Jacinta Stevenson (nee McLaughlin)
My name is Jacinta and my business is Plump & co. We encourage people to go back to basics and we teach them to create beautiful blankets, garments and artworks from our ethically-sourced chunky merino wool.
I grew up in Christchurch, but Wellington is where my spirit animal lives. I’ve always been interested in fashion, design and creating. Studying at Massey exposed me to amazing creatives, helped me to build up my networks and gave me the skills, confidence and freedom to explore my own ideas. It was a beautiful installation that I made as part of an art textiles paper with my tutor Lisa that sparked me on my extreme knitting journey.
When I finished studying I worked in various corporate jobs before starting my own creative business. Some people didn’t believe that I could create a successful business based around my degree so it was partly the desire to prove them wrong that led to the establishment of Plump & Co. Quitting my full-time job pushed me to give it ALL my energy!
In the early days, I was hand-spinning and dyeing yarn at home, then knitting the yarn into blankets. This was incredibly demanding work so in search of a more sustainable business model I partnered with the wool industry to get the wool commercially dyed and processed. Also, I concluded that New Zealand is a DIY nation that would rather knit their own blankets, so now we sell mostly wool and tools to the New Zealand market and both ready-made and DIY kits abroad.
When my friend Talia came on board we began running workshops around New Zealand to take giant knitting to the people. We have now grown to a team of six and this year we are taking our workshops to the world! It has been a hard journey, but well worth it. My advice to anyone starting their own creative journey is to take on the challenge and make it a full-time pursuit.