|This is essentially an advert for the companies mentioned, but I have not been paid to promote them.|
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|KingCole Pattern no 9115|
This craft show is a little different from the consumer craft shows as it's for businesses and companies of all sizes to come together to network and do business with each other. It is a fantastic opportunity for crafty entrepreneurs as well as established businesses to discover new companies and products all in one place. So I decided to pop along to check out some yarn companies and wholesalers who I can work with and collaborate with on my new launch of crochet kits this year, with my crochet hampers being such a success last year.
|Rico Essential Cotton Yarn|
I was also super excited to meet the team at Rico as I am a big fan of their yarns, especially their cotton ranges. I was not disappointed. I was interested to see that they had a Vegan yarn on display as well. A great team of people and a gorgeous range of yarns. So much colour and softness!
Novita especially, took part in the fashion show, showcasing some of their new knitwear designs coming out soon, which absolutely blew me away. I instantly fell in love with their Nordic imagery and natural yarns! I think I want to literally move there now and start raising sheep.
Bonfanti’s buttons. These stunning buttons have earned well-deserved recognition from the best tailors and Italian fashion houses over the years and are certainly no plastic mass-market rubbish. Made from real mother of pearl, precious metals and resins, these buttons are truly exquisite to look at and touch. They will definitely be making an appearance in my crochet kits at some point!
The team at West Yorkshire Spinners were also there, which I made a bee line for as they had such a pretty and well designed stand! Lovely team of people, who seem really passionate about their yarns and what they do. (You'd be surprised how many companies barely even discussed their products!) I was excited to see their Re:treat yarn on display and I'm looking forward to seeing their new colourful yarn ranges coming out later this Spring. What I love about West Yorkshire Spinners is that everything is made in the UK, spun, dyed the lot, so much so you can possible even trace your yarn back to the very individual sheep who donated his fleece for you. I bet he was happy on that day in the Summer we had last year! *Phew
|Meeting the lovely Rachel at Baa Ram Ewe|
Yorkshire, as you may have guessed by now, is truly the home of wool here in the UK and I'm so happy to see companies like Baa Ram Ewe promoting it. They also have the cutest shop up in Chapel Allerton, which I have to visit one day!
Of course there were also a fair few companies that didn't rise to the occasion, who shall remain nameless; overcrowded stands, inaccessible yarns and just plain rude sales reps, but the one thing that shocked me the most was the reaction I received a few times when I explained what HappyBerry did. The disparity between online and offline businesses still seems huge. As an online business that uses social media a lot, I was often met with confusion, judgement and just plain disregard when I talked about what HappyBerry was all about. I was really surprised that some quite fairly large companies weren't open to the idea of the massive online craft community. On one particular occasion a sales representative of a rather large yarn company here in the UK felt it necessary to continuously repeat their requirements of doing business with them. I left that stand feeling quite angry at how closed minded they were.
I felt it appropriate on only two occasions to ask if the business would like to take a photo with me so I could share what they did with my followers and showcase their gorgeous products to a wider audience. It reminded me of the time I started in web design back in 1999 and how difficult it was to convince companies to have a website, even after explaining it was an online catalogue and the modern way to showcase their work. Although many companies have websites now I was shocked to discover they barely had a presence on social media. Yes, social media is horrible when used negatively, I think we can all agree on that, but the crafting community is wonderful and I love how we support and encourage each other. It's a shame to see these offline companies missing out on that. I have also only just discovered that there's a magazine dedicated to the craft business community, who share articles by experts and what's hot and new in the crafting world... yet, barely a presence online.
Just weird imo!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading my post. Do join me on Instagram for up-to-date information on what I am designing, sharing and posting, such as my journey to the Stitches show. I have extra exclusive video tutorials over there and I'm also sharing what's on my hook! I hope to see you over there.