The Story of Corinne Lapierre

August 24, 2021 8 Comments

A white floured background. there are four felt gingerbread men in shades of caramel, beige and brown and two silver cookie cutters.

 Hello and welcome to our blog post!

We were chatting away in the office recently and realised that our lovely loyal customers may not be aware of Corinne’s story and all the different aspects of the company, so we thought it was time to let you know more about it by writing our first blog!

Our customer relationships are important to us, some of you have been with us since the beginning and this means a lot and we are always very happy to get to know new customers. We are planning more blogs, as we want to let you know about some of the amazing projects and events coming up that you could get involved with in the future.

 Here is our story...

 

 We are proud of where we are now as a company and of how much we have grown since starting out 10 years ago from a very small home studio, whilst raising 3 small children. We aim to continue to expand the business and keep the lasting relationships that we enjoy with our customers, after all we wouldn’t be where we are today without you!

 “I have always been creative, my mother used to sew and I loved using the spare fabric to make tiny outfits for my dolls. As I was growing up and as an adult, I attended workshops in silk painting, pottery, macrame and many other things. I went to Ecole des Beaux-Arts in France and later became a fashion designer, which had been a dream of mine since I was a child. I took a career break when I had my children here in West Yorkshire and learnt about millinery, I discovered felt and I loved it.”

 "I dipped my toe in the water in 2009 and started selling handmade felt accessories at local craft fairs, this led to me creating my first kit, a gingerbread man, they sold out and I realised this was something that people wanted. Kits were a great introduction to crafting for beginners, and for experienced crafters to try something different. The business took off properly almost a year later and has grown into what it is today. I am very proud of the way it is continually expanding and at the same time I want to remain close to my customers…although it is becoming a little harder these days as I am always so busy!”

 

Corinne is our all-rounder and oversees the organisation of everything, from the original design concept of all the kits and subscription boxes, to planning and attending trade shows and building and developing great relationships with our direct customers.

Did you know that we have customers that buy from us directly and we have trade customers, these are small independent gift shops, art galleries, museums, and large businesses? Our direct and trade customers are not only in Yorkshire, where we are based, but all over the UK, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and more recently, America!   

Our orders range from an individual direct customer buying a kit, to trade customers who purchase 100’s or thousands of kits that will go into their stores in the UK, Europe or worldwide!

Corinne is regularly invited to appear on Create & Craft TV. Perhaps some of our newer customers haven’t watched Corinne demonstrating step by step how to make our kits and offering sewing tips, but it’s worth a look, especially if you are new to crafting.   

There is a French side to the business, we have a distributor in France that looks after this for us and distributes our kits and other products. The lavender we use, is grown in the fields of France and is known for being the most fragrant of the lavender varieties, this is in our Large Embroidery Kits, 'Linen Lavender Bags, Bees' and 'Lavender Houses'. We also order our DMC embroidery thread cones from France.

We attend trade fairs in Europe and talk about who we are and what we do, this is one of the ways that we meet potential new trade customers. We plan and prepare in advance for a trade fair and set up our stand to meet with customers, which we love as it’s the only time that we get to catch up with fellow traders, who are also old friends! In fact, there is so much involved with planning, preparing, attending and following up after trade fairs that we will be writing a future blog all about this!

We are based in Yorkshire and over the years, have grown from one business unit to five, which includes a stock room, packing and dispatch room, two production rooms, a kitchen area and most recently a separate office for Corinne, where she has the space to design the kits.

 
There are a lot of steps to creating and producing a new craft kit. From the initial design, working out the exact materials and ordering new ones, making test samples and instructions and templates, taking photographs for the website and social media, designing new labels, and taking the new design into production.
 

This is where the production team come in, they are given all the information to make the new kits and cut the correct sizes of felt, prepare all the other components, and assemble big batches of the new kit for our stock room. Once the orders start coming in, the instructions are given to dispatch for picking and packing. The orders are then collected and shipped off to our lovely direct and trade customers.

 

Corinne designed our first Christmas advent calendar in 2018 and our customers love the element of surprise that it brings. Each day there is a stand-alone embroidery activity to open and complete that gradually contributes to a felt embroidered scene over the month. The calendars are inspired by Yorkshire woodland, embroidery and Scandinavian folk stories.

  

In 2020 we expanded our product range to include a monthly subscription box and this was very successful, particularly during lockdown when opportunities for activities were limited and we found ourselves even busier than usual during this time as more people crafted from home.

Our subscribers love the element of surprise each month, the uniqueness of the projects and the high-quality materials that we use. We also stock a range of little extras and greetings cards and have more ideas in the pipeline. Corinne is also a published author and you may have seen her craft books on our website.

The trade side of the company is managed by our Business Manager Olivia. She has been with the company from very early on, has grown with the company and is a big support to Corinne, being a spreadsheet and database wizard and very organised. 

Olivia looks after the production team, oversees all our trade orders and maintains and develops relationships with trade customers both in the UK and worldwide, as well as bringing her knowledge, expertise and connections into the business. Olivia loves to embroider and upcycle clothing in her spare time when she is not busy with her work and family!

   Here she is with Corinne and beautiful handmade wreaths, looking very festive.

The production team is always rushed off its feet, as just when we think we have a quiet spell, a big trade order will come in that they will need to prepare, assemble and pack, alongside the direct customer orders, including the subscription boxes that are sent out each month. When we are very busy, it can be a little hectic and it is all hands on deck.

 Andrew, our Production Coordinator, has been with us for 2 years, he keeps track of everything, he likes his big white board where he can add new orders and tick off any that are ready to go into the stock room, although stock doesn’t stay on the shelves for very long!  Andrew enjoys making felt bundles as he thinks the colours are beautiful, and in his spare time, is an artist and sells some of his work on Etsy.

 Nadeen works in production, measuring and cutting large bolts of felt to the right size ready for her and the team to assemble kits and she makes our French kit orders up. Nadeen has her own tailoring business and spends lots of time in her studio making bespoke clothing for clients, including bridal wear, when she is not working for Corinne.

Eilene works from home making up some of the thread bundles and weighs and separates huge bags of toy filling ready to go into some of our kits, Eilene is also Nadeen’s mum.

Debs is part of the production team, making up kits and subscription boxes and loves having everything set out and organised, she is also very creative. When not working with us, she has her own creative styling projects, is busy with her other job as a gardener and is a carer for her granddad.

 Julie prepares materials and assembles and packs the kits ready for the stock room and any orders. Julie is married to Andrew and they work exactly the same days so that they can go straight to their caravan on days off and enjoy family, lovely fresh sea air and swimming. Julie loves to sew and craft and has made lots of our kits, as she was one of our direct customers before joining the production team.

 Rosa works in direct dispatch, she picks all the kits and other items from the stock room and packs all your orders ready for collection. She loves to make up and pack the subscription boxes each month and prepares lots of materials ready for the production team to assemble kits. Rosa spends as much time as she can on her allotment and likes nothing more than digging!

 The latest member of the team is Communication Manager Elaine, who looks after the marketing side of the business, she writes some of our newsletters, blogs and articles/editorial for magazines that we often feature in, looks after social media and takes and edits a lot of the product and lifestyle photographs. Elaine is from an arts education background and used to be a stilt walker & living statue.

We also have temporary production staff during busy periods. Here is our regular collection man, George from UPS, who is always very friendly, chatty and helpful.

The company continues to grow in many ways, we are proud of our achievements and wouldn’t be where we are today without our lovely customers.

 Winner of ‘Gift of the Year’ for our Rocking Horse kit in 2017.

Shortlisted for the ‘Craft Business Award’ 2021 for the ‘Best Stitching Brand’.
You can vote for us here
Corinne and the team x

 

 




8 Responses

Una Regan
Una Regan

November 24, 2021

I always use Corinne’s felt when making small bags and pouches (which I sell) as it’s so lovely and soft. I’ve just discovered the blog and find it so interesting. I also met Corinne a couple of years ago at a Birmingham craft show and she was so helpful and informative.

Vee
Vee

October 20, 2021

I have just discovered your website and although I have nearly all your books and have bought your felt I didnt know you sold direct. I will be signing up for your newsletter and ordering from you for future goodies.
Your designs are delightful and felt is very good quality. So pleased I saw your website ☺️

Esme Brown
Esme Brown

October 04, 2021

I have found the Blog of Corinne’s story very interesting. It is always a privilege to be given an insight to just how the business began and it’s journey to date. I have bought several of Corinne’s kits over the years and several bundles of her felt too. Sometimes when demonstrations are shown they look very straightforward until you try them, however with Corinne her instructions are very well written and clear and I found I could achieve a good finish too, not always as professional as hers perhaps but definitely something I can be pleased with, Many have been given as presents, and with my latest purchase of the Bee Lavender embroidery set and the 12 Days of Christmas Book, this will be the case as well. Always well received and special because of the effort you put in. So, thank you Corinne for the many hours of enjoyment your kits have given me, and to your lovely team of helpers.

Gillian Nuttall
Gillian Nuttall

September 02, 2021

What a wonderful story.I try to follow Corinne when she has a show on Create & Craft, but I don’t always catch the times she is going to be on. Could the BLOG perhaps let members know when she has a show coming up?
I love being able to just pick up a kit and stitch for a while. Life has been especially difficult for all of us doing Covid.
Bless you Corinne for your life calming kits. GN

Wilhelmine Taala
Wilhelmine Taala

September 02, 2021

I loved making your kits. I have bird book and the kit to go with it. Your felt is so lovely and soft. I love watching your programs on the Craft Channel. Hope to be seeing you soon. Thank you
Wilhelmine Taala

Malcolm Hall
Malcolm Hall

September 02, 2021

Great blog and fantastic story. It’s wonderful to have seen the progress you have made over the last few years in particular. Well done – Onwards and upwards!!

Mollie
Mollie

September 02, 2021

Well done Corinne I watch every show love what you do and your felt is the best on the market

Jacky whitehead
Jacky whitehead

September 02, 2021

So enjoy making the kits. Made a few!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Corinne Lapierre's craft world

Christmas traditions of Scandinavia and France.
Christmas traditions of Scandinavia and France.

November 25, 2021 1 Comment

Find out about Festive traditions from Scandinavia and France. What is a Nisse and who puts gifts in shoes for Children in December.

Continue Reading

Halloween - Origins and Folklore.
Halloween - Origins and Folklore.

October 28, 2021

Find out about the spooky origins of Halloween, Guy Fawkes, Bonfire Night and what Owls and Stingy Jack have to do with it all. Free craft project included.

Continue Reading

We love autumn!
We love autumn!

September 29, 2021 1 Comment

Read about the autumn season and top tips about growing your own produce, included is a free recipe.

Continue Reading