Elaine, what’s your connection with Old Coulsdon/Caterham?
I have lived most of my life in the Caterham/Old Coulsdon area, until seven years ago. I taught full-time in a local primary school, and raised my own children in Caterham schools. However, I have always dreamt of living by the sea. I am drawn to it!
When did you start your business?
My family and I made the decision to sell our house and move to Weymouth. It was here that the creative side of me began to emerge, and I started looking on the beaches for driftwood, and items that come from the sea, to make into art. After a storm you would be amazed at what is thrown onto our sandy cove. Even our picture frames are made in the UK
How has your business developed?
It has certainly evolved over the last seven years: I set up a home business making unusual, unique and eco-friendly gifts, and I now have an online shop with hand-crafted and Fairtrade products. In today’s world, we need to be much more aware of our environment, and I am passionate about doing my bit to help. I do not sell anything that is not handmade or Fairtrade.
Which suppliers do you use?
For our baskets and scarves, we use companies that make a difference to women in India and Madagascar, giving them a good wage to raise their families.
What drives you to do this?
I was so fed up with the non-existent service you can receive online: no phone number, difficulty contacting for advice, and the same types of products that are imported into the UK. I wanted to make a difference, and be easily accessible via the phone or email. I really do try to give outstanding service, and make ordering a good experience. Our five-star reviews reflect that our customers feel the same.
What products are you working on for Christmas?
We are busy making little driftwood Christmas trees, driftwood decorations for big Christmas trees, and other personalised items.