Craft Focus - Page number 58 - August/September 2021 (Issue 86)

58 Empowered embroidery Steph Arnold, Creative Director of Oh Sew Bootiful discusses how her business has evolved over the past five years Tell us a little bit about the company. Where are you based? When did the company start? Oh Sew Bootiful started in 2016 after I’d recently had a baby. I’d not been able to work for a few years due to mental health issues so wanted to try to earn some money from home whilst working around the needs of my little one. I started by selling finished hoop art on Etsy but was soon approached by a book publisher who asked me to write a pattern for an upcoming craft book. That’s when the embroidery kits started and soon took off. We’re based near Blackpool, Lancashire. What’s your background and why did you start the company? I’ve always been a crafter and loved anything creative. I graduated from University in 2010 with a degree in Product Design but due to mental health issues struggled to work. During this time, I continued to craft as a way to relieve my symptoms and it also gave me a sense of achievement. Making the embroidery kits feels like a great way to help other people too. I receive so many messages from customers who have found that the kits have helped them relax and unwind, particularly if they’ve had similar struggles or are going through a rough patch. I wholeheartedly believe embroidery is a mindful exercise and a wonderful way to be able to switch off for a little while. How has the company evolved? Oh Sew Bootiful has evolved quite significantly in the last year or so. We’ve gone from me being a one-woman band, making kits and designing in my conservatory at home, to my husband being my business partner, taking on our first member of staff and getting a business unit. We’ve also rebranded recently so all our packaging and instructions are more on-trend and represent us as a brand perfectly. When my embroidery kits first started taking off (and ever since), it’s felt like a dream come true. Since being little I’d always wanted a job in the craft industry but despite numerous qualifications in the area, I never had the confidence to attempt it. So now, being able to come to the unit to work and knowing that my business is supporting other people is a really great feeling. Since our kits launched in 2016 we’ve sold close to 30,000 units all over the world which feels kind of mind blowing. If you’d have told me that five years ago when I tentatively added my first listing on Etsy, I’d never have believed you! What do you specialise in? We specialise in making embroidery kits aimed at beginners which use only the best quality embroidery supplies. Each kit includes an Elbesee hoop which is handmade in the UK, DMC stranded cotton, John James needles and the pattern digitally printed onto 100 per cent cotton fabric. We also included an embroidery tips booklet as well as a stitch guide for each design which we’ve designed to be informative but not overwhelming. Talk us through the current kits you’re particularly excited about. Do you have a favourite? We (as well as our customers) are loving the Lavender Bees kit and we’ve recently brought out a range of houseplant designs inspired by my recent plant obsession! Do your products suit all levels of crafters? All of the instructions are aimed at beginner level, however some designs are more complex than others to appeal to a variety of skill levels. Craft has boomed over the last year! Have you noticed any new trends? During lockdown, we noticed a lot of people picking up a needle for the first time or people using craft as a way to forget about their stresses. This just