The Breakthrough Christmas Business List 2020
Present buying inspiration from some of our Breakthrough Alumni
Welcome to our Christmas Business List 2020.
It’s that time of the year where we get to shout about the amazing things our Breakthrough alumni are up to in the lead up to Christmas. Every year we put together a Christmas listing to showcase what’s happening and where. This year it is a little different for obvious reasons, so we have been speaking to some of our clients who have adapted their products and the way they sell to maximise the Christmas buying online-dash!
Discover what some of our clients have on offer on our Christmas Business List 2020.
Starting a business and launching a book at the same time, in the middle of a pandemic…easy, right?
That’s exactly what business owner and author James Hopson managed, creating a new business and children’s adventure story called “Captain Satsuma”.
Through sheer determination, especially during the widespread restrictions caused by Covid, Captain Satsuma arrived in print, receiving lots of plaudits from the publishing community while James continued to develop his business opportunities, with help from the Breakthrough programme.
Breakthrough has proved invaluable to me. With all shows, school visits and other events being put on hold, my strategy had to change. Breakthrough provided me with the tools to implement the changes required.
As with lots of businesses, James had to rethink his strategy:
All my promotion activity had to switch to online. The programme helped me identify my target audience, together with helping me to choose the best platforms and strategy to use.
The Breakthrough programme together with his Business Development Manager, Graham Buckley, offered James lots of practical tips to help him reimagine his marketing channels and move his business forward.
My children’s adventure book would make the perfect Christmas stocking filler for a young child. It’s key themes of encouraging children to choose a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle, together with caring for nature and the environment are perhaps more important than ever for our future generation.
I’m so excited about the next stage of the Breakthrough programme and its benefits for my business. I’m also looking forward to starting my new collaboration with ‘Young Chef of the Year’ awards where I have become an ambassador for Cornwall and the South West -promoting this superb award in schools.
Find out more about Captain Satsuma.
Like many business owners, husband and wife team Sam and Jo Fitch had 2020 all planned out. This was going to be the best ever year for Buffalo Bars, their business is taking converted Airstream bars to weddings and private events. (Airstreams, in case you’re wondering, are those beautiful polished aluminium trailers from the US.)
But of course, Covid put a stop to all that: 25 cancelled events, no work in sight and three children in tow. Hence the need for a hasty rethink, and the birth of their Drinks by Post business.
Now they send premium cocktail kits around the UK for zoom parties, gifts and virtual corporate team-building events. This has enabled them to keep their business running throughout lockdown and, with Christmas in mind, they’ve also launched a completely plastic-free cracker (which of course includes a cocktail).
Sam and Jo attended our online workshops which both helped them to form a marketing plan and to receive the specialist coaching they needed to fill the gaps in their skills. Meeting regularly with their Business Development Manager on Zoom gave them the structure and support they needed to accelerate the launch of their new products.
Take a look Buffalo Bar’s gift range here
Catherine Lucktaylor creates handcrafted Raku fired ceramics from her large rural studio near St Buryan, West Cornwall. Her exquisitely crafted vibrant one of a kind pinched and coiled bowls and vessels, embody the wild beauty of the Cornish landscape.
Catherine sells her ceramics though galleries, her own website and a few events throughout the year. Her business was already well established when she attended Breakthrough at the end of 2019.
The Breakthrough Programme helped her to get clear on the structure of her business and make a plan for the future. The sessions gave Catherine the opportunity to take time out to get inspired, meet other small business owners and valuable support from the team,
After the first lockdown in March 2020, meetings and events went online. Catherine was able to continue meeting with her BDM and attend some of the Breakthrough sessions via Zoom. Having the ongoing support was invaluable.
My Business Development Manager was fantastic and helped me to clarify the direction I want to go in. As I work alone it was amazing to have someone support me to problem solve and put more efficient systems in place for my business.
