of vintage style and design - particularly Art Deco and Mid Century - but had never done more than apply a fresh coat of oil to a piece furniture before!
I wheeled this thing home through the streets of Leeds on a sack barrow and hauled it up to my 3rd floor flat and promptly fell in love with the whole process of saving and transforming furniture.
Not long after 'Done up North' was born.
The last 6 years has been an intense and thrilling roller coaster of the ups & downs adventures in upcycling - learning so many different trades and crafts from the ground up and usually by trial and error.
Those experiences have given me a real drive to pass on what I’ve learned to others so it's easier for you to get into it and less of the struggle it was for me figuring out the best techniques and products.
So, as well as enjoying designing and creating 100s of custom created pieces for my own clients over the years, I’ve also loved being able to be able to pass along what I've learned and in turn support thousands of like-minded creative souls through my courses, workshops, groups and social media content.
Working as a solopreneur also teaches you SO much about yourself and ultimately after hitting some bumps along the way it lead to a - obviously very late - diagnosis of ADHD with ASD assessment still in the offing.
Some two years later though, I am now able to look back on my story and make much more sense of it and why I seem to have taken the long way round in life!
I can also see that even if some things are undeniably harder for me, that my creativity, the fact I see things a little differently and feel designs instinctively, my need to do things my own authentic way rather than follow the crowd and drive to innovate whilst being resilient to making mistakes as I try new things are all personal strengths that have meant I have been able to build a lovely, niche but well regarded design brand, despite the odds!
These discoveries I think have made it even more meaningful that I get to help other women like me looking to let themselves get out there more creatively and see upcycling as a way to re-love their life, not just their home.
I’d love to be able to help you on your upcycling projects at home or to start upcycling for yourself - or both!
Get in touch with me - firstname.lastname@example.org