Here is the Kernowcraft story since 1967. Over the years Kernowcraft has built up a loyal customer base who know they can rely on our friendly staff to get their order right, delivered on time and with a smile. Read on to get to know a little bit more about us and see photographs of catalogues from the sixties through to today.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know us a little better and we hope you are still shopping with us in years to come!
Kernowcraft was established in 1967, after husband and wife William and Marion Wolfenden returned to England from an extended trip to Australia where lapidary and jewellery making was a thriving hobby. Although this was a popular hobby in Australia, it was very new to the UK and Kernowcraft became one of the first company's to offer hobbyists the tools and findings to make their own jewellery and tumble and cut their own gemstones.
Initially the new business operated from their home on the outskirts of Truro, Cornwall. After placing an advert in Exchange and Mart magazine they were flooded with orders and enquiries and soon had to move to larger premises at the Old Forge, Highertown, Truro. The first Kernowcraft catalogues were were simple black and white lists of products produced on their own duplicating machine.
Managing Director, William Wolfenden also featured in an interview on the BBC local news, following the success of the new business. The following year (1969) saw another move to larger premises in the centre of Truro to 44 Lemon Street.
Whilst the mail order side of the business continued to operate from 44 Lemon Street, strict planning restrictions meant that customers couldn't shop from the offices on this prestigious street, which was mostly the preserve of solicitors and dentist offices. So in 1970, Kernowcraft opened a shop at 9 Old Bridge Street in Truro.
This proved to be good timing as in 1971 there was the first national postal strike, which lasted for 7 weeks. Between 1975 and 1977, Kernowcraft went on to open more shops around Cornwall, at 38 Market Jew Street, Penzance; 4 Webber Street, Falmouth; 21 Pydar Street, Truro.
By the early eighties Kernowcraft had decided to concentrate on the mail order side of the business. The retail shops were closed and Kernowcraft bought the Bolingey Pottery building in Bolingey, just outside Perranporth, on the north coast of Cornwall, from here they operated both the mail order side of the company as well as having a counter service for customers.
By now founders, Bill and Marion's son and daughter Richard and Janet were running the business as joint Managing Directors.
The 1990's saw a lot of change here at Kernowcraft with product ranges continuing to expand. Our Bolingey base became a real home for us with the mail order side flourishing and our counter service continuing to serve local customers and those visiting whilst on their holidays in Cornwall.
In 1991 Richard and his family left to start a new life in New Zealand, leaving Janet in charge of things at our Cornwall base.
The new millenium started with the launch of Catalogue 33, filled with exciting new products, including our 'Jewellery Making Ideas' leaflet which proved extremely popular. The launch of Catalogue 33 coincided with our website going live at the end of June 2000. The website brought with it a new generation of customers, allowing us to reach the masses, we started to send orders overseas with Kernowcraft parcels being received throughout Europe and America. It also meant we were able to keep our loyal customers up to date with new products in between catalogues.
Unfortunately the noughties were also a sad time for us here at Kernowcraft with the death of Janet in 2004, her daughter Hannah took over as Managing Director soon after and continued to lead the business to grow.
2007 saw more postal strikes which proved a challenge for many mail order companies, we took on a courier service to ensure that we could still get packages sent to our customers.
The new decade sees Kernowcraft continuing to work hard to bring you the latest top quality jewellery making supplies and the most beautiful gemstones. All products are carefully chosen by our buyer and managing director (both jewellery makers) to offer you the best quality and items that we personally believe are worth having, are useful, good quality or beautiful. The Kernowcraft team all make jewellery so they understand your needs and you will always be able to speak to someone for knowledgeable advice. We continue to work really hard as a team to provide you with the friendly, fast and efficient service people have come to expect from us. We look forward to continuing to grow with our customers...here's to an exciting future!