Sewing across the Atlantic from County Durham

Through support and advice to improve her online presence, the Digital Drive County Durham programme has helped bespoke fabric business Amanda Jane Textiles to expand and offer her unique products across the globe.

Amanda writing the weekly blog post

A fabric designer, writer and teacher, Amanda Jane Ogden runs her small business – Amanda Jane Textiles - from its base in Ushaw Moor near Durham. Since setting up the business in September 2014, Amanda has branched out into a wide range of activities under her brand, having written articles and patterns for sewing publications in both the UK and the US along with her teaching and fabric design.

Seeing a worldwide market for her products and services online, Amanda was keen to target customers in the UK and US markets first with a strong web presence. Having taught herself how to build her own website, she was looking to do more with digital technology to grow her business.

Since joining the Digital Drive programme Amanda has taken the opportunity to undertake a digital health check, providing her with personalised recommendations and suggestions on where to take her online presence. Together with some one-to-one support from digital adviser Helen Watson and attendance at the programme’s Big Social Media Show, she feels confident on the direction of her business.

What’s been the main benefit for Amanda?

“The encouragement! It’s a really hard thing to set up a business on your own,” says Amanda. “I had been self-employed before, but providing a service, and that’s very different from trying to produce something from scratch and persuading people to buy it, which is what I am doing now”

“Receiving good training, getting advice from experts and meeting other people who are in the same boat have all been really helpful.”

Following advice given as part of the programme, Amanda has recently overhauled her website, giving it a completely new look. She’s started to think more strategically about her social media presence and is pro-actively planning her marketing across the different platforms she uses, including her blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Helen Watson, one of Digital Drive’s digital advisers, commented: “It’s fantastic to see how much Amanda has taken on board from our programme and how quickly she has gained the confidence to make improvements in her business. She has a clearer direction and focus and it has been great to be part of her digital journey”

Amanda now has the business model in place that she was hoping for, so what’s next for her? “More of the same. I now need to extend my reach so I plan to translate my patterns into French, German and Spanish and expand into new countries.”

“Digital Drive is a fantastic resource, right here in the North East where we need it. Don’t miss out,” she adds.

Digital Drive County Durham is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Business Durham, which works on behalf of Durham County Council, and private investment, and forms part of the wider Digital Durham initiative to transform broadband speeds for residents and businesses across the North East.

For more information about the support that the Digital Drive County Durham programme can provide and to register your own business, visit

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