A bespoke quilting firm has expanded from its start-up base into new premises on Church Street in Hartlepool as Alan Teather Quilting unveils new workshops and a fabric selling space to the public.
The expansion into new premises comes after increased demand for Alan’s specialist textile and craft skills demanded a bigger workspace and room to deliver more for customers.
Alan Teather (59) started the business in 2019 after completing a degree in contemporary textiles and products at the Northern School of Art in Hartlepool. Although the decision to start the degree was done on a whim, he had always been interested in art, textiles and photography as a way to cope with mental health issues following a period spent in military service
Alan Teather, founder of Alan Teather Quilting comments: “The last 18 months have been exhilarating and we can’t thank our customers enough for how they have supported us to where we are today. We set up the business as a bespoke quilting firm, very much in the made-to-order, specialist craft sector but have grown into a multi-faced business able to offer so much more.
“There are now three strands to the business. I create handmade quilts on a commission-only basis and only take a set number of commissions per month to ensure I can maintain quality and artistic style in the final product. I also operate a long-arm sewing machine so help other crafters who don’t have access to the correct equipment to put together the final quilt if they supply the finished top or backing.
“One of the main reasons we expanded into bigger premises was to have the space to provide workshops to the general public. I want to share the skills I have with others interested in textile-based crafting but we needed a bigger space to be able to do it effectively. The new premises has a ground floor retail space so we are finally able to offer a fabric showroom and retail outlet as so many of our customers are interested in sourcing fabrics and other textile equipment from us direct.
“We have basically created a one stop shop for the business supporting a dedicated work space for me, a workshop area for the public and a retail outlet to showcase and sell fabric to customers. We just can’t wait to be fully open once restrictions allow.”
Alan runs the business alongside his wife, Amanda, and originally launched with a £15,000 Virgin StartUp loan thanks to help from TEDCO Business Support. Working with TEDCO business advisor, Mark Johnston, Alan received help to devise a business plan and a start-up strategy to launch Alan Teather Quilting back in 2019. Virgin StartUp offer low-cost, government-backed business loans to start-up businesses throughout the UK but the scheme is exclusively delivered to North East businesses via TEDCO Business Support.
Alan comments: “Mark was a great support in helping us look at the intricacies of setting up a business in a non-traditional sector. I consider our work to be specialist crafting and skill-building and Mark was able to guide us in the right direction to help launch on a firm footing. It has supported a seamless growth strategy to move into retail and workshops in quite a short space of time.”
As Covid-restrictions on social interactions lift, Alan is hoping to announce a schedule of workshops to be delivered from their new space in due course.
Mark Johnston, TEDCO Business Advisor comments: “Alan and Amanda have not only built, but expanded a business at a time when so many are facing insurmountable challenges to trading. I applaud their tenacity and spirit when it comes to their vision for Alan Teather Quilting. With such a specialist product but so much knowledge to share, it was natural for the business to eventually offer workshops to the general public. However, the retail outlet will provide the basis for a whole new arm to the business as their reputation grows amongst crafters and textile hobbyists keen to support a new Hartlepool business.”