Christmas jumper craze is a seasonal bonus for Mansfield knitwear firm

Lisa Bingley, Business Development Manager at Crystal Knitwear with some of their Christmas jumper designs.
Lisa Bingley, Business Development Manager at Crystal Knitwear with some of their Christmas jumper designs.

The Christmas jumper craze has been sweeping the nation for a few years now, with shops and supermarkets once again full of festive-themed sweaters, pullovers and cardigans.

But for good quality, well-designed jumpers that have a ‘Made in Mansfield’ stamp, there is only one place to go - and that is Crystal Knitwear on Pelham Street.

The company is possibly best known for supplying uniforms to schools around the district, but as December dawns, the focus falls on its famously cheeky Christmas jumpers.

“It’s a little bonus and a bit of fun,” said Chris Bingley, managing director, about the company’s Christmas jumpers.

“It’s nice to do something for a bit of a giggle and to look at new designs that will raise a bit of a smile.”

Crystal first hit the headlines three years ago when it was asked to make a Christmas jumper for children’s television channel CBBC.

This year it has had a lot of enquiries from big businesses which want jumpers produced for their employees to wear.

Lisa Bingley, Chris’s wife and the company’s business development manager, said that Christmas jumper trade creates a stir on social media and helps raise the company’s profile.

“It raises our profile as a local retailer as Christmas jumpers are what people predominantly come in for at this time of year,” she said.

“The target market is the younger generation - young men going out on the Christmas work do who want to look as daft as possible!”

However much fun Christmas jumpers are though, for Crystal Knitwear, business is for life, not just for Christmas, and the company has had another successful year of trading.

Its school uniform shop doing well, it is selling new ranges such as lines in Harris tweed, and it has done some more work with John Lewis.

Plus it also won a Chad Business Award for Retailer of the Year.

Chris said that the Made in England label is particularly appreciated by customers in the Far East, with Crystal exporting around 80 per cent of what it manufactures - between 30 and 35,000 units a year.

“It’s the quality and the key selling point is the Made in England branding behind it,” he said.

“We are trying to let the local public know that we are hear 365 days a year,” added Lisa.

“That message is still getting out to customers as people still come and tell us they didn’t know we were here.”

Crystal’s all time best selling Christmas jumper is its ‘rude reindeer’ design, but other popular ones are one featuring turkeys and Santa faces and one with Christmas lights.

They are all original and according to Chris, the intricacy of the designs is something you do not see on mass-produced jumpers.

“People do appreciate the quality. This year we have done a heavily reduced price because we are up against the like of Asda and Primark doing mass-produced jumpers, but people appreciate the quality of ours,” he added.