Aged 34 in 2012, left her marketing job to set up a British-made only gift business. Combined her brick and mortar store with eCommerce, doubled her sales year on year for the first 3 years, and grew from 1 FTE to 3 (Kate Tompsett)

fte 1-5 manufacturing podcast sales <$0.5m aud uk Feb 07, 2021

In this episode, I interview Kate Tompsett, the Owner at Happy & Glorious, a small family-run business that sells a variety of British-made gifts. Inspired by the wonderful products that are made in Britain, Kate set-up the business in 2012 when she was 34 to support British manufacturing, applaud British talent, and keep her carbon footprint to a minimum. In 2015 she opened a store in Ashford, as part of Ashford Borough Council’s regeneration scheme, moving to larger premises in 2017. The arrival of COVID-19 pushed Kate’s focus online as she developed her website and social media to compensate for the restrictions of lockdown.

Kate sources her products from all over the UK; finds them at trade shows, through social media, or made by talented friends. She also creates her own collection of products, designed and made by Happy & Glorious in-house. When she started out, she was the only full-time employee for the first three years and now has three and expects them to be five by the end of 2021. The business doubled in sales for those first three years and it now sustains a 100% growth every year. Kate says the hardest thing in growing a small business is the pace at which everything changes.

The one thing she says she would tell herself on day one of starting out in business is, “Don’t listen to the voices that are telling you can’t do it or that you’re moving too fast or that you’re too ambitious, because the external voices are warning through love or worry or placing their own fears and anxieties upon you. Fluff up, try things out and trust your gut. Take risks and take responsibility. Celebrate and take a step back to see how far you’ve come. Be patient because it’s not gonna happen overnight. It’s like growing a tree. You’ve got to nurture it and look after it, protect it until it’s tall enough to look after you” Join us as we follow Kate’s journey to becoming an independent retailer selling only British-made goods.

This Cast Covers:

  • Leaving her marketing job to take the leap of starting her business.
  • How the opportunity to take a shop in Ashford, Kent enabled her to grow her business.
  • The fast growth she has experienced all through and the sustained 100% growth she has enjoyed the last 3 years.
  • Surviving the pandemic from the immense support the business received from local customers.
  • 27% sales from online and 73% from the brick and mortar shop.
  • From one full-time employee to the current three and the expected five by the end of 2021.
  • Making her first online sale that wasn’t to a relative and designing/selling her own range of mugs.
  • Building great relationships with over 50 UK based suppliers.
  • Making the most of what the UK has to offer by sourcing and manufacturing all her products in the UK.
  • The importance of creating and sustaining personal relationships with customers.
  • How she navigated through the effects of the pandemic by focusing on what she could control.
  • Focusing her attention more on growing the online part of the business so it can grow more.
  • The joy of designing her own products and seeing people buy them.
  • Planning and bullet journaling: The two things that have enabled her to be an effective small business owner.
  • Applying instinct in finding the right people and looking into what their strengths are.
  • Investing in coaches that are specialized in life and retail.
  • The importance of humility and continuous learning.
  • Keeping up with the constant changes that take place in the world of business.

Additional Resources:



“Creating personal relationships with people even in a digital space is absolutely vital” – Kate Tompsett

“Every day is different in retail” – Kate Tompsett

“You can’t create a proper strategy unless you know where you’re heading” – Kate Tompsett

“Once you find a way to do planning, you’ll be absolutely fine” – Kate Tompsett

“It’s really important to stay humble and keep learning” – Kate Tompsett

“Running a small business is like growing a tree” – Kate Tompsett


Music from “Cold Funk” by Kevin MacLeod License: CC BY


Join Our Weekly Leadership email