Archie bobble hat photo sees knitting group's sales go 'off the charts'

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Archie and Prince HarryImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
The photo of the Duke of Sussex and his son was posted on Instagram on New Year's Eve

A community knitting enterprise in New Zealand has seen its sales go "off the charts" after baby Archie was pictured wearing one of their hats.

The photo of Prince Harry cuddling his son was posted on the royal couple's Instagram account to mark the new year.

In just a few days the social enterprise Make Give Live received more than ten times the number of orders it normally gets in a whole month.

The group's co-founder said the photo came as "a complete surprise".

"We had no idea it was going to happen," Becky Smith told the BBC, adding that she only realised one of their products had been worn by a royal after she was shown the photo by a member of her knitting group.

"I don't think we realised what the impact would be in terms of sales. It was just lovely to see our hats being posted and being able to spread our message.

"We weren't really prepared for the sales that came with it... it just took off like crazy."

Image source, Creative and Brave
Image caption,
Make Give Live runs 11 knitting groups in New Zealand

Make Give Live has received around 450 orders since the photo was posted, while in "a really good month" it would only sell around 45 hats, Ms Smith said.

The social enterprise, which aims to tackle loneliness and improve mental health, currently has 11 knitting groups across New Zealand and around 120 members.

The groups meet regularly in cafes, community hubs or libraries to knit hats. For each hat sold the organisation donates another to someone in need in New Zealand.

Ms Smith said she believed the Duchess of Sussex had been given one of their baby hats as a gift when she visited New Zealand in 2018.

However, she realised Meghan then bought two more hats herself - and it was one of these Archie was wearing in the photo.

At the time Ms Smith said they "didn't have a clue" they had sold a hat to the duchess and only realised in hindsight when they saw an order placed from an address in Windsor.

Image source, Creative and Brave
Image caption,
The group has around 120 members - it may need more to cope with demand

Despite the surge in demand, Ms Smith said the organisation was still accepting orders - although customers would have to wait a bit longer for their hats to be made.

She added that it was important to ensure the knitting groups remained a "fun and enjoyable experience" and to avoid them becoming "high stress", with the pressure to knit a large number of hats.

Ms Smith said the huge sales would help the organisation set up more groups and give away more hats to those in need.

"I am very excited and really grateful that they have chosen to showcase our beautiful hat that makes such a difference," she said.

"It's not just any old hat. It's a rather special hat that makes a big impact in many ways."