As it was for many people, 2020 was the year that we took a breath and a little time to think about what’s really important.
Obviously, some got more time to do that than others. Jo worked through the whole lockdown period as MD of her successful promotions, print and fulfilment business.
Meanwhile, I (Caroline) spent part of the year on furlough. My company were really good at keeping me and other furloughed colleagues engaged in the business and I kept up with as much training as I could, but 2 pre-school children out of nursery provision kept me more than occupied most days.
Looking back, through my favourite rose tinted glasses, lockdown #1 it was a great time for my family 'bubble'. Although we really missed the contact with our extended family, we spent time together that we just never would have done otherwise. Those months away ‘normal life’ went some way to restoring the balance that I had found almost impossible to strike in my career in advertising.
As I’m regularly reminded by the media, the medical world (and my energy levels) I’ve had my children slightly ‘later in life’ so a work/life balance was not really something on my radar until recently. It took a national lockdown to make me realise that it wasn’t a goal to work to, it had become a necessity to me.
I cannot lie though, a few months in and the novelty of Joe Wicks and endless crafting was wearing a little thin and I was in need of a project to stretch my grey matter a little, so, in steps my good friend Jo Shippen. ‘I’ve got a little idea that I need you to help me with in your spare time’ she said.
I had worked in Jo’s team over 15 years ago and when I left her to return to advertising in 2008 we remained close friends. Artisan Hampers was her brain child but she’ll be the first to admit that she is great at ideas, less so at implementation, which works out perfectly because I that’s where I thrive.
It started as helping my friend a few hours here and there, mostly on evenings and trips to makers markets on weekends but the more I got involved the more I could see that this was a business that I could enjoy working in and add some real value to.
I was fortunate to get a call back to my day job in September and that kept me VERY BUSY for the rest of the year but in December I took the difficult decision to take a complete change of direction and I joined Jo in January this year. The 'dream team' were reunited and together we launched Artisan Hampers in February this year.
Even though Jo is a very successful business owner and I have many years of strong project management experience to draw upon, there are days that we say ‘what the hell are we doing?’ but it always comes back to the ‘why?’ We make a great team, and we have a launch product that we are proud of. We have big plans for the future too and whether it be good or bad, we are learning something new every day of the week.
We are a small business and love helping our customers create the perfect personalised gift. Every sale makes a real difference to us and there is usually a little dance that accompanies the ping of the email when an order comes in so picture that if you dare. Take a look at our lovely products here and help keep the dancing going
So, there you have it, the start of the Artisan story. There’ll probably be more plot twists ahead than Line of Duty but we’re up for the challenge looking forward to seeing where it takes us.
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