2022 – New Jumpers, New Wool, New Baby

A year in a woolly jumper business can be a long time. It has followed a similar cycle for many years; notably planning out manufacturing and purchasing materials, speaking to trade retailers about what they require for the year then riding the wave of the winter and Christmas rush starting from September. 2022 has been more tumultuous than most! Edward runs down the highlights.

New jumper collection

We bring out new products every year and 2022 was no different with three new jumper designs hitting the knitting machines, although due to yarn shortages the final jumper – the Beck Fair Isle Nordic jumper – will be released in early 2023. All manufactured in the North of England from 100% British Wool.

Martha Sheep Jumper – taking inspiration from repeating sheep pattern jumpers of the past, this is a contemporary shaped ladies jumper that’s thick and warm and looks great. Named after two Marthas;  the youngest member of the Sexton family (at the time of design, read on for the family update); as well as the talented graduate designer at Knitlab North who designed it.

Tarbert Fishing Jumper – a fishing jumper with a Glencroft twist. Over the years we’ve produced many classic fishing patterns including Guernsey and Aran. The Tarbert has a nod to these while also looking modern. It’s very thick and heavy and currently in an attractive light blue colour.

Beck Fair Isle Nordic Jumper – Coming in early 2023, this is a new take on the classic Fair Isles and Nordic designs of the past. It features a blocky pattern on a classic grey button neck collared jumper. Year round fashion with 100% British Wool.

Our first Awards win!

In September we were named Rural Business of the Year at the Yorkshire Post Rural Awards. Once we got over the shock of hearing our name read out as winners at the glitzy awards do in Harrogate we were thrilled to stand up on stage and receive our award from ITV Yorkshire’s Christine Talbot. If you visit our Dales warehouse you’ll find the award standing prominently as you walk through the front door!

award frontdoor

Clapdale wool

Our traceable wool project, begun in mid 2021, came to fruition with our first hanks of yarn rolling off the Yorkshire knitting machines. We were now producers of our own yarn made from 500kg of wool sourced from two farms within 4 miles of our Yorkshire Dales warehouse including one run by our employee Rose’s family. Helped by a grant from the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Clapdale wool uses wool from all our local sheep breeds, pays farmers a decent price per kg and also gives them a profit share in the final products.

In 2023 we will be producing a limited edition run of jumpers made from this wool using a brand new design that reflects where this wool comes from and its unique properties. It’s a thick and heavy jumper with deep grooves that really shows off this undyed natural wool.

We’ve also just started our second batch of Clapdale wool. Working with British Wool we’ve gathered 3 tonnes from 7 local farms which we hope to make into more yarn – in various unique colours this year – as well as the first 100% pure Dalesbred tweed. A hardy mountain sheep breed common to our little corner of the Yorkshire Dales and the fells of Ingleborough mountain. We were also proud to feature in the first issue of the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders Association journal in July.

Clapdale Wool - The Process
Clapdale Wool – The Process

British Wool insoles

A chance conversation with British Wool in 2021 put us in touch with a manufacturer of 100% British Wool pile. We already made 100% wool insoles with a material manufacturer using an imported wool but had always wanted to make it more traceable. We put the two manufacturers in touch with each other and after a year of testing were proud to launch the very first insoles certified by British Wool. These are thicker than our old insoles, made in the UK from 100% British Wool and even come in a Yorkshire made gift box.

British Wool insole box at an angle

Bradford Society Textile Competition

We were really excited to team up with British Wool and sponsor a brand new category in this annual competition – Knitwear Garment Design. We’ve committed to sponsor this category for three years so if you missed out in 2022, you can enter in 2023. This year’s winner was Jasmine Twyman and we look forward to creating a sample of her winning design early in 2023.

Knitwear Design Competition entry - various jumper designs


The next generation of our family business expanded in early September with the birth of Edward’s daughter Phoebe, a little sister to Martha born in 2020. Expect a new jumper design named after her in the coming years to rival the Martha sheep jumper!

Edward and new daughter

Lockdowns, covid and supply chain delays

The dreaded lockdowns struck again in England in January 2022. I don’t think there’s anyone that hasn’t been affected by COVID in some way and it wasn’t a huge surprise to see lockdowns when infections started to rise earlier this year. It definitely put woolly jumpers into perspective as the NHS worked tirelessly to save lives and keep us all safe and well.

The lockdowns also postponed the Scottish tourist season whilst our annual trade fair in Glasgow was moved from January to March. It meant our bulk trade orders were reduced and those we did get came in later in the year which led to a very slow start and limited funds for manufacturing.

This impact was felt across our supply chains and continued for much of 2022 as materials and components continued to be delayed post COVID and factories and mills rushed to reskill and build up their staff to 2019 levels. Training new staff in specialist areas like hat manufacture is a slow and deliberate (and expensive!) process so it’s taken until the end of year for most of our suppliers to get on top of it. We expect manufacturing delays to continue into 2023 although things are improving. Manufacturing primarily in the UK has meant we can be as flexible as possible, not to mention popping in to the factories we work with for a cup of tea and checking everyone’s OK.

British hat manufacturing factory
Glencroft’s hat manufacturing

Our warehouse becomes more energy efficient

OK, not the most exciting thing but we’ve saved a huge amount of energy in our warehouse by converting all our lights to LEDs and adding movement sensors so lights turn off automatically. A little step to help us be more sustainable throughout our business, not just in our products.

Light sensor on wooden beam
Sensor ready for our next visit to the glove section

A new home

2023 will bring a newly refurbished house to Richard and Justina after a terrible fire at the end of 2021 damaged much of their house and meant they had to move into a tiny cottage in the village for over a year. Living in temporary accommodation and managing the insurance process has been an additional job for everyone but we’re pleased to finally see the end of the tunnel and hope they can move back into their rebuilt home in the New Year.

We use our local Postie!

Like many businesses in the UK we had a number of postal delays at the end of the year combined with the Christmas rush. Rose was handwriting personal notes for over 20 orders a day. We were very thankful for the patience of our customers and our local postman who did his absolute best to get as many of our parcels into his van as he could before Christmas.

Trade shows

January 2023 will see us attend Scotland’s Trade Fair: Spring in Glasgow, back to its usual date of end of January. We look forward to catching up with many of our trade customers, particularly those from Scotland, North America and Japan and looking forward to a more straightforward year and full retail season. We also hope to meet some new trade customers in South Korea in February as part of a Department of Trade mission to the Seoul Living Fair.

Glencroft trade stand at Glasgow SEC
Glencroft trade stand at Scotland’s Trade Fair 2022

Jumper lifecycle analysis, new graphics and back on the road

Other projects underway include a wide range of point of sale posters and stickers for our trade customers available soon, a sustainability analysis of our jumpers to try and reduce our carbon footprint further and of course we look forward to getting back out on the road in the UK seeing all the fantastic clothes shops, castle gift shops, farm shops and other retailers we supply in person. We do like a chat.

See you soon in 2023 and Happy New Year!

Glencroft point of sale posters, stickers and bags
Glencroft Point-of-Sale Marketing materials

2022 – New Jumpers, New Wool, New Baby