Introducing HoBo Handmade
For years Tracy Berry led a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, travelling the globe with her husband, backpacking and working across Europe, Asia, North Africa and Australia. Throughout this time one thing remained constant: She knitted.
It started as hobby but became a vehicle for self-expression; her earthy designs inspired by her bountiful travelling experiences. Knitting satisfied her craving for making things and fitted the bill for the portable creative business that she had always dreamed of. So, on a homeward bound train journey in 2006, the idea for HoBo Handmade was born. Tracy says, “I made the decision to build my skills and create a business that I knew I would love. The following 10 years were spent knitting, designing, testing yarns, unravelling, knitting… etc. I love transforming a ball of yarn into something beautiful and useful, and seeing the id
eas in my mind come to life when I pick up my knitting needles.”
Having now lived in Leigh-on-sea for the past 7 years, Tracy names the town as a big source of inspiration for her gorgeous chunky knits, quoting fishing boats and seaside landscapes as her muses.
“There is a real energy here and a lovely sense of community. I love the pavement cafes, the music and the festivals. I love to be near water – it gives me a certain peace and calm that nothing else does.”
Her range of accessories includes bobble hats, scarves and cowls in a range of colours. Each is lovingly handmade in her home studio from carefully sourced wool. Tracy favours small farms where the whole process from rearing to spinning is carried out locally and is fully traceable. She explains, “I use a variety of yarns, wool and wool blends. My studio is bursting at the seams! I am looking forward to add
ing more yarns from small British suppliers in the future and including some rare breed yarns along with developing new designs for specific wools.”
Her beautiful products are currently sold on her online shop. She says, “I opened the online part of the business, my shop and website, on 23rd November 2015 (my late grandmothers birthday). My grandmother taught me to knit when I was a little girl. I still have the wooden knitting needles that she taught me to knit with and the bakelite needle box, and I still use them today!”
Despite going digital, Tracy has ensured that HoBo Handmade stays true to the bespoke values its name suggests. She says, “Many of my hats are made to order. I make them in various sizes from toddler to women’s and extra large men’s sizes. You can choose any colour/pom pom combination to create your own unique style. It takes between 3-7 days from order to hand knit and finish, wash and block and package for dispatch. Each hat involves several hours of work. My goal for HoBo is for it to always remain small, exclusive and personal. I want to know my customers by name, even if I don’t always meet them in person. Every item that I create for someone I do with their name in my mind.”