Meet Kate & Becky, creators of fab indie brand Small & Wild, making beautiful and delicious (we can vouch for that!) herbal teas for children.
So why herbal teas for children?
Becky and I are both big tea lovers – whether it is a classic English Breakfast or the latest herbal blend – and much of our time spent together when we first met was accompanied by a brew! Our two eldest children, now four, were always interested in what we were drinking, but never really enjoyed the taste of our teas when they had a little sip. One day the penny just dropped. Herb and fruit tea could be such a naturally healthy drink for kids to enjoy and it would also enable them to join in with those all-important cup of tea moments - so we set about creating blends especially for them.
How did you go about exploring the idea and developing your beautiful products?
We experimented with blending at home and spoke to fellow parents to test the water, as well as researching the food and drink market as a whole. Once we were more confident about exactly what we wanted to create we set about finding a tea blender to work alongside. We spent months devising some really delicious recipes - and testing them out on our brutally honest tasters! The four blends that we eventually decided on contain some really special ingredients from delicious fruits to flowers, with flavours, smells and colours that are very enticing to children.
Once we were close to finalising our blends we turned our thoughts to our packaging. We were so grateful to work with the brilliant Falmouth-based agency, Kingdom & Sparrow, who immediately understood what we were looking for and went on to hand draw all the fantastic characters on the boxes.
Who or what inspired you to start the company and share your idea with the world and how have you found the experience of running a business so far?
It sounds so cheesy, but I think for both of us it was our kids that inspired us. Becky and I were both in a position where returning to our previous careers with two little ones wasn’t really feasible. We both had a strong desire to return to work but on our own terms, hence the motivation to set up our own business. The fact that Small & Wild was a business in which we would be creating a healthy, wholesome product that our children – and hopefully lots and lots of their peers - would enjoy was really all the inspiration we needed.
What’s the best thing about running Small & Wild?
There’s been a few I would say. Firstly, the satisfaction that comes from creating something that you feel so passionate about and seeing little people enjoying it is pretty unbeatable – we love being sent pictures of children enjoying our tea.
It’s also brilliant having a business that is so tangible and your kids can feel a part of. They really have been a part of the journey from the initial tastings, through to sampling events or giving their opinion on packaging - they are brilliant cheerleaders for us.
Finally, we’ve met some amazing people throughout this process, from those within the food industry, to other start-ups and social media friends. People are so much more open with their support and advice than I think we ever imagined. It is something we will always appreciate so much and make sure we offer to others.
And the worst?
Probably just the amount of patience required – when you start a business you just want to do everything and be everywhere straight away – but as with so many things in life for the best things to happen you often have to wait. And whether it's recognising when things are beyond our control, or simply making sure we keep a balance in our own lives, it is important to remember all that has been achieved as well as thinking about the next steps.
Tell us about your company name?
We went through lots of ideas before arriving at Small & Wild, but as soon as we said it we knew it was the name for us. On a very literal level our tea is designed for small people and inspired by the wild. A key part of our ethos as a brand is about getting kids to develop a love for nature and a curiosity for what is out there in the ‘wild’. We hope that Small & Wild will really capture children’s imaginations and encourage them to explore and learn about different natural ingredients, as well as enjoying a special cup of tea moment with their family!
What do you get up to when you’re not busy creating your beautiful products?
When not working on Small & Wild, or drinking tea…we both love to get out and about, whether that is with the family to the park or the woods - and I also try to squeeze in a regular run outdoors. For both of us our passion for ingredients and flavours extends to cooking up new meals for the family - and we can often be found with our heads in a recipe book. We also both love a little mini adventure and are currently trying to book in a Small & Wild weekend away!
Give us an idea of what your daily routine looks like and do you have any top tips for other aspiring small business owners?
Both Becky and I have childcare Tues, Weds and Thurs – so those are the key work days, although we make use of evenings, naptimes and CBeebies sessions too when needed! On at least one of those days we’ll either be getting together, attending an event or visiting retailers. On the days when we are at home, I personally have to lock myself away in the study with a specific list of things to do to avoid being distracted by the endless house jobs that come with children – 3.25pm pick up time always comes around so fast!
In terms of top tips, I’d say get a business partner! I think if it can work for you then having someone like-minded to share the journey with is invaluable. Whether it is having someone to bounce ideas around with, give you a boost when you are feeling a bit unsure, or simply to divide the load when you are balancing having a business and family life, it really is brilliant - and fun! And if not a business partner as such, then just making sure you have a network of people you can go to as soundboards, or even to outsource to when needed, will be hugely beneficial.