Meet the business owners behind Tide’s Gift Guide!


This December, we kicked off the festivities and encouraged everyone to shop small with our Tide Gift Guide – 2022 edition. We featured a wide range of eco-friendly handcrafted and artisanal gift ideas made with love by our very own Tide members from across the UK.

Now that you’ve discovered the beautiful creations and products, we’d like to introduce you to the brilliant minds behind some of them.

How they came up with their business idea, what they love most about being business owners, and their biggest challenge… we’ve discussed it all and more. In their own words, our Members unwrap the Festive Member Spotlight!

Tell us about your business and when you started?

Hera, Founder of New Beginnings

Hera, Founder of New Beginnings

Hi, I’m Hera! I’m based in Birmingham. I started NB because I wanted to create natural, cruelty-free self-care products that were affordable for all. I believe that nature has the answer to everything, so I hope to bring my knowledge and understanding of natural remedies to you.

Nikki, Founder of The Natural Crayon Company

Nikki, Founder of The Natural Crayon Company

Hi! I’m Nikki, the creator of The Natural Crayon Company. We make beautiful, unique, natural wax crayons. Our vegan-friendly crayons are handmade from scratch using sustainably sourced, plant-based waxes and food-grade pigments.

Back in Christmas 2019, I purchased some lovely personalised crayons for my daughter, but they came packaged with a lot of bubble wrap and plastic. So I started looking into how to make my own, and The Natural Crayon Company was born!

Aideen, Founder of Fennec & Darwin 

Aideen and Brenda, Founders of Fennec & Darwin 

Hello there, I’m Aideen. Fennec & Darwin is a small, family-run women’s footwear and accessories business based in Harrogate that I run with my mum, Breda. 

We specialise in small European brands and have a fabulous range of funky yet sophisticated footwear, including everything from vegan styles to full leather.The inspiration behind the business first came from my huge love for a unique style and my previous career in fashion and footwear buying. So in 2019, I decided to take the plunge and launch Fennec & Darwin!

Kevin, Founder of Vinagogo

Kevin, Founder of Vinagogo

Hi, I’m Kevin, and I’m the Founder of Vinagogo Wines. I’ve always wanted to work in the wine industry and was fortunate in 2020 to switch careers and launch Vinagogo as an e-commerce wine store. Wine ticks many boxes for me beyond the simple pleasure of a nice glass of wine. It’s full of history, mystery and the industry is constantly changing, so there’s always something new to learn. 

We focus on small producers who farm using organic methods and produce low-intervention wines. Wines are made as they have been for thousands of years without additives and artificial ingredients. You should be drinking great wine; Vinagogo is here to help!

Anya, Founder of The Silk Collection

Anya, Founder of The Silk Collection

Hi, Anya here; I founded The Silk Collection in 2020 during the pandemic. It started as a passion project – I was gifted a silk pillowcase many years ago and was amazed by the big difference it made to the quality of my skin, hair, and sleep.

Our brand is all about everyday luxury and making silk accessories part of your daily routine. One of our core focuses is improving well-being, and we donate a portion of all profits to Mind Charity to support mental health awareness – we give back with every order we receive. We are based in London but sell mainly online at the moment via our website and on Not On The High Street.

Basil, Founder of Buzzrock

Basil, Founder of Buzzrock

Hi there, I am Basil! Our family has been making dem bellies full for over 30 years from our takeaway in Manchester, and at events like the Notting Hill Carnival and Glastonbury. We have bottled our magic with our incredible tasting Jerk Marinades that are vegan, gluten-free, and made with great natural ingredients and we have many exciting new products waiting to follow.

We have a loyal following in the North West, but we’re keen to bring our sauces to shelves so more people can feel the buzz. We believe we can inspire, educate, and engage more people to cook Caribbean food.

Rachel, Founder of Gower Lavender

Rachel, Founder of Gower Lavender

Hello, my name is Rae Howells. My husband, Phil Poucher and I wanted to start a locally rooted planet-friendly business on Gower in Wales, where we live. I absolutely love lavender and bees and that’s what inspired us. We planted our first lavender in 2017, and we used it to make a range of natural soaps, hand cream, pillow sprays and syrup. We now employ five people and rely on an ever-expanding team of freelancers. 

What did growing your business look like for you? 

Hera, Founder of New Beginnings

For me, it’s about helping people and creating confidence in my customers that my products work.

Nikki, Founder of The Natural Crayon Company

Messy! Building and running my own business has been a huge learning curve that I’m still trying to navigate! A lot of it is research, networking and trial and error to see what works and drives growth!

Aideen, Founder of Fennec & Darwin 

As I began trading in 2019, my business was still fairly new when covid started. Despite the challenges, I found that using the right tools, such as Tide, helped me keep on top of the day-to-day tasks and allowed me more time to focus on growing the business. I relaunched my website in 2020, opened a joint pop-up shop in Leeds city centre with another small business in 2021, and am now in my first permanent physical store, which I opened in Harrogate in March 2022.

Kevin, Founder of  Vinagogo

Growing the business meant having a solid foundation in place so we could try different merchandising strategies to see what would work.

Anya, Founder of The Silk Collection 

At first, it was building a community on social media and getting the word out there – I was blown away by the initial response we received. Our following on Instagram grew quickly, which meant we were able to grow much quicker than I had ever imagined! It made it difficult to keep up with demand at the start. After launching in September 2020, we sold out completely in the weeks leading up to Christmas, it was amazing and highlighted the potential to grow the business. From there, it became more focused on planning ahead, launching new products and continuing to grow our community.

Basil, Founder of Buzzrock

Buzzrock’s marinades and sauce

We are proud of where we are, the journey we’ve been on, what came before us and what will go on, so we want to preserve that richness in Buzz. Growing our business involved us finding a way to preserve the legacy of Buzzrock. We’ve been operating for over 30 years through word of mouth, and to elevate our business, we had to enter into the world of technology. We began our manufacturing journey in 2020 and increased our marketing. We have since launched our website, online store, Instagram and Facebook. We have also attended maker markets and pop-up stores in Harvey Nichols and worked with the Guardian and Adobe to launch food campaigns.

Rachel, Founder of Gower Lavender

Being open to new possibilities, taking our customers on our journey with us, and keeping our business people-focused are the main ingredients for us. We’ve been most successful when we have worked with other local businesses, listened and responded to customer requests, or taken on brilliant people to work for us.

What do you love the most about running your company?

Hera, Founder of New Beginnings

When I create a bespoke natural remedy for someone who has been struggling with something for a while, and it helps them!

Nikki, Founder of The Natural Crayon Company

The classic stick set from The Natural Crayon Company

I love that I can tailor my tasks depending on my mood. If I feel like moving, I can blast some music and bounce around my kitchen whilst making a batch of crayons. If I feel like heavy thinking, I can tackle my accounts or develop marketing and growth strategies!

Aideen, Founder of Fennec & Darwin 

I absolutely love the freedom of picking styles that excite me. I love finding something special that I know my customers will love and seeing their reactions when they find the perfect shoes.

Kevin, Founder of  Vinagogo

I love connecting people with wine. I listen carefully to my customers, what they like and are looking for and then either get them the best wine to suit their needs or, better yet, introduce them to a wine they’ve never tried, but I know based on what I heard they would like.

Anya, Founder of The Silk Collection

The Silk Collection’s silk eyemask

It makes my day when I receive feedback from our customers! Whether they reach out after using our silk pillowcases to help with their hair loss or after undergoing chemotherapy, how much better they sleep after using our silk eye mask; or how they’ve converted to silk hair scrunchies and are never going back. I also love when people reach out to say they received our gift boxes and loved the packaging and design. A lot of thought went into this so it really makes it worth it!

Basil, Founder of Buzzrock

Everything we do is about feeding the soul. We want you to feel the Buzz deep down in your belly so it warms you from the inside out. We believe the kitchen is the heart and the rhythm of the home, so good food is best served with family and friends (that become family). We want to give you the confidence to make your kitchen the heartbeat of the home. So you can feel the rhythm pulsing throughout. The sounds of the chopping knife and meat sizzling, the smell of the symphony of spices and vibrant colours dancing on the stove..!

Rachel, Founder of Gower Lavender

I love the community we’ve built – the people we work with and our customers are the core of our business. I also get a huge kick out of developing and launching new products. On a personal level, being my own boss means I can be flexible for my family (we have two daughters aged 13 and 10), which is brilliant. And in the summer, sitting in the lavender field with bees fussing around my head is heavenly.

Your business is environmentally friendly; can you tell us more about why that’s important?

Hera, Founder of New Beginnings

The more I learn about the negative impacts we have on our planet, the more saddened I become. Our planet is beautiful and can heal us in so many ways, yet we destroy it with our way of life. I cannot advocate for natural remedies while not considering the Earth’s needs.

Nikki, Founder of The Natural Crayon Company

It’s the reason my business was born! There’s so much plastic and chemicals in many of the products we use – many of which we’re not even aware of. There’s a lot of ‘greenwashing’, and I wanted to create a brand that was transparent with exactly what’s in our products so people can make educated decisions.

Rachel, Founder of Gower Lavender

It’s the heart of what we do, from growing the lavender in a pollinator-friendly way right through to the packaging we choose. We’ve even gone solar-powered this year! I think the climate and nature crises are so scary, and I feel very small and helpless compared with the scale of the challenge. Still, the business has given us something practical we can do to help the native bees and our customers make sustainable choices.

New Beginnings’ natural cleansing dough

How has Tide helped you run your business?

Hera, Founder of New Beginnings

The Tide app is brilliant and is so easy to use. Running a business on my own whilst working full time means I need all the help I can get. It’s easy to create invoices, organise spending and categorise payments, so when it comes to doing your accounts, it couldn’t be easier.

Nikki, Founder of The Natural Crayon Company

Using Tide feels effortless, and it’s such an easy way to keep all of my business funds and transactions separate. I absolutely adore the Tide App – I can check my balance and make quick judgement calls on spending wherever I am – all I need is my phone!

Aideen, Founder of Fennec & Darwin 

To be completely honest, I’m not the most organised person in the world. Tide helps me stay on top of my accounts and expenses, and I love being able to attach the invoices to the transactions. The integration of accounting software is also very useful.

Kevin, Founder of  Vinagogo

Tide has been incredibly helpful in streamlining processes that our customers don’t see but saves us time that we can reinvest back into the business.

Anya, Founder of The Silk Collection

Tide has been amazing, in particular, because it was so easy to set up, which is especially important for small businesses that are just starting up. I love the way it integrates with Quickbooks, so all the accounting and tax returns for the business can be done really easily.

Basil, Founder of Buzzrock

Tide has greatly benefited our business as it is easy to use and keeps track of payments and transactions. The app is also straightforward to get around.

Rachel, Founder of Gower Lavender

My favourite thing is the speed with which you can set everything up. I was up and running with an account on my phone within about ten minutes, the app was instantly available, and I had a debit card within days. I recently set up a savings account for the business too, which was also very quick and simple. I love how the system works with my accountancy software, and I can get up-to-the-minute information about my money from the app. Quick, simple, up-to-date – what’s not to like?

What’s the biggest challenge for your business at the moment?

Nikki, Founder of The Natural Crayon Company

There have been so many! Brexit poses challenges with where we can sell and what safety testing we undergo. Covid came with its own unique sets of challenges, and now the cost of living crisis is seeing a rise in our costs while people have less disposable income.

Aideen, Founder of Fennec & Darwin 

The biggest challenge for myself and many other small businesses at the moment is the cost of living crisis. 

Customer buying patterns have understandably changed, and people are not able to buy as much as they used to. Naturally, this affects our revenue making trading more difficult.

Kevin, Founder of  Vinagogo

There’s a lot of competition in the wine industry so for us it’s constantly thinking of how we can differentiate ourselves and provide something others can’t.

Basil, Founder of Buzzrock

The economic pressures that all businesses are facing! We are constantly juggling rising costs and the practice of running a business in a complex financial environment.

Rachel, Founder of Gower Lavender

Gower Lavender’s soaps

The biggest challenge is having to be constantly adaptable. Since we started the business, we’ve had Covid, Brexit and now the cost of living crisis. So many external pressures mean you’ve got to constantly review the business and keep ahead. It can feel like going ten rounds in the boxing ring sometimes! But it’s definitely made us agile!

What’s one tip you would give to people who want to start their own business?

Hera, Founder of New Beginnings

Do your research, make sure you spend time learning how to wear all the different hats you’ll need to wear when running your own business, and don’t underestimate the amount of work that goes into it. But most of all, enjoy it!

Nikki, Founder of The Natural Crayon Company

One step at a time. I started this business almost 3 years ago now, and I still feel like I’m at the very beginning, learning new things every day. Don’t try and take on everything all at once – it will be hugely overwhelming, and you’ll end up doing many things well instead of building strong foundations and eventually doing a few (important!) things extremely well!

Aideen, Founder of Fennec & Darwin 

Fennec and Darwin’s faux Sheepskin Slipers

Connect with other small business owners. Support each other, not only in terms of sales but on social media and with events. 

They will be your biggest support in tough times, and your biggest cheerleaders in the good times. You never know where your support for each other might lead your businesses. I wouldn’t have my own shop now if it wasn’t for the support and encouragement of other small business owners who have become great friends.

Kevin, Founder of  Vinagogo

Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone every single day. You’ll have to do things and try things that you may not have ever done before. If you’re brave enough to start your business, then you’re brave to try new things.

Anya, Founder of The Silk Collection

There will never be a perfect time. Start now and do what you can with what you have, or you’ll never start! Also, make sure to always get a balance between your business and your personal life – I have learned to prioritise time to myself each day as it can be hard to take that time when running a small business!

Basil, Founder of Buzzrock

Find something you love, do it with passion and bring the right people in to help you succeed.

Rachel, Founder of Gower Lavender

You might think business is about money, but it’s actually about people. You’ve got to find (or build) your community because that’s how your business will thrive. Your people are your staff, your customers, your suppliers, your stockists, your creative talent, your helpers, your neighbours, your school mums, your friends and your family. Find your people, and be lovely to them!

Valentine Hutchings

Valentine Hutchings

Head of Community and small business enthusiast

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