Yarn Store of the Month continues visiting many of our favourite yarn stores across the world with the beautiful Woolstack in Cheltenham, UK. We spoke to Lisa Mullard and discussed the inspiration behind the business, as well as the future of knitting in the UK.
What was the inspiration to opening Woolstack?
We are a family-run business, my husband and I work together. Previously, I was an accountant and Kev was a Video Game Producer. When our beautiful kids arrived, we decided we wanted to spend more time with them and didn't want to be tied to long office hours. Coincidentally, my good friend Val was selling her online knitting business so we thought that would be a great way to work hours that suited us so that we could be around for the children's school run and activities.
How popular is knitting/crochet in the UK?
Knitting and crocheting has been popular for many, many years. I can remember knitting when I was a child (ahem, a long time ago!), it is such a relaxing past-time. You can do it whilst watching TV, chatting to friends whilst at a knit and natter group, or quietly mastering a tricky technique or pattern. It appeals to beginners and experts alike as you can choose easy or difficult projects, and it's a great way to unwind.
Since opening, how far has the business developed?
We started the business in a spare room at home, and whilst it was great watching it grow, we didn't want our whole home to be overtaken by wool and needles! We have been at our unit for 5 years now and have added more and more great brands and products. Online competition is fierce, it's difficult to compete with the “big boys”. We carefully pick the products we want to sell, and we aim to give exceptional customer service.
What is the secret to your success?
We provide the best customer service we can. Customers call me up for advice on which needles to use and which yarns are good for their project. Occasionally I don't have what they need but I'm always happy to point people in the right direction.
How has HiyaHiya helped your business to flourish?
My customers love HiyaHiya needles. It's great to stock such a quality brand that complements all the other brands we stock.
What do you love most about your line of work?
I love chatting to our customers, they're such an interesting bunch! I enjoy helping people out and it's so satisfying when I get emailed pictures of their finished projects! There's nothing I love more than just pottering around at work - tidying, straightening and organising!
What trends do you see happening in the craft industry in the future?
People like to knit with higher quality tools and materials. Handmade items for the home will become more popular.
What are your plans for Woolstack in the future?
We will continue to look for quality yarns and needles that fit in with our current products.