By Hayley Pugh
Now that’s what you call a shell suit! A post office worker has found an unusual money-spinning sideline – knitting cute costumes for tortoises.
Hollie Brain, 22, launched her bizarre business after creating outfits to dress her own tortoise pets, Heidi and Harper.
The blonde entrepreneur, from Evesham, Worcestershire, posted some cute snaps online and was soon inundated with requests for bespoke woolly suits
Hollie, who runs her business called Tortie Threads from home, alongside her full-time job as a post office assistant, now makes up to 40 costumes a month and ships her cute clobber to tortoise lovers all over the globe including America, Tokyo, New Zealand, Europe and Singapore.
No request is too bizarre for Hollie who has rustled up everything from tuxedos to a Harry Potter costume.
She said: “I decided Heidi and Harper would look really cute in a little jumper so I decided to learn to crochet, with a little tortoise jumper being my main goal.
“I soon picked up the art of crochet and had a go working with different techniques to create a pattern which I used to make my first tortoise outfit.
“Once I had two outfits I took a photo of my girl wearing them and posted it on their social media page I had created for them, I could never have imagined what happened next.
“The response I received from my outfits was unbelievable and I was soon inundated with other tortoise owners asking me where I had gotten the outfits from.
“This was when the decision was made to make a few outfits for some other tortoises so they could enjoy them to. I only imagined making about four or five but as soon as I started it quickly escalated to four or five orders a week.
“On a busy month I can make about 40 maybe more a month.”
Hollie’s pets, four-year-old Heidi and Harper are always the first to model her new designs and Hollie insists the pair love sporting their new looks.
She said: “My outfits were first thought of with them in mind and they are always first try out my new designs – they currently have a bigger wardrobe then me.
“My outfits are made using soft yarns so they are super warm and cozy for them which they love.
“They don’t get in their way or irritate them, they hardly notice they have them on.”
The kind-hearted businesswoman even makes free outfits for poorly or disabled tortoises to help cheer them up.
But the biggest order she has had involved making 12 outfits for one tortoise for a calendar photoshoot.
Hollie added: “No request is to strange for me. I am willing to take on any request a customer has.
“I have had a lady who once wanted a bikini for her tortoise to wear in the summer and she was very pleased with her outfit, I have also had a request to make a tuxedo for a tortoise to wear to his owners wedding, she actually wanted it to match her husband’s suit.
“When I tell people I make outfits for tortoise there first reaction is shocked and think I’m a little bit crazy but once they see them they do think they’re cute.
“One of the main reasons I make the outfits is seeing how happy they make people.
“My customers all seem to love my outfits and come back time and time again for more.
“I feel so lucky that I can do something I enjoy so much and share it with others.”