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How It All Started

Posted by Wee Wishes 16/05/2022 0 Comment(s)

Wee Wishes started life as Embroidered Originals over 30 years ago. The company was founded by Marion Mitchell and the original cards were very different to how they are now. Marion began by exhibiting at craft fairs and local events and slowly, but surely, the customer basis grew.

 

The greetings card market was less bustling and fast moving in the 80's, before the advent of the internet and social media and Marion was able to grow her business as one of the only Scottish greetings card companies in existence at that time. 

The cards have changed from traditional keepsake handmade style to the modern contemporary illustrative design of the current ranges. Marion's background is in embroidery and textiles and so the cards had elements of collaged tartan and embroidered flowers on them. Having said this though, a lot of the designs that are still in existence were conceived in this initial phase of the company, such as the Tartan Pram cards, Bagpipes, Fairy, Sporran to name but a few.

I (Laura) joined the business officially (for I had been helping out for years as a teenager) in 2016 when I moved back to Fife with my young family. As is the case with many businesswomen today I was looking for a better work life balance after leaving my design job in Hertfordshire. I'd spent almost a decade working in design studios for fashion brands in the CAD departments, designing prints and original artwork and although I'd enjoyed my time and learnt a lot I was ready to try something new.

It just so happened that my mum Marion was looking to retire in the following few years, at least wind down a little, so it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. I moved to Fife with my husband and two young children in 2015 and, once my second born was of nursery age, I joined my mum and dad in their home studio to work as an apprentice and learn the ropes.

The business was going strong and it took all three of us to manage all the orders coming in. It wasn't long though, before I began to make significant changes to the designs and the manufacturing process, sourcing alternative production methods and streamlining our working day. I knew that if I was to take on this business I'd have to get it to the point where I could feel happy managing it in the way I wanted to.

To give them credit, my mum and dad never stopped me from making changes. They might question them sometimes, after all, it was their baby first! And it was very useful to learn all the ins and outs of the business under their guidance before taking it on myself.

After a couple of years working with them we all felt it would be a good move to relocate the business premises to my house as my parents were keen to take a step back and let me run with it. In the summer of 2018 my husband and I built our garden studio and store and we've never looked back! Greg gave up his job as a cardiac physiologist as the level of time required to run the business was far too much for one person and he now runs the picking/ packing/ distribution and manufacturing side of things while I design/ manage and run the day to day admin requirements.

We have a system set up which works well around the kids' school days and after school activities. Any parent of young kids knows how demanding this is! Swimming clubs/ Cubs/ Beavers/ Taekwondo/ Tennis the list is neverending, but we're also pleased that we can get them off the school bus just down the path and they're home within a few minutes and we can continue to work around their needs.

Who knows what Wee Wishes will bring to our family's future. I just hope that we can continue to create cards that people love and get a wee giggle from. 

Laura x