Making or Selling

Starting a business straight out of university

Funmilaya Aiyenuro graduated from university three months ago, and she’s ready to get started as a young entrepreneur.  She’s literally putting the ingredients of her business together.
She’s be doing consultations and training in making your own natural cosmetics, and providing clients with bespoke natural beauty products.
Currently she’s finalising her recipes, getting her products tested, and building her network of contacts. 

Running a village deli

Drew Wilkinson’s dream is to run a floating restaurant in the Mediterranean.  He studied boat design in Cornwall, worked in restaurants from Greece to Australia, and he was "hoping to set off on a food odyssey and find an exotic life in wonderful far off places".
So why does he sound so pleased to be running a delicatessen in the landlocked village where he spent his childhood, with three kids, and married to someone he grew up with?

Winding down one business, and starting the next

Rose Grimond has done all sorts of things in her time: “I went from drama school, to acting, to editorial assistant at the Economist, to sub-editing, to working with ex-offenders.”

It’s food though, that’s finally captured her. “I can’t stop thinking about food. I wanted to be around food and talk about food.”

Rose’s first business, Orkney Rose, shipped delicious foodstuffs from Scotland to London restaurants and Borough Market.

Running a small home bakery

When I first look at the website for Katherine Cowtan’s business,, my mouth waters and I have to pop downstairs and start making some lunch before dialling her number.

She started her bakery four years ago, after moving to a tiny Scottish village.

“I was always doing a lot of baking for the school and for events, and some neighbours said, would I be interested in baking for their new deli?”

A family business building cars

Ida Tristram used to be a teacher, but now she makes cars for a living.

Replicas of classic sports cars, to be precise. She can sell you the whole car, or the ingredients you need to build one yourself.

It’s a career change that a makes a little more sense when she tells me that her husband Scott used to do fabrication work on yachts.

“One day a guy who owned a car-making business brought his yacht to Scott, and he was headhunted basically for a job at the company.”

"There's no such thing as a rich herbalist"

Mala Bissoon never set out to be self-employed, but after retraining from graphics to herbalism in 1997, “you don’t go out and get a job as a herbalist, there’s no such thing.” 

As we sit in her sitting room, her dog Lola, a manic fluffy bundle, nips around doing her best to chew my handbag.  Mala laughs as she described her career progression as “a series of mishaps“.  

Taking over the family farm

Mobile phones have made quite a lot of difference to life as a farmer; as I speak to Phil Mappledoram he’s bustling about his fields in his tractor.
Phil’s family have been farmers for 80 years.  His three older sisters weren’t interested in taking on the family business (and mortgages), but he went straight from A-levels to agricultural college and back home again. 

Food and passion in a family business

Trent Marshall and his partner have taken her family’s business to new heights, selling a whole load of delicious-sounding food, and he tells me that working together has only done good things for their relationship.

“Her parents had a very small shop, they were just doing it for something to do on the side. We purchased the business from them about five years ago now. Because it was family it was a small investment, so it didn’t break the bank or anything like that.”

Leaving teaching to sell art and antiques

Ten years ago Dawn Birch-James was teaching languages. Listening to her now, and hearing all the drive and enthusiasm that she clearly throws into her collection of businesses, it’s hard to imagine her vigour and energy ever having been contained within the bureaucracy of a school.

“Well I was reaching the big 40 and I thought to myself, do I want to I stay in this profession? Plus the fact that I’d just got pregnant with my second child.”

Taking a break from a career in textile design

Katherine Cowtan worked for 15 years as a freelance textile designer. Eight years ago though she took her loom apart, and hasn’t put it back together again since.

She spent six years at art college, including the Royal College of Art, studying textiles and during her course she visited a historic mill in Hampshire which was still powered by its water wheel.

“Being a country bumpkin all my life, I just fell in love with it.”

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