Neal & Tracy Ridley
Sell It, Give It Away or Bin It!!
"I have always loved making things whether it be sewing, knitting or willow weaving, I’ll have a go."
In 2013 Tracy found herself moving house and undergoing a hysterectomy within a week of each other. This together with pressure from her (then) employer, she found herself spiralling into a black hole. Some people struggle to motivate themselves, Tracy found that she had a desire to keep going. "I think sub-consciously I was thinking that it I didn't stop, I wouldn't have to think!" That is when crafting became her escape. The further down the hole she went, the more she made. Eventually her ever patient husband Neal told her that she had to either “sell it, give it away or bin it” as the house just wasn't big enough for the mountains of things she had made.
Finally in 2014 Tracy took the bull by the horns and attended her first craft fair. "I didn’t sell a thing at my first fair and I came home a bit disheartened, but agreed that I’d had a nice day out, with tea and cakes, so it wasn’t all bad so
I soldiered on. At the second fair, I sold one item to the lady on the stall beside me. I secretly think she felt sorry for me. Craft fairs were a steep learning curve and I was constantly comparing myself to all the other stalls and believing that mine looked pants in comparison. By this time I had made friends with a few of the other crafters and started looking at it more of a day out but if I sold enough to cover the cost of the stall, I was delighted.”
Tracy named her company, ‘Created by the Ridleys’, because: she was making an eclectic mix of things, and didn’t know from one week to the next what she would be making and selling.”
"I was still working full-time and spent my evenings and weekends designing, cutting and sewing. In 2015 I started to incorporate Harris Tweed in my designs and they sold really well! I was amazed, and it encouraged me to keep going. However, I’m a Yorkshire girl and I don’t like waste, so I started to think about what I could do with the off-cuts. Using Pinterest to get ideas, I started making Harris Tweed jackets for hipflasks and for my own hand poured candles."
The range of items that Created by the Ridleys now makes and sells has grown substantially.
Using only British fabrics and sourcing all of their components from within the UK, Created By The Ridleys are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and making their brand as sustainable as possible. With all their packaging being made using recycled paper they are focussed on being a responsible manufacturer.
Fast forward to 2023 - Not only does Created By The Ridleys celebrate their 9 year anniversary, but they have another 3 awards under their belt.
- Exporter of the Year - North East Region - Federation of Small Businesses
- Sole Trader of the Year - North East Region - Federation of Small Businesses
- Personalised Gift Company of the Year - Prestige Awards, Corporate Livewire
"I still pinch myself and am immensely proud of what I have achieved, if I was to offer any advice to anyone else it would be - don't give up on your dream!!! Its hard work and long hours, there will be plenty of laughs as well as tears along the way and you wont always make the best choices. It isn't for everyone, and not everyone's dreams are meant to come true. I have come a long way from the weepy mess who started crafting to try to stop her head from exploding.
I hope you have been inspired by my story and I am always up for a chat if you are looking to make your dreams become a reality." Tracy x