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Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 22.20.44A North-Tyneside-based craft business has secured a £25,000 loan through the Finance for Business North East Microloan Fund, a regional loan scheme managed by Rivers Capital Partners that enables small businesses to fund their big ideas and achieve their aspirations for growth.


Craft Yourself Silly Ltd designs, manufactures and sells a unique Trademarked craft kit product called Proggy®. The name of the range refers to the specific crafting method people use when they create the products in the kits. Progging is a style of rag mat making, where the user pushes fabric cut into strips through the holes in hessian backing. It has been the traditional way to create mats in the North East for centuries, and is now being distributed internationally.


Hayley Smith, the owner of Craft Yourself Silly Ltd, hopes to inject some fun and an element of glamour into Progging with her range of funky craft kits. Craft Yourself Silly Ltd has designed a large number of different styles; customers can make everything from 3D penguins to Proggy® by Numbers with pre-drawn contemporary, bright designs on cushions and bags.


The craft business owner has also acknowledged the fun that people can have whilst crafting and provides group courses for school age children and people wanting to take up a new hobby. The Proggy® kits have attracted a lot of media attention with regular appearances on new TV channel Hochanda and product demonstrations for Woman’s Weekly at their craft fair as popularity in the UK surges.


She credits her success to owning the only business in the UK that manufacturers these craft kits. The industry also managed to stay steady during the recession with programmes such as the Great British Sewing Bee and Kisties Homemade Home bringing craft more into the main stream and increasing popularity with the UK crafts market worth approximately £10 billion and the US market $32 billion.


Hayley received her first loan from the Fund in 2013 and this loan will be her 4th from the Fund. The money has helped significantly with developing her business at various stages. Craft Yourself Silly has recently entered the US market, and is working towards entering into more countries in Europe and Japan in the coming months.


Hayley will use this loan to develop her popular Proggy® craft kits by increasing the product range, developing new product lines and purchasing equipment to make more of her materials at the company’s premises.


Commenting on the Rivers Microloan investment team, Hayley stated that it was “As always, very easy to work with. A great service”.


With the cash boost from the loan, she envisages the company achieving strong links with UK and international consumers, especially as new products come on to the market.


Kristine Murane from Rivers Capital Partners said “It’s great to see a beneficiary that the Fund has helped from an early stage come on so far. They are now entering big markets over in the US, where there is a lot of money to be made in the crafting industry. It was a pleasure working with Hayley and the team. She is a credit to her business and a very enthusiastic business woman.”


The North East Microloan Fund provides small businesses in the region with loans anywhere between £1,000-£25,000. It is aimed at individuals who know that they have a solid business plan, but are unable to secure mainstream funding.


The Fund is managed by regional Fund Managers Rivers Capital Partners, a business run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. The decision to provide a loan is not based on the various assets a company may have, but rather the overall quality of the business. The loan process is speedy and hassle free with just a two week decision time on average.