Catherine has focused on taking part in online craft fairs and selling her ceramics on her website this year. She recently took part in the Makers Cornwall Online Christmas Fair which included going live on her Facebook page. Learning how to be comfortable on video was a steep learning curve!
I’ve been amazed and incredibly grateful that so many people are supporting small handmade businesses. I feel very lucky that I already had my website set up and ready to sell my ceramics online. I love packing up and sending off parcels to spread a bit of magic and joy from Cornwall!
Visit the website: www.lucktaylorceramics.co.uk
The Laughing Octopus
Jackson and Rebecca, the team behind ‘The Laughing Octopus,’ are based in North Cornwall. They have set up an online venture to produce T-shirts, Hoodies and merchandise aimed at injecting a little fun into your day.
Rebecca, co-founder of The Laughing Octopus says:
With the personal challenges people are facing in isolation, trying to juggle work and homelife, and maintain some positivity, we are all in need of a little pick me up. We wanted to start a clothing brand which offers a sense of fun and community and highlights that we’re all in it together. Our premise is ‘life is hard, but we are all winging it. We know plenty of people out there feel like we do.
Another key principle for the company is to be completely sustainable. With a supply chain that is high tech, low waste, ethical and uses only renewable energy. Only 100% organic cotton is used, made on a farm which does not use toxic fertilisers or pesticides. The cotton is ethically sourced as well ensuring higher prices are paid to the farmers. All packaging is produced from natural materials as sustainability and eco-awareness is a key value of The Laughing Octopus team.
We are incredibly proud of the production processes we have managed to put in place and can sleep easy knowing that we can spread happiness without causing damage to our beautiful world.
Browse The Laughing Octopus range here
Jo Thomas Jewellery
Jo Thomas is a self-employed, self-taught jewellery maker. She works with resin and stainless steel and, in common with so many, Covid hit her business like a train.
Craft fairs and wholesale orders have always been her lifeblood, and – after March 2020 – all fairs were cancelled and all her wholesale customers closed their shops, leaving Jo in what she describes as a “what do I do now?” situation.
One of the things she did was attend our Breakthrough programme, where she received what she calls “help that was invaluable for my business.” She also benefited from:
Website and social media mentoring over Zoom, with homework, and re-visits to check on the progress of each step. Regular emails to check all is well, and all of that really helped.
Now, eight months later, Jo is still in business, for which she is truly grateful. With the end of this tumultuous year in sight, she hopes for a better, more settled 2021, and for 2020 to leave only after some of her jewellery has appeared under a decent number of Christmas trees …
Browse Jo Thomas jewellery here
Anna Lewis was already an established illustrator and was set up to sell online via Etsy, Square Space and via Instagram too (where she has a big following).
She found, though, that when she wrote a book (Sketchy Muma) about being a first-time Mum, demand for her prints really took off.
Going from wanting to write a book to running a thriving online shop for her prints was a business leap with which Anna decided she needed some help, hence attending Breakthrough. The chance to connect with other people was a bonus attraction alongside the main element of knowing and doing business better. Anna says:
The workshops really help me value my business and understand what my unique offering is and I love mixing with like-minded people. I refer to my Breakthrough folders all the time … design, marketing, operations and finance … and this year I have upskilled quite a lot in the areas I usually avoided, like spreadsheets and finance.
The value of Breakthrough is often measured only in terms of its impact on a business, but Anna’s experience of the need to connect with peers is a recurring theme:
I absolutely loved doing all the Breakthrough workshops and would quite happily do them all again! Working alone as a self-employed person can be isolating and I may only see people on the school run through the day.
Take a look at the Sketchy Muma products here.
If you would like to be featured in our Christmas Business List 2020 and have worked with Breakthrough in the past, send us an email with your services or products as well as your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Breakthrough is for ambitious new and early stage businesses who have taken the leap and are building momentum. Grow your confidence, credibility and opportunity with a programme shaped around you. Ready to start strong, don’t go it alone, get in touch today.