Interview Contact Name and Job Title: Diana Campbell-Jones, Co owner of Hand Knitted Yorkshire
Website URL: handknittedyorkshire.etsy.com
Social Media Links:
Number of outlets: 2, we have a sister shop justsewyorkshire.etsy.com
Location(s): Based in Castleford, West Yorkshire
Market(s): (eg. Homeware, fashion etc) Knitted Accessories
Modern Retail talks to Diana Campbell-Jones Co owner of the beautiful custom designed knits ” Hand Knitted Yorkshire ” where individually crafted knits are made.
MR: How do you aim to stand out as a brand?
DC: We make hand knitted small accessories from our home in West Yorkshire. We are a mother and daughter team and do everything ourselves except spin the yarns! We develop ideas for new pieces together, knit & crochet them, take photos and create the listings. We also promote our shops on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and our blog. We try to stand out by putting our own style into our items. Because we do everything ourselves we are able to keep control of our image and how our work is shown. We have just celebrated our 2nd birthday.
Our sister shop JustSewYorkshire has been open almost a year and is filled with handmade accessories and gift ideas, such as coin purses and fabric covered books. We choose lovely fabrics, cottons and Harris Tweeds; pieces that make great gifts for loved ones or a treat for yourself.
MR: How do you use technology/media/ecommerce to improve your offering?
DC: We only sell online; it gives us the ability to reach customers all round the world. As well as having two stores on Etsy we sell on Ebay. Each shop is promoted on Twitter, Instagram and we have a blog too. Promotion takes nearly as much time as making the items, but by doing it all myself I can control our content. It’s been a steep learning curve and I’m always learning. It helps to be organized and have a strategy to keep you on track. I don’t over promote just a few posts per day; I think too much is as bad as not enough. I just try to be consistent in what I share which includes product listings, works in progress, and a little bit of behind the scenes stuff.
MR: What do you love about your work/business/brand?
DC: I love making things, whether it is knitting, crochet or sewing. I also enjoy making the listings and taking the photos. It’s great to hear back from customers and help them get just exactly what they are looking for when they use our custom order service. We’ve made some great friends through our Twitter & Instagram, there is always someone online to have a chat to. We keep working to add more designs to our range and keep our shop fresh; also to have our popular items in stock in a range of colours. Somehow we have managed to make our hobby into something that has changed our life.
MR: What advantages/disadvantages does your location bring?
DC: We are very proud of being from Yorkshire; and when we started out we chose a name that would reflect what we do and where we do it and it sums us up perfectly. Because we are an online business we can reach customers all over the world, all times of the day; we are not limited to conventional shop opening hours. Working at home, we can create whenever we like too. Our closest city centre is Leeds where there are plenty of great shops to buy our yarns and other crafting materials, and we love to find new colours; especially a bargain.
MR: What advice would you give to a new retail start-up based on your experience?
DC: Everything takes time when you are just starting out. If you love what you do then you won’t mind putting the time in. Look at other businesses that you admire and see what they do but develop your own style, don’t copy. Try to have a consistent style for your work and shop; such as the background to your photos. Take time to make connections with other makers and social media users, be helpful to others along the way.
Working with family is not for everyone, but for me, I’m working with my best friend.
Charlotte Lynch, Modern Retail UK