Five Go Mad

Saturday 2 October 2010

Interview with Sue Hill

What made you decide to set up Sue Hill Handknits?
I was pregnant with my son Jack and decided that I didn’t want to return to my job in London as it entailed a lot of overseas travel and I didn’t want to be away from him for long periods. My mother suggested hand knits as I had always knitted for my friends’ children.

How important do you think independent businesses are to the UK market?
I think they are vital as they provide innovative ideas and products in a saturated mass market oriented era.

What are you working on at the moment?
We are already working on our Autumn/Winter 11 samples! We juggle wholesale and retail which is very difficult – we are selling retail AW10 and wholesale SS11 at the moment. We are incorporating more textured fabrics with the Liberty fabric and combining more knitwear and fabric styles together.

Where do you get ideas for your designs?
My main inspiration is vintage. I love the designs from the 50’s and 60’s mainly and then incorporate my own ideas with these styles.

Are your products made in the UK?
Everything we make is hand made in the UK . We have our own team of knitters and seamstresses all over the country and even the buttons and labels are stitched on by hand by me and a few helpers.

What is the Sue Hill handknits trademark? What set's you apart? 
Our trademark is the highest quality in hand made clothing – using only the very best yarns and fabrics with great attention to detail. We also pride ourselves on our customer service – nothing is too much trouble to achieve the right result.

What do your children think of the clothes? Are they fans?
I have one son of six (Jack) who has seen his mummy knitting and sewing since he was born . He spends a lot of time in the office with me so he understands what we make and how important it is. He says he is very proud, especially when he sees any publicity we get where our photo is featured!

Five Go Mad is "Quintessentially British" what does "Best of British" mean for you?
Best of British means excellent quality, classic style and a caring attitude.

What's next for Sue Hill Handknits?
As I mentioned we are now working on our autumn/winter 11 samples. We are moving forward with our export plans and we are already supplying Bergdorf Goodman in New York as well as a boutique in Paris. I have a trip to Tokyo planned for November as a part of a British fashion group and hope to promote our high quality British products to the Japanese market.

Liz Appleby


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