The story of Needle & Hook

We've had so many new customers, followers and visitors to Needle & Hook lately that I thought you might all be wondering how this gorgeous boutique yarn store came to be.

Like all good things, we started very small and have grown very slowly.

Our journey started way back in 2010, you can read more about those early beginnings here

This story is about the slow evolution of Needle & Hook.


Image: Heidi Horton Photography

Early 2010 - Mid 2017

During this time I was building on my crochet skills and technical knowledge base designing and writing patterns, attending markets, hosting pop up shops & workshops.

My life had a good balance.

I worked a couple of days a week during school hours.

Packed orders in the afternoons, from my laundry.

And crocheted in the evenings.


Original Polly Scarves

I could feel the momentum building around my brand, Crochet Birdie, and I wanted to move with it so I decided to go all in and quit my job before that balance got out of control.


New branding thanks to Michaela at Frank & Co Creative

Slowcraft is so tactile, I felt a bricks and mortar store would be really well received and would give me a base for my workshops and a chance to showcase my patterns.

So towards the end of 2017 I spoke to my bosses, and my husband, and told them of my plans to finish up at the end of the year.

The hunt was on for a location.

I was still hosting workshops and it was at one of these workshops, at the Thomas Green in Gore, I met a lovely human. 

This lovely human was bright, bubbly and bloody hard to teach to crochet.

But I’m fiercely persistent and weirdly patient when it comes to slowcraft and by about 11pm we got her sorted.

She helped me load all the suitcases in my car and through having a couple of conversations with her I knew she’d recently quit her job so asked her if she had any plans.

I told her of my plans of opening a store and that with two wee kids, one about to start school just after opening, that I’d need some help.

Shelley was keen as mustard.

---

October, 2017

While calling in at Collective Design’s original store on Hokonui Drive, to see if they needed any more finished items, I had a chance conversation with Andrea about opening my own store.

She mentioned that she had a space in her store that she would be happy to lease if I was interested.

If I was interested! Are you kidding me??

The chance to be part of an established store, stunningly decorated by a lady with mad interior design skills, pass me the pen!

Then after a lovely family holiday in Aussie, I got real busy.

Some muscle was bought in to refit the store with new wallpaper & pegboard. 


Dad wallpapering and Cooper (5), colouring in.

 
Mum & I painting the pegboards


My husband & Dad installing the pegboards

Stock was ordered.

Items were crafted.

Signs were put up.

And on a hot night at the end of November 2017 we celebrated with friends and family before opening the next day.

---

December 2017 - April 2019

During the next 13 months we had such a great time meeting loads of new customers, hosting in store workshops and spending our days with the girls at Collective Design.

Many coffees were enjoyed at our formica dining table. 

I enjoyed the change of separating work from home and kept the shop hours in line with school pickups, ensuring that all important life balance was treasured.

I particularly enjoyed the sun in the mornings.

Shortly after New Year in 2019, Andrea phoned me to say that they had an opportunity to move Collective Design to the main street of Gore. 

I was devastated to be leaving our amazing shared environment and quietly shitting myself about what would happen next.

I got my CV prepared and even interviewed for a few jobs all while wishing for working for a solution to keep my store going.

My turnover wasn’t high so I was limited with what I could afford to rent.

One day at home, I was talking with my lovely husband and he mentioned that a shop was coming up for rent attached to his Dad’s business. 

I went and viewed it and thought ‘yesh’!! (Before & after images coming up)

The figures worked, we’d just have to work our butts off again to get another space looking how I envisaged.

But we had a problem.

An overlap.

We had to be out of one store but the next one wouldn’t be available in time.

April 2019

In April, 2019 we moved out of our Hokonui Drive and moved into my garage for a couple of months.

Mid winter.

In Southland!

Keen.


Regan (9) in her element, running a shop


The Garage - my husband had already done an amazing job setting up a bar, all we did was move in and take it over for a while.

We had so many people come to find us.

I can even remember a couple from Auckland hunting us down while travelling.

Shelley, the stunning soul that she is, donated a week of her time while I prepped & painted the new store.

Here's those before & after's I promised earlier.


Before
During - with help from my lifelong friend, Karen, her daughter & my two kiddos

After

June 2019

At the start of June 2019, our beautiful new store was ready to go. 

Located at 7 Brennan Lane, Gore

I think all good yarn stores should be on a lane.


Needle & Hook - 7 Brennan Lane

From being so devastated at having to move to feeling so at home where we are, this truly is a story of what's meant to be.

This new store has an office, a kitchen and a store room.

Needle & Hook - 7 Brennan Lane - Interior

Needle & Hook - 7 Brennan Lane - Interior

Room to move things about, change our displays & space to grow.

June 2020

I was starting to feel a little bogged down with my admin and wanted to free my time up to concentrate on growing my Online Courses.

While it would have been easy to get a virtual assistant, what I really wanted to find was someone local that was passionate about slowcraft. 

So for the next wee while I let fate do it's thing, thinking surely the right person will show themselves to me. 

Enter, Monique.

My cogs started turning after Mon had been in store in June of 2020.

I knew she'd had her third bubba and was super passionate about crochet.

So I typed what I thought was one of the most random messages then hit send.

My message was this.

Hey love.
This might be a seriously random message but I'm gonna give it a shot 😍 What's your plans for the future?
Told you ... random.
I'm looking to get someone to help me at Needle & Hook.
To start with, I'm looking for some virtual assistance but I'd really like to find an amazing human who becomes a part of our awesome team in the future.
I thought of you first.
Love to know your thoughts xx

Then I sat nervously awaiting a response ...

And got this.

Hey Kerryn, oh I feel so honored you thought of me 😁
I would totally be into that. The kids are my number 1 priority while they're little but I would so be down to do something like that part time. So random, I was just thinking over the weekend how cool it would be to work at your shop! What are you thinking around the virtual assistance side of things? x

EEEEP!!!

Mon came to the shop for a coffee a couple of days later and we haven't looked back since. 

She takes care of lots of the administration like reconciling the bank account & processing invoices. 

She also loves to find stunning patterns on Ravelry and has an amazing eye for colour. 

Her cheeky, gentle attitude is an asset to our store and our journey.

And she now has her own journey - Monique Dillon Yarn

November 2020

Shelley & I often have identical thoughts and in November 2020 we both wondered what the empty room next door to us was all about.

We both thought it would be the perfect spot for slowcrafting.

So I rang my friendly father-in-law/landlord who said we were welcome to make use of the space, a hole was cut in the wall and we were in. 

Needle & Hook - 7 Brennan Lane - Interior

Needle & Hook - 7 Brennan Lane - Interior

Needle & Hook - 7 Brennan Lane - Interior

Needle & Hook - 7 Brennan Lane - Interior

August 2021

Today as I write this post, I am blown away.

By the the journey so far.

By the support I receive

It keeps me inspired to do what I do.

Like all businesses, there's been some serious ups and downs, including that time I was going to shut it all down, but without it all we would not be where we are now.

Needle & Hook - 7 Brennan Lane - Interior

Needle & Hook - 7 Brennan Lane - Interior

We are inspired every day to bring you a beautifully curated store.

I’m so excited to watch the rest of this journey evolve.

Thanks for being on it with me, wherever it may take us.

Needle & Hook - 7 Brennan Lane - Interior
I'd love you to let me know in the comments below, where you joined us on this journey.

xx Birdie

1 comment

Anne Dent

Kia Ora Birdie – loved reading your story. I recently re discovered my enjoyment of crochet and am also a knitter. I discovered your posts somehow about 6 months ago. I live in New Plymouth but am hoping to get to your lovely space one day. You recently commented to me on a recent Facebook page that you could help me with knitting a top down garment – thank you – I will certainly head your way for advice when a few projects ahead are done. Thanks.

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