Debbie is the Chairman of Wool Clip which began as a co-operative of Cumbria-based crafts people back in 2001. All enthusiastic designers and makers many of the members were juggling work with farming, families and other commitments. They enjoyed working with wool and understood the link to British wool and local sheep farming and the loss of traditional craft skills.
By creating a co-operative, they were able to raise the profile of their work and create a shop that they could share - each member spends a couple of days per month in the shop and the commission from sales pays for the upkeep.
The approach seems to work:
There are now have 15 members covering a huge range of wool crafts and creative arts
They have moved into bigger shop premises (still within the Priest's Mill at Caldbeck)
They won the Northwest Women in Business Social Enterprise of the Year Award in 2009.
The members also organise the annual Woolfest in Cockermouth, Cumbria - this started in 2005 and now attracts over 100 stallholders and 4000 visitors every year.