A former art teacher who began knitting classes for kids now has 20 franchises across the UK and Ireland.
Kerry Kimber from Edinburgh launched Knitting for All in 2010, passing on her childhood love of knitting to youngsters before turning it into a franchise three years later.
With support from the DigitalBoost programme, which is delivered by Business Gateway on behalf of Digital Scotland, Kerry is now working towards her target of having 100 franchises in place over the next five years.
Kerry said: “I gave up teaching to bring up my four children and during this time I went along to many franchised classes aimed at kids so I knew that model worked. Knitting was always part of my childhood and has many benefits including improving maths skills, raising self-esteem and encouraging creativity. After experimenting with my sons and building a full programme that was designed to motivate and be fun, I held my first class for eight kids. Soon, I was running a summer school as well as weekly classes in church halls and local primary schools and then the franchise side of the business took off.
“I recently sought some extra support from Business Gateway to see if they could help me fill the gaps in my knowledge. After talking through my business it was felt that I would benefit from the DigitalBoost programme. I attended workshops based on e-commerce, WordPress and digital marketing but the main help came in the form of 1:1 tailored support. This allowed me to really focus on social media and how to use it effectively. Setting up a Pinterest account and Facebook group for those who use Knitting For All wasn’t something I had thought of but it’s a great way for people to interact and get even more out of our classes.”
Kerry, a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, now oversees the franchise by creating new patterns, projects and business support for each owner as well as teaching 20 kids a week.
Kerry added: “Right from the beginning I had belief in my idea and had a vision to run a successful franchise business that would hopefully one day result in thousands of kids per week learning how to knit. We have 20 Knitting for All franchises around Scotland, England and Ireland currently, which have come about through word-of-mouth, Google and attending craft shows. Now with my additional skills, I feel confident we can continue to grow this in the coming years.”