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Growing a cottage business

We have lost count of the times we have written “what a year 2020 was!”. In fact, we hardly need to continue as that phrase conveys so much in itself as we have all suffered from the impact of COVID-19. At Castaway, we had some struggles of our own that began even before the pandemic hit…

Archie, CEO of Castaway Cottage

From November 2019, virtually every room in our house was awash with Castaway Cottage products. The dining room became a sterile production zone and the garage doubled up as a storage area. The living room became the nerve centre of the operation stuffed with paperwork and order confirmations. We realised that we needed to rethink our situation to grow the business and regain some form of normality at home.

In January 2020 we started to consider seriously the idea of moving home, to find somewhere that had space for us to grow or separate outbuildings we could convert. Selling and looking for a home in a pandemic is no easy task, but finally, we moved at the end of September and our converted, renovated space for Castaway was finished in November. It didn’t quite happen in time Christmas production, but we now have 12 more months to perfect our operation for Christmas 2021…

From last January when we set out our new plans, we anticipated more online sales, more markets, and more retailers. The pandemic forced us to re-evaluate everything and to adapt to a situation none of us have ever experienced before. We used our on-foot delivery time to explore streets we’d never been down and whilst giving us time to chat about new ideas. It also afforded us the time to tell the Castaway story on our journeys for social media. For once, we could slow down and consider where we were going with the brand and what was important to us. Our world became smaller and we have realised how important our local community is to us as a family business. Throughout last year we took even more time to explore other local artisans and producers, talk to them and find out how passionate they are about their products and support them by buying their products. Now, more than ever it seems essential to buy locally produced ethical products rather than mass-produced items shipped from abroad.


As we start the next chapter of Castaway in our new dedicated production space, we are excited for what this year will bring us. With the vaccination programme underway and the promise of lockdown easing round the corner, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We can also reflect on what we have learnt about how resilient our little business is, how supportive people have been to us and how we have adapted and grown through what can only be described as an apocalyptic year. Already this year we have set up personal, virtual shopping experiences so that our customers can benefit from our knowledge of our products and have the feel of a ‘real’ shopping experience that so many of us miss. With the support of our loyal customers, we know that we can thrive again and continue to create and craft the products we care about, as this is more than simply a business to us; it is our passion.

Check out Castaway Cottage here