L-R: Jo Lennon & Jo Storie,  Knitwear North
L-R: Jo Lennon & Jo Storie, KnitLab North.

Northumberland knitwear startup announces £30k funding in expansion plans

A North East knitwear startup has announced it has won a £30k grant from the Rural Growth Network.

KnitLab North offers a knitwear design studio with onsite facilities to support clients, bringing together prototyping and micro-production with commercial and marketing expertise, to help new brands bring products to market.

Founded by Jo Lennon and Jo Storie, the grant will enable the duo to purchase machinery enabling them to offer the latest in sustainable prototyping for the knitwear industry.

Jo Lennon, commercial development lead at KnitLab North, said: “KnitLab North is the collective effort of myself and knitwear designer Jo Storie, who has over 25 years of experience in the knitwear industry in New York and the UK.

“We have had a very busy start to the year. We located to our first office premise at B.Village, Cramlington and also launched a crowdfunder campaign to help expand our prototyping and manufacturing capacity.

“The £30k funding has helped contribute to the £100k we raised as a business in this first round of funding and plays an important part in the growth of KnitLab North.

“We want to help support anyone looking to create knitwear – whether it is students, start-ups or professionals and to really champion British design.”

Jo Storie added: “The grant that we received was a huge boost to assist our own efforts to raise enough money to purchase the machinery we needed.

“We’ve been through the design and development process in the UK and we struggled to find the support we needed to make small volumes to test the market.

“We experienced a number of challenges and want to support other people who may face the same barriers we faced when taking their product to market.

“We want to create a hub by bringing the industry together and to foster talent. There is a real skills gap and our goal is not just to prototype but to educate and inspire the future generation.”

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