A world apart

World of Wool produces fibre crafts that other companies repackage as their own. Marketing manager Andrew Novotny tells us how the business is keeping up with demand

World of Wool produces fibre crafts that other companies repackage as their own. Marketing manager Andrew Novotny tells us how the business is keeping up with demand

Tell me a little about the history of World of Wool.

We're a family-run business that launched in 1988, followed by our WoW website in 2008. Richard heads up the team with his sister Gina and mother Lynn, with a number of family and friends working alongside. Although we've seen the company grow massively, we still try to retain the family atmosphere and believe this is what enables us to create the level of service we have become known for. We are based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, and we are proud to supply the world with wool from a location that is rich in textile history.

What are the products our readers should know about?

That's a hard question to answer. We have focused on the crafting needs of our customers in order to make sure we offer relevant products. As the industry expands, this has meant an ever-growing catalogue. To try and cover trends quickly, we provide everything needed for knitting, felting, dyeing, crochet and pretty much any fibre craft you can think of!

Do you have any key launches coming up?

We've just launched our new Chubbs knitting yarns. As the name suggests, these 100 per cent merino wools are super chunky. Available in 45 colours, the product is ideal for projects such as scarves, hats, cushion covers and blankets.

What are the latest knitting trends?

Knitting in general is trending at the moment, and we're seeing growing enthusiasm for chunky yarns from new starters. The world is increasingly fast-paced, with less time for relaxation, so pattern designers are using heavier yarns to create quick projects that can be grasped easily and enjoyed while binging on a boxset.

What sets World of Wool apart from its competitors?

We make almost everything we sell right here in Yorkshire and are able to buy the raw materials in large quantities. This means we can maintain a very high-quality product and keep the price to a minimum. Our customers love our superb level of service and quick turnaround. This has developed into a wonderfully loyal customer base.

Where can retailers get to see your products?

We have our own retail site, but many of our trade customers repackage our products under their own branding, enabling them to create their own ranges. Our recent needle felting kits, featuring realistic animal tutorials, have become very popular for our traders.

How is the company finding the current economic climate?

Fortunately for World of Wool, our trade customers are based all around the world, which means we have a healthy flow when it comes to economic climates. If the value of the pound drops, we see countries like the USA and Australia ordering more, which keeps us going strong.

What's your take on the current British craft sector – would you say handmade items are increasing in popularity?

Needle felting is becoming one of the most popular crafts in the industry and we only see this growing. Our kits launched in June, and since then we've seen a huge spike in interest, with workshops popping up at galleries throughout the UK. It's a great craft to get involved with as it's all down to artistic creativity. With more than 1,000 fibres to choose from, our customers are finding that there's no end to what you can make, from 3D pugs, dragons and delicate flowers to life-size unicorns.

Does the company exhibit at any trade shows, either in the UK or overseas?

Sadly for us, our trading style stops us attending these events. Because we allow our trades to repackage and redistribute many of our products as their own, we feel we'd be stepping on the toes of our customers if we were to set up shop. We love our loyal clientele and we are delighted with how they use each product to match their own brand identity.

What's coming up next for the business?

For us, it's all about expanding choice. We wouldn't be the World of Wool if we didn't provide everything the fibre craft sector needs. As the industry evolves, we make sure we are able to provide the latest trends at affordable prices. We're very much focused on kits at the moment, creating well thought-out tutorials for beginners and amateurs who wish to dip their toe into the craft world.

World of Wool

+44 (0)1484 846 878

www.worldofwool.co.uk

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