Meet the Maker - The Crafty Kit Company
We’ve joined forces with the talented folks at Bill Baber to highlight even more businesses who are designing and creating in Scotland, just like us! This is part of our Meet the Maker blog series. This month’s spotlight is on The Crafty Kit Company.
Founded by Jo Lochhead in 2012, The Crafty Kit Company produces best-selling craft kits that are stocked by independent and national retailers such as John Lewis, including needle felting, knitting, sewing, and cross stitch kits. For each kit that The Crafty Kit Company sells, it is committed to donating one ‘impact’ to good causes worldwide, and also supports local charities such as Headway, and Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.
- Can you tell us how your business got started?
I’ve always been crafty, and grew up in a creative family: my dad was a watercolour artist, my brother is a potter, and my mum has always been sewing or creating something beautiful!
The Crafty Kit Company grew out of a specialist bead shop which I opened in Haddington In 2004. Over the years the shop morphed as we began stocking craft supplies and fabrics, as well as a few craft kits we had developed. We began taking the kits to trade shows, where people kept asking why The Bead Shop was selling crochet kits! In 2012 we decided to start The Crafty Kit Company, and have never looked back. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to turn my passion into a successful business.
- Where do you look for inspiration when you are designing new products?
I take inspiration from the beautiful countryside, flora and fauna that surrounds us here in East Lothian, where we have so many stunning walks right on our doorstep. Woodland animals and birds are always popular with our customers, who also love to connect with the natural world as they craft. I also like to draw inspiration from current trends - such as succulents, dinosaurs, and gnomes, which have been a huge hit over the past year!
- Tell us a bit more about how you make/assemble your products.
We’re very proud to make all of our kits from our premises in the old post office on East Linton’s High Street, where we now employ a team of over ten people. We’re always looking for ways to make our products and packaging more sustainable, and were thrilled to be voted Best Sustainable Craft Company in the Craft Business Awards 2021.
- What are your most popular products and which are your own favourites?
Although like all businesses the past year has brought its challenges for us, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to see demand for our kits grow hugely since the first lockdown of 2020, as people have turned to crafts and crafting to relieve stress and learn new skills. Our needle felting kits have been particularly popular - it really is highly therapeutic to spend an hour stabbing away with a sharp needle..!
The biggest hit of the past year has to be our Nordic Gnomes, which are a great introduction to needle felting for beginners. We’ve had a fantastic response to them, and have loved seeing our customers’ photos of them on Facebook and Instagram!
One of my favourite kits is our Wild Scottish Hare, which was the first needle felting kit that we launched, and which was designed by a wonderful local artist, Alison Rumbles.
- If you had to pick one place in Scotland to recommend that people visit, where would it be?
Well, it would be rather odd of me not to say that East Linton is top of my recommended places to visit - it’s a beautiful village, a little Scotland in miniature with hills and valleys, a river running through it, ancient castle remains and of course no less than two Outlander locations! But my absolute favourite place to return to again and again is the Isle of Lismore on the west coast. I’ve been visiting Lismore for over 30 years and find the peace and tranquility a real antidote to our busy working lives. It’s a place that you can truly switch off (it helps that there’s very poor mobile phone signal on the island!) Over the years, our family has got to know Lismore and its people very well and we feel like we’re ‘home’ whenever we step off the boat.