Gabriel's Wharf and Covid-19: Joanne Plumb Knitwear

Joanne making her knitwear

I caught up with Joanne Plumb to see how the past 18 months have been for her…

Joanne Plumb has been a maker in Gabriel's Wharf for over 20 years. She started out selling knitwear from market stalls – the likes of Greenwich, Portobello, and Camden – while working other jobs, so she could pursue her passion. Then she found Gabriel's Wharf and fell in love with it. Her shop allowed her to do what she loved on a full-time basis – making colourful, comfortable, fashionable knitwear that will last a lifetime. Over the years she has worked hard to build up a loyal client base who want handmade, sustainable clothes, made by her.

Joanne tells me she has two sons who she works hard to support; she wants to show them, and everyone, that they can love what they do and make money from it.

Lockdown was good for Joanne. Initially, she says, it was terrifying. The grants from the government saved her – like many others. She moved all her machines home to work from there. Looking back, she realises the extended time at home allowed her to take a step back and see where she could make improvements to her business. She decorated her shop, learned how to use social media (in particular Instagram and Etsy), created a look book, and added a few special touches to her sales...

She realises now that she had lost her mojo before the Covid-19 pandemic hit; the rest and home life had picked her back up. It also shone a light on the number of regular shoppers she has and how many of them have gone on to become friends – something she is very grateful for.

Joanne tells me she had a surreal encounter recently. A textiles lecturer from a Canadian university had travelled two and a half hours to her shop, on the recommendation of the Dean of the university, who buys Joanne Plumb Knitwear. The lady who had travelled to see her said she lectures about Joanne's work and that she thinks in five years people won't make clothes the way that Joanne does as very few people still use her method.

So, whether you're in Canada, Edinburgh or London, head to Gabriel's Wharf to see her huge range of colourful knitwear and buy truly bespoke clothing!


Sarah Rutter, Marketing Coordinator

See Joanne's Etsy here
See Joanne's Instagram here