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Kent Small Businesses – June Edition

insideKENT’s Jess Marshall gets to know some of Kent’s inspiring small businesses

 

Sarah Heward – Daisy Elephant

After becoming a stay-at-home mum in 2014, Sarah Heward decided she wanted a hobby. So, having always had an affinity with all things crafty, Sarah picked up a sewing machine and started her sewing business making bags, cushions, and later deciding to focus more on memory quilts, as well as designing and printing t-shirts. Once all Sarah’s youngsters had gone off to school full time, she decided to jump into the business world head first and the Daisy Elephant Craft Den was officially born. Owning a business can be a steep learning curve so we asked Sarah what her biggest lesson has been: “I’ve learned to be a lot calmer about things – I’ve always been very conscientious, but it’s important to prioritise and not worry excessively about things you can’t control.” After Covid hit just five months after Daisy Elephant opened for business, Elizabeth has felt herself spending the last two years unendingly adapting and changing her business plan, so now with a (hopefully) clear horizon ahead, this crafting extraordinaire has vowed to settle down into her original business plan – to create a buzzing hub of creative activity for the people of Ashford.

www.daisyelephant.co.uk

www.facebook.com/daisyelephant

 

Elizabeth Tweed – 44 Charing

When Elizabeth Tweed was looking for a new house in 2009, she had no idea where a simple viewing for her new potential home would lead her. With an empty shop included in the sale, Elizabeth started contemplating what to fill the space with, and having had a lifelong love of art and all things accessories, the decision was in fact a pretty easy one. After opening 44 Charing, Elizabeth quickly picked up that her customers were desperate for good quality clothes they could actually try on, and soon clothing for every occasion was included in the shop’s merchandise. Now over 13 years later, 44 Charing is a thriving retail business set in the heart of Ashford. Though the many lockdowns that came with the Covid pandemic put untold stress on both the business and Elizabeth, the shop has luckily come out the other side and is now flourishing in the post-pandemic environment. We asked Elizabeth what advice she has for other unsuspecting business owners and she said: “I would say to anyone who has an ambition to open a shop to decide your budget and don’t risk your savings and security. However, Richard Branson did exactly that so what do I know!”

www.44-charing.co.uk

Brigitte Orasinski – Strange Cargo

Multi-award-winning arts charity, Strange Cargo, run by artistic director Brigitte Orasinski has been bringing spectacular art installations to the people of Kent for over 27 years. Since starting life back in 1994, Strange Cargo has pioneered the Folkestone Charivari Carnival, as well as actioning projects such as public artwork for Folkestone Triennial, and Everywhere Means Something to Someone – a people’s guide book to Romney Marsh. Since 2013, Strange Cargo has also specialised in delivering light festivals to the people of Kent, bringing international artists into residential settings to create spectacular works of art. We asked Brigitte how Strange Cargo has evolved over the years and she explained that though many of the principles the business started out with remain the same, such as their mantra: Access, Participation and Excellence the company is now less performance-based, with the light festivals and public artworks becoming a staple part of their programme. Clearly passion runs through the very veins of this business, so we asked Brigitte what she loves most about her work and she replied: “What is most lovely is being able to touch people’s lives, of all ages, through the arts.’

www.strangecargo.org.uk

Instagram – strangecargoart  and strangecargoguidebook

Facebook – strange cargo – art

Twitter – strangecargoart

 

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