An epic way to shop

A 15th birthday cake for Felt

It’s time to celebrate – Felt is turning 15 this month! Since 2007, we’ve been providing thousands of New Zealand makers with a platform to connect with customers and thrive. To mark the occasion, we’re taking a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come and enjoy a little trip down memory lane.

Founded in 2007 by Cantabrian creative Lucy Arnold, Felt is still proudly New Zealand-owned. The past 15 years have shown that Aotearoa clearly backs our ethos; buying beautiful, high-quality products direct from the maker. In Felt’s infancy, Lucy personally emailed individual craftspeople to invite them to join Felt. A decade and a half later, makers on Felt collectively make more than $1 million in sales every year.

At a time when globalisation and global brands were the major influence on consumer habits, Lucy was inspired by a passion for cottage industry, and convinced of the importance of individuals being able to make a living from making things. She started Felt with a big vision, and a firm intention of ‘steady, organic growth’.

Felt founder, Lucy Arnold

“I was lucky enough to see the opportunity, and I loved the idea so much – it resonated with me on so many levels. Felt was never going to be a short-term thing for me. I have always seen it as my chance to make a difference, so even when things were really hard, it wasn’t an option to give up.”

And things did get really hard. Based in Christchurch, the Canterbury quakes presented a significant and ongoing personal challenge for us, while rapidly changing technology (hello smartphones!) and increasing competition have also played their part. Felt was also pretty progressive for its time – online shopping wasn’t yet an everyday experience for a lot of people 15 years ago, and not everybody was aware how much impact their purchasing decisions could have.

“In retrospect, there were changes that needed to happen in the world and the way people thought – about technology, consumerism, the environment, social issues – before Felt began to make headway in the mainstream. And that has really been quite recent.”

The team behind Felt believes that craftsmanship should be nurtured and valued. “Felt supports makers in making an income from their work, and continuing to develop and hone their skills. By buying on Felt, you’re nurturing local creativity, and celebrating Kiwi ingenuity. That’s an epic way to shop!”

As we look forward to the next 15 years, talking to the Felt community this month reveals the importance and impact of what we’ve achieved together so far:

Promoting New Zealand made

“Felt has been so great at championing New Zealand made, it’s a one stop shop for anyone and you really get the feeling that customers who buy through Felt are big supporters of New Zealand creatives. It’s so encouraging as a small business to get that support.”  Cat from Natty in Wellington

Fiona from Vosso Studio on the West Coast

“I love that Felt has given me the chance to put myself out there to a special audience of New Zealanders who like to support handmade and home grown artists of Aotearoa.” – Fiona from Vosso Studio on the West Coast

“Felt is a feeling of possibility for me. The possibility my creations are out there finding their audience and it might turn into a sale. That I might be able to create for a living. Felt is a fantastic tool to help me. I’m selling alongside other people who treasure that feeling too.” – Samantha from Driessa in Wellington

“I just love that Felt is a New Zealand-owned initiative and has maintained its grassroots values while it has grown into a significant platform for so many people to buy and sell.” – Lucette from Breathe & Smile in Auckland

“Felt attracts lovely customers who are looking for the same thing that we all believe in – locally made, handcrafted, unique products! It’s so awesome that, as a customer, you can just go to one website and find so many different handmade things.” – Hana from HanaMade in Wellington

Creating a community

“My favourite Felt memory is attending a meet up in Auckland and getting to connect with a whole bunch of amazing Felt sellers – we talked non-stop for a couple of hours and it felt like we had known each other for years. It’s such an amazing community.” – Angela from Pale Grey Skies in Auckland

“Working on your own can feel quite lonely sometimes, but Felt provides a ready made community of like-minded makers who are so supportive.” – Hana from HanaMade in Wellington

Ronja from Repurpose in Auckland

“What I love most is the feedback I get from customers – people who really get what I’m trying to do with my up-bi-cycling work, and appreciate and love it because of what it is (waste material) not in spite of. I’ve made some amazing connections with other makers here too – some of which have led to collaborations which I totally love.” – Ronja from Repurpose in Auckland

