Yarn Store of the Month continues visiting many of our favourite yarn stores across the world with the beautiful Be Inspired in Durban, South Africa. We spoke to Chantal Whiteford and discussed the inspiration behind the business, as well as the future of knitting in South Africa.
What was the inspiration to opening Be Inspired?
I could not find the colour ranges nor the accessories that everyone in Europe was using, it did not seem fair that here in South Africa we were so limited. Also the yarn shops here kept very little hand dyed or natural yarns, very little imported yarns, and if they did keep some, it was limited in colours – one blue, one green, one red etc and I wanted tones and multiple colours!
How popular is knitting/crochet in South Africa?
South Africans are extremely creative and we used to be taught handwork and crafts in school. So most of us have grown up with either grandmothers or parents who knitted or crocheted. I think it is becoming more popular with all the exciting designs and yarns you can get now.
Since opening, how far has the business developed?
Hugely! Be Inspired started with a basket of yarn to sell at workshops. It has now expanded to a full website that sells to customers across South Africa, is well known amongst crafters and yarn manufacturers, and is now a shop full of yarn and accessories and an attached studio/deck for workshops!
What is the secret to your success?
Not letting anything get “stale” so I’m constantly inspiring and posting on social media as well as always finding new accessories, yarns and ideas. I’m also driven by hard work and determination to succeed and to keep Be Inspired as one of the most inspirational yarn shops in South Africa.
How has HiyaHiya helped your business to flourish?
I am very proudly the only supplier of HiyaHiya in South Africa and truly support, promote and love the needle range. I have educated knitters on using the best tools for the job, and am growing awareness of the brand here in South Africa. I love having a unique range that no one else has. It is what defines my business.
What do you love most about your line of work?
Seeing people creating with joy!
What trends do you see happening in the craft industry in the future?
People have less time and so when they create they want it to be with the best. Before, we used any yarn and did not care about its longevity, we were price conscious. Now we seem to be valuing our time more, and only working with items and yarns that make us happy.
What are your plans for Be Inspired in the future?
Be Inspired is my passion, my dream and it’s run solely by me. So I want to keep inspiring and educating people that crochet and knitting is not only about making doillies but so much more. It’s a lifestyle to embrace, being creative. I want to keep on doing what I do!
To visit Be Inspired, click here.