September Stockist of the Month: Paper-and-String

Founded by Sarah Poulton 12 years ago, online retailer Paper-and-String now offer over 6,000 product lines on their website including over 700 fabric lines. Sarah originally trained as a costume designer and maker who also loved to sew as a hobby. In 2006, a new job meant fewer working hours which meant more time for sewing which lead to a blog and then to a business!

Despite their growth over the years, Paper-and-String remains a two person team driven by Sarah and John’s own love of crafting.

We spoke to Sarah to find out more about the Paper-and-String story...
Tell us about the history of your shop and the team?
Paper-and-String started in 2006 – I had recently changed jobs and the new job had fewer hours which could mean only one thing - more time for sewing! I fell in love with wool blend felt and started to sew small decorations.  I found that blogs were a great way to connect with other crafters around the world so I started reading lots of blogs and started paper-and-string's blog soon passion for felt and sewing attracted followers with similar interests and my felt based sewing shop was born.
We've grown a lot over the past 12 years. We have over 6000 product lines on our website and we are now in our 4th premises - a big barn on the Dorset coast.  We're still a small business - run by Sarah (myself) and John (partners in all senses)...everything seen online is our handiwork - from photos, web design, social media, picking & packing and product development.
We've grown our offering to include not only felt, but also fabrics, buttons, ribbons, glitter material, haberdashery & our very own range of sewing kits (some of which can also be seen in John Lewis).

What do you offer that makes you stand out from other retailers?
Personal service - we're a team of two who love what we do - all orders are cut to order and dispatched the same/next day - we know how important it is to get the right supplies quickly & efficiently, packed with care so they are ready to use.
What are you passionate about?
We really and truly do use the products that we sell - our passion for our craft shop is born from our own love of crafting.
How do you choose what you stock?
If I see a product and want to use it myself, then we stock it!  We follow trends if we like them too, but we have our own in-built aesthetic and try very hard to stick to it.  The craft & sewing world has opened up to more and more retailers over the  past few years and it's more important than ever to stick to our core values - good quality products, good value for money, fantastic service and a love for what we do.

What do you love about patchwork and quilting?
I originally trained as a costume designer/maker and love dress making /tailoring but the attention to detail in patchwork and quilting is addictive - I particularly enjoy English Paper Piecing and patchworking by hand.
What project are you working on at the minute?
My mind is fully in Christmas mode and a new range of handmade Christmas decorations will be launched soon.

Are there any future plans you wish to share with us?
We're always changing & growing - our first fabric order was about nine years ago for just eight bolts of fabric - little did we know that all these years later we'd have over 700 to choose from!

Visit the Paper-and-String website