‘It’s my pride and joy’: Great Yarmouth’s embroidery expert vows she’ll never retire

Susan Todd of Northgate Needlecraft is celebrating 30 years of business. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Susan Todd of Northgate Needlecraft is celebrating 30 years of business. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

The mother-of-four is celebrating three decades since opening the embroidery emporium and has shared her stories of raising her children in the apartment over the shop.

Susan Todd of Northgate Needlecraft is celebrating 30 years of business. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Susan Todd of Northgate Needlecraft is celebrating 30 years of business. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

And as cross stitch goes from kitsch to cool with a new generation taking up the craft she has promised she will never quit.

"There's not a single morning I wake up and don't want to go downstairs to work," the 63-year-old said. "My children have asked me why I don't sell up, buy a round-the-world ticket and come back and get a little flat. I do want to see the world, but this shop is my pride and joy."

MORE: Norwich mum urges homeowners to check their driers as 'unprecedented' recall announcedMrs Todd opened the shop on June 19 1989 having relocated to the UK from the Middle East.

Susan Todd of Northgate Needlecraft is celebrating 30 years of business. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Susan Todd of Northgate Needlecraft is celebrating 30 years of business. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

Pregnant with her first child, she was searching for a birth sampler, which is a cross stitch pattern announcing the birthday and name of the child. "I couldn't find a single one in the UK, so my husband suggested I opened my own shop and sell them myself," she said.


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The shop was opened with a loan of £5,000 to cover rent, stock, tills and counters.

In 1991 the Todd's bought the flat above the shop and made it their home. But two years later, Mr Todd died.

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"There have been some ups and downs," Mrs Todd said. "But some of my favourite memories are picking my daughter up from nursery and then watching her fall asleep on the chair in the corner of the shop."

Susan Todd of Northgate Needlecraft is celebrating 30 years of business. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Susan Todd of Northgate Needlecraft is celebrating 30 years of business. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

Mrs Todd stocks fabrics from across the globe and sees orders for her harder-to-find materials sent in from the US and Australia.

"I'll never retire," she said. "If I retired all I'd be doing is cross stitch and embroidery anyway, so I might as well teach other people how to do it."

Mrs Todd holds evening and day classes in embroidery and cross stitch and has said she has seen a surge in demand.

"I think it's because people want to be more sustainable and ethical," she said. "They like the idea of doing it themselves and it being unique and personal."

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