Former Cartier girl on the challenges of running her new homewares site.

Whether you’re hankering after a complete interior haul, or just looking for gifts for friends or babies, shopping online is bound to be your first port of call. Handpicked by Kate is a new online boutique selling eclectic homeware and gift products founded by entrepreneur Kate Williams. She has impeccable taste and it was really only a matter of time before she started sharing, and selling online, her style. Think Anthropologie; think Ben Pentreath and a little bit Bloomsbury Ceramics and you get the gist. Prior to building this site, Kate worked for Cartier and events planner By Word of Mouth.

We caught up with Kate to find out about the challenges she faced when setting up her online business, her biggest mistake and which apps keep her on track.

I came up with the idea when… having created my own little black book of independent brands I loved to shop with, I was always asked by friends where I sourced pieces from and for advice on where to buy things. I decided to create a site where I can share all these brands with more than just my family and friends. I’d always wanted to create something of my own and knew that it had to be something in this field.

The biggest challenge is… to remember the bigger picture or long-term plan, rather than getting bogged down in the day-to-day. It’s important to step back to see what you have achieved. Plus I have to resist spending all my money buying everything from the site.

The average day is spent… firstly, by going on a walk with my wire-haired dachshund Otto. It creates a routine to my day that begins with a clear head, focused on my daily to-do list. Each day varies, but I mostly spend my time sourcing, speaking and signing up new brands to the site, dealing with customer orders, working on collaborations, visiting pop up shops and craft fairs and making amendments to the site.

The team consists of... just me for the time being, which involves wearing lots of different hats!

My favourite quote… Smile at strangers; we’re in this together.

I am where I am today because of… hard work, my homeware addiction and the amazing gurus at Shopify who can literally solve any problem.
www.shopify.co.uk/?

I am who I am because of... my husband. His support gives me the confidence to keep going when things don’t go to plan.

The best advice I've been given... There are no silver bullets. Whilst it’s easy to point to other super successful businesses that are smashing the lights out, remember they got there mostly by doing a lot of hard work and solving lots of small problems along the way.

In five years I’d like to be… creating my own collection or collaborate with a brand.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online... It can be quite solitary. Whilst I deal with lots of wonderful brands, service providers and customers on a daily basis, most meetings aren’t face-to-face and there is no bustling office to wander about in when I’m in need of a coffee and a gossip.

The websites I most frequently use are... Sheerluxe for a great source of inspiration, The Good Web Guide as I love their interviews, particularly those from other start-ups. I mainly listen to podcasts like The HighLow, How I Built This, Happy Place and Desert Island Discs.

My biggest mistake and what it taught me… was being too timid about the strength of my concept in the early days. Now I have more confidence to take bolder decisions having established relationships with brands and customers.

The apps I use to be more productive are... Trello which keeps me organised and allows me to keep on top of my to-do list while Dropbox and Google Shared Drive for keeping all my documents, imagery and contracts in one place.

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date… is hearing from our customers on how much they love the site and the pieces I have curated.

May 2018