Lately, I've been asked repeatedly about re-stocking embroidery hoops made by Klass & Gessmann. For those of you who have never heard about Klass & Gessmann: they were a German company who probably made the best quality embroidery hoops and stands in the world. This is no exaggeration. The hoops and stands are very well made with a high finish. This means that they will probably last you a lifetime if you look after them properly. Other than, for instance, Elbesee, the hoops by Klass & Gessmann do not have any plastic parts. Just beautifully turned beech wood. They are really the Rolls Royce amongst the embroidery hoops and favourites with Mary Corbet (read Mary's review) and Yvette Stanton.
I've always stocked Elbesee hoops and changed relatively late to the Klass & Gessmann hoops. Why? Well, there's the price. You can have an Elbesee hoop with either clamp or seat frame for about €25. The Klass & Gessmann hoops start at €32,10 and €44,95 respectively. This is partly due to the fact that wages are higher in Germany than they are in the UK. But more importantly, this is due to the fact that the Klass & Gessmann hoops are so much better quality. When I used the Elbesee hoops during my workshops I host in my studio, they wouldn't last long. They lost their 'grip' and stability really quickly resulting in a hoop that 'drops'. Although I tell people to always loosen-up the wingnut screw before flipping the hoop to work on the back of their embroideries, who does so consistently? In contrast, the Klass & Gessmann hoops have so much 'friction' you can only flip the hoop without loosening-up when you use brute force. This reminds you to do use the screw :) and results in a hoop that lasts!
To my dismay, Klass & Gessmann was sold and moved to Bulgaria a couple of years ago. This seems to happen to all good quality companies that sell for a fair price and thus can't keep up with cheap competition in our throw away society. The new owners did not really stay in touch with us buyers. The website disappeared. Postage got up. The hoops became more expensive. Communication became troublesome as they did not speak German and only a little English. Due to all this, I had made the decision to stop stocking the Klass & Gessmann hoops. Especially as I was afraid that the quality might suffer due to the move to Bulgaria. Prejudice rearing its ugly head...
Then I hosted a workshop and people were asking me where to purchase a good embroidery hoop. By that time, I had only one Klass & Gessmann hoop left... High time to search for an alternative. Easier said than done. My search was unsuccessful. The best hoops out there are made by Klass & Gessmann, period. But as they no longer have a website, how does one contact them? I decided to use the last email address I had for them and see if they are still in business. Thank goodness they are! So I placed a large order and hoped for the best. When the hoops arrived last week, I was a little apprehensive: would they still be of the same high-quality? Luckily they were!
I've re-stocked my webshop with embroidery seat frames, embroidery hoops with table clamps and loose hoops on a stick that will go with either. They are available in six different sizes: 155 mm, 185 mm 215 mm, 250 mm, 275 mm and 305 mm. To celebrate the re-stocking of the 'best hoop in town', there is a 15% off coupon in this week's newsletter! No, I won't do coupons every week, but this is rather a special occasion and a big relief :).
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Jessica M. Grimm
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