My Country Business: Gabrielle Vary Knitwear

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  • Ever thought about running your own business? Watch this episode of My Country Business and prepare to be inspired by the story of Gabrielle Vary Knitwear.

    “My name is Gabrielle Vary and I am the founder of Gabrielle Vary Knitwear. I create luxury knitwear from my studio in Sussex – from interior products through to scarves and cardigans.”

    “I grew up in West Sussex and, after graduating from Winchester, I came back. Now I live in East Sussex on the edge of the Downs. I’m also a 15 minute drive from the seaside which is fabulous.”

    “Winning the 2014 My Country Business Award was really exciting – it was a massive boost to my business. Getting some recognition from Country Homes & Interiors was brilliant. The piccalilli scarf that I was wearing in the magazine shoot suddenly became my best-seller.”

    “The main inspiration for my work stems from my degree when I did a whole project on holiday memories. Living near the sea, I came from a surf background. We’d go off to Cornwall or Devon and have wonderful camping holidays where we’d play on the beach. The sepia-toned photos of those memories are colours I used in my degree work.”

    “I moved into my studio just before Christmas – before that I was in the spare bedroom at home, but I outgrew the space. Now I have so much more light and room to develop my products.”

    “My main ethos when I started the company was to create a luxury brand. I wanted to find beautiful soft wools – everything is handmade, the production is really important.”

    “If I have a design in my head I will start off by knitting that into the machine. My scarves take around an hour to knit. Then it’s quite a long process of casting them off, ironing, steaming out and washing each item, so it can take a few days to make each scarf. My favourite thing is seeing the end product – seeing the design emerge from what was in my head. The process of making a product can be quite methodical and repetitive, but I enjoy that aspect.”

    “I’d say that a lesson that I have learnt is always be true to what you want the business to be. Make sure you love your business through and through, because you live with it daily and it becomes more than just a business – it becomes your life. You have to love it and be passionate about it.”

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