Tea & Chat with Katy from Mint Rainbow

Tea & Chat with Katy from Mint Rainbow

Hello! Great to have you here, the kettle’s just boiled – what would you like to drink?

Hello! Well, thanks for having me – make mine a Latte or a Diet Coke please – I have 2 small children, so I always need ALL the caffeine!

So, tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

So, Mint Rainbow is a small Kent business making handmade luxury, organic clothing in sizes Newborn all the way through to adult, with lots of opportunities for twinning and family matching! The real focus is on quality fabrics in stunning, unique prints that you just wouldn’t find on the high street.

I’m Katy and I run the business – my background is in PR, Events and Marketing which I still do bits and bobs of on a consultancy basis. I absolutely love designing and creating beautiful products for you and your family to enjoy. I genuinely do a little happy dance every single time an order comes through. I adore being a Mama to my two babies and I also love sunshine. And coffee. And cake. And Breton tops. And beaches. And rose gold jewellery. And wine. And dancing. And wine again.


What inspired you to start your creative business? How did it all begin?

After the birth of my amazing son Alfie and then three years later my beautiful Rainbow baby Evelyn Joy, I became obsessed with all things baby & child. Interiors, Clothes, Prints – you name it, I wanted it! After unsuccessfully looking for some stylish twinning leggings for myself and Evie, the idea for Mint Rainbow was born. I decided not to go back to my full time job in PR and instead started practised my sewing skills whilst freelancing. In October 2017, Mint Rainbow starting trading and we’ve gone from strength to strength since then. After a fantastic first 6 months of sales, we now even sell wholesale and have some physical shop stockists in the UK which is incredible. 

How has your business changed and developed since it started?

Mint Rainbow started out as an Etsy shop selling just matching Child & Adult Leggings and we quickly developed our own website and worked on growing our social media following which is now really established with a lovely group of engaged followers – hi everyone! Since the start we have also developed more products including accessories and some bump-to-beyond Mama products that are pregnancy and breastfeeding friendly. I’ve also taken on a seamstress to work with me – the lovely Nicola- as I just couldn’t pack it all into each day with my other work commitments and my little ones. 

 

So, where does all this takes place? What’s your workspace like?

My Mint Rainbow studio started life as one sewing machine in the spare room and is now a fully operating little sewing studio based in the roof room of our family home – super handy for squeezing in work during naptimes and making sure I’m on time for nursery runs. I try to hang up creative and motivational bits in the studio like cards and prints, and pictures that my son has made – and of course it is full of stunning and colourful fabrics! I’ve also got a beautiful vintage haberdashery unit that was my late Nanas and it’s the focus of much attention on my insta feed- it’s such a beautiful bit of furniture and I’m so lucky to have it! It’s packed to the rafters with off cuts and sewing tools – check it out on insta! 

What are the best and worst bits of running your business?

The best thing is having full creative and logistical control of my work which means doing only the things you love, and flexibility to be with my children – I work most evenings after their bedtimes so that I don’t miss out on precious time when they’re so little.  I also love the creative side – developing new products, choosing fabrics, photography and designing PR and marketing materials.

The worst bit is the stress haha – when you are solely responsible from everything from the accounts to the product-making to the gift wrapping to the supplies ordering, it can somethings be a lot. But the benefits so outweigh the negatives so it’s all worth it. 

What are your hopes, plans or ambitions for the future?

I’m really just hoping that the business continues to grow as it has been and that it will get me to a point where I can give up working on other projects and focus fully on Mint Rainbow. We’re still not even one year old so I need to give it time and lots of tlc! In regards to the business itself, I have so many ideas for children’s accessories, bedding, prints, and lots more clothes of course! I also have some thoughts about some other strands which are more focussed around supporting and collaborating with mothers and creative working parents – I’d love to develop skill swap opportunities, Mama Meet Ups, maybe a blog and a pod cast etc – and weave this all under the Mint Rainbow umbrella somehow. All in good time of course!

Since your business is based in Kent, we’d love to have your recommendation on any hidden places or favourite shops, tearooms or other creative places you like to visit.

Ooooh there are so many lovely places in Kent –

I work in Canterbury a few days a week and love Kitch for fresh and healthy food, Refectory Kitchen for coffee and also Curzon for great films and the lovely atmosphere.

For gorgeous baby gifts focussing on the unisex and the unique – check out Moo Like a Monkey in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter – they might happen to stock Mint Rainbow too.😉

Also in the Creative Quarter is the lovely café Steep Street where I can often be found with my laptop and a coffee.

We also love taking the family to Lathe Barn, which a really charming children’s play farm with a fantastic tearoom serving the best homemade cake in Kent. They also have some little craft units on site so it’s always nice to have a little browse in those!

Finally, where can we find you online if we want to keep in touch?

Instagram – @mintrainbow_shop

Facebook – @MintRainbowShop

Website – www.mintrainbow.co.uk

Do get in touch and say hello- we love a chat 😊 

Thanks so much for your time and chatting with you about your business!

Tea & Chat with ‘Simply Ice Cream’

Tea & Chat with ‘Simply Ice Cream’

Hello! Great to have you here, the kettle’s just boiled – what would you like to drink?

A cup of tea would be lovely!

So, tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

Well my name is Sally Newall, I am 46 years old and I run a business making handmade ice cream near Ashford, Kent called Simply Ice Cream. I have been married to Robin for coming up to 19 years and we have 4 children, Jess 17, Matt 15, Tash 13 and William who’s 11

What inspired you to start your creative business?

I have always been into cooking, I travelled to Australia when I was 18 and ended up living there for 5 years where I trained as a chef, completed a business course and trained as an aerobics instructor! When I came back to the UK I took over from my mother’s business partner in the catering business she had been running since 1986. We had so many guests ask where they could buy the ice cream we were serving as dessert that I thought it would be a good idea to start making it in pots to sell into retail. The idea was that by selling a product into retail we could cut back on the catering so that I could spend more time with my husband and children on the weekends. However that has never panned out as I hadn’t realised how much marketing, PR, Sampling, attending events etc we would have to do on weekends to build brand awareness and expose the product to as many people as possible.

How did it all begin?

I set the ice cream company up in Oct 2005. Initially we trialled it in a local farm shop for 6 months from October to March – in retrospect it was a very strange time of year to launch!! However despite a very cold winter it did sell and so we then approached 3 other farm shops in 2006. We were selling the ice cream in 4 flavours to start with, honeycomb, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. We now have over 32 flavours selling into retail which includes a range of sorbets.

How has your business changed and developed since it started?

From that 1 farm shop we are now sold in Waitrose across the UK, supply around 350 outlets across the South East with our own distribution and also supply through distributors. We supply farmshops, delis, tourist attractions, theatres, airlines and food service outlets. We also supply Cook Food with their own label ice cream and late last year signed a contract with the Middle East to send product over to Saudi which is really exciting.

 

So, where does all this take place? What’s your workspace like?

When we first set up we worked from my kitchen but as the business grew we converted two large rooms in our house into a factory space. This is self-contained and not accessible from the house now. We have one room dedicated to production and the other is an office with storage!

What are the best and worst bits of running your business?

We have recently restructured the business which has been amazing. For the last 8 years my husband and I had been working up to 18 hours a day at times. (Robin helps out when he gets back from work but doesn’t work in the business on a day to day basis) the restructure means that we are gradually getting a little bit of our lives back. I am really lucky in that with the restructure we now have dedicated staff in various positions that are all doing a fantastic job. You can’t run a small business without good staff and my staff are wonderful!! I now have time to work on the business again and its future growth. Working in the freezer is probably my least favourite job but going to events and hearing feedback or getting an email from a fan makes everything worth it.

What are your hopes, plans or ambitions for the future?

Our aim is to continue growing the business. We are passionate about getting the ice cream out to as much of the UK and beyond as possible. It’s a very indulgent ice cream and unlike anything else on the market. We think everyone should try it!

 

Finally, where can we find you online if we want to keep in touch?

 

We are on Instagram @Simplyicecreamkent, Twitter @SimplyIceCream, Facebook – Simply Ice Cream, info@simplyicecream.co.uk and www.simplyicecream.co.uk

Thanks so much for your time and chatting to you about your business!

 

Tea & Chat with Framerstamp

Tea & Chat with Framerstamp

Hello! Great to have you here, the kettle’s just boiled – what would you like to drink? Coffee please

So, tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

I started Framerstamp about 18 months ago following a varied career. What I do is frame sets of postage stamps which people usually think is a bit weird and they usually need to see a picture or the real thing to understand what I’m doing. If I’m going along to a meeting I usually take a couple with me so that people can see what the framed stamps look like.

What inspired you to start your creative business? How did it all begin?

