With a little help from my family.

Starting and running a business uses lots of time and a whole clutch of skills.  As a sole trader without staff, it very much helps to have the support of others.  This post is really a paean to my family for the help they have given me over the years, without which creating The Sheep Shop would have been a lot more difficult.  This is a by no means exhaustive list of how wonderful they are, just examples of how their help has made the business possible.

My mother, Victoria.  She has a flair for interior design and making things beautiful.  This skill passed me by so completely when I moved home several years

Mum helping put together the Rhapsody in Bloom yarnbomb

ago I did without curtains for a year until Mum made them and put them up herself, and still live happily with the regrettable decor choices of the previous occupant.  The design of the shop?  All hers.  I gave Mum a brief of the type of environment I wanted and how much wool there would be, and she figured out all the shelving and furniture that would be needed, where to get it, where to put it, spent goodness knows how long restoring it back to life, making new cushions and putting all the finishing touches in.  Thank you Mum.


Emily studied illustration at Norwich School of Art and is responsible for the shop’s logo, name logo and choosing the font I use regularly (butterbrotpapier).  Thank you Emily.

Tom has saved me somewhere up to 1,000 hours of data entry.  My till spits out a report every 003day of what has sold and I put that information into a spreadsheet tracking stock levels, so I can figure out what needs buying and how much to get.  The till report isn’t in a format that can be copied into a spreadsheet so it used to be a laborious process, prone to mistakes, to manually copy information from one to the other.  My computer scientist friends from Cambridge said there was nothing that could be done.  Step forward Tom, who is an electrical engineer and not a programmer.  He taught himself C++ and wrote a program that means I can now merrily cut and paste the data from the till report into my spreadsheet.  Thank you Tom.Bronny with a French knit headband

Bronny is a primary school teacher by trade.  Bronny volunteered to spend some of her precious holidays with more teaching, of crafts to kids here.  She relearnt how to French knit, found all sorts of cool new ways to use French knitting (when we were kids, I don’t think we ever got beyond intending-to-make-a-rug-actually-making-a-tiny-coaster), made a bunch of samples and they’ve been on display ever since.  Thank you Bronny.

Joel is my wonderful boyfriend, and when I’ve realised things like There’s an e019vent! People need chairs! There aren’t enough chairs! has leapt in to volunteer to go and get chairs so people can be comfy.  Thank you Joel.015

June and Julia are my Nana and Auntie.  They have used their car as a mobile advert, driving around with a poster for the shop in their car window at all times for years.  Thank you Nana and Julia.


My Dad, Nigel.  He has run his own gardening business, Lawn Order, for the last 26 years.  As a kid and as an adult I never thought twice about it, it was just w

Cambridge News Business Excellence Awards. Picture by Duncan Lamont.

hat Dad did.  It obviously had its stresses (enough that I knew I never wanted to be self-employed!)  but Dad calmly and uncomplainingly got on with making a living for his family.  I only realised quite how amazing an achievement that is having become self-employed myself after all.  Having his reassuring presence on the other end of the phone if I need advice makes all the difference.  Thank you Dad.

Running a shop is no small task.  Thank you for everything, family mine.