We asked them…

These suc­cess­ful en­trepreneurs all started their ven­tures from the kitchen ta­ble and now ex­hibit at the Coun­try Liv­ing Fairs. We asked them what ad­vice they would pass on to other busi­ness own­ers

Country Living (UK) - - Seasonal Inspiration -

MADDER CUTCH & CO, TEX­TILES

Madder Cutch & Co was set up by Ni­cola Cliffe, a chem­istry teacher with a life­long love of tex­tiles, who left the class­room to fol­low her dream of go­ing to art col­lege. Af­ter com­plet­ing an MA with dis­tinc­tion in sus­tain­able tex­tile de­sign at Chelsea Col­lege of Art and De­sign, she set up the busi­ness with the goal of com­bat­ing the overuse of syn­thetic dyes (mad­der­cutchandco.com).

NI­COLA SAYS: “Plan­ning, pa­tience and per­se­ver­ance are key. Tex­tiles can be a com­pet­i­tive in­dus­try, so it’s im­por­tant to know what you want to achieve. Care­fully plan any ideas you have and be pa­tient with re­search and test­ing, but once you’ve done that, just go for it as best you know how. Listen to oth­ers – pos­i­tiv­ity from friends and fam­ily has not only pushed me to be­lieve in my­self but helps me to keep go­ing when things get tough. Of­fer some­thing unique and sim­ply get on with do­ing what you love.”

HEYLAND & WHIT­TLE, SOAP AND HOME FRA­GRANCE

Paddy Heyland and Ur­sula Whit­tle met at a trade show where he sold French paint­ings and she jew­ellery. They soon com­bined their re­spec­tive re­tail tal­ents, even­tu­ally buy­ing their own soap-mak­ing busi­ness in 2003. Four­teen years on, they’re still go­ing strong, pro­duc­ing a sul­phate- and paraben-free range of hand­made soaps (hey­lan­dand­whit­tle.co.uk).

UR­SULA SAYS: “Be de­ter­mined and plan – plan­ning is cru­cial. It’s in­cred­i­bly valuable to know the mar­ket you’re go­ing into, so make sure you do your re­search be­fore­hand. Work out how much mak­ing your prod­uct is go­ing to cost, stage by stage. I’ve also found it help­ful to use skills I’ve gained in pre­vi­ous jobs; you learn some great lessons over the years and these can be use­ful when you least ex­pect. One thing I try to live by is to have a good sense of hu­mour – it re­ally does help you through the ups and downs.”

FUNKY BUNCH, FLORISTS

Funky Bunch was founded by friends Fiona Lowe and Mary Jane Palmer, who met while study­ing floristry at Mer­rist Wood Col­lege in Sur­rey. When an in­te­rior de­signer friend asked them to source some ar­ti­fi­cial flow­ers, they dis­cov­ered there was a gap in the mar­ket for beau­ti­ful fake ver­sions and so set about mak­ing their own (fbflow­ers.co.uk).

FIONA SAYS: “I think it’s es­sen­tial to work with some­one who shares the same pas­sion and in­ter­ests, as Mary Jane and I do. We stud­ied to­gether, which was a great op­por­tu­nity to dis­cover how sim­i­lar our style was. In floristry it’s also vi­tal to have a broad knowl­edge of your cho­sen area, as you never know what you’ll be asked to cre­ate. Clients are the key to our busi­ness, so pri­ori­tis­ing cus­tomer ser­vice is im­por­tant and some­thing we al­ways try to keep at the fore­front of our work.”

MIS­TER BER­WYN, HOME­WARE DE­SIGNER

Mis­ter Ber­wyn was launched in July 2016 by il­lus­tra­tor Amy Brown who hand­paints all her de­signs in her stu­dio with her two ter­ri­ers for com­pany. Skilled crafts­peo­ple across the UK then help to turn them into ce­ram­ics, sta­tionery and home­ware (mis­ter­ber­wyn.com).

AMY SAYS: “My ad­vice would be not to ne­glect the small details, as it’s the lit­tle fin­ish­ing touches that can el­e­vate a piece and turn it into some­thing to trea­sure. And sur­round your­self with tal­ented peo­ple. I work along­side some bril­liant cre­atives who help trans­form my il­lus­tra­tions into tan­gi­ble prod­ucts. They so of­ten in­spire me and show me how I can take my work to the next level. With this in mind, I would al­ways rec­om­mend that you make the most of re­sources around you – you never know when or where you will stum­ble upon a bril­liant idea.”

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