Posted by Rachel Westall on 5 September 2022
Originally located in Reading, Kate set up the first 'Bothy' in her parents' back garden. The company grew and grew and when Kate, and her husband John, decided to follow their dream to move to the Lake District, Bothy Threads came too. Chrissie Rayment, Managing Director at Bothy Threads discusses their first ever embroidery range launching this September...
When did you join the company?
I joined Bothy Threads in 2013; having crafted all my life and grown up helping in my family's haberdashery shop it was inevitable that I'd end up in the craft industry. I studied business management, marketing, and finance at university and so knew I could help Bothy Threads develop on a business and creative level. I hope to keep building on all the fantastic work Kate and John have already achieved at Bothy Threads.
How has the company evolved?
Kate set off with classic designs in cross stitch like Van Gogh's Sunflowers and The Bayeux Tapestry. However, we soon moved on to the bright and colourful cross stitch designs we're known for today. We now work with many talented artists like Rachel Froud, Sally King, Wrendale Designs, Amanda Loverseed and Julia Rigby, to name but a few, and produce around 140 new designs each year.
What do you specialise in?
For many years, Bothy Threads has specialised in transforming the artwork of well-known current artists like Hannah Dale and more classic artists like William Morris into beautiful cross stitch masterpieces. We've taken cross stitch to the next level by allowing our customers to personalise their stitching or match it to their home décor. We hope that by selecting on trend artists we can keep our ranges popular.
Talk us through the current products you're particularly excited about. Do you have a favourite?
In 2021 we launched the first designs in the Shoe Art range by Sally King, transforming her fabulous footwear into creative cross stitch designs! The shoes are cleverly disguised within the artwork using flora and fauna, even ice cream cones and spiders' webs feature! These are proving to be very popular with our stitchers and we look forward to working on more of Sally's designs in our next new collections.
Do your products suit all levels of crafters?
Yes, with more than 800 designs, we have kits to suit everyone from beginners through to more advanced stitchers.
Craft has boomed over the last year! Have you noticed any new trends?
We've noticed a huge increase in new stitchers over the past few years, with people spending more time at home and looking for something to keep themselves busy. We've received wonderful feedback from customers new and old, remarking on how our kits have provided an escape during such difficult times. It really makes all our hard work worthwhile.
How often do you launch new ranges?
We launch four to five new ranges each year, which equates to approximately 140 new designs!
How would you advise a retailer who is interested in stocking your products?
The craft marketplace is highly competitive. Online trading is still on the increase, and we're trying to help online traders differentiate our products by adding lifestyle images and more image variety to the wholesale area on our site. We also aim to provide new product information in a timely manner, to give online retailers time to create listings on their selling platforms. However, we still think it's vital to support the brick-and-mortar shops on our high streets who have had a very rough few years. We have a variety of framed stitched models and digital prints available for loan to retailers who wish to create an inviting display to draw customers into their shops. We can also add new trade customers to our stockist finder map on our website so that customers can find their local needlework shops to visit and get their stitching fix!
What sets you apart from your competitors?
We truly believe that excellent customer service is at the heart of Bothy Threads. We find that if you can put in that little extra for a customer (either trade or retail) they're more likely to recommend you to friends and family. Afterall, we're The Home of Happy Stitching! It is also good to remember that not everyone likes the same thing, so we make a conscious effort to ensure that we have a varied range of designs and techniques available for all our customers.
Do you visit any trade shows? Do you plan to visit any soon?
We've previously attended lots of trade shows and plan to start visiting shows again in 2023, with some overseas visits planned too.
What are you looking forward to most over the next year?
We appreciate that the market is ever changing, and people continue to look for different techniques and styles to keep themselves busy. In September 2022, we'll be launching our first ever embroidery range. The designs vary in difficulty and style which allows our stitchers to try new techniques and new stitches to create their own stunning artwork. We can't wait to reveal the full collection!
What new products can we expect from you in the future?
Our current artists are producing more and more bright and beautiful images, so we look forward to continuing to work with them to bring our customers more of what they love. As Creative Director, Iona enjoys the challenge of finding new styles of artwork suitable for the various mediums we have available. The new embroidery range, in particular, has allowed us to create more complex designs and we hope to continue developing these in the future.
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