It’s been quite a day!

It’s been quite a day, and so much so, that I took myself off for a walk in the woods at Allen Banks to calm down!

IMG_1905 compToday at 9am the online shop went live after week of non stop work making enough stock to do it justice.

We’ve pulled out all the stops during January and the shop went live with 87 different upcycled woolly products. There are the cutest baby blankets and kiddies ponchos, ponchos for big people, jumpers, hoodies and sweatercoats. To keep the extremities warm, there are armwarmers and infinity scarves, and for the home, there are the warmers blankets and bedpsread, plus a scattering of cushions.

snow-2All of these have had to be made, which involves looking for jumpers to recycle, washing them, cutting and designing and sewing. Then there is the photographing. They say that a good photograph is essential for selling products, so I’ve had to put down the iphone and get myself a new camera. Mind you, I’m having a lot of fun with it. I had planned to upload photos and descriptions in the evenings this week but soon realised just how long a process this was. It actually took three solid days to get eveything uploaded.

So, with my laptop balanced on my knee, sitting up in bed this morning, and in contact by text with Terry, my webdesigner, we pushed the button!

This is a dream come true! I’m running my own business with its own online shop. Who’d have thought, when I was struggling with chronic back pain and forced to give up my teaching job, that in a few years it would all be in charge of my own little business

I’ve really felt the love and support today from friends and family, both virtual and actual. As I tweeted and Facebooked about the launch this morning the support came pouring in. Wishes of good luck from Amsterdam, Canada, and all over the UK. Fellow crafters and makers retweeting and sharing statuses, and other local businesses in the Hexham area showing support and solidarity.

Thank you one and all, for your love and support – it’s been quite a day! Oh, and there have been quite a few sales too 🙂

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Getting some help

‘Recycled, Upcycled and Handmade by Me’ has been the message on the sign above my stall for the last couple of years, and I’ve taken great pride in the fact that I’ve made everything myself.

However, The Woolly Pedlar brand has gone from strength to strength and I just can’t make enough to meet demand anymore. It’s time to get some help.

Meet Julie, who I met at Brocksbushes Christmas Fair and who is my knight in shining armour. Julie has her own small business, teaching sewing classes and working as a freelance seamstress. I will still be designing my creations, choosing the colours and making my jumpers and sweatercoats myself, but Julie will be joining the Woolly Pedlar team to help with sewing blankets, ponchos and other projects when I need a bit of extra help.

1234883_10151651157005958_129562289_nI’m also enlisting some help in cutting out squares for blankets and ponchos. My patchwork ponchos have been a best selling item this winter, thanks to ponchos seeing a revival on the catwalks. I’ve been over the moon with how popular they’ve been, both with adults and children. The lovely children’s shop, Mr Wolf in Hexham has sold dozens of little diddy ponchos for me. However, this has meant hundreds and hundreds of squares have had to be cut out from recycled jumpers. My lovely daughter Hannah has come to the rescue, along with another couple of students. I now give them a pile of jumpers in a particular colourway, a sharp pair of dress making scissors and a template, with the instructions to cut the jumpers into 4inch or 6inch squares, and pay them by the hour.

When I tentatively made my first pair of armwarmers, I had no idea that in a couple of years I would be employing staff! I am over the moon with how my little business has grown, and am looking forward to 2015, and having a well stocked online shop (announcement about this coming very soon) as well as plenty for folk to choose from at the markets and festivals I will be attending.

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Thanks for reading, til the next time, keep cosy and all the very best


The Woolly Pedlar