The homeware design business, Kay Carter Studio, was founded in 2020. Having previously worked as a production artist, where she discovered a key material that is now used for her products, Kay, the owner, works in her cosy studio by the coast (yep, we’re very jealous!).
Specialising in custom designs, she uses lively marbled and terrazzo patterns to bring her products to life. Kay is dedicated to producing sustainable items for the home, which range from tea light holders and plant pots to vases and coasters.
These eco-friendly products arrive in recyclable packaging complete with biodegradable packing pellets that prevent items from being damaged. Oh, and they come with a plantable card that might just be the perfect addition to your garden!
What inspired you to start your business?
KC – The creative process of the material that I work with (Jesmonite). I started off casting concrete with my other half and this opened a door to exploring other casting materials. I began to look for more eco-friendly versions and came across Jesmonite. I started doing my business as a hobby alongside my job as a production artist and it spiralled from there. I went full-time with it in October last year.
Have you always been passionate about crafting and what do you enjoy the most about it?
KC – I’ve been crafting since I could, really! I was always getting craft sets for Christmas and I’ve been into just about everything over the years, like Glass Painting, Macramé, leather stuff. There’s been a whole host of crafts that I’ve tried and done through my love of crafting and creativity. I like the experimental approach that I take to a lot of things I do. It keeps it different every day and I’m always trying to move on and do better, just constantly trying new things! The need to always be learning and finding new creative inspiration and direction is what pushes me forward.
Could you give a few examples of projects you’ve recently been working on with other independent businesses?
KC – I’m working with a few different small businesses at the moment, which can range from soap makers to candle makers to brick-and-mortar homeware stores in other parts of the country. We come together to design something specifically to go alongside the products they sell. So, with the soap makers, we’re creating dishes that are unique to sell with their soaps. These might have their branding on them and brand colours, too. Then, with the candle makers, it could be tealight holders because they’re making the tealights or the candle vessels for them to pour their candles into. These are all ongoing projects.
What are the main pieces of advice you have for other women in the North East who want to set up a craft business?
KC – Just give it a go! You never know where it’s going to lead to. I was able to do my business alongside a full-time job and that provided a sense of security. It did feel like quite a leap when I went full-time with it, which was really quite scary as it was still very much in the first few months of launching and selling my products. So, you don’t have anything to lose by at least trying.
How is Environmental Sustainability important to you and your brand?
It was the main reason why I started using Jesmonite over concrete, anyway, knowing that it’s more environmentally friendly. With more people buying products online and lots of material used in postage and packaging, I wanted to make sure that what I was selling had less of an effect on the environment. It’s something that I try and research, look into, change and improve all the time, with the products and types of packaging that I use.