Jess Thomaz loved knitting growing up in the United States.
Now she has turned her hobby into a new venture in the covered market.
Ms. Thomaz has taken advantage of one of Makespace Oxford’s programs to encourage new businesses to move into the historic market.
Four empty units have been turned into pop-up shops for retailers over the holiday season.
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The short-term use of these spaces is part of the ‘Meanwhile in Oxfordshire’ scheme, commissioned by the City Council’s Market Landlords and implemented by Makespace Oxford, which seeks to reuse space in centers towns in Oxfordshire.
Ms. Thomaz’s boutique is called The Woolhound and taps into the growing popularity of knitwear across the country.
She hopes to occupy the sales space at least until the summer because she enjoys the atmosphere of the market.
Ms Thomaz said: “In the US I had a knitting business in Pittsburgh so I thought I would try something similar here and thought it was a good opportunity with Makespace Oxford.
“So far the reaction from customers has been very positive – they are very happy to see a yarn store coming back to the city centre.
“We get clients of all ages – we had a 10 year old boy the other day and he was so excited to start.”
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More and more people are taking up knitting as a hobby, Ms. Thomaz said.
She was impressed by the British tradition of yarn bombing and admired the decorative woolen hats that are supplied for local letterboxes.
The business is called The Woolhound because Mrs. Thomas is a big fan of dogs and has owned greyhounds in the past.
She added: “I love greyhounds and if I ever see a pub called The Greyhound I love going there.”
She was delighted with the welcome she received from other market traders.
“Everyone has been so welcoming and I definitely plan to stay at least until the summer,” she added.
“I’m looking forward to working with Teardrop Bar – we’re trying to get together so we can have a craft afternoon there.”
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Other companies involved in the Makespace program are Ducky Zebra, a start-up that creates colorful and sustainable clothing for children; YOU Underwear, a social enterprise making a difference by selling sustainable and organic underwear with a focus on ethical supply chains; and Headington Fair Trade, a shop selling food, homewares, stationery and more.
The arrangement is expected to be revisited this month, to see if traders want to stay in the market longer.
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