Kate of Kensington pride themselves on creating exceptional handmade home-ware, inspired by the great British countryside. To find out how it all started, the inspiration behind the company and future plans, read our interview with Lizzie Haddon from Kate of Kensington…
How did it all start?
It all started from Kates spare room in her flat in Kensington where she would make coasters for her friends as gifts. As this became more of a craft rather than a gifting process, she moved over to the Apple Market in Covent Garden where she started trading. You can still find us there today!
Over time it has just grown incredibly quickly, and it still is. After numerous retail shows and meeting lots of positive and motivational people, we are now in numerous stockists all over the country and we have a great online presence with our website. And it doesn’t look like we are going to be slowing down anytime soon!
The story behind the name…
With it all starting in Kensington, the name came about rather easily. It was made by Kate who was living in Kensington. There you go! Kate of Kensington was born.
Where are you based?
We are based on a beautiful farm on the edge of London. It’s a stable farm with over 45 horses and 5 beautiful rescue sheep. There are always lots of dogs to fuss over too!
What inspires you?
Being located on a farm gives us an abundance of inspiration. Just driving into work you will see pheasants strolling around the fields and jays darting from tree to tree. We always make sure all our bird feeders that hang outside the office window are full as simply watching them fills us with joy. Location really is key to our well-being as well as our daily inspiration.
What is your creation process?
We tend to look at trends and things which we find ourselves drawn to as a team. We are all very like minded yet unique so we find ourselves picking up on things or ideas around the same subjects. This makes it very easy when it comes to batting ideas around for new designs or product extensions. This then leads onto a design led meeting where sketches and watercolours are done and placements are experimented with. The designs are then tested on the marble to check the composition works with the colouring of the marble.
What makes you, your brand or products unique?
All our platters are handmade right here in the UK. From the concept of a new design and the watercolour artwork, right through to the finished product being packaged up and sent out to our stockists and customers. We pride ourselves on creating unique pieces full of rustic charm.
What is your next project?
We have just completed our reed diffuser line which has hit the ground running! We are just starting to enter the world of candles and we are doing lots of research. We are also looking into textiles. This is all very early on but we are excited to start exploring all of our options and brainstorming ideas!
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
Research, research and some more research! It isn’t all serious though, we are all very excited about the future and what is to come. It mostly comes natural to our team as we love what we do. The brain never stops so even on our days off we are taking pictures on our phones of things which inspire us.
What is your biggest achievement?
Simply being here today is a massive achievement. We were at our second Chelsea Flower Show in May and we were one of only three stands which received a 5 star award. That was a wonderful day for the Team!
We have also made our trade show debut this year. With three under our 2019 belt, we keep having to pinch ourselves at how much people really love the product. Working with marble and creating these pieces day after day, we can take them for granted, but meeting people who are seeing it for the first time really reminds us just how unique we are. It’s a very rewarding reminder.
What is your best-selling product/line?
The marble platters. They are our bread and butter. We are starting to notice what each size is bought for and we have some strong contenders for best selling designs, but this all changes so quickly depending on the time of the year.
We try and keep all the designs fresh and up to date. Every year we assess the designs and we keep the best 6 and revamp the others.
What do you love about Country Living Fairs?
We love the people! Everyone is always so kind and welcoming which is why we come back year after year. We love meeting our loyal fans which is still sinking in! Without wonderful people and their continuous support, we wouldn’t be here.
Also, the locations are just great! Always set in such beautiful places!
Your three top tips for crafters and makers…
- Believe in yourself! – hard work and positivity are the best things you can possess.
- Don’t take no for an answer – I don’t mean throw your toys out of the pram, but one ‘no’ doesn’t mean everyone will say it. And if someone does, then maybe in a years’ time that ‘no’ will become a ‘YES’.
- Make sure you’re happy with your craft – You can’t sell something that you don’t love. Make sure you are happy and that will shine through your work.
Any advice for fledgling businesses…
Just go for it! If you are brave enough to take the leap, then you have every chance of success. You may hit bumps in the road but what adventure doesn’t have its problems. Everything is solvable so just make it exciting. You should be enjoying these moments so enjoy them. You have got this!