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A real stitch up

Publisher Debbie’s hidden talent is a right old yarn

 

Debbie Williams has always loved knitting up a storm but she never realised how useful her hobby would become to the Mint publishing group she owns and runs with husband Alan.

Becoming a greeting card publisher isn’t a vocational calling, yet the industry is peppered with amazing people who have taken multifarious pathways into this wondrous industry, bringing their hidden talents and previous experiences with them.

Above: One of Debbie’s knitting books (left) and cards from Mint’s Knit & Purl range featuring characters she knitted
Above: One of Debbie’s knitting books (left) and cards from Mint’s Knit & Purl range featuring characters she knitted

As co-owner of the Mint group, which comprises Museums & Galleries, Real & Exciting Designs and Mint Publishing, Debbie is at the forefront of one of the UK’s most successful card publishing empires, but it’s not just been her accounting skills that have come into play, as she also handknits all the characters in the Knit & Purl greeting card range.

Above and top: Debbie concentrating on her knitting
Above & top: Debbie concentrating on her knitting, with the original Ha-Peas behind

Known for knitting in the car while Alan takes the strain at the wheel on the way to business meetings and trade shows, Debbie casts on to reveal the true yarn…

“When my grandma patiently taught me to knit when I was eight years old, I never thought it would lead to me designing a character for a bestselling greeting card and having two knitting pattern books published.

“Surprisingly, there are a few similarities between running the business and my knitting. When doing the accounts at work it’s all about the numbers, similar to knitting which is all about counting rows and stitches. However, I can be creative with my knitting, but not when doing the accounts!

Above: Alan and Debbie Williams with general manager son Tom and his fiancée Sophie Bylina, administration and relationship manager, in Mint Group’s Corby HQ
Above: Alan and Debbie Williams with general manager son Tom and his fiancée Sophie Bylina, administration and relationship manager, in Mint Group’s Corby HQ

“When working in accounts it’s all deadlines – month ends, year ends, etc. But it can also be like this with knitting the characters before a greeting card launch. The difference is, when I’m knitting for pleasure, such as cardigans and jumpers for the grandchildren, I’m under no time pressure.

“I’m very proud of the many knitted characters I’ve created over the years and the sales they’ve achieved, but I am equally proud of Alan, myself and the team for everything we have achieved and our continued growth and success.

Above: This Knit & Purl design has a poignant meaning for Debbie
Above: This Knit & Purl design has a poignant meaning for Debbie

“If there was a card design that could link the two sides of my life that would have to be the Moochas Gracias design, for allowing me to bring my hobby to work and for it being part of our continued growth and success – and it’s also a nod back to our dairy farming days.”

This Hidden Talent featured in the February issue of Progressive Greetings magazine, which can be read online here, or you can subscribe here to receive the magazine by post each month. If you have a hidden talent, PG would love to hear about it, please do email Jakki Brown at jakkib@max-publishing.co.uk.

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