Virgin StartUp of the Week: Poppies and Polka Dots

It's truly the age of the online business, especially for startups. You can minimise costs, reach a huge audience, and avoid the hassle of a bricks and mortar shop. Our Virgin StartUp of the Week is Poppies and Polka Dots, an online shop selling everything you need for modern craft projects - including e-tutorials to help you make your ideas come alive. Genius. We chat to founder Katrina De Toney to find out more.


Business name: Poppies and Polka Dots

Founder(s) name: Katrina De Toney

Loan funds received: £5000

Based in: Buckinghamshire


Twitter: @poppiesandpolka

Facebook: Poppies & Polka Dots

Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does

Provides a fabulous shopping experience for the modern craft, knitting and sewing enthusiast.

Floor 1 to 2 - Where are you based?

At home in Buckinghamshire

Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?

An e-commerce site supported by monthly tuturials to encourage new skills and projects for customers.

Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?

The Village Haberdashery, Elephant in my Handbag, The Makery, The Homemakery, Fabric Rehab

Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?

We offer the very best products on the market, competitively priced, provide great service and quick delivery.

Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?

I was fed up with trawling through large uninspiring on-line fabric shops that seem to represent the complete antithesis of the products they are selling, and I wanted to offer one shop where like-minded people could go to find a great selection of top quality products.

I noticed the dramatic increase and resurgence in sewing, crafting, DIY inspired items, knitting and crocheting and realised there was a growing market for a re-vamped modern, fabric and haberdashery store.

Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?


Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?

To purchase additional products and to assist with marketing the business.

Floor 8 to 9 – Who’s your Virgin StartUp Mentor?

Jonathan Saipe of E-Marketeers, who provide digital marketing training courses.

Floor 9 to 10 – What’s your workspace like? Send us a photo from your phone.


Floor 10 to 11 – where will your business be in 12 month’s time?

I aim to have become a significant player in this field, increase my customer database dramatically and be in a position to employ someone part time to help out. Physically I hope to have moved the business to a new office / storage space.


Get the Virgin StartUp Business plan