Award-winning Hartlepool designer aims to set up upholstery company

Mary Grocott, weaving
Mary Grocott, weaving

AWARD-WINNING designer Mary Grocott has revealed her ambition to set up a flourishing upholstery company.

The 23-year-old from Hartlepool is “in the process” of going into business for the very first time.

But Mary already has very definite ambitions - and she’s hoping to make them even better by entering the Keys To Success competition, run by the Hartlepool Mail in conjunction with UK Steel Enterprise.

Mary, a former student of English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College and who comes from the Fens area of town, recently graduated from the University of Manchester where she studied textile design and design management.

She said: “I specialised in designing woven fabrics for interiors and this forms the foundation of my business.”

Her skills were so good, she won the title of Best Design Project at the university’s degree show.

Since returning home, she has got her first loom and is now setting up a business called Mary Grocott Textile Designs.

Mary, who plans to run the firm from home, said: “My business idea is to upscale and refurbish second hand furniture and to use my fabrics to upholster them.”

Her company will run online at first but Mary hopes to eventually have her own store.

She added: “I also want to create an exhibition space for other designers to give them a platform for their work and to encourage other businesses. I want to employ staff and train others in the art of hand weaving.”

And winning Keys To Success would give her exciting plans another boost, she said.

She added: “Having an office space to work from will help me create a presence in the town to help my business grow.

“I want to give my business a more professional image and this opportunity will enable me to do that. The production of my fabrics does require high investment costs. I would not be able to finance premises to run my business from and would benefit from this opportunity.”

Mary becomes the latest in an impressive list of entrants in Keys To Success.

For more details about Keys to Success, visit Anyone wanting to put forward their business should send an entry to