NORTH-EAST based Crafter’s Companion has appointed a new Head of Retail (Sales) after experiencing a 12% increase in UK sales from 2016/2017 to 2017/2018. 

Helen Hollings joins the multi-million-pound business, headquartered in Newton Aycliffe, from Joules clothing and will be responsible for introducing commercial retail practices plus improved workshop programmes across Crafter’s Companion’s current retail estate.

Drawing on a wealth of senior retail management experience, Helen will also take ownership of the management team’s professional development, support improved product selection and optimise spending.

Crafter’s Companion founder Sara Davies MBE said: “Helen’s appointment as head of retail will ensure that the business continues to move forwards in terms of retail development. Our existing stores, including our flagship Newton Aycliffe outlet, coupled with our ever-expanding product portfolio provide us with an excellent foundation for growth, and Helen understands that our people-orientated culture is key to this.

“I look forward to working with Helen in supporting and investing in our team in order to expand Crafter’s Companion’s estate and ultimately keep increasing our turnover.”

Commenting, Helen said: “The craft industry is fascinating to me and I’m thrilled with the opportunity to work on developing retail as part of Crafter’s Companion’s multi-channel business. 

“I’m experienced in reshaping in-store operations and I’m impressed with the growth opportunities that exist at Crafter’s Companion. I’m confident that I can help take the business to a higher level in terms of retail contribution.”

Crafter’s Companion opened two retail stores in Newton Aycliffe and Chesterfield during 2016 and a third store in Evesham in 2017, to complement its presence online and in thousands of retail stores across the world.

The business currently employs more than 160 staff, selling products online, through its own outlets and independent retailers, and regularly presenting workshops and demonstrations in store and on TV shopping channels in the UK, US and Germany.

For further information about Crafter’s Companion, visit