Small Business Spotlight
Welcome to my new blog feature where each week I spotlight a small business and their products, from my own suppliers to fabulous small businesses which I love in the local area. Read all about the wonderful craftspeople and suppliers who I work with and meet the people behind some of Fowey's own amazing small independent businesses. Take a look below at this week's feature (and read on for previous week's small business heroes).
Sally from Sea Pink Studio
Our latest brilliant Cornish made range is the bright and colourful hand painted jewellery made by Sally in the Sea Pink Studio in Truro. Lightweight and easy to wear Sally's wooden earrings and necklaces add a pop of colour to an outfit and fun to your day. Sea Pink Studio started back in 2018 as a hobby, creating colourful necklaces for friends as a way of being more "hands-on" after 15 years at a computer as a graphic designer. Sally now has a range of over 70 earring, necklace and bracelet styles in an array of colourful designs.
Sally has always had a passion for colourful interiors and fashion and loves making things so spending her time creating joyful jewellery seemed like a natural choice. She loves the flexibility of being her own boss and having the time to work around looking after her two boys (a feeling I know all too well myself!). Sally especially loves how each day is different, some days she is making, some days she is out selling at local fairs and events and some days working on things like marketing.
Cate Merrin, local author
I'm super excited to be stocking Polruan-based author Cate Merrin's latest hilarious children's book Captain Seasick's Royal Appointment. Having spent some 30 years as a primary school teacher Cate had always thought there was a hole in the market for a slightly longer children's picture book, and realised that to engage children of all ages, from nursery to 99, humour was key! Especially simple toilet humour, after all we all giggle at Grandad's trumping (although in my case it was my Granny snoozing on the sofa after watching Coronation Street) and how good is it to share those giggles with each other whilst reading a book. Captain Seasick was born from Cate's personal experiences with her four boys fishing in the Fowey estuary from their little rainbow striped boat, "Up She Comes" and feeling very queasy whilst the boys looked on and laughed (that would happen in my household too!).
Captain Seasick's Royal Appointment (particularly apt in this Jubilee year) features a Big Beach Clean event, something Cate feels passionately about. As a frequent water user Cate finds it soul destroying how much plastic waste she sees on a daily basis and hopes that by reading and chuckling at Captain Seasick's adventures she can get the message across that we all need to work together to protect our marine life and beautiful beaches and coastlines. Children of every age can hunt on each page to find Patrick the Periwinkle and then maybe look on the beaches for those little yellow shells. Cate told me "Hopefully my books promote the same sense of excitement in children that I feel every time I look out of my window and see the ever changing face of the Cornish sea".
Cate doesn't do social media but if you'd like to get in touch with Captain Seasick himself then why not send him an email at email@example.com and tell him what you think of the book. Do also keep an eye out for Captain Seasick & The Treasure Chest, due out in early October 2022.
This week we're focussing on one of my newest suppliers, local artist Rachael of Lowenna Designs who is all about colourful, nature inspired art to help make the everyday little things brighter! Rachael told me that she has loved painting ever since she can remember and wanted to somehow put that passion to use so she started Lowenna Designs to try and spread happiness through art. As her brand and herself as an artist have evolved Rachael is now inspired to keep creating to spread love and awareness for our beautiful planet.
I asked Rachael what she loves most about what she does. She told me that she just loves to paint and that creating beautiful things for people to enjoy is what keeps her going. Rachael has always wanted her art to be accessible to everyday people, whether that be a product they can use day to day or a painting they just love. So what she really loves the most is seeing customers who are passionate about my products and enjoy using them.
Fiona, Butterbeans of Fowey
After a chance meeting at a local playgroup, our star baker Fiona has become one of my closest friends. Having semi-retired from her work in clinical research, Fiona was keen to fill her time with her passion for baking and us meeting just as I was about to open the beach shop was fortuitous for us both. Butterbeans is probably the only business in the world which combines clinical research with baking, it must be something to do with the fact that both need careful precision and creativity.
Fiona started baking for me as soon as the shop opened in May 2017 and still loves it more than ever. The pandemic saw Fiona's semi-retirement somewhat crumble and she's spent the last two years working with the Vaccine Taskforce on COVID trials as well as keeping up with our baking, no mean feat! Fiona assures me that after a hard day's work she loves getting our "more cake please" messages as she finds baking relaxing and rewarding and simply loves being in the kitchen baking.
One of the things I love the most about Fiona's baking is her never-ending ability to produce new and interesting bakes, often taking inspiration from the seasonal produce around us. When the apple tree in her garden starts to fruit we get apple based bakes for weeks (you can't get more local than that) and the time she spends out on the coast path picking blackberries gives rise to pleading customer messages "please tell me you've got Fiona's blackberry sundaes on the counter today". It's so important to me to be able to sell genuinely home-baked goods and I know from the wonderful feedback from customers how much people really appreciate that too. Sadly Fiona isn't able to accommodate specialist diets as she's baking in her home kitchen but watch this space for a forthcoming feature on how we fill that gap so well. Fiona is always happy to take baking commissions for special occasions or just because so please do just drop me a line if you'd like me to connect you up.
