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Retired academic embraces digital technology to buck high street trend and increase footfall to her wool shop

Retired teacher Glenys Owen-Jones has taken steps to secure her Abergele store’s future, after getting to grips with digital technology and social media.

Glenys’ move to digital has paid off. Snowdonia Wool, which opened in 2012, has increased footfall and started attracting international visitors, with knitters coming from as far away as Canada, the USA, and Japan, to buy her products.

And Glenys is eager to point out that, ‘you’re never too old to learn how to use digital technology’.

“If it wasn’t for digital marketing and social media, it could be a very different story for the business,” she said.

“Footfall to the high street continues to decline. I’ll speak to some shop owners, who don’t do digital or marketing, and they will say ‘no one has been in all day’.

“Our website presence and newsletter have provided another way of engaging with customers.

“It’s been a steep learning curve for me, because social media was not part of my generation; but I knew it was something I needed to do, if I wanted the business to continue trading.

“I have attended a Superfast Business Wales workshop and received really useful one-to-one advice and support.”

Snowdonia Wool now boasts an e-commerce website fully optimised for mobile, as well as an effective and successful email marketing strategy.

Glenys added: “Nearly 2.5 million emails are sent every second. I have to think, ‘why would someone stop and open mine?'

“I understand my customers. I know that they like to receive inspiration and ideas, so we provide free patterns via email newsletters. 

“People then come into the shop with the free pattern code on the smartphone or tablet to buy the right yarn and accessories.

“We also joined Ravelry, a social network for knitting and crochet. It has more than seven million members, and ‘knitting tourists’, people who go on holiday and search for the nearest knitting shop, regularly visit us. We have had customers come from all over the world to see the shop.”

Ravelry also provides Snowdonia Wool with access to more than one million knitting patterns, giving Glenys a pool of content to build relationships with customers. The site also doubles as an international knitting community.

“You can talk to people about the latest skills and yarns, trends and patterns, and seek help with your project, if something isn’t quite right,” Glenys said.

“Knitters like to be social, and we are aiming to build a knitting community. For example, Snowdonia Wool is organising a weekend retreat, and hosts a weekly knit and natter group, as well as classes”.

Glenys is now turning her focus to video, and has already invested in a camera and computer software.

“I will be recording a series of ‘how-to’ and demonstration videos over the summer to drip feed as part of content in autumn classes,” she said.

Snowdonia Wool - Image

"You’re never too old to learn how to use digital technology"