Louise Hepworth is the designer behind knitwear brand The Croft House

What’s the story behind your brand?

The Croft House is an exclusive collection of high-quality knitwear made in Scotland. We’re an Aberdeenshire-based company selling online directly through our website.

The National:

Louise Hepworth

I established The Croft House in late 2012. A local woollen mill had closed down a few months before after more than 200 years of weaving, which I thought was a terrible loss. Having a love of textiles, I wanted to create a business that continued on the legacy of the Scottish textile industry by establishing a contemporary brand with its roots in heritage designs.

The National:

Fingerless gloves £34, hat £35, scarf £54 

What do you make?

The collection consists of knitwear (jumpers, cardigans, scarves, hats, gloves and socks) for women, men and children. I only use natural fibres in my designs, with most products being made from 100% wool. I also use Scottish cashmere for some of my accessories.

The National:

Mens Fair Isle Brodgar Yoke Jumper, £115

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get inspired from all different things – it may be a place I’ve visited, an object I’ve come across or a style I admire. I like to reference colours and places around Scotland. I’m inspired by Scottish heritage and particularly love using the Fair Isle style in my designs. This season I’ve explored gansey knitwear, the traditional style of plain-colour knitting of fishing communities which uses different textured stitch patterns for interest.

The National:

Tweed Fair Isle ski hat, £37

What sets you apart from other makers?

When I started the brand, I wanted to produce a range that was distinctively Scottish. It’s heritage with a twist. I’m not afraid to use contemporary colour in my designs and use pattern in new ways. I’ve always been determined to create a high-quality brand under the slow-fashion ethos. These are pieces for customers to cherish.

The National:

Stockbridge Fair Isle Cowl Scarf, £54

Selling only online is pretty unusual but as a busy working mum this means quality family time rather than being at fairs on a weekend. I’ve also made the conscious decision not to wholesale the collection despite being regularly approached by retailers here and overseas. This means I can keep the prices lower so customers get higher quality for their money.

The National:

Womens Croft Yoke Fair Isle Jumper, £116

What are your most popular products?

Our Fair Isle jumpers are very popular with both customers here and all around the world. At this time of year the Fair Isle and cashmere accessories are popular as they make great Christmas gifts. The collection appeals to a very large spectrum of people from teenagers to grandparents so we have a wide variety of customers.

I see many customers back season after season with some collecting a particular style, buying a new colour of a design every year. With many of my customers based internationally, they like to tell me about the place they live and their travels in Scotland. It gives me a great sense of pride to think that one of my designs is being worn in New York, Paris or Sydney! Here in the UK my pieces often trigger memories for customers of favourite jumpers from their childhood – even the smell of real wool is something that people often reminisce about.