LITERALLY FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE...
...A BUSINESS WAS BORN
THE FORMATIVE YEARS
At my family home in Scotland, you could find me laying the table. Mum cooked endless meals for our large family, usually with additions of cousins and friends. It was my job to lay the table for the many mouths to feed. It was the basic knives and forks, but sometimes, as I grew older, I went more in for more elaborate spreads (now, in the world of Instagram, called a tablescape!), especially for Christmas day. I also filled the house with flower arrangements, picked from the garden. Mum is a keen gardener. All the veg were grown by Dad and we regularly ate green fly as standard fodder!
A FEMALE FOUNDED BUSINESS
I had a dream to one day run my own company, although I thought I would be a florist. As a younger child you would also find me making candles; pressing flowers; making all my own clothes; playing outdoors on the farm, skiing and sailing.
At University, I would annually make the food and lay the table
for my Uni mates to celebrate jointly my December birthday
and Christmas, around a table squeezed into some chilly,
damp room, either in halls of residence or our student digs.
Looking back, I imagine the food was quite basic as our
kitchens were so primitive.
Maybe we made up for it with cheap wine!
HOSTING AT HOME
In my first home, I could invite people over. We often had dinner,
with a theme table and importantly layering in crazy game
to make the evening last longer and to add an all important
competitive angle. This was a fun, colourful contrast to my
corporate job selling computers for IBM.
I enjoyed the creativity of hosting, setting a table and I noticed that, when layered in with things that go pop, bang and sparkle, it got the table talking! I noticed the table was more about shared laughter and shared experiences and avoided the ‘in-talk’ often found at a dinner party.
LIFE AT LIBERTY’S
A big birthday on the horizon – time for a life change – ditch the
corporate career and the company car. Go for it… I resigned
after some 15 years in the computer industry with “Big Blue”.
I filled the void of the old 9-5 role with planning and posting out questionnaires to patient friends and family on their buying habits. I also decided to get grass roots shop floor experience in the stationery department of Liberty’s of London. As we all know working on the shop floor makes a long tough day, but strangely, I found the handling of money the most stressful. It was so easy to mistake the colour of notes and there was always a worry of the till not adding up at the end of the day.
A new millennium brought gatherings into the spotlight.
Retailers wanted products for the world’s biggest celebration.
I noticed a gap in the market of a lack of nice products to celebrate the momentous occasion.
THE BUSINESS THAT TALKS TO OUR TIME: TIME AT HOME
POSITIVE AND PROFITABLE
A year of Covid and everyone is thrown into their homes. What could have been a bleak year, with the high street closed, has been a positive year for Talking Tables.
Our products and the brand are highly relevant. We understand that people need each other; they miss friends and family when kept apart. Talking Tables belongs at home.
We used the opportunity, as all businesses did, to put our underlying costs under a microscope and have come through as a fitter, wiser business.
We have the confidence to shout that this is what Talking Tables is about. We were never just a party company. We are a company for being Together at Home. We are a company that enjoys getting together and getting the table talking.
GATHER. TOGETHER. SMILE.
Some twenty years later, we now have 50 staff,
offices in 3 countries, and close to £20 million
revenue. A sustainable business has been built!
Our products are on shelves in stores ranging from John Lewis, Oliver Bonas, Selfridges, Liberty to Amazon and Tesco.
Our products can be found in 60 countries globally.
- We continue to invest in sustainability.
- We have brought the world’s first recyclable paper party cup to market.
- We have eliminated plastic from packaging.
We have home compostable and recyclable disposable products.
- We are migrating some options to textiles for those who like a more lasting solution.
- We continue to develop and innovate, bringing people together.
- Gather. Together. Smile.