A global business is continuing to grow and develop nearly six years after its owners relocated it to Cumbria from the United States.

Daphne Marinopoulos and husband Iain Stanley first began the Fibre Co. - now based in Threlkeld - in Portland, Maine, in 2003 producing wool for crafts and knitting.

“We bought a small mill,” said Daphne who, like Iain, was the equivalent of a chartered accountant in America before starting the business.

“Knitting was a hobby of mine and I was looking at making a move out of a long term corporate career.”

As there was a lack of the type of quality wool she would like to work with, she began to make her own, sourcing the raw product from local farms and spinning and dying it at the mill on Portland’s waterfront.

Initially they sold the wool via a small shop, but then began selling to traders, gradually moving to sourcing the spun and dyed wool from Peru.

The couple sold the mill and, as they no longer had to be based anywhere in particular, made the move to live in Cumbria in 2014, a place they had visited regularly and where Iain already had family.

“We saw it as not only a personal adventure, but as a way to expand the distribution of the company,” said Daphne, who is the company’s managing director.

“This is home for us now, we are here for the long term.”

Today 85 per cent of the company’s sales are still in North America, although it also has customers in places including Europe, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.

“We sell 99 per cent business to business for small specialist retailers around the world,” said Daphne.

“It’s a niche market and we play at a niche end of a niche market with high end, high quality fibres.”

It employs four people at its warehouse and offices at the Blencathra Business Centre, working with a network of agents to sell its wares around the world and with sample makers who create clothes out of the wool to demonstrate its capabilities.

It now sources its wool from two mills in Peru, one in Huddersfield and another in Ireland.

“The UK has a high quality of hand knitters that we have been able to go to to make garments,” said Daphne.

The business is in the process of upgrading its website to sell more to customers directly online.

“With what’s happening on the high street, it’s getting harder and harder for people to find our products closer to home,” said Daphne.

“It’s a no-brainer for us to make sure we are there filling the gap.”

The company is also constantly working on developing new wool designs, as well as a new “top secret” accessory product, which is due to be launched later this year.

“We feel it could be used by people beyond the knitting world,” Daphne hinted.

When they are not working, Ian and Daphne enjoy getting out for walks with their 18-month-old sheep dog Arlo, who has also become a star of the firm’s social media and has his own title of CJO (chief joy officer).

“We are having a lot of fun because we are very excited about walks we can take right from the doorstep,” said Daphne.

“He is featuring in our photo shoots now as well. Every week I try and get out and get some video of him and what we are doing at the weekend and it’s proved really popular. It’s fun to do and it’s great to be able to get out there.”