“From a simple idea to one of the biggest craft brands in the business”
If you’d asked me when I started Crafter’s Companion where the journey would take us, I could never have envisioned that we’d be sitting here today. Having taken the business from its local, North East roots to its current status as a global craft retailer, with the support of my fantastic team, it’s been absolutely amazing to see all our hard work and dedication pay off.
As you read this today, my company Crafter’s Companion is a multi-million-pound international craft retailer which employs more than 200 people across the UK, Europe and the US.
Aside from heading the business, much of my time is now spent making TV shopping appearances all over the world. I have ‘MBE’ after my name. I’m the youngest-ever dragon to have joined the BBC’s Dragons’ Den. And all this while trying to juggle and balance life as a wife and mum of two young boys. But this wasn’t always the case.
I was born into an entrepreneurial family; my parents have always run their own business and have owned a decorating store for more than 30 years. Having grown up surrounded by career driven people and having watched my parents reap the rewards of owning their own businesses – I knew one day I wanted to do the same.
My own business journey started on a year-long placement at a small craft company, while at university. This opened my eyes to an industry I didn’t know existed. By the time I finished my placement I had spotted a gap in the market – people making homemade cards were reliant on using standard envelopes. What if they could make a bespoke envelope for each card they made? And so, my first crafting product The Enveloper was born. It was to be the first of many.
From here, I turned my university bedroom into Crafter’s Companion’s first office. In 2006 I graduated with a first-class honours degree – the business was already generating sales of over £500,000 thanks to our success on the craft shows on the shopping channel Ideal World. The rest, as they say, is history and you can read more about the company here.
Much to my surprise in 2016, I was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to the economy. To this day I honestly have no idea where the nomination originated but I am immensely grateful.
In 2007, I married my husband, Simon who at the time was working as a management accountant. In 2008 he left his job and came to work for Crafter’s Companion as managing director.
When I was 29, I fell pregnant with our first son. I had always wanted a family and it was time for me to take my foot off the gas and start to hand some of my responsibilities over to my more than capable team. I now have two gorgeous boys and, I’m pleased to report, we have continued to go from strength to strength. It has allowed me to spend some quality time with my family – although it’s been quite the juggling act!
I’m so lucky to have a supportive group of people around me who keep me grounded, help me to continue to develop and grow the business the way we always have, as a family. It’s been quite the journey so far and I am privileged to have been part of it.
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