I’ve always liked stamps and had a small collection but what really started me thinking about making them accessible were the Olympic stamps. Having attended mainly Paralympic events I thought that stamps for each gold medal was a great souvenir of the occasion. Most people don’t really look at stamps but they are lovely miniature works of art and it struck me that if they could be mounted as sets then they would make a really attractive and interesting small picture. Since there are stamps for nearly everything from flowers to football, cats to Christmas and science to sport it also struck me that they meet a need for an inexpensive gift which would suit a lot of interests and make a gift quite special. Though not strictly speaking personalised they make a great personal gift and show that someone has thought about what you like.

How has your business changed and developed since it started?

I first of all started trading at Greenwich Market and for a year now have to been to several local craft fairs in Kent. I also have a website at www.framerstamp.com and sell online.

So, where does all this takes place? What’s your workspace like?

I work on the living room table but also need quite a lot of space for stock (not in the living room)- the stamps aren’t a problem of course but for the frames and mounts take up space. I keep meaning to move to a bigger area but haven’t quite got round to this yet.

What are the best and worst bits of running your business?

The best bit is people really liking them even if they don’t buy anything. It’s very reassuring that people appreciate the idea and like the finished product and admire the work and precision involved. I also have great conversations with people at craft fairs since many of them remember some sets of stamps or even have them somewhere in the loft. The most disappointing thing is what it takes to set up online selling – setting up a website doesn’t mean you’re going to sell online it takes a lot of time and graft. In that respect I thought I would spend less time on a computer and just enjoy creating framed stamps but it hasn’t really worked out like that.

What are your hopes, plans or ambitions for the future?

I’d like to think that more people look closely at stamps and do see them as small works of art if they’ve seen my products. From a business point of view I’d like to increase my online sales which are a trickle at the moment but growing.

Finally, where can we find you online if we want to keep in touch?

My website is at www.framerstamp.com and my email is info (at) framerstamp (dot) com

Thanks so much for your time and chatting to you about your business! 

Tea & Chat with ‘Keep in Local Events’

Tea & Chat with ‘Keep in Local Events’

Hello! Great to have you here, the kettle’s just boiled – what would you like to drink?

Decaf anything please or a fruit tea would be lovely if you have it thanks.

 

So, tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

My name’s Anne Marriner and I left a successful career in the construction industry about five years ago to start concentrating on selling my hallmarked silver jewellery. I’m married to Andrew and we have a son and daughter in their thirties whom we love to bits.

 

What inspired you to start your creative business? How did it all begin?

A love of design and metalworking (I was an only child and made steam engines in the garage with my Dad as a teenager) inspired me to make silver jewellery some years ago. I used to sell at several craft events and was sometimes disappointed at the low visitor numbers and the standard of work on offer. I thought “I can do better than this”. So in 2012 I started organising a small event at Coolings Nurseries in their Lecture room which held around 15 stalls. I quickly realised I had a steep learning curve, but now feel a lot more confidence in my ability to organise an outstanding sales opportunity for my crafting friends.

How has your business changed and developed since it started?

In 2013 I organised more events in different locations and my daughter, Sally, started to help in a casual way. The Coolings events grew in size as the management there discovered how footfall and turnover increased on the days when we were present. They hired us marquee space in 2013 and in 2014, completed a purpose-built event glasshouse and our visitor numbers quadrupled in number. They also invited us to organise their failing Farmer’s Market on the back of the success of our craft sales. At this point I became too busy for my own good and Sally officially joined the business. I love working with her.

 

So, where does all this take place? What’s your workspace like?

I have a cellar in my house where I make my silver jewellery and where I spend hours at my computer marketing and record keeping for our Keep it Local events. It’s very pleasant as there is a window and fully glazed door overlooking my garden where I can watch the birds coming and going – I’ve counted 24 species so far. Sally looks after the stallholder contact side of things and I manage the venue liaison, accounts and marketing.

 

What are the best and worst bits of running your business?

Without a doubt the people we’ve met are the very best part of our business….and having access to their wonderful crafts and food is a bonus! There’s always someone new to meet and something thing new to see, whether it’s a new piece from our existing pool of crafters or a new stallholder who we are welcoming for their first ever event! Our worst times are when we have disappointing visitor numbers – and it does happen sometimes for no apparent reason. We also have a reputation for cooking our stallholders! On Midsummers Day in June last year we held an event in the half-completed glasshouse. Boy, was it hot! But I’m glad to say Coolings have now installed much more ventilation and shading, so we’re once more looking forward to some good weather instead of praying for rain!

 

What are your hopes, plans or ambitions for the future?

I enjoy working with Sally in something which I hope will become a family business as it grows organically over the years. We’re always looking for new venues and crafters to keep our offering fresh and interesting for our regular visitors.

