Sophie from Seres talks to Lara Laycock, owner of From the Heart, to find out more about her and her company.
Tell us about From the Heart
I started From the Heart back in October 2014. My main focus for the business was to offer a range of gorgeous, yet affordable, Christmas decorations. This went well, and in 2017 I extended the range to include Fair Trade gifts that would be suitable any time of year.
I didn’t want to have the commitment of running a shop, so decided to sell at quality gift fairs.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
I love the flexibility that it gives me. Like so many people, my life is busy. I’m a married mum of two boys. I also have older family that I see regularly. Oh, and a new and lively dog joined the family last year too! From the Heart’s events are planned in advance, so I can decide which events will fit around other issues that I may be juggling. I also love the fact that I’m the boss!
What do you like least about running your own business?
The uncertainty. With an event there is never any guarantee of an income. Something as simple as the weather can make a huge difference. If it is pouring with rain, people aren’t so keen to visit.
Also, it takes a long while to set the stand up. It is quite physical work too. People are amazed when I tell them that it can take up to two hours to set up before a big sale, and then the same again to pack away. There’s no need for me to have a gym membership, let’s put it that way!
What is the best thing about events and gift fairs?
They are so friendly! Stallholders genuinely engage with customers. They take time to help and they are passionate about their businesses. I also believe they are a fantastic opportunity to shop for something different. Many of the well-established charity fairs also offer lunches, so it you really can have a great day out with friends, shopping, eating and having fun!
You run your own gift fair too. Tell us more about that.
I help to run a gift fair which takes place each year in Henham. It started in a friend’s house about 12 years ago and, at the time, I was selling cards and stationery as a Phoenix trader. The event got more and more popular until it outgrew her house. So much so that it now takes place in two village halls!
We raise money for charity. Last year we raised £4.435.52 and split it between Alzheimer’s Society and St Clare Hospice. This year’s event is due to take place on 15th November and we will be raising money for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust.
Why have you decided to team up with Seres Gifts?
I’ve known Seres Gifts for many years now and have always loved their attention to quality. I believe that From the Heart has a lovely range of Valentine’s and Mother’s Day gifts that Seres Gifts’ customers will love. So, we’ve teamed up to offer a selection that can be bought online anytime – not just at an event!
I have chosen the enameled boxes because they are so beautiful. The colours are rich and the enamel is hand polished, so they have a gorgeous shine. They are available in red, blue, purple or pink and I’m offering them to Seres Gifts’ customers for a limited time for just £13 (normally they are £14.99).
So, what’s next for From The Heart
At the moment, I’m busy planning my events for 2019. I will be putting these up on my Facebook page. Also, I’m looking forward to brining in some new designs this year that are gorgeous!
To see From The Heart’s Enameled Trinket Box, click here!