Whatever your niche, setting up your own business can be tough. As one woman recently found out when she set up shop at a craft fair.
Figen Murray, from Stockport, took her knitted wares to a weekend Christmas market a fortnight ago, but as the day unfolded she struggled to sell a single item from her table of homemade creations.
But before you tell us ‘ah well, that’s the curse of 2016 for you’, hold on. Because there’s a brilliantly heartwarming twist to this story, and it’s all thanks to kind Twitter folk.
After Murray’s son sent her a text message to find out how she was getting on (not so well), he took to Twitter to share his heartbreak over her response.
Martyn Hett, who works in PR and gloriously once won Couples Come Dine With Me with his boyfriend Russell, wrote: “My mum has set up her own stall at a craft fair and has messaged me to say she hasn't sold anything yet and my heart is breaking.”
Cue the kindness of strangers.
Things started slowly at first. After Hett discovered that his mum also showcases her crafts on Depop, his friend Liam became the first proud customer, snapping up a purple glove puppet called Flora.
Then came the new owner of three lavender filled hearts, all finished with a little ribbon and crochet detailing, before orders for Murray’s stock came flooding in from the Internet en masse.
Knitted teddy bears, festive home decorations and more glove puppets than you can count, all began selling out via Murray’s online store, as Hett took to Twitter to thank the kindhearted folk buying up his mum’s shop.
Murray has now sold all of her ready-made crafts, and has begun working on the very welcome backlog of orders, with requests for bespoke items coming in from as far afield as Brazil and America.
Hett has begun managing his mum’s viral Twitter presence, while Murray is hard at work buying more materials and getting used to her new career as the Internet’s most in-demand crafter.
Talking to the Metro, Hett explains: “I remember when we were little she used to make all sorts.
“She had a sewing machine and she used to make tote bags for us.
“She even made her own curtains for the house. My most prominent craft-related memory is of her hand stitching a mouth onto my favourite teddy for me because I was sad that I didn’t have one.
“She sews and knits for therapeutic reasons. She’s a counsellor and she believes that being creative is good for the soul – it’s advice she often gives her clients.”
In yet another warm and fuzzy twist, Murray is now set to donate money from her sales to Beacon Counselling, a local charity, and is also crafting special embroidered heart cushions for customers who want to honour relatives no longer with them.
She’s also getting to grips with her new Twitter fan base...
Lead image: Martyn Hett/Twitter