Barbara's interest in cross stitch was founded on a year long stay in Minnesota USA in the early '70's. The American market was sophisticated and impressive. Years later, around the late 80's that interest had become a business opportunity; after showing a small range of twelve designs to the U.K. and European trade markets Barabara Thompson Designs was in business.
Barbara and Ann founded the partnership in 1988; Barbara being the sole designer and Ann the business head, and from the classic 'kitchen table' start the partnership was soon selling extensively in the U.K. and Europe.
A first book "Your Home in Cross Stitch" was published in 1993, reprinted in '94 and produced in paperback in '98.

A second book "The Victorian Home in Cross Stitch" published in '96 is available in the UK and USA.   Both books are published by David and Charles.
In 2008 Barbara and Anne decided to retire from the day-to-day details of producing and distributing the kits, and this work was taken on by Classic Embroidery who are a well-established producer of needlecraft kits, with some 600 designs in their range.