“Through Felt I have met some amazing New Zealand makers and now, more than ten years after discovering Felt, I am proud to call myself a Felt maker. This is not a career path I ever thought possible and I feel so privileged and grateful to be a part of this amazing community.” – Esta from Coast Road Quilting Co. in Canterbury

“I’d have to say some of my favourite moments are when I get wonderful comments or feedback from happy customers – it’s an amazing and special feeling to create beautiful gifts or treasures for people to keep!” – Suzie from Curlicue NZ Jewellery in Auckland

Supporting New Zealand makers

Adele Stewart on the West Coast

“Felt has been there from the start of my business eight years ago – they have helped me grow to be full-time, making my own designs. I feel so blessed to be in my happy space for a major part of each day.” Adele Stewart on the West Coast

“Felt has enabled me to reach a large number of new customers. Being part of a quality group of makers gave me better exposure than trying to build a brand independently and means I can focus more on developing and making products.” – Jane from Ironweed in Canterbury

“It makes a difference to little New Zealand maker businesses that celebrate every sale. During Covid my Felt sales kept me afloat financially when retailers were shut, and markets cancelled.” – Elizabeth from Zippitydoodah in Canterbury

“I was able to keep selling on Felt throughout most of the pandemic – I am a full time artist thus it was a lifeline.” – Matt from Liberation Jewellery in Canterbury

“Felt has helped me find an artistic voice in which to share my creations. It is a stunning platform and I encourage many other creators to use it!” – Sally-Mae from Shapes by Sal in Otago

Sally-Mae from Shapes by Sal in Otago

We’ll be sharing some memorable moments from the past 15 years across the month, and we want you to be involved too. Comment below with your favourite Felt memory, experience, or just what you love about Felt. Let others know why they should support good kiwi craftsmanship on Felt!

10 thoughts on “An epic way to shop

  1. Hey! 15 years?!!! Congratulations Lucy, that’s an amazing milestone!
    Wooden Kiwi is rocking up to 10 years of Felt sales in October this year and, as your site is the only online platform I’ve used for sales, I’m incredibly grateful for all the work that you and the team at Felt do to promote a growing presence of kiwi makers, creatives and artists here in NZ. I was so stoked and humbled to have been featured in Felt’s “Meet the Maker” too. My wife and I support local, so Felt is our fave site for finding very unique and special gifts, knowing that every purchase directly helps the creators to keep their hustle going and growing, while providing that much needed encouragement and belief in themselves.
    Wishing you the very best for continued growth with Felt and looking forward to more milestones ahead!
    Rob (Wooden Kiwi)

  2. Sending you a hearty congratulations Lucy and team. What a remarkable achievement – 15 years of pure awesomeness. Well done and here’s to many more years of fun and success ahead!

  3. Hi I’m Arihia Ruwhiu creator of Arirose upcycled leather jewellery. I absolutely love being a felt seller and amongst so many other New Zealand creative talented makers. I have been with felt for almost 2 years and have really appreciated the feedback I get from my customers. I remember one of my customers saying she couldn’t make up her mind what she wanted to purchase from my shop because everything I made was so beautifully handcrafted and unique. To hear someone speak of my work like that is so rewarding. It inspires me to keep pursuing my creative journey. Thank you Felt for the opportunity. I am ever so grateful for your platform ?❤?

  4. I couldn’t do without Felt. I have tried other venues, both online and off, but none of them suit me so well as Felt. I love this place. Thank you, Lucy and co.! Your work on is great and I am grateful.

  5. Lucy, you and your team have championed handmade since way before it became cool!
    It was due to the amazing response we had to products on Felt (8yrs ago!), that my woodworking hobby turned into a business. I am so grateful for the platform and the encouragement that you offered. Thank you!!

    1. Thank you for this beautiful message, Gwyneth! We’re so grateful you chose Felt, happy to have been part of your journey, and blown away by what you’ve achieved xx

  6. I just had a look and I made my first purchase in 2013. I adore Felt and have recommended it to so many people as they’ve commented on a piece of jewelry, or household item of mine over the years. It is ALWAYS my first port of call for gifts and little (or big) treats.

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