Hull mum’s craft business goes global during Covid pandemic

A Hull mother could never have dreamed that the desire to do something for her unborn baby would become a global phenomenon during the pandemic.

Lisa Dobbs, 49, first imagined using crochet as a way to create a cuddly toy to welcome her only child nine years ago.

Little did she know at the time that her shrewd calling would turn into full-time business for her and, more recently, her husband as well, as demand skyrocketed during the coronavirus lockdown.

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Lisa only sold a handful of her crochet kits, which cost anywhere from £ 2.50 to about £ 45, up to 100 a day.

Lisa, from Philip Larkin Close, West Hull, saw her Wee Woolly Wonderfuls crochet kits fly around the world – “I can’t think of a country I haven’t sent them to” – and has a top ten Adult Crafts gained kit listing in the Independent as well as in some of the most respected national craft magazines, including Simply Crochet, Let’s Crochet, and Simply Knitting.

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Lisa Dobbs turned a hobby into a successful business that has become global

Lisa, who is married to Paul and is the mother of Ryan, also has her face on the cover of Woman’s Weekly, the best-selling women’s magazine on the market, which featured a double-page spread about booming craft businesses in one of its May 2021 issues.

“When you start a business out of a craft, you want to do it for love,” said Lisa, a former mortgage advisor. “Of course I wanted it to be paid for, but I thought it was just a small part-time wage.

“In the last year it has grown so much that it now pays me a salary and we are shipping worldwide.

“I am amazed to get so much business from the USA, for example, because there is such a large market there. I think they like my designs because they are simple and I put my own style on things. “

During the lockdown, one of Lisa’s designs became particularly popular – Boris the Lockdown Lion.

“It became a huge hit when we did it for fun during a Wee Woolly Wonderfuls crochet,” Lisa said. “He made his TV debut on Hochanda TV, where he starred on the show.

“It’s massive – it’s the size of a toddler – and we ran a competition to name it and people voted for the top name. I think Boris was so popular because of his mane.



Boris the Lockdown Lion (back) is an extremely popular kit from the Wee Woolly Wonderfuls range
Boris the Lockdown Lion (back) is an extremely popular kit from the Wee Woolly Wonderfuls range

“Everyone wanted to make their own kits.”

Lisa started creating a simple baby bunny set, a simple design that is suitable for beginners, and it is still one of her best-sellers.

She has tried to solve the secrets of the crochet craft after striving to match what she saw in online tutorials when she was learning on her own and what she found in written patterns.

Lisa offers how-to videos on her YouTube channel so anyone who purchases a kit can see step-by-step how the item comes with everything.



Lisa Dobbs with her husband Paul, their nine year old son Ryan and some of the Wee Woolly Wonderful creations
Lisa Dobbs with her husband Paul, their nine year old son Ryan and some of the Wee Woolly Wonderful creations

All kits are put together by hand, and Paul sometimes works “flat out” to pack them (he has not yet been convinced to learn the craft from Lisa) when demand is greatest.

“Crocheting used to be considered grandma blankets and something old-fashioned; Now it has really come to the fore and a lot of younger people are crocheting.

“It is a craft that is used in a much more modern way.”



Customers get everything they need in one kit to create a Wee Woolly Wonderfuls soft toy
Customers get everything they need in one kit to create a Wee Woolly Wonderfuls soft toy

Lisa said, “Starting the Wee Woolly Wonderfuls business was a steep learning curve for me and it meant long hours, but you don’t really feel like it’s a job you enjoy doing.

“I feel like things have calmed down a bit – that means I have the time to start designing again – but in general it’s a lot busier than it was before that first lockdown.”

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