 

Finally, where can we find you online if we want to keep in touch?

Sally looks after Twitter and Facebook. She’s enjoys the banter and we quickly agreed that she is much better at it than I am! I look after the rest of our marketing activities including our website.

Thanks so much for your time and chatting to you about your business! 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity – and the coffee! It’s been a lovely morning!

Appleducks

Hello !

Are you sitting comfortably ? Appleducks are sitting with a nice cup of tea to say Hi to Handmade Kent & its readers.

Appleducks was set up in 2012 by friends Jo Roberts & Stephanie Brushfield. We are professional event managers specialising in high quality but affordable handmade craft events.

There has been a huge growth in “kitchen table” businesses in the last 5 years and we wanted to provide a platform for high quality makers to sell and give the public access to these unusual products.

Our first event was in 2012 and was held in Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells & we quickly built up a loyal following of exhibitors and shoppers.

We were then approached by the main shopping centre in Tunbridge Wells to organise a pop-up event in their event space

The event was great success for the Centre, the exhibitors and shoppers alike & subsequent events in the same venue have been very successful.

From our successes we have built up a large database of exhibitors who want to sell at Appleducks events. We handpick and invite exhibitors to apply to ensure we get right mix and high quality of goods. We like our exhibitors to demonstrate the unique qualities of their makes before we will add them to list – No tat allowed !

We believe our events are successful because we promote and market the event, venue and exhibitors as widely as possible using Social Media, Local and National Press, Local and National Radio.

We give customers access to high quality handmade goods, the opportunity to buy “one of a kind” goods and even more important give the chance to meet the makers and hear their story.

Our exhibitors are the clever ones – they are the ones that enable us to make our events sparkle !

 

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Tea & chat interview with Magdalena Marsden

Tea & chat interview with Magdalena Marsden

Hello! Great to have you here, the kettle’s just boiled – what would you like to drink?

Chicory coffee with milk if you have it!

So, tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

Where to start? I grew up in a quite untraditional family – my mum is an artist, potter and all round creative person. She used to make most of our clothes and I remember sitting under the sewing table playing with the offcuts when I was about 5 years old. I have always enjoyed creating something – whether it’s sewing or inventing a new chocolate truffles flavour for my online chocolate shop.

When I moved to UK about 16 years ago, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do – job vice – so I got a proper job and ended up managing a large social care company. Whilst doing my ‘proper job’ I would do the odd Christmas Craft Fair with my fabric decorations, handmade cards, vintage tea candles and more recently with my chocolate truffles.

Cocoa & Heart is the name of my little handmade business. I focus on running baking and chocolate making workshops, but also make and sell my chocolates through local craft and farmer’s markets. I also love sewing and crafting and run workshops in local craft shops.

What inspired you to start your creative business? How did it all begin?

I think, if I was not made redundant in 2011, I would not be where I’m now. I had really stressful job working as a Managing Director and even though I was playing with the idea of setting up my little business before, this was not just a job you can walk away from. When I handed my work phone in and for the first time in 11 years had un interrupted weekend, I realised that I could not go back to the same job. I registered my business in 2012 and spent the first 3 months researching, setting up website and social media.

 

How has your business changed and developed since it started?

Originally I focused on the sewing and crafts, but then the food side of the business really took off and I had to re-think what my business was about. I always knew, that it would be more difficult to incorporate all the areas into my business, but I really didn’t want to focus on just one. So, now my business is all about handmade living – I can teach you how to bake bread or homemade cheese, make you chocolate truffles or help you with your sewing.

 

So, where does all this takes place? What’s your workspace like?

This is where I work most of my time – my kitchen. You can often find me catching up with e-mails on my laptop whist the bread bakes in the oven. I do have a ‘proper’ workspace in the attic where I sew and do my admin, but find myself working everywhere in the house.

What are the best and worst bits of running your business?

The best bit? You can do pretty much what you like.

 

The worst bit? You can do pretty much what you like – which means you need to be super organised and know, which bit is actually worth doing or not!

 

What are your hopes, plans or ambitions for the future?

At the moment, I’m considering to get more space for my baking workshops and I’m planning to start running sewing and crafting workshops through my own business.

 

Finally, where can we find you online if we want to keep in touch?

www.cocoaandheart.co.uk

www.facebook.com/cocoaandheart

www.twitter.com/Cocoaandheart

www.pinterest.com/cocoaandheart

 

Thanks so much for your time and chatting to you about your business! 

Thank you for having me and great to talk to you!