I am proud to use two fabulous small Cornish brands to supply our ice-cream and this week, I'm turning the spotlight on our newest supplier, Gerry's Originals, a small family business creating wonderful ice-cream & sorbets using locally produced milk & cream, hand made in Launceston, the ancient capital of Cornwall.
Twenty years ago Serena and her late husband Gerry ran a small bistro in Launceston and as well as being a fantastic destination for amazing food, it became the place to go to for delicious dairy ice cream desserts. Their ice-cream was, and still is, made the way the best ice cream should be: whole fresh milk and double cream with real fruit and nothing artificial. After Gerry sadly died Serena was inspired to continue to make the best possible ice cream and
name it in honour of Gerry to fulfil his dream of letting as many people possible get to taste and enjoy his recipes. Gerry's ethos was all about using the best ingredients possible in small batches and not become an industrial product and that remains true today.
Gerrys Originals can be found in a select number of only the best establishments throughout Cornwall (as well as a couple of places in Devon & Dorset). As well as making the ice-cream they also sell direct from their own kiosk at Widemouth Bay near Bude. Why not pop along and meet Serena and her partner Al during the spring and summer, they make a mean ice-cream milkshake! Gerry's Originals also make our super popular dog friendly ice-cream so don't let your pooch miss out.
Ethan Friskney-Bryer: Fitzroy & North Street Kitchen
You can't help but have noticed the buzz around two of Fowey's most popular newer restaurants, Fitzroy and North Street Kitchen. Both are seafood-focused and produce-led with NSK a super casual lunch spot on the river overlooking the lifeboat at Berrills Yard and Fitzroy a more intimate dinner spot in town, each with a natural wine list. Much like my reimagining of defunct toilets into a beach shop, both Fitzroy and NSK are housed in sympathetic and creative refurbishments of dilapidated buildings across the town. But what's really special is what comes out of their kitchens and that's down to head chef Ethan Friskney-Bryer.
Best Makes Cornwall
If you've visited the shop you won't have failed to notice the eye-catching brightly coloured display of earrings by Best Makes Cornwall. One of our best sellers since we started stocking them and always an absolute struggle for me not to hide numerous pairs away for myself when unpacking each delivery!
Becky and Tara have been best friends forever and it's their friendship which fuels their passion for their work. They had always dreamt of starting their own creative business together, yearning to create a place of positivity which makes people feel good. In 2019 they took a leap of faith and Best Makes was born. As well as stocking shops around Cornwall, they plan and create a fabulous new collection each month, each with a different theme. From collections inspired by their gorgeous daughters to seasonal themes such as Christmas and Valentines' Day I never fail to be amazed just how they keep coming up with such amazing and often intricate items each time. Introducing new textures, new elements and new materials on a regular basis their creativity is seemingly endless and long may that last!
We have a selection of Best Makes dangly earrings on sale here, stud earrings on sale here and more on the shop floor itself. You can find out more about their recent collections at their website here and why not give them a follow on Instagram or Facebook to see what's coming next. As well as sharing their stunning creations they also regularly share photos of their daily lives by the sea in Cornwall and it really comes across in their posts quite how connected they are to each other and how that informs their gorgeous creations. Job of dreams right?
The Pretty Picnic Fowey
The Pretty Picnic Fowey provides beautifully styled pop up picnics in places of your choosing, hand picked locations and & garden spaces. They also offer deliciously fresh grazing boxes, brunch & afternoon tea boxes, celebration slates, platters and grazing tables.
I asked business owner Rachael what inspired her to open The Pretty Picnic. Rachael explained that having launched a wedding planning business just as the pandemic broke, business became unpredictable and after 12 months she decided that she needed to change her path but implement the skills she had from wedding planning into something else. With some planning skills and a love of picnics and pretty tablescapes The Pretty Picnic Fowey was born. Rachael particularly loves setting up her picnics and seeing her clients' faces when they arrive. She also adores putting together the grazing, brunch and afternoon tea boxes and adding the finishing touches such as edible petals, dried lavender and pretty herbs.
I ordered one of Rachael's Father's Day grazing boxes last year and we all enjoyed it so much that I've developed an arguably unhealthy addiction to manchego cheese drizzled with honey as a result, delish!
If you are looking for a special picnic treat in the Fowey area for whatever occasion then definitely get in touch with Rachael, all the details are below.
Facebook: The Pretty Picnic Fowey
Email Rachael by clicking here