We're Woolly Babs - a mum-and-son company that handmakes Christmas jumpers in Yeadon, Leeds on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
The extended Woolly Babs family: R-L Frank Hersey, Babs Hersey,
Ian Hersey, Rebecca Dickson (nee Hersey, Babs' niece)
We're Babs and Frank Hersey and named the business after Babs because she does all the sewing, is quite woolly and is a keen knitter, so it just seemed right.
Her son Frank does everything else except the making (though he is allowed to do some basic things that don't involve scissors or machinery). And his sister Laura Hersey does the books. Frank was rubbish at them.
Babs' husband Ian Hersey goes to the Post Office for us and does all the cooking when we get busy!
Babs and Frank have learnt a lot from each other. They collaborate on the designwork which means Frank has learnt more and more about applique while Babs has learnt more about computers - Frank lives in London so they have to scan and email their designs back and forth!
Babs then sews each jumper lovingly with a bit of help from Maria who is very quick at the bits Babs is slow at.
Because Babs makes all our Xmas jumpers by hand, each and every one is unique. Our most common response is that they're so much better in real life than in the photos!
Christmas 2008 is where it all started. Babs made a Rudolph jumper for her son, Frank, and his friend Janine. They'd been looking for full-on Christmas jumpers for quite a few years with no luck. So Babs stepped in and rustled up two reindeer which were so adorable people tried to buy the jumpers off them in pubs!
Christmas 2009 Babs was persuaded to see if they would
sell. And they really did!
Christmas 2010 We added baby sizes and Rodney Robin. And made Christmas stylish for twice as many customers. This was also the year we trialled Christmas jumper dresses. We also launched our Easter jumpers this year. The biggest market? Our previous Christmas jumper customers!
Christmas 2011 We added adorable dog Christmas jumpers, Christmas aprons and Christmas tshirts. Plus a full range of stylish, flattering Christmas jumper dresses.
Pablo Penguin made his first appearance too, with his almost-too-cute removable Santa hat!
We also launched our Halloween jumper designs for sale - they're not just for us anymore! 2011 was also when we first started getting more media coverage for our quirky jumpers.
We collaborated with local Leeds station Radio Aire on their Festive Jumper Thursday (and were invited back again in 2012); our jumpers were worn by David Hasselhoff and Keith Lemon (Leigh Francis) on Celebrity Juice; appeared with The Wanted on BBC1's Friday Download and were worn by Chantelle and Alex Reid for a magazine shoot.
Christmas 2012 We added even more designs with our groundbreaking Bah Humbug anti Christmas jumper and front and back Rudolph with his bottom on the back of the jumper.
Another unique service we came up with was recycling old jumpers into Woolly Babs specials. Just send in your old jumper and Babs will transform it!
We helped Save the Children with their first Christmas Jumper Day and our biggest media appearance to date... We went on Dragons' Den. Read all about our experience here.
Christmas 2013 We're already planning all sorts of new things for this Christmas. Keep checking back and if you're thinking of buying, don't leave it too late as we sell out every year.
If you've got any questions or are thinking of having something custom made, we'd love to hear from you.Contact us.