When did you set up your business and why?
The Old Cornerstone is a little textile business, which has been up and running for about a year.
I make knitted names and words for children’s bedrooms and playrooms, as well as mini wreaths, floral crowns and hearts and garlands. They are the perfect combination of pretty lettering, colour and texture and they add beautiful detail to any room.
The Old Cornerstone is very much a homegrown project and gives me a much-needed creative outlet.
I am married to Alan, who runs our dairy farm, and mum to three little rascals who keep me very busy.
I am also a primary school teacher and I teach special education as part of a job share in our amazing local school.
So, life is pretty busy, but I am one of those people who just can’t relax unless I have a craft in one hand and a coffee in the other. This, along with some coddling by certain family members, prompted me to give a business a try.
The Old Cornerstone is actually the name of our farmhouse. The oldest part of the house is stone-built and some of the foundations are exposed, hence the name.
It’s also a nod to my faith, which is the foundation of my life and such an important part of our family life too.
Can you explain your process?
I have an Etsy shop, which is a useful system for taking orders, but my Instagram page is where most sales are made when people simply get in contact, particularly for custom orders or larger pieces.
I also make pieces for a wonderful gift shop in Clonakilty - Michelle Mitton Design Gallery - and custom orders can be placed in the shop or on their website.
For names and words, there are only two materials used, which I source locally. I form the words from stainless steel wire using pliers and make knitted cord with 100% cotton yarn.
I slip the cord over the wire and secure the ends. A few more adjustments, a hand-stamped tag with a little wooden key charm and it’s ready to go.
I also hand-sew hundreds of little roses from leftover cord. Each rose has two little crocheted leaves. I use the roses for garlands, crowns and magnets and they have become a part of what makes my style unique.
What is your best seller?
Names are my best seller, by far. They are personal and unique and an easy 'go-to' gift that can be sent directly to your recipient.
Floral crowns in beautiful colours are a current favourite and mini wreaths are very popular also, more as gifts for adults. They are very pretty and can be personalised.
Occasionally, I make a limited number of seasonal items, such as Christmas stars, which also sell well, but name signs are what keeps me busiest.
What is it about your business that brings you joy?
I’ve always enjoyed anything creative and was really lucky to learn crafts such as knitting, crochet and embroidery when I was a child. Once you learn, you never forget those skills.
Crafting keeps my hands busy and makes me smile - it’s just a simple pleasure for me.
Many of the names I make are given as gifts to new babies and anyone who knows me is well aware that I love a good name meaning.
A child’s name is so individual and special, chosen so carefully by their parents and announced with such joy and hope for who they will be.
I love seeing all the names that come in on order and finding out what they mean.
It’s also very satisfying to have customers returning again and again to give my signs as gifts for family members, friends and co-workers for new babies, birthdays, weddings and every occasion in between.
What are your hopes for 2022?
For 2022, I hope to be a little more deliberate in how I run The Old Cornerstone and try to be seen a little more.
The business and marketing side isn’t my strong point, but I’m learning as I go. It suits me that I have control over the number of orders I take and when life becomes too busy, I can easily cut back and just do what I can manage.
I do enjoy making every single order and I plan to keep it that way. The perfect balance for us is when family life comes first and somehow everything else finds its place.
What advice would you give to another start-up business?
To anyone who is thinking of starting up a business at home, my advice would be to stop waiting and just go for it!
Make sure you love what you are doing, put a plan in place and start off small.
The Old Cornerstone isn’t a full-time job for me, but it is exactly how I want it to be at the moment…a chance to craft to my heart’s content and the perfect excuse to buy ridiculous amounts of yarn all at once. Bliss!
Visit here or follow on Instagram @theoldcornerstone.