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New craft business is sewing the seeds of success

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A Barnsley businesswoman has come up with a crafty way to teach people traditional skills which are in danger of dying out.

Lorrayne Hall has opened a new shop called Oh Sew Sweet Shop in Mapplewell, Barnsley.

Along with selling material and craft supplies both in-store and online, Lorrayne is also on a quest to bring together the community and preserve bygone hobbies which are on the decline.

Because many crafts are no longer taught in schools, Lorrayne encourages older members of the community to call in and carry out their hobby while teaching the younger generation.

Lorrayne’s shop hosts craft workshops where people can learn traditional hobbies such as papier mache, patchwork and braiding rags.

She’s keen for the shop to become a community hub. While customers are shopping or crafting, they can also buy retro sweets, in keeping with the vintage feel of the shop, and enjoy free tea and coffee plus the added benefit of free parking.

Lorrayne, who is mum to three children, one step-son and has four grandchildren, received start-up advice and help from Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC).

It is her first shop and BBIC will continue to support her as her business grows.

She said:

“The support I’ve had through Smartstart at BBIC has been invaluable. It’s taught me how to set up my own business and I’m planning to use a social media workshop to learn more about marketing my business.

“I’ve also had finance advice which has been enormously helpful.

“BBIC is a great help when starting any business and even if you’re completely new and unsure where to go for help, their start-up courses provide you with practical know-how and instill you with confidence to develop your business ideas.”

Since launching last year, Smartstart has assisted 500 business enquiries and the BBIC has seen over 280 start-up businesses at the open days – 90 of which have gone on to commence trading in Barnsley.

Lorrayne added:

“My business idea crystalised when I went to see my mother-in-law in France and she was going to a craft class so I went along with her.

“There were all these ladies quilting and my mother-in-law showed me how to do it. I’ve made five quilts since then!

“I’ve always been really creative and sewed when I was younger so when I was made redundant, I started to look for classes and fabric shops but there was nothing locally.”

Lorrayne, who lives in Brierley in Barnsley, says her biggest passion is passing on traditional crafts skills through classes and education.

Lorrayne said:

“I want to bring like-minded people together who have these wonderful skills so they can pass them on.

“We get a lot of young girls and mums who are quite crafty but there’s no opportunity in school curriculums to learn these skills. Mapplewell is a very creative village but a lot of these skills are dying out.

“We don’t just want to sell material, we want to teach people how to choose a colour, mark a pattern and cut it.

“We have sewing machines for hire, visiting tutors and have held workshops on quilting, papier mache and making your own handbags.

“Traditional adult learning courses now tend to focus on academic subjects but there are lot of retired and part-time people who would love to develop their skills and learn a new craft.

“There are also plenty of people who would like to share their skills.

“It’s about education and I put a strong emphasis on community and sharing. I want to get people involved so they can be part of his journey and revive these fading skills.”

sew
James Herbert, Smartstart programme manager, with the owner of Oh Sew Sweet shop Lorrayne Hall

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