29 Mar #MarchMeetTheMaker
I came across the Instagram hashtag MarchMeetTheMaker in the middle of March. A little late to join in, plus we’re not makers as such. But I really liked the idea of finding out more about the people behind small businesses so have taken aspects of the project and turned it into a blog. Hope you enjoy it…
Brand name and image
We frequently get asked how we came up with our name and to be honest I can’t really remember. I do know that it was Brook who came up with the name and that we were looking for something slightly whimsical and nature related. Image was really important to us – working in the events and wedding industry we knew we had to make a good first impression with potential customers. We hired the lovely and very talented Katy Christianson to design our website banner and logo – the rest just went from there.
That’s us! The last couple of years have been pretty big for us. Getting married, starting the business, relocating to Devon and turning 30! Eeek.
Our trusty van. Quite a large factor in why relocation was essential as driving this around Bristol was not fun. Committing to buy the van (and such a big one!) was a big decision but we couldn’t run the business without it. One day we’d love to convert it and travel around Europe.
How & why?
Several factors came into play in starting the business. We had both worked in offices for quite a few years and wanted something more from life. However, quitting stable jobs with no idea what else we could do was obviously not a very viable solution. As it happened I then got made redundant so the decision was taken out of my hands somewhat. A couple of months later Brook proposed. When I was researching ideas for the wedding I came up with the concept for the business. I wasn’t entirely sure if I could make it work but fate intervened again. One month before our wedding Brook got made redundant, too. Time to take the plunge!
The rolling hills of Devon. We relocated from Bristol a few months ago as we needed more space (duvets are bulky) and craved the countryside. Our temporary home is on the Blackdown Hills while we search for a permanent base.
Part of our move was to enable our long-term goal of having our own plot of land. We want to create a gorgeous glamping and camping spot that allows people to reconnect with nature and supports our wildlife and ecosystem. So, as well as being able to hire our tents for events you’ll be able to come and enjoy the experience at a permanent base as well. Watch this space.
First ever event
Our wedding. Looking back it was a bit of a fiasco – the tents, not the wedding. Brook was setting up the tents with the help of his uncle and best man the day before. For some reason they took forever to get up so we couldn’t do the bedding until quite late in the afternoon. At that point I realised there had been a massive mistake with the bedding delivery and instead of double winter tog duvets we had single summer tog duvets. Nightmare. I’m glad to say every event since then has gone far smoother!
We have had such lovely feedback from guests – this testimonial is from a couple who hired 20 of our tents for their wedding last August:
“Having chosen a farm venue for our wedding reception, one of the advantages was that there was no curfew, and we were able to keep the party going well into the early hours. However, one worry we had was how to accommodate the guests that wanted to stay overnight? (The nearby B&B only had 6 rooms which were all occupied by our families). We were really enthused by the idea of “glamping” and Bears & Butterflies seemed to tick all the boxes. They were able to supply a large number of tents (we had 40 overnight guests) and handled all the delivery and set up so that we didn’t have to worry about anything on the weekend.
The tents themselves were spacious and comfy, and we really liked the additional touches such as personalised name signs for the guests to locate their tents, and lanterns on shepherd’s hooks to navigate in the dark. All the guests had a great time and gave us loads of positive feedback the next morning. The final icing on the cake was that Bears & Butterflies was able to provide a very competitive quote that beat many of the alternatives we were looking at.”
There are so many incredibly talented and creative small businesses within the wedding industry. Every week I come across someone new and am blown away. I frequently wish I could get married again so I could have them all there. We often feature companies that we think our customers might be interested on our blog. If you fancy having a look, you can find them here.
Having our own company has allowed us to really look at our work/life balance. It’s incredibly important for us to take time out to look after our health and recharge our batteries – and we love that we’re now able to do that. No, we’re not going to be millionaires anytime soon but we choose our work hours and that’s pretty special. Plus, being able to work outdoors in the summer is amazing! No more afternoons spent looking wistfully out the window of an office.
We’re constantly batting around new ideas of things we could do or ways to expand and offer even more to our customers. This creativity keeps us on our toes and pushing us and the business to be the best it can be.
Time to relax
For our physical and mental health, relaxation is important. We have fairly regular interests, so nothing too crazy here: spending time with family, watching films, cooking and eating out, playing board games, reading and travelling. Fairly on in our relationship we embarked on a year in Saudi Arabia and since then we’ve travelled far and wide. We also love exploring nearer to home, walking and camping.
We got our t-shirts made by Rapanui last year and love them! Occasionally they have to be teamed with a waterproof jacket…
Our 3m diameter bell tents. This is what we started with as I couldn’t find anyone else offering it. These tents don’t have a central pole so we can still get a double bed in them. This means two people can comfortably stay in one but the price is cheaper than larger tents and they don’t take up as much ground space. Ideal.
Reaching the end of our first season – 4636 pegs hammered in and taken out again, 420 triangles of bunting cut, 48 loads of washing, 244 duvet covers ironed and 2920 miles travelled.
Ok, this makes it look like Brook does all the work but he doesn’t!