Today I am really delighted to speak to Hayley of Hampshire Slate.
Their slate products all hand crafted in Alresford, Hampshire are individual in appearance and character so you can be sure that you will not find a similar product on the high street.
I particularly like the fact that its a natural product, and each onemade can be very similar but just a little bit unique at the same time in its creation. I get excited to share new people and the things they make and it gives me great pleasure to spread the word.
Hayley tells us all about her new and thriving Business.
What is it you do, and what services do you offer ?
“We handcraft a wide range of high quality slate tableware and unique gifts lovingly handmade at our Hampshire home. Our range of heart shaped products which includes coasters, wedding favours, chalkboards and table plans have proved very popular with brides and grooms for their big day.”
“As all our products are handcrafted by my dad and me, we pride ourselves that each of our products is lovingly and individually hand crafted. We take a very personal approach to our products and therefore most of our orders are unique and specifically adapted to our clients requests. Our customers appreciate the opportunity to discuss their desires with us and to have a product tailored to their personal wedding requirements.”
When, and why did you start your business ?
“Hampshire Slate was formed following a family holiday to Wales in 2011.”
“The house we were staying at had a slate decoration hanging on the wall. We thought this was a beautiful and investigated buying a similar product on the internet. Although there were a lot of slate products out there, they mainly specialised only in placemats and coasters, therefore there was nothing similar to this.”
“My dad, who previously was a builder, took it upon himself to recreate the product. The product was very popular with family and friends who then suggested other products they would like and the business went from there.”
“We started selling our products on Ebay and promoting them on social media sites where there was high interest in the products and we were invited to attend craft fairs. We have recently launched a website www.hampshireslate.co.uk where customers can purchase our goods.”
“Our bestselling products are our heart shaped wedding favours which can also be used as named place settings and even napkin holders. This idea came through my work in the wedding industry where it was suggested I create heart shaped wedding favours. The florist I worked for had received a lot of enquires for these but was unsure of anyone selling such a product and thought slate would be perfect as it has the added bonus that you can write on it.”
What inspires you ?
“Our biggest inspiration is through our family and friends who take a huge interest in our company and are constantly suggesting new products for us to create. A lot of our products are not just decorative but have a practical use and so inspiration is taken from everyday encounters. A simple meal out at a restaurant can inspire a new idea. We currently have around 30 different products on sale, however we have around another 20 which we still need to find the time to create!”
What has been your favourite assignment, and why ?
“I wouldn’t want to list just one assignment as we genuinely enjoy every assignment. We have recently provided table names and mini hearts, with messages to give to the wedding party, for a family friend. This was a special assignment as we will get to see our products being used on the big day.”
“Another special assignment was one of our first wedding orders. The bride ordered 100 heart coasters and 4 months after the order sent me a photo of the coasters with all the names written on them. It was really encouraging that she had remembered us and had taken the time to email us some photos.”
Whats your greatest achievement ?
“I think at the moment probably starting up the company is our greatest achievement. To only be running for 6 months and to have had so many orders and fantastic feedback from our customers is very motivational and encouraging.”
Whats the future for your Business ?
“As a new business we have focused our priorities on creating the products and getting the orders in, however now we are starting to establish ourselves we are excited about getting out there and showcasing our work. We hope to continue our steady growth but it is also important to us that we can continue to provide a personal and tailored service to our customers and for our products to bring happiness on their big day.”
Thanks so much to Hayley for sharing her story and her lovely products.
Wedding Favour – Could be used for place setting, personalised for keepsake or alternatively used for Christmas Decoration.
Heart Chalk Board – Can be used for entance sign, highlighting a dessert buffet/candy bar, or a fun prop for lighthearted and informal snaps.
T – Light Holder – Brighten and accentuate outside space for a ceremony or drinks reception.