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Friday, 24 October 2014

Pauline casts on to a new business

AFTER 30 years working as an occupational therapist, Prudhoe woman Pauline Edwards has turned a life-long hobby into a business.

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Career change: Pauline Edwards is pictured in her wool shop, Ready Steady Knit, in Prudhoe.

The 51-year-old, who has long had a passion for quilting, knitting and sewing, made a radical change in career direction by opening wool shop Ready Steady Knit on the town’s Front Street.

“I was very nervous about it,” she admitted.

“I wondered if I’d done the right thing.

“But it’s been a really good experience so far and I enjoy people coming in and telling me how great it is to have a wool shop back in the town after 20 years.”

Pauline began to think about setting up a business after her children, Michael and Jenny, left home to start jobs and university, meaning that, although retirement was a long way off, she had more time to do something for herself.

She then happened to hear a radio talk show on which an entrepreneur was discussing how to generate ideas.

“They were talking about turning a hobby into a business,” she said.

“The idea was to ask yourself what you needed for your hobby, then sell it to other people.

“I saw a gap in the market in Prudhoe.”

Although she has many transferable skills, Pauline needed some professional guidance to help her progress her idea.

She approached NBSL’s Hexham Business Advice centre and, over many months, was given assistance free of charge.

After she found suitable premises, her family helped with everything from decoration to setting up a website.

And although the Front Street building is due to be demolished to make way for the redevelopment of the town centre by Northumberland Estates, Pauline is hopeful that, by that point, she will be ready to expand to somewhere larger.

“Every day is a new challenge,” she said.

“But there are so many things I want to do to take the business forward, and ultimately we would like to support the over-the-counter sales with some online business.”

The shop is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 9.30am and 5pm.

A ‘Knit and Natter’ group is also being held there on Tuesday mornings, Wednesday afternoons and Thursday afternoons.

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