A little while back the gorgeous Sammy from the cutest Cornwall-based business, Two Kissing Fish, and I had a little chat on Instagram and decided to get together for a blog post to chat all things Two Kissing Fish, how the business started and what keeps her going in life (because we all have our guilty pleasures don't we!).
Before you jump in to the post I just want to say a huge thank you to Sammy for answering my questions and for sending me the most gorgeous, personalised pebble box, with Joe and I and little Gizmo featuring next to us too! Sammy will personalise these for you and pop inside whatever you want; for me, it had to be the sentence 'You, Me and Little G', as this is what I have always said to Joe when describing our little family! When I opened the parcel I was so excited and couldn't have been more pleased with the piece! I would highly recommend Sammy and her business and you should definitely go and check out Two Kissing Fish... but not until after you have read this post of course (because you will love her even more then!).
PS: I have to share a screen shot of this particular Insta post of Sammy's too as it is adorable; she paints pretty pebbles and leaves them for people to find...
Right then, let's jump right on in to the questions I asked Sammy shall we?
Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you end up in Cornwall or have you always lived here?
I’m not originally from Cornwall, although I can sing the combine harvester song and make a pasty with the best of them! My mum was a single parent with three girls living in North Lincolnshire and we had a little retro caravan, she used to pack it up on a Friday after school and we would go on awesome adventures, just us girls. One weekend we headed to Cornwall and we never went back… hey presto a semi-Cornish girl.
When did you launch your business and had you always wanted to work for yourself?
I was a bit of a late bloomer, I had my third child in 2008 and, after nine years of being a stay at home mum, I was so bored so I signed up to a higher education course when my baby was 10 weeks old and went on to do a Bsc degree in Health and Social Care. I so desperately wanted to help children and adults whom had had experience of sexual abuse, but unfortunately being in Cornwall nobody knew the path I should take to achieve my goal, so I ended up working in special needs residential home; I loved it and I was amazing in my role but it wasn’t meant to be as government cuts meant I was made redundant after just a year. Whilst struggling to find another job role Christmas was coming, my husbands family is huge (how are we going to buy everyone gifts!) so I made a few bits and bobs which got posted onto Facebook and a few orders came in… and then more, and then more, Two Kissing Fish was born
What do you enjoy the most about running your own business?
For me it's people’s reactions upon seeing my boxes, when they ask me to make something so personal to them, and they come and collect it, their face and the joy, it makes my day! I get all warm and fuzzy and I’ve had customers be brought to tears when they receive their orders.
What did you find the biggest struggle when you first started, and how did you overcome it?
I would say it’s the ongoing struggles; you can’t take your eye off the ball for a moment. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in August 2017 and this put me in a bit of a tail spin. I had a few months of sulking and then pulled up my big girl knickers and found my motivation again. The only problem was I felt I was starting again, literally, I’ve had to find money to pay for the bigger events again and start marketing and finding stockists again, it is almost as if Two Kissing Fish never existed in the first place
Where do you get your inspiration for your lovely pieces of work?
My customers are my inspiration. I started making button head families on slate, then someone asked me to use pebbles, another wondered whether I can put them in a frame, and Two Kissing Fish went from there. I absolutely love it when a customer pushes my boundaries especially with pets, although I have found I cannot make horses or elephants out of pebbles! When a customer gives me an occasion or life event that I haven’t done before I love running with it and coming up with new ideas, So my lovely customers are who inspire me.
What are your favourites to make?
I love experimenting and I love glitter, so anything that combines the two are my favourite things to make.
Do you have any big goals for the business and how are you working towards them?
I don’t work well under pressure, so setting goals aren’t really my thing, I just take each month by month and hope that I’ve made a few people happy; that’s not to say I don’t have a dream because I would love, love, love my own store one day, but I’m also a commitment phobe and terribly scatty… so that’s not a great combination for a business woman!
Some other random/fun questions…
Describe your ideal day in five words.
Pyjamas, Sunshine, Bonfires, Beach and Camping (all at the same time, bliss!).
Favourite song of all time?
Oh this is so cringey, but my all time favourite, headphones on, sing at the top of my voice song (as long as no ones listening) is Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners, I have absolutely no idea why and there is no specific connection with the song, I just LOVE it!
You have a Friday night to yourself at home, what would we find you doing?
Orange is the New Black on TV, Sweet chilli chicken and chips ordered in, Lindt Salted Caramel chocolate and pyjamas, heaven!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Ha, that has got to be Rosie my Flamingo Van. She is a first edition Volkswagen T4 and I adore her, she is my baby. I do get some funny looks when driving her and she draws that much attention there is no chance of picking your nose discreetly whilst driving her! We love nothing more as a family than taking her and my hubbies Zombie Van around the country visiting Van Festivals…. I will win the show and shine one day!
Favourite place to visit in Cornwall?
We found a little place a few years back that we named 'Secret Beach', its amazing, its right on the Helford River and not many people know about it. It has everything you need, rocks for the kids to jump into the sea, dogs are allowed, its fairly quiet, caves to explore. We tend to make an entire day of it with a picnic during the day and then a BBQ and bonfire for tea time… best day ever!
If you could learn to do something new, what would it be?
I find Glass work fascinating so I would love to try glass blowing. Myself and the children did a glass fusing workshop in Mullion one Mothers Day; my 11 year old entirely put me to shame… his was awesome, mine was terrible.
The thing I love about collaborating is how much I get to learn about the behind the scenes of someone elses business, and I really love it when collaborations happen totally unexpectedly and naturally (I never do any collabs that I don't genuinely believe in). I genuinely love what Sammy is doing and I really want you guys to say 'hi' on her Instagram and Facebook Page too, tell her I sent you over because, us small business owners sometimes feel like there's no one out there, so it really is wonderful to get a 'hello' throughout the day!