I watch Dragons Den and have been lucky enough to interview people who have secured backing from the dragons for their businesses. My latest interviewees are Rachel and Merry from Love Keep Create.
The company creates many items from the clothing of a loved one including soft toys, blankets. quilts, frames and more.
Below is an extract from the website.
'Why should you choose LoveKeepCreate to make your keepsake item? Oh the list is endless! First and foremost we pride ourselves on the quality of our work and the care we take of your precious items.
Being mummies ourselves we 100% understand how difficult it is to part with those clothes. You need to know that once they reach us we care for them as if they were our own.
Great designs, the best quality materials, no long order forms, no long waiting list, no belated PayPal invoices and fees. You can buy, right here and now on the website, using your debit or credit card. Get a reference number immediately then pop your clothes in the post today and get your order back in a few weeks.
PLUS, we are a small, independent and responsible company. We are offering people the option of adding 50p to the cost of their order and for every one that does it, we’ll match it. Every three months the money collected will be donated to a childrens’ charity. During that three months we’ll be taking suggestions from you lovely people through our Facebook and Twitter pages for your favourite charities. For more information on the charity we’re collecting for right now look at our Charity Match page.'
Not only are baby keepsakes made, but also grown up keepsakes too. I was intrigued to know more!
Good morning Rachel and Merry, it is lovely to meet you and thank you for agreeing to answer some questions for the website.
You were both originally in the army. Did you ever discuss going into business during your time there?
It wasn’t something that was in the horizon for us at all. We were both on the start of an exciting new journey. We both left at different times and it just didn’t even register as a possibility.
Rachel, I see that you founded Crafty Days Keepsakes in 2011, how did you come up with the idea? .
I was always really crafty and enjoyed pottering about on my sewing machine.I had all these lovely clothes that my baby, Freddie, had worn and I just couldn’t bear to get rid of them. My husband was going to Afghanistan and I thought it would be really nice for him to have something special to take with him, to keep the thought of our son close. The two things just seemed to fit together and I decided to make a little patchwork blanket for him.
Merry, you joined in February 2013, and your present company was launched. Were you both parents yourselves by this time?
Yes, Rachel and I both had sons, Freddie and Finn, in early 2010 so by 2013 we had plenty of baby clothes to use! I had a daughter in 2012, who was 9 months old when we were launching LoveKeepCreate and Rachel had Charlie in March 2013, so a really tiny baby!
Rachel and Merry How many orders did you receive during your first year working together? Many congratulations on 2013 (Oct) - First London Baby Show and Rachel and Merry are finalists in the Rattles to Riches competition.
Thank you! It was great to have such positive feedback to what we were doing so early on in the process. In our first year we took around 1000 orders.
Rachel In 2014, you won Entrepreneur of the Year at the Venus Awards in Dorset. Could you tell us a bit about the Venus awards?
The Venus Awards are a really great way of celebrating women in business. Merry nominated me and I was really pleased to be shortlisted, we were so shocked to actually win!
Merry I see you focus more on the admin side, do you have any creative hobbies outside of the company?
I love a bit of action adventure and that is where most of my hobbies lie. In creative terms I do love my cooking!
Rachel What did you win your Blue Peter badge for?
The badge was for raising money for charity.
Rachel and Merry How do you both switch off?
We are both really lucky to be living on the edge of Dartmoor. We really enjoying spending time with our families and dogs, out on the Moors or at the beach.
Rachel and Merry Do you have time for family holidays?
As the business has grown and we’ve got new support staff in place we have been much better at taking time off. Working in partnership is hugely helpful with this too.
Rachel and Mary I have family in Devon, it is a beautiful part of the UK. As you continue to expand, do you envisage staying in Plymouth?
We definitely see ourselves keeping the business in Plymouth. We have a fantastic pool of talent to recruit seamstresses from, with the excellent Plymouth College of Art and Design right on our doorstep.
Rachel and Merry Was Dragons Den a scary experience for you both and did you think you would have the positive and enthusiastic responses from all the dragons?
It was scary. I would challenge anyone to go on it and say they weren’t intimidated - I wouldn’t believe them! You want to show yourselves and your business in the best possible light and you can never quite know what all the possible questions might be. We did think that people would receive it well but we weren’t quite ready for just how amazingly positive the response would be. It’s been a really wonderful validation of everything we’ve been working so hard towards.
Rachel and Merry What plans do you have for the rest of 2017?
One simple word, Growth. We’ve got lots of new ideas and lots of great existing areas we are not already exploiting fully. We’re really excited about this year, there is so much to look forward to!
Many thanks for your time and I wish you both and all your employees at Love Keep Create every success for the future.
All images are copyright Love Keep Create and have been reproduced with permission from the owners.