Craft Focus - February / March 2021 (Issue 83)

31 PROFILE Carry on crafting Sara Davies MBE, founder and creative director of Crafter’s Companion discusses how Crafter’s has paved its way through 2020 and the plus points from lockdown such as having more time to spend at home with her boys Tell us a little bit about the history behind Crafter’s Companion and how it all began. I founded Crafter’s Companion in 2005, while I was studying for a business degree at York University. During a placement at a small craft company, I spotted a gap in the market for a tool that could create bespoke envelopes for handmade cards. With help from my dad, who was a retired engineer, I designed and launched a ground-breaking craft product called The Enveloper. After securing a slot on TV shopping channel Ideal Word, The Enveloper became an instant hit, selling 1,500 in the first 10 minutes and 30,000 units within six months of the initial demonstration. As a result, I developed my first line of innovative products for the craft market and I left university with a business turning over half a million pounds. Today, Crafter’s Companion is a leading craft supplier and global retailer. We sell products through our three websites, US, UK and EU, our own stores, independent retailers and TV shopping channels, in addition to our digital platform, Crafter’s TV. Our global business, which is now an employer of more than 200 people, is headquartered in the north east of England. We have stores in Evesham, Chesterfield and we also have an office in Corona, California. How has the company evolved? How are you expanding worldwide? Our company has changed and developed in a significant way throughout its 15-year history. Initially, Crafter’s Companion created and sold products for the papercraft market but as these ranges gained popularity, we saw the opportunity to expand into other markets such as soft craft products and art materials. In 2012, we launched our high-quality, affordable art materials range, Spectrum Noir, and in 2015, we launched Threaders, our needlecraft line of tools, fabrics, machines and more. In order to become the global business that it is today, Crafter’s Companion has also expanded geographically, into new markets such as the USA and beyond. We have an office in Corona, California, we’ve developed a fantastic relationship with HSN and we work closely with retail partners such as Michaels and JoAnns. We also exhibit at a number of international trade shows throughout the year, such as Creativeworld in Frankfurt as well as Insights X in Germany. Most recently, our digital channel, Crafter’s TV, has helped us to reach new audiences. We have seen viewers tuning in from different countries such as Australia, Canada, the US and across Europe and the platform has grown considerably throughout the past year. We have found that people have enjoyed connecting with like-minded people, learning about new products, picking up tips and ideas and having the chance to speak to our craft personalities continuously throughout the shows. What company values do you hold? To be personable: Creating a culture that evokes belonging and inclusion, where everyone is welcome. Innovation & creativity: Embracing new ideas, fuelling improvements in products, services and processes. Communication: Open two-way conversations that promote sincerity, transparency and feedback. Trust: Be open, honest and constructive with one another to cultivate an atmosphere of respect. Competence; Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results. Teamwork: Nurturing and embracing differing perspectives to make better decisions. Drive: Striving for excellence and being determined to deliver the best. Growth Mindset: Open to ideas and 