Brittany Knitting Needles & Crochet Hooks

American Made Since 1976

Gene Barnes

Elk, California
Brittany needles and hooks are made from sustainably harvested birch. The Barnes family has been making them in California for over 35 years.

Tell us about your business.

My parents in law started this business in their garage 37 years ago. We now make 91 different sizes of knitting needles and crochet hooks. My husband began working full time with them 15 years ago and I joined 12 years ago. Being part of a small family business has been exciting and challenging. When I tell people we make knitting needles I have to explain that we actually manufacture them, we don’t just buy and re-sell them. We run every part of this business, from cleaning the floor to learning the latest in automation technology. We design and build our own machines, designed our package, and designed the formula for the needle finish we use. Though we have been making the same products for decades we are constantly evolving. We streamline production through automation so we can increase production and retain quality control. We are always working on ways to improve the quality of our needles and we continue to add new products to meet the demands of the current market.

What makes your business stand out?

We pride ourselves in making affordable quality products and being an environmentally-minded company. We make our needles from birch because wood is our greatest renewable natural resource and because wood is warm, smooth, and soft to the touch. It won't drain heat from sensitive fingers the way aluminum and plastic needles do. We get many comments from arthritis patients that they wouldn't be knitting if it weren't for wooden needles. We worked hard to develop the "greenest" packaging possible for our needles. It is made from 100% recycled paperboard and is 100% recyclable. The package is as lightweight as possible to be efficient in shipping and thus consume less energy getting to the customer. We reuse or recycle everything we can in our shop. The actual amount of trash we create is minimal, much less than most households. We appreciate the natural beauty and clean air of the Northern California coast where we live and work and understand the importance of preserving it.

What's the best business advice you've received?

Make a consistently good product. If you have good customer service and the best product it's worth all the advertising in the world.

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