Meet Trouvaille Stitch Kits and their unique line of products...
Meet the Maker’ is a series of blog posts made with the help of our suppliers at The Sill Shop, so we can spotlight their wonderful products for everyone to see. Meet Trouvaille Stitch Kits, a Northumberland-based business centred around you being the maker of cross-stitch designs showcasing many different subjects and locations. Find out more from Jennifer the founder below for an insight into the TSK brand and how it all began:
Can you tell us what you make?
I design modern cross stitch patterns of much-loved North East landmarks and make these into beginner-friendly cross stitch kits that include everything the customer needs to create their own piece of stitched local art.
Where is your business based?
I am based in Whitley Bay with my spare bedroom doubling as my workspace!
What inspired you to become an artisan producer?
It all started because I couldn’t find the exact product I was looking for… a modern, meaningful cross stitch design showcasing somewhere I loved… so I decided to create it myself.
Can you describe how you started the business?
Once I decided I wanted to create something for myself, I settled on St Mary’s Island to be the landmark featured, somewhere that means an awful lot to me. I then thought that if I wanted this, then maybe others would too. So I thought I would sell the patterns as a side hobby alongside my physiotherapy role. I shared this on a local facebook page and very quickly I received a huge amount of interest for not only patterns, but also kits. So I set to work creating the kits. Then people asked for more and more places. Before I knew it, the kits had proved so popular that in May 2022, I left my physiotherapy role and took TSK full time.
Can you describe your creative process when developing new products?
I start by asking my customers what landmarks and places mean the most to them (via a survey at the beginning of the year). I then research the places, sketch the places from a variety of view points until I settle on the one I like the most, then I create the pattern square by square based on the sketch. Once I’ve finished a first draft I leave it for a couple of weeks before looking at it again with fresh eyes and making any more changes. I then stitch the design to make sure everything works (eg colours standing out enough, additional stitches being visible and beneficial to the design) and invariably make changes to the design as I’m stitching it. Once it’s stitched and I’m happy with it, it’s time to put the kits together!
What sets your products apart from others in the market?
I started TSK because what I was looking for (modern, meaningful, beginner-friendly cross stitch kits featuring the places I loved) simply didn’t exist, and still doesn’t. There are lots of wonderful modern cross stitch designers these days, but our lesser-known but much-loved local wonders are just not represented.
Can you describe your typical day?
Nope! It varies every single day. Today for example I’ve been prepping the materials for Christmas kits, completing a stock check and ordering more materials, and doing email admin. Tomorrow I have a huge bolt of fabric to cut up, a blog to write and a post office run to do. The next day I will be making kits, delivering a wholesale order, and writing a newsletter. I tend to do any stitching on an evening, and any designing through the first half of the year. The second half of the year is all about fulfilling orders and heading to craft fairs!
What are the key values that guide your work?
Fun – I want all my designs to be fun to look at, but also fun to stitch.
Meaningfulness over profit – Yes I’m sure I could make a killing by doing a Big Ben design… but that’s not why I started TSK. I want to represent those places that mean the most to people. Even if I only sell a handful of a particular design, I know how much that design and place means to the person stitching it (or the person they are stitching it for!).
Eco-conscious – you will find no plastic in our kits and I make every effort in the business to be as sustainable as possible.
High Quality – Our kits contain only the highest quality materials to create the finished piece of art, and I make sure that the patterns and instructions are clear and easy to follow, with additional links to further assistance and information about the featured landmark in each kit.
How do you market and promote your products?
You will likely come across me and my products online (eg on Etsy, the TSK website and Social Media), in some print media (eg Prima Magazine, World Of Cross Stitching Magazine), and also when visiting a select number of lovely gift shops in the North East where my kits are sold. I also attend markets around the North East with other wonderful creatives and makers, and I occasionally host events such as cross stitch workshops.
What’s your favourite place in Northumberland National Park, and why?
I absolutely love Hareshaw Linn Waterfall. The waterfall itself is beautiful, the walk to it is easy but interesting and it always makes me feel calm, it’s in the lovely town of Bellingham, and even better, there’s a brewery and tap room at the walk’s end, so you can top off your day with a properly good pint of local beer!
We’ve got some brand new stock of TSK’s wonderful kits into The Shop at The Sill, be sure to stop by and pick one up! You can also follow TSK on their social media which is listed below:
Instagram – @trouvaillestitchkits
Facebook – Trouvaille Stitch Kits NE