Stateside debut for ‘Proggy’ craft firm

Stateside debut for ‘Proggy’ craft firm

Fabric craft specialists Craft Yourself Silly are taking their new product range, ‘Proggy’, for a Stateside launch at the Creativation Exhibition in Phoenix, USA.

Hooky and proggy rag mats were common in working-class homes in the North East until the mid-20th Century. Made from old sacks, clothing and recycled fabric, they were an economical option to keep feet warm in an era when fitted carpets were rare.

Craft Yourself Silly has created kits using the traditional “proggy” making technique in which scraps of material are pushed through holes in a hessian backing.

With support from the Department for International Trade, the business has internationalised its website, provided staff with export training, undertaken market research to identify new overseas clients and is heading to Phoenix to launch.

Craft Yourself Silly started life as a series of craft-based courses in 2013. Managing director Hayley Smith, who shared running the business with her mother, soon realised the potential for also providing materials and kits for crafting and began to grow the firm.

Hayley has established a strong customer base in the US, which has a huge appetite for UK-based craft materials, ideas and resources. She believes the newly trademarked “Proggy” range will go down a storm Stateside.

“Crafting is huge in the US, but the crafting market is years behind here. There is always a huge amount of interest in our products whenever we attend craft fairs in the country,” said Hayley, who has exhibited ranges at trade fairs in Anaheim, California in recent years.

“Proggy mats are much-loved and well known as a traditional way people in the North East used to provide floor coverings for their home, but it’s a whole new concept for many people in America…and for a lot of people in the the UK and Europe too.

Craft Yourself Silly started life as a series of craft-based courses in 2013. Hayley, who shared running the business with her mother, soon realised the potential for also providing materials and kits for crafting and began to grow the firm.

Having supplied funding through its Tradeshow Access Programme, the Department for International Trade again backed Craft Yourself Silly to help them cement their share of the US market.

Department for International Trade director, Julie Underwood, said: “It is brilliant to see this company, that blends seamlessly modern innovation with traditional skills and crafts, doing so well in overseas markets.

“We have worked closely with Craft Yourself Silly to help with technical support for commodity codes and documentation, as well as providing market insight and financial advice. Their desire to break into new markets is matched only by their belief in and passion for their products and we wish them nothing but good luck for the future.”

Craft Yourself Silly has broken into the New Zealand and European markets, but the US is the company’s main export target, with Hayley regularly appearing on popular shopping channels in the country.