We are REALLY proud of our independent stockists, as without them…well, we wouldn’t have a business. So this is our dedicated segment to shout about them!
And we are really pleased to introduce Slap N Dash, a Ceramics workshop studio located, alongside other businesses at the Hawkhurst Fish Farm in Kent (bordering on East Sussex) and has been stocking our cards since the beginning of 2018.
Slap N Dash is run by Samantha Vian. We asked Sam to tell us about her business…
We asked Sam the following questions:
Q. What inspired you to open Slap N Dash, and what were you doing before?
A. My mother agreed to have my two babies one day a week and I decided that I would use the time to do something that I enjoyed instead of housework so went to a ceramic painting studio. Loved it so much that along with a couple of friends, we researched how to run a studio ourselves. After around 18 months of training and running a mobile ceramic painting business we moved into The Barn on the Hawkhurst Fish Farm. By this stage there were two of us both with kids and dogs so one of us would work whilst the other would be at work but then my partners husband was offered a job in Australia and I was suddenly on my own. The next 2- years was tough as I worked 7 days a week and had two young children, a husband and dogs but after a lot or perseverance I have managed to grow the studio from Ceramic Painting to offering numerous crafts and now Cards and Gifts.
Previously, before giving up work to have my kids, I was a partner in a business imported dehydrated fruits and nuts to sell to UK re-packers and manufacturers.
Q. What is the most rewarding thing and what is the biggest challenge to running your business?
A. The biggest challenge (apart from cash flow) is managing home/work life. I also struggle with people who do not have a sense of humour, luckily the majority of my customers are light hearted. There are so many aspects of the business I find rewarding; I still love opening the kiln door and seeing the wonderful creations. I think the day I don’t enjoy this aspect of the business is the day I will stop. I love helping people to create something they can be proud of, whether it is someone with a disability, from a care home or a young child and even an adult who hasn’t picked up a paint brush since school. Being creative is very therapeutic!! We have some customers in their late teens and early twenties who come in on their own who used to be brought here with their parents when they were in primary school.
Q. We know you sell some fabulous cards, but tell us about the rest of your business and what activities your customers can participate in?
A. Primarily Slap ‘n Dash is a Paint-Your-Own Ceramic Studio. Other activities include Decopatch, Make A Bear, Foam Clay, Clay Hand building, Canvas Painting and other Crafts. We create Hand/Foot/Paw keepsakes in clay, plaster, silver and leather.
The last two years has seen the introduction of gifts and cards. I really invested properly in cards in June this year and have been pleasantly surprised with how well it has taken off. The cards are located by the till so a lot of the time they are an impulse purchase but now that customers have noticed them I am actually getting people popping in to buy a card or buying cards to go with the gifts they have painted. Most of the cards I sell I have had contact with designers, so I am able to give the customer a bit of personal info which they like.
Q. Tell us a random fact about yourself that your customers may not know.
A. I’m quite an open person (i think so anyway!) so I’m not sure about any random facts but I guess the fact that my mother is from Trinidad and my father was from Liverpool, quite a combination for a sense of humour and enjoying life to the full. We lived around the world, but I ended up in England due to school, work and then marriage! Still hanker after sunnier climates.
Slap N Dash can be found at: The Barn, Hawkhurst Fish Farm, Hastings Road, Hawkhurst, Kent. TN18 4RT.
Opening Times – Mon to Friday 10am to 5pm; Sat and Sun 10am to 4pm