Bold businesswoman Claire Gelder is hoping to pin down investment in her ‘couture craft’ firm when she appears on Dragon’s Den this weekend. Claire will pitch to business heavyweights in the TV show just two years after founding Wool Couture in 2015, which aims to inspire others to take up the pastimes of marcrame, knitting, weaving and crochet by giving the historic hobbiesa twenty-first century makeover.
Using metre-long knitting
needles and giant balls of yarn, Claire has built her business by helping others to master the crafts through her range of bespoke products and DIY kits.
Claire, who first sold her scarves on craft website Etsy after she made too many to wear, said: “I first began knitting and learning to crochet as a child and my interest in working with wool grew from there. Over the years I have used it as way of managing anxiety and depression, as well as a way of channelling my creative energies.
“I began experimenting with different designs, and started using larger and larger yarns, even using my arms instead of knitting needles.
“Larger yarns means fewer stitches are needed to achieve results. I know there will be no room for pulling the wool over the eyes of the dragons, but it’s an opportunity to hopefully encourage and inspire many more people to take up the hobby.”
Former NHS director Claire, of Barnsley, received support from Launchpad, a free-to-access business support programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which is delivered to new business owners across the Sheffield City Region once her orders started to build.
Business advisor Ben Hawley said: “Claire and her team have had an amazing first year and securing an investment from the Dragons would be a just reward for the tireless work and dedication she has made.”
Claire appears on Dragon’s Den this Sunday September 3, at 8pm on BBC Two.