Many small businesses are founded from the kitchen table, but ours was founded from the sofa. A boring grey sofa that my brother Joe and I were sitting on one day in 2015, wondering if we could afford to put the heating on.
Two years earlier, we’d decided to leave our secure jobs and start our own business. We’d set up an online shop selling a mix of home accessories and it was ticking over ok, but it certainly hadn’t been the launch pad into entrepreneurial success we’d hoped. To save on bills and keep our business afloat, we’d pooled resources to rent small house together that could function as home, warehouse and office.
Realising that our first business was growing very slowly, we’d had the idea to launch a second e-commerce shop that we could run alongside. Having already taken the step of leaving our jobs, we might as well fill all our time! Inspired by Hiut Denim and The Cambridge Satchel Company, we wanted to create an iconic British brand that does one product really well. Sitting on our grey sofa and feeling the chill, a bright idea struck. Modern British-made blankets that could add colour and cosiness to a home in an instant. We brainstormed names over lunch, bought the domain name the same afternoon, and The British Blanket Company was born!
Four years later, The British Blanket Company is beginning to look like the brand we dreamed of. We've delivered our blankets to customers as far away as Tasmania and Canada, showcasing the brilliance of British weaving to customers all around the world. Despite all the obvious uncertainties facing small businesses at the moment, we're feeling positive and look forward to introducing new designs, expanding our range and working with more independent weaving mills over the next few years.
While running a small business it can be incredibly difficult to see the woods for the trees sometimes. Getting from day to day, ticking of tasks, helping customers with their questions, co-ordinating couriers, placing orders, finalising designs, taking photos for the website, social media... and on it goes. This is why the recent news we had was such a refreshing and eye-opening surprise!
The British Blanket Company has been chosen as a finalist in the Natwest Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2019! We've been shortlisted in two categories for the South West region as Small Business of the Year and Family Business of the Year. We're so proud to have been chosen and can't wait to attend the regional awards ceremony in Exeter in October. It's a wonderful reminder to us of how far we've come and recognition for the fledgling brand we dreamed up on the sofa four years ago.
Thank you so much to all our customers, followers and fans for helping The British Blanket Company grow and thrive. If we win the award it will be dedicated to every one of you!