International Women’s Day
Inspiration | 2 min read time
Image credit: Photographer, Elliott Wilcox, & The British Library
Meet our CEO, Jennifer Lam, and find out more about how Stitch & Story began.
What inspired you to start Stitch & Story?
Founded alongside my business partner (who is also called Jen!), with our combined backgrounds in design and publishing we set out to create a product that would inspire more people to learn to knit and emphasise [emphasize] the richness of stories behind handmade products. Working from my mother’s kitchen table, we started sketching the initial concepts of this “DIY knitting kit” prototype and thus Stitch & Story was born.
We believe there is so much to be gained from knitting and crochet, especially the well-being side of it. The name Stitch & Story came about because we know how empowering it is to enable others to start their own projects and tell their own stories.
Jen Hoang, Co-Founder: Knitting and crochet are so therapeutic - you can lose yourself in the stitches and forget all your worries. It’s very mindful. Nowadays, it’s rare to get a moment to yourself.
How has knitting empowered you?
I first started knitting back in February 2012 but soon discovered that the haberdashery scene in the UK was uninspiring and knitting difficult to learn. It was perceived as old-fashioned with gloomy haberdasheries, overwhelming terminology and textbooks, out-of-date patterns and cheap yarns. Yet for me, I found knitting brought an array of health and wellbeing benefits. The high you get from saying, “I made that” is a great feeling and whatever you’ve created will far outweigh anything you could buy. It represents the leap you made to have a go and learn a new skill; a way of taking time for yourself; the thrill of creating something from scratch and sharing it with family and friends. In its uniqueness, it’s quirks and imperfections, a handmade item carries the imprint of its creator. And it was then, my mission was born, to make knitting simple.
Are there any women out there who inspire you as you do others?
The late Anita Roddick – Founder of Body Shop.
In my eyes, she was the female version of Steve Jobs in advocating a global message without advertising. She showed business and ethics can go hand in hand. She was brave on advocating a change and challenging the status quo in the beauty industry.
Marjorie M Scardino - Former CEO of Pearson PLC, owning Penguin.
The first woman to become chief executive of a FTSE 100 company. I liked her gutsy approach to business - acting on instinct rather than starting out with forensic analysis.
Amal Clooney - Human Rights Lawyer
She sets an example for young girls and women everywhere with her dedication to her work and cause.
What advice do you have for any budding business owners?
Our advice for crafters who want to start their own business is to go for it! Build your confidence by surrounding yourself with supportive people and a great team. Make sure you have a business plan and clear goal, then be sure to remind yourself of this as your business progresses.
We’re so proud to have Stitch & Story kits shipped worldwide, and sold in a selection of high-end department stores, and independent craft stores around the world. Collaborations with global brands have included Miffy, Sophie la girafe, Hello Kitty, Pusheen, and Peanuts, with plenty more on the horizon!
I am incredibly proud of our small team and our efforts to inspire a new generation of hobbyists. It’s been a mad journey, but it’s a dream running a business with my best friend.