Give A Knit: Our New Charity Initiative
The idea for Give a Knit began where many ideas begin, in the pub. Tas & I were chatting over a glass of wine and found out we’d both recently taken up crochet and knitting. We vaguely mentioned setting up a stitch n’ bitch session, drank a lot more wine, and went home for Christmas break. Tas turned up on the first day back to work with an adorable handmade teddy bear and said, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to donate these to refugee children?’ And we went from there.
How Give A Knit Started
The original plan was to turn our ‘stitch ‘n bitch’ into an event, where we’d teach people to make bears and collect them up at the end to be donated. Knitting and crochet have loads of mental health benefits, so we wanted to invite those who were feeling a bit stressed out from work to come and unwind and learn a new skill. We presented to our creative directors who threw all their support behind us and helped us make a plan of action.
It was on. Seizing any free moment we could get between client projects, we branded ourselves, made an Instagram and website, and started contacting suppliers and charities who might want to get involved. Yarn manufacturers Hoooked sent us a bunch of recycled materials to use, and we found a charity partner called HIHFAD, offering humanitarian aid in Syria, to donate our bears to. We built up an amazing internal team to help us out - design, strategy, motion, dev, project management and PR all got on board.
So far, so good. Now all we had to do was hold an event and get some bears made.
Give A Knit's First Event
That’s where we hit a minor snag. Anyone who’s tried teaching themselves to knit or crochet will know it’s tricky to get the hang of at first. We seriously underestimated how much time would be spent teaching, and realised we’re not exactly professionals at it anyway. So after our test run event, we ended up with just a couple of finished bears and a lot of pretty frustrated attendees.
How We Adapted and Grew Give A Knit
To donate to HIHFAD on the scale that we were hoping for, we’d have to change it up a bit. Maybe an event with more experienced knitters? Maybe we donate money instead by charging people to attend?
Then COVID hit... and events stopped being a thing.
On the one hand, that was a massive spanner in the works, because holding events was the whole point. But on the other hand, people now found themselves with more free time than ever to learn a new hobby. And looking after your mental health never felt so important. So like everyone else in the UK, we adapted to this weird new situation.
We’re now selling ready-made kits online, full of the lovely recycled materials from Hoooked, and instructions for how to make your own bear (we called him Bertie). All profits from the sales go to HIHFAD, and anyone who buys a kit can also download a free postage label to send their finished Bertie to HIHFAD as well. Our team has been amazing in posting out orders and keeping things ticking over as we all adjust to working from home. And it’s lovely to have something outside of client work that keeps all the different departments mixing together. We’re really proud of Give a Knit for that!
What's Coming Next...
And we’re not done yet. We’re working on tutorial videos to help people learn to make their own bear, and building up a blog full of mental health resources for people who are looking to destress. We’re working on creating more kits and patterns for different skill levels and needs, such as a children’s kit for those WFH with kids. And of course we’re making as many Bertie bears as we can in our spare time!
If you fancy getting involved with Give a Knit or just wanna spread the word we would really appreciate it! You can:
And while I’m here a massive shoutout to the Wasters that made Give a Knit happen: