When it comes to business, there’s one Shoreham firm that has definitely got it all sewn up.
An unmistakeable feature in East Street, Shoreham Knitting & Needlecraft has long been serving the knitting community.
Shop owner Monica Hardman has recently celebrated 40 years in business with a special get-together and some special winter offers.
“In 1972, having moved to Sussex from my home in the Cotswolds, I had become more and more involved with knitting machines, which had always fascinated me,” said Monica.
“I decided to sell them and became an agent working from home. Shoreham Knitting Machines was born.”
Monica started a knitting club and things quickly started to grow, as the knitting machine craze boomed.
“I had the large attic of my house boarded over and the ladies used to climb up the ladder to choose their coned yarn, which was sold by weight on a pair of old scales,” she recalled.
In 1977, Monica moved to her first shop then took over the much larger, three-storey premises in East Street in 1983. At that point, the business was renamed Shoreham Knitting & Needlecraft, as it was now selling hand knitting yarn as well.
For many years, the shop ran an annual knitting exhibition at the end of October, with fashin shows, stalls and workshops.
When renowned textile artist Kaffe Fassett came to give a lecture one year, it was the start of a beautiful relationship.
“Kaffe wanted to expand his techniques into knitting and asked me if I had any ideas as to where he could go for help,” explained Monica.
“Naturally, I said ‘contact Rowan – they are just the sort of creative, innovative company who could get you started’.”
Famous for his colourful designs, Kaffe has since gone on to create many beautiful designs for the internationally-renowned hand knitting companycompany.
Meanwhile, Shoreham Knitting & Needlecraft was expanding into online sales, with the launch of a website selling yarns in 1996.
This developed into a new English Yarns website in 2006, and is now run separately from the shop, although all under the same Shoreham roof.
Monica continued: “My past 40 years of being in the knitting business has seen many changes.
“I firmly believe that our success has been due to being able to change with the times and to read the market.
“My passion for knitting continues and during the past years, I have seen knitting machines and needlework come and go in popularity but the strength of hand knitting still remains one of the most creative arts that can be passed on so easily from grandmothers and mothers to their children.
“I also have Rowan to thank for our success. They have always been at the forefront of fashion and have helped to inspire not only knitters here in the UK, but throughout the world.”
Monica explained that her Shoreham shop had always specialised in Rowan and had a close working relationship with the company.
She said knitters should look out for some special offers to celebrate the anniversary.
“We are planning to celebrate our 40 years in business with some very special offers this winter – so ladies, please keep checking out our website!”
Visit www.englishyarns.co.uk for more information.