On April 4th 2019, Stitch & Story will officially be six years old! Six years may not seem like a long time but for a kitchen table startup it’s momentous. So much has changed and developed in our company - particularly in the past couple of years - that gives us cause to celebrate. To honour our six-year milestone we’re sharing six Stitch & Story successes. A very happy birthday to us 🎂
In 2013, Stitch & Story had the honour of being chosen as one of only five companies to meet with HRH The Prince of Wales at The Big Connect 2013. The event, held in London’s Business Design Centre, aimed to create ‘connections’ between local businesses and their communities, through charities, local authorities, social enterprises and private organisations. Prince Charles encouraged Stitch & Story to get involved in The Campaign For Wool, of which he is the patron, and in turn Jennifer and Jen gifted HRH an exclusive hand-knit Stitch & Story bunny and booties in anticipation of the arrival of his first grandchild, Prince George.
In 2017, Stitch & Story launched its first co-branded collaboration with global baby brand Sophie la girafe. Created using our superfine merino yarns, the five exclusive knitting kits were designed to be the perfect gifts for new parents and babies, and included the Sophie’s Hat Knitting Kit, still one of our most popular kits. Following on from the success of this collaboration Miffy approached Stitch & Story and in September 2018 the Miffy collection officially launched, including our first amigurumi kits. Creating collections in collaboration with iconic brands has been such an exciting process for Stitch & Story that we may be doing it again very, very soon. Watch this space!
On the 4th of April 2018 Jennifer and Jen made their TV debut, teaching six students to knit a bobble hat in one day, on Episode 3 of BBC Four’s Make! Craft Britain. The show echoed Stitch & Story’s love of sharing craft and ethos of crafting made simple. We celebrated our 5th birthday by hosting a screening party and Jennifer & Jen took part in a #askjens which you can read about here. The BBC’s website contains lots of great material to accompany the Make! Craft Britain series including How to Make a Bobble Hat. If you missed it first time around, or fancy watching it again, Jennifer and Jen’s episode is currently available to watch on iPlayer.
In 2018, the Department for International Trade (DIT) selected Stitch & Story as one of 30 companies to champion as part of their Exporting is GREAT campaign. The campaign, which looks to inspire and support more UK companies to take their first steps towards selling overseas and help existing exporters grow further, celebrated the success of Stitch & Story’s international expansion. As a result Jennifer and Jen were showcased in marketing campaigns across the country, including on billboards, TV, radio and the great.gov.uk website landing page. Their image decorated Heathrow and London City airports and can still be seen at Gatwick airport. Jen was also invited to participate in a live broadcasting of NatWest Business Hub’s Spotlight Sessions, presented by Mary Portas, and gave a presentation on ‘How DIT elevated a kitchen table startup from UK retailer to global exporter’ at the 2018 Going Global Live Exhibition and Conference.
From humble beginnings, with just Jennifer and Jen around a kitchen table, the Stitch & Story team has now more than tripled in size. In 2017, the first full-time employee outside of warehouse operations was hired and Stitch & Story officially took up residence in office space in North Greenwich, London. We’re now a super multi-cultural team with employees of English, Irish, Dutch, German, Turkish, Vietnamese and Chinese extraction. Jennifer said: ‘Great teams don’t just happen. Those teams are the ones that fit together like puzzle pieces through the result of hard work and thoughtful leadership. I would thank my team and my partner Jen because without them Stitch & Story would not be what it is now.’
A long-awaited dream, Stitch & Story opened its first ever pop-up store in Shoreditch, London for 8 weeks in the lead-up to Christmas 2018. As well as the chance to meet the founders; browse the entire collection of Stitch & Story kits; and view and touch our range of super soft merino wool; customers had the opportunity to take part in impromptu crochet and knitting sessions, and be the first to get their hands on new yarn colours and the XL Miffy Amigurumi Crochet Kit, launched exclusively in-store. The first fifty customers also received goodie bags! The pop-up store opened with a launch party for friends and fans, and you can catch a glimpse of all the store had to offer in this short video.
While the six items above are worth highlighting they’re not the only reasons we’re celebrating. In the past six years Stitch & Story has collaborated with so many great businesses from AirBnb to John Lewis and even Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. We’ve taught thousands of people to knit and crochet in our face-to-face workshops, and have loved seeing people share their Stitch & Story makes. Our Instagram following has grown to over 28.8K and we now have a dedicated group of crafters championing Stitch & Story online. We won the Not On The High Street 2016 Make Awards’ Customer Choice - Gift of the Year Award for our Luca Pom Hat and in 2018, Jennifer was a finalist in the 2018 NatWest everywoman Awards.
Stitch & Story was almost called ‘Jen & Jen’, before we realised that didn’t really reflect the company’s origin story. Jennifer and Jen spent 10 hours, from lunch ‘til closing, brainstorming in Nando’s - refusing to leave without a name. Eventually Jen spotted the word ‘story’ and connected ‘storytelling’ with ‘stitching’ and the idea that everyone has their own knitting journey and story to tell.
In 2013, when our website first launched, typing ‘Stitch & Story’ into a search engine resulted in images of Lilo & Stitch. Today we beat the much-loved animation and our website ranks top!
Stitch & Story ship worldwide which means we’ve sent kits to South Korea, Kuwait, Hawaii, Senegal, Indonesia and Chile - to name just 6 locations 😉
In the past six years Stitch & Story have exhibited at over 40 shows in 8 cities around the world.
There are currently 16 patterns across 3 different collections (knitting & crochet) in the pipeline. Remember that co-branded collaboration we mentioned?
Cats and knitting a cliché? There may be a total of 9 cats owned by the Stitch & Story team (+ 1 turtle).