As you might expect, we get rather excited when we find new and original products or emerging designers with a wealth of talent. With one of our newer sellers, Henry’s Future, we found both. After years working as artists and designers, founders Kasia and Saul wanted to use their skills and passion to make things that people can enjoy in their everyday lives. We spoke to Kasia about the beginnings of their business, the challenges of being self-employed and their most popular products.
What inspired you to create Henry’s Future?
When my brother and I were born, my parents decided to open their own company. Watching them strive to succeed with an ever-growing passion for their business was the reason I wanted to work on something of my own. Initially I only knew I wanted to be creative, so I decided to study art and design. My university years took me through many different journeys; I met my partner, Saul, with whom I have our little son, Henry. The year Henry was born was the year I put all my dreams together and the name for the business was just waiting to be grabbed.
Describe your product range and what makes it unique
Our collection of homeware is a mixture of things I design and make, designs that are made for us and products we source that fit with our range. I always consider our collection as a whole and every choice circulates around all aspects of home and family life. The main idea is to offer simple, quality forms with a new take on traditional styles and also a selection of decorations for different kinds of celebrations (from tableware to finishing touches). I also want some of our designs to make a statement with colour and try to subjugate / condition my existing designs to new colour trends.
What is your best selling range / product?
Our customers seem to like designs that bring a simple difference and a new update to their home but always with practical purpose. Our glass cupcake stands, the wonky bottles, felt storage baskets and knitted vase or candle cosies tend to be our most popular pieces.
Where did you start your company?
From the beginning I knew I was going to start everything in our little flat to keep the cost down, but also so I could spend as much time with Henry as possible. I started working wherever I could, constantly rearranging everything to create more space for my business and us. After a while Saul decided to give me a box room that he was using as his painting studio; he moved to the shed on our roof garden. I still work in the same room but the rest of the flat is being overtaken by our stock, especially the early Christmas creations. The lack of space can be very frustrating sometimes but working from home means that even if it’s my working day I can still see the ‘boys’ during the day, having lunch together and casual tickles with Henry in between.
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in running your business?
I made the big decision to become self-employed after giving birth to Henry. It seems that’s when most people make the big changes in their life and this definitely can be overwhelming sometimes. During the day I was learning to be a good mother and in the evening I was working on my first designs and researching how to start a business. When I was very tired (this was often with the little one who was establishing his sleep pattern), I felt like everything was against me but the desire to succeed and the first small achievements made everything worth it.
What are the benefits / disadvantages of being a designer-maker?
The main benefit is that I’m the one who experiences the whole progression of an idea that starts as a little sketch and ends with the fruition of that process. To be able to be part of that and the recognition and positive feedback from pleased customers becomes a reward in itself. The difficult part is when my design (like our glassware) is being manufactured for us. I always try to be involved as much as possible, but I also need to rely on a method that I can’t control completely.
Has notonthehighstreet.com had a positive impact on your business?
notonthehighstreet.com gave me the first ever sale of my own design and this was within only a few hours of joining. I was so ecstatic that after accepting the order I rang our whole family to share the news. Without a doubt joining notonthehighstreet.com was the best business decision I have ever made. Being still very inexperienced at running my own business I learn a lot every day from the whole team. The professionalism, encouragement and support I receive make me feel like anything is possible.
Do you have your eye on anything else on the site?
My list of finds on notonthehighstreet.com is never-ending, in fact it’s only growing. I have a few new discoveries that I will keep as a secret for now as they are possible Christmas presents for Henry, Saul and our family and friends. There are also a few little things that I might whisper to Saul while he’s asleep to sneakily influence his ideas for my Christmas present. There are, however, two products that I would love for our home one day, when all the boxes and my business leave our family space: a selection of Kiko Glass Frames from Nkuku and Handmade Coloured Pendant Lamp Shade from FactoryTwentyOne. Yes please.
What are your ambitions for your company in the future?
I always dream big and it’s in my nature to accept new challenges and worry about the logistics later. I would love to be able to bring out two new collections each year that are based only on our designs. There is only so much one person can do but I’m not up for slowing down and I will keep grabbing every opportunity I can. Plans are definitely big and time will show.
See the full Henry’s Future range here.