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Home Grown Hero

Made In Sussex: Simply Sussex Produce Kate and Graham Thomas started their business selling hampers and traditional ‘trugs’ after sampling Sussex produce and feeling disappointed at the lack of availability locally What did you both do before setting Brand up Simply Sussex Produce? Focus Before I took the plunge to leave work I was working in finance and was very unhappy in my role. I didn’t feel very fulfilled generating spreadsheets and sending them off into the ether! My husband is currently working at our local hospice during the week and helps me out in the evenings and weekends but I hope to get him onboard full time in the near future! He is the gardener behind the business keeping all our produce growing that we make our own range from. Why did you decide to set up the business? We always struggled to find a great hamper for our parents at Christmas and birthdays and felt disappointed with the gift hamper range on offer and thought it lacked imagination and used very ordinary products. I started to look around where we lived and was amazed by the variety and great products so spent every evening researching before taking the leap to quit my job and go full time on it. I haven’t looked back since and feel I should have done this years ago. What were your main challenges starting out? To start with I felt overwhelmed by the red-tape but after speaking to a local business they guided me through how to go about setting up our own range of jams and chutneys. I spoke to environmental health and they were really helpful in advising me the steps I needed. Getting the money to start

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up, I decided not to borrow and just grow slowly to ensure we didn’t get in to trouble financially. I also felt quite isolated working from home on my own but I have a friend who also left her job to set up her own B&B and that was invaluable having someone to bounce ideas off of and just chat about our concerns and worries. Why are you so passionate about sourcing locally? Do you think we could all benefit from doing so? Sussex in particular is awash with fantastic produce and products. Artisan producers make their products in smaller batches so the taste is far better than mass produced products. Our climate and landscape also contributes to great taste and flavours - you certainly taste it in the sparkling wines

and artisan cheeses and preserves. I am passionate about supporting local businesses some of whom who lack a mainstream route to market. Is there a big market for corporate gifts in Sussex? Our Corporate Gift hampers started last year by accident - again someone asked if we could provide 20 De-luxe hampers to go to some top FTSE 100 companies in the UK and Europe and we were delighted the brief was to showcase Sussex! So from that order we decided to offer it on our website and it is growing again this year because we can tailor them to meet the companies budget and be flexible. www.simplysussexproduce.co.uk

Profile for Life Media Group

Sussex Business Times - October 2014  

SBT Issue 381 2014

Sussex Business Times - October 2014  

SBT Issue 381 2014

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