Home businesses generate £284bn of the UK's GDP making them the true heroes of our economy. So, to continue Smarta and Viking's celebration of these brave entrepreneurs, we tracked down Martine Davies, the founder of Balcombe Street Window Box Company.
Name: Martine Davies
Business: Balcombe Street Window Box Company
I moved into a 1900 period home. I had a huge window with a large window ledge crying out for a window box. I couldn't find anyone to make one for me so eventually I got round to going to a garden centre and making one up myself.
After placing my new window box on the ledge I looked out to see who else had one and noticed a distinct lack of floral colour on the other window ledges and decided then and there to offer a service to make them.
I was a personal assistant and not a very happy one.
I went to garden centres and looked online and sourced some suppliers. I am always looking for new and interesting boxes to use.
I had some savings. However, I make each box up once I have an order so I don't hold stock.
I contacted the press and delivered a lot of leaflets. I was lucky to get some great editorial coverage.
All kinds of people - Lords, Ladies and pop stars, including Noel Gallagher. I also supply to hotels, shops, offices and of course homes.
I have a little shed to keep stock, although as I make to order I don't tend to keep much spare stock.
Yes, that's the best bit. I enjoy discussing with the clients what they want and then coming up with a design.
I work from home in St Johns Wood. My company started in Balcombe Street where I used to live, hence the name.
I do get distracted. I am only human, but I find that when I have work to do I naturally want to get on and do it. When you work for yourself you need to be self-motivated and if someone wants you to make something for them then that is motivation enough to want to do that.
Hard work but exciting. I had to be focused and persistent.
It can be a bit lonely at times and also you can get easily distracted with things at home.
Working for myself, not having to answer to anyone but myself or my clients. Having the satisfaction of providing something beautiful and making the streets a prettier place. It is very rewarding. Window boxes make people happy.
For more information on on the Balcombe Street Window Box Company